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Remains of
Kaiten Launch Building
at Otsushima Island

Museums - Lists

The following lists relate to the eleven Japanese museums reviewed on this web site.

Most Influential

This list ranks Japanese museums based on their influence on people's perceptions of special attack forces. The following factors were used to develop the ranking: number of visitors, books about museum and its exhibits, mention in mass media, historical importance of museum's location, references in books, appearance in films, international influence, and museum web site.

  1. Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots
  2. Yasukuni Jinja Yushukan
  3. Yamato Museum
  4. Kanoya Naval Air Base Museum
  5. Etajima Museum of Naval History
  6. Hotaru Museum
  7. Kaiten Memorial Museum
  8. Bansei Tokko Peace Museum
  9. Yokaren Museum - Tsuchiura
  10. Tokushima Air Base Museum
  11. Yokaren Museum - Oita
  12. Tachiarai Peace Museum

The Imperial Japanese Army and Navy had separate traditions and maintained an intense rivalry. As a result, except for the Yasukuni Jinja Yushukan, individual museums cover the history of special attack forces of only the Army or Navy.

Army Special Attack Forces
Navy Special Attack Forces
Both Army and Navy

Location by Prefecture

Seven museums are located on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, where most kamikaze pilots departed for attacks on Allied ships near Okinawa. Fukuoka, Kagoshima, and Oita are prefectures in Kyushu. Kagoshima Prefecture, the southernmost prefecture in Kyushu, had several sortie bases for kamikaze pilots, and five museums are located there. 

Special Attack Planes and Other Weapons

Several museums display restored planes or other weapons used in suicide attacks. The kaiten (manned torpedo) displayed in front of the Kaiten Memorial Museum is a full-size model. The Zeros at the Chiran Peace Museum and Kaseda Tokko Peace Museum have not been completely restored. The museums at Kanoya, Chiran, and Tachiarai also display planes used after the end of the war.

Most Scenic Locations

Each of the first two museums is located on a small island in the Inland Sea and can be reached by a short ferry trip. Chiran is located in a picturesque rural area, and the town has several former samurai houses with traditional gardens. Both the Yasukuni Jinja and the Chiran Peace Museum have nearby areas that are especially beautiful during cherry blossom season. 

  1. Kaiten Memorial Museum
  2. Etajima Museum of Naval History
  3. Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots
  4. Hotaru Museum
  5. Yamato Museum