Hokota Army Flight School Monument
Hokota City, Ibaraki Prefecture
The Banda Squadron, the Japanese Army's first air squadron to carry out
special (suicide) attacks in the Philippines in the first half of November 1944,
was formed at Hokota Air Base in Ibaraki Prefecture on October 21, 1944. Five
squadron members died on November 5 over the skies of Nichols Field near Manila,
and another seven squadron member lost their lives in battle between November 12 and 20 in Leyte Gulf
(Tokkōtai Senbotsusha 1990, 254-5).
A total of 24 special attack squadrons were formed at Hokota Air Base or at
its branch school at Haranomachi Airfield. These squadrons included the 45th Shinbu Squadron
led by First Lieutenant Hajime Fujii (Osuo 2005, 197), whose wife committed
suicide to allow her husband to be accepted as a volunteer for a suicide
squadron (see story on Censored Suicide
The black stone monument has engraved in front "Hokota Army Flight School
Monument." The back of the monument has engraved the following history of the
Hokota Army Flight School was established in December 1940 in an area of
about 800 hectares in the former combined towns of Kamishima and Shiratori and
400 hectares in the former Shingū Town. It was a place where education and
training took place for flight officers of light bombers and attack aircraft,
and research also was carried out here.
When the Greater East Asia War became more and more fierce, the Hokota Flight
Training Division was formed in June 1944, and it was reorganized in the next
year in July 1945 into the 26th Hikōdan (Air Brigade) as a true operational
group with a key role. During this period, special attack squadrons came into
existence, and Hokota became a training base. Starting with the Banda Squadron,
a total of 24 squadrons were formed as special attack squadrons for our country
including the Tesshin (Iron Will) Squadron, Kinnō (Loyalty to Emperor) Squadron, Kōkon (Emperor's Spirit) Squadron, four Shinbu (Military Might) squadrons, 12
Kamiwashi (Divine Eagle) Squadrons, and four other squadrons. Among these, 67
men in a total of 11 squadrons participated in battles and died in special
attacks in the Philippines,
Okinawa, and east of Kashimanada in Ibaraki Prefecture.
Moreover, many officers and men gave their lives in the performance of their
duties during school training and during day and night intensive training of newly
formed units. Already 29 years after the end of the war, it is truly deeply
regrettable that the air base site is in extreme ruins and that there is nothing
left to think back on the past. Here local residents and war comrades together
remember the spirits of those who died for our country. With prayers for the
pacification of their spirits and for world peace, we erect here the Hokota Army
Flight School Monument.
The monument's right side has engraved the names of the special attack
squadrons formed at Hokota and the squadron members who died in suicide attacks.
The left side shows the names of those who died during training or attacks on
An annual memorial ceremony is held at the monument site on the third Sunday
Three former Hokota Air Base ground personnel
(October 17, 2009)
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei
Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai (Tokkōtai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990.
Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha
Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.