Kaminoseki Town, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Minoru Wada, a former law student at Tōkyō Imperial University, became a
kaiten human torpedo pilot and died in a training accident. On July 25, 1945, he
left Hikari Kaiten Base in Yamaguchi Prefecture for a training run in a kaiten and did not return alive.
In 2011, a monument was erected where his kaiten washed ashore in September
1945. A sign in front of the monument summarizes information regarding its
Details About Erection of Kaiten Monument
In July 1945 right before the end of the Pacific War, Minoru Wada, who was a
pilot of the kaiten special (suicide) attack weapon (from Tōkyō Imperial
University, 23 years old at time), departed from Hikari Base and went missing.
Due to Makurazaki Typhoon in September of the same year, his kaiten drifted
ashore onto Takase Reef off Shiraida.
He left many valuable writings such as this passage that he wrote before the
student mobilization, "I hope that what will be recited before my coffin is not
an elegy about my youth but rather a song in praise of my youth."
From these facts an excellent documentary television program was produced,
and in 2006 the novel Deguchi no Nai Umi (Sea Without Exit) by Hideo Yokoyama
was made into a movie (directed by Kiyoshi Sasabe, screenplay written by Yōji
Yamada, starring Ebizō Ichikawa).
After Kaminoseki resident Hiroyuki Harada in 1980 showed the place where the
kaiten drifted ashore to Wakana Nishihara (Chiba Prefecture resident), youngest
sister of Minoru Wada, they have had a friendship for thirty years. Harada long
held secretly in his heart the desire to construct a monument. He realized his
dream to erect a monument with cooperation of Kaminoseki Town and Shiraida
District by launching a proposal committee in 2010 with volunteers who supported
it with sincere hearts.
With this monument we hope that future generations will reflect back on what
happened in the war and recognize the tragedy of war and preciousness of peace.
August 28, 2011
Erected by Hiroyuki Harada
Supported by Masaru Ishida, Masayoshi Tsuji,
Yoshiko Takeuchi, Hirato Nanpa (from Shiraida), and Akito Nanpa (from Shiraida)
Cooperation from Kaminoseki Town and Shiraida District
Wakana Nishihara, Wada's youngest sister, attended the monument's unveiling
ceremony. The quotation on the information sign comes from Wada's diary entry
addressed to Wakana dated October 3, 1943 :
Yesterday the details about military service were announced.
Wakana, now I will dedicate to my country the time before midday of my youth.
The flower that I desired ultimately did not open on the ground. Surely I can
bloom and be scattered in the skies as a single more transparent and more
beautiful large flower based on the cries from my core.
I hope that what will be recited before my coffin is not an elegy about my
youth but rather a song in praise of my youth.
Now I am calm. From the time that I anticipated the announcement, I have felt
very relaxed and have had a blank feeling.
The monument has an abstract shape with the meaning not readily discernible. A
separate engraved plaque to the right of the monument explains the meaning of
Kaiten Special Attack Corps Member Minoru Wada Monument - Aims of Monument
The entire shape expresses "love" with two persons holding hands and
reluctant to part. The sides convey the sea, and on the base also are chiseled
waves. The idea of the top part was to give the feeling of going toward the sky.
In order that he may rest in peace, a round exit has been made so that the
Suōnada Sea can be seen from there.
With this monument we hope to make known the war's history along with the
story of Minoru Wada, the kaiten crewmember who drifted ashore at this location
in 1945, and to make this a place where we pray that peaceful times continue.
August 28, 2011
Erected by Hiroyuki Harada
Designed by Akito Nanpa
Stone processed by
Managed by Hirato Nanpa
Cooperation from Shiraida District
View of Wada Monument when facing houses
in Shiraida District of Kaminoseki Town
Minoru Wada's life history is summarized below :
January 13, 1922 - Born on the island of Shisakajima, Ehime Prefecture
August 1942 - Graduated from 1st High School in Tōkyō
October 1942 - Started studies at Tōkyō Imperial University Law Department
December 1943 - Joined Navy's Ōtake Kaiheidan (Sailor Corps)
January 1944 - Transferred to Takeyama Kaiheidan
February 1944 - Become Naval Reserve Student
July 1944 - Entered Navy's Navigation School
October 1944 - Went to Kawatana Torpedo Boat Training School (Nagasaki
November 1944 - Went to Kaiten Special Attack Corps Hikari Base (Yamaguchi
December 1944 - Promoted to Ensign
May 1945 - Made sortie on submarine I-363 in Todoroki Special Attack Unit
June 1945 - Returned to Hikari Base without opportunity to be launched in
July 1945 - Died when lost during training in kaiten
September 1945 - Found dead when kaiten drifted ashore in Shiraida District
of Kaminoseki Town
Excerpts of Minoru Wada's diary, which includes many entries after he became
a member of the Kaiten Special Attack Corps, are published in English
translations in Listen
to the Voices from the Sea: Writings of the Fallen Japanese Students (Kike
Wadatsumi no Koe) (2000) compiled by Nihon Senbotsu Gakusei Kinen-Kai (Japan
Memorial Society for the Students Killed in the War—Wadatsumi Society) and
In the Faraway
Mountains and Rivers (Harukanaru Sanga ni): More Voices From A Lost Generation of Japanese Students
(2005) compiled by Todai Gakusei Jichi-kai Senbotsu Gakusei Shuki Hensan
Iinkai (Committee for Compiling the Writings of the University of Tokyo Students
Killed in the War, the University of Tokyo Student Council).
1. Isono 1985, 75.
2. Isono 1985, 42-3, 66, 100, 114, 120-1, 130, 155, 167, 195, 207-8, 230, 234, 245.
Isono, Yasuko. 1985. Ai to shi 768 jikan: Ningen gyorai
kaiten tokubetsu kōgeki taiin no memo (Love and death 768 hours: Notes
by kaiten human torpedo Special Attack Corps member). Tōkyō: Seishun