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Zenkoji Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Monument
Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture

This monument dedicated to the Kamikaze [1] Special Attack Corps is located in Nagano City at the very rear of the precincts of Zenkoji, one of Japan's most famous and oldest temples. Zenkoji's main hall holds what is considered to be the first Buddhist image in Japan, which arrived via Korea in 552.

The monument has three engraved plaques. The upper left one gives the monument's name: Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Monument. The bottom right plaque has the last letter of Vice Admiral Takijiro Ohnishi, who is credited with the formation of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps. The center plaque, on a low rectangular stone slab directly in front of the main stone slab, contains the following inscription:

On October 20, 1944, past 1 p.m., at Clark Air Base in the Philippines, Navy Vice Admiral Takijiro Ohnishi, Commander or the First Air Fleet, gave his consent with tears in his eyes to the young officers and men who desired to carry out sure-death, sure-hit body-crashing battle tactics in which they would burst into flames. On the next day, the 21st, two planes of the Yamato Unit of the First Kamikaze Special Attack Squadron took off. After that date until August 14, 1945, 2,525 young men with promising futures plunged their bodies like artillery shells one after another in order to defend the mountains and rivers of their beautiful homeland that they yearned for in their dreams. Inscribed on this monument is the last letter of Takijiro Ohnishi, who was Deputy Commander at naval command headquarters at the time. He wrote it as he faced death by using his sword on himself at his official residence on August 16, 1945. We believe that the noble spirits of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps members, with their deep feelings of love for their country and its people, should be recorded forever in history. Here we erect this monument on the 17th anniversary of their deaths in order to console the spirits of these young divine eagles and to make known forever the work they left unfinished as a foundation for world peace.

April 1961
Nagano Prefecture Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Bereaved Family Association

In July 1963, the Nagano Prefecture Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Bereaved Family Association erected another monument on the right side of the first one. This monument has engraved names (including home city and age of death) of the 90 men from Nagano Prefecture who died in the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps.

Note

1. The two Chinese characters for "Kamikaze," which means "Divine Wind," can also be read as "Shinpu," which was the official name designated by Vice Admiral Ohnishi. The name "Kamikaze" has been used on this page since almost all people inside and outside Japan use this name.