The Okazaki Naval Air Group Monument remembers young men from the Air
Group who lost their lives in battle including during Kamikaze Special Attack
Corps suicide attacks at the Battle of Okinawa. The monument stands in
Yanagawase Park, a short walk from Kitano Masuzuka Station.
The monument front has engraved "Wakazakura no Ishibumi" (Young Cherry
Blossoms Monument). A black plaque to the right side of the walkway up to the monument
provides the following history:
In 1930, the Navy's Hikō Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training) system was
introduced with the objective of early education for gifted individuals. In
1944, the former Yokaren training was reorganized, and a new system was
implemented where trainees learned aircraft maintenance skills and
afterward were taught aircraft piloting.
In May of the same year, the 1st and 2nd Okazaki Naval Air Groups were
established as detachments of Tsuchiura Naval Air Group at the place where
the cities of Anjō, Okazaki, and Toyota intersect. Over 12,000 young men,
carefully selected from all over the country for the 1st to 8th Classes, completed the Yokaren program
shortened to six months and were assigned to operational units in Japan and
The Okazaki Detachment of the Nagoya Naval Air Group was reorganized into
the 3rd Okazaki Naval Air Group. Superior aircraft crewmen were trained, and
afterward they formed special attack squadrons for Okinawa and were sent
In the final stage of the Pacific War, an unexpectedly large number of
men from the Okazaki Naval Air Group who received Yokaren training and
flight training here gave their precious lives in battle. As we mourn for those
youths who were from 14 years old (like flashes of light) to 19 years old,
we erect a monument here and plant these cherry trees in order that they may
be long remembered.
November 3, 1974
Okazaki Air Group Wakazakura Association
The cherry trees planted in 1974 around the monument have grown so that it
now stands in a grove of trees at the Yanagawase Park grounds.
Another monument in remembrance of the Yokaren at Okazaki Air Base is located at
Kumano Jinja in Anjō City.