Kashihara Jingū Shrine, established in 1889 in honor of Japan's first emperor
Jinmu, is located in a forested area of about 500,000 square meters.
The Navy Kō Hiko Yoka Renshusei (Navy Kō Preparatory Flight Training
Program Trainees) were selected from applicants who were junior high school
and high school students in the old educational system in order to train air
officers with the objective of strengthening the Navy's air power. From
the 1st Class to the 16th Class, 148,115 trainees entered the program.
Trainees who were selected first undertook general studies and military
studies in the Hikō Yoka Renshūsei (Preparatory Flight Training Program
Trainees) course of study that first and foremost groomed future Navy air
officers and provided training of mind and body. Next they advanced to
flight training to acquire flying skills, and thereafter they were assigned to
front line operational units where they played active roles as members of
the air force.
The 28,111 members of the 13th Kō Class of the Yokaren (Preparatory
Flight Training Program), with the odds against them in the autumn of the
national crisis during World War II, abandoned their studies and joined Air
Groups at Tsuchiura, Mie, Nara, Miho, Matsuyama, and Kagoshima. They became
officers and key personnel at every location where the Japanese and American
navies were located near the war's end as the setting sun approached the
There were 13th Kō Class graduates who completed special attack training
in Type 93 Intermediate Trainers and were just about ready to sortie at the
end of the war. Some individuals made sorties as crewmembers of "ōka" human
bombs, "kikka" jet-propulsion aircraft, and "shūsui" rocket fighters. Also,
during the Battle of Okinawa, 13th Kō Class graduates took part as members
of the Shinpū (Kamikaze) Special Attack Corps (1st and 3rd Kusanagi Squadrons, 1st
Sakigake Squadron, 1st and 2nd Hachiman Kinko Squadrons, Hachiman Jinchū
Squadron, Hachiman Shinbu Squadron, Kōka Squadron, Shirasagi Sekichū Squadron,
1st and 2nd Kinnō Shirasagi Squadrons, 3rd Seiki Squadron, Kotohira Suishin
Squadron, 4th Mitate Squadron, 1st to 5th Shiragiku Squadrons, Shirasagi Yobu
Squadron, 12th Air Flotilla Suitei Squadron, Jinrai Unit).
Halfway to their ambitious undertakings, other 13th Kō Class graduates,
as spirits protecting the country, died in searching for the enemy,
training, transferring between bases, or eaten away by disease.
As their hearts went out to the skies, 13th Kō Class graduates also
made sorties in "kaiten" human torpedoes (Kamishio Special Attack Corps Chihaya Squadron, Tamon
Squadron, Tatara Squadron, Tenmu Squadron, Kongō Squadron, Hakuryū Squadron,
Todoroki Squadron, Shinbu Squadron), "kōryū" and "kairyū" special submarines,
and "shin'yō" surface special attack boats (Special Attack Corps 20th, 22nd, 25th,
34th, 35th, 37th, 38th, 39th, and 101st Shin'yō Squadrons). They died gloriously
at the end of taiatari (body-crashing) attacks in the deep southern
As part of Japan's last national defense force, 13th Kō Class graduates
went all out in every phase of the Special Attack Corps in the skies, on the
water, under water, and on land. Their everlasting feats endure.
Among the Kō Yokaren war dead of six thousand and several hundred, 13th
Kō Class graduates who died numbered 1,005 men. Moreover, this was the largest number
of war dead spirits among any class of the Kō Yokaren.
At the foot of Mt. Ōmine where the Shūgen sect of Buddhism originated, on
the sacred grounds of Kashihara Jingū Shrine in the forests of Unebi where
Emperor Jinmu established the country (located in Tenkawa Village,
Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture, a place where the clear waters of Dorogawa
flow and bluish stones are quarried), survivors of the 13th Class, with hopes
for eternal world peace, record the names of comrades who died and, with
prayers for eternal peace for these spirits, erect this monument.
November 18, 1973
Respectfully written by Seiichi Matsutani
The bronze plaque to the right of the monument lists names of 13th Kō
Class Yokaren graduates who died for their country.
The following last letters and diary entries were written by Yokaren graduates from
the 13th Kō Class of the Navy Yokaren:
There is an information board close to the monument with photographs and
technical information about aircraft used in special attacks and other
special attack weapons used by Navy Yokaren graduates in suicide attacks near the end
of World War II. The photos include a Zero fighter, Shiragiku trainer, Ginga
bomber, Type 94 reconnaissance seaplane, Type 93 intermediate trainer, kaiten
human torpedo, kairyū midget submarine, and shin'yō explosive motorboat.
The area around the 13th Kō Class Monument also includes a monument to honor
dead from the aircraft carrier Zuikaku, which sank during the Battle
of Leyte Gulf on October 25, 1944. There is also a small monument built to
remember those men who died from the three destroyers Wakatsuki, Hatsuzuki,
and Akitsuki and the 601st Air Group.