Kabira Bay Shinyō Peace Monument
Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture
Kabira Bay is a popular tourist destination in the northwest of Ishigakijima,
an island about 240 kilometers east of northern Taiwan. The bay has coral reefs with many brightly-colored tropical
fish in the clear water. Visitors can take glass-bottomed boats into the bay to
view the underwater life.
During the latter part of World War II, picturesque Kabira Bay was the site
for the 19th Shinyō Special Attack Squadron's base. The squadron had 50 one-man
Type 1 shinyō motorboats that were loaded with 250 kilograms of explosives to be
used to ram against American ships if they approached near to Ishigakijima.
However, despite preparations several times to make attacks, the squadron never
made a sortie against enemy ships before the end of the war.
Many former squadron members made contributions to erect a monument in 1985.
The monument stands along a road and next to the graves of several families
about a kilometer from Kabira Bay. The monument's front has engraved the words "Peace Monument." The backside
gives the following explanation for the monument's erection:
During the latter stage of the Pacific War in 1944 and 1945, the Navy's
19th Shinyō Special Attack Squadron Ogawara Unit was stationed at Kabira for
the defense of Ishigakijima. We received an enormous amount of assistance
from villagers in those days who we had inconvenienced.
We erect here this monument with prayers for eternal peace in this area
with deep memories of when we shared together hardships during our
The back face of the monument also has a listing of the 19th Shinyō
Squadron members and a listing of persons who made contributions to the
View of Kabira Bay from Kabira Park. Boats with
glass bottoms are used by tourists to view
tropical fish and other marine life in the bay.
Three squadron members died during the war. Two of them died
when a fire broke out in one of the several tunnels that were used to hide the
shinyō boats. After
the war's end, squadron members returned from Ishigakijima to mainland Japan from November 1945
to January 1946.
19th Shinyō Special Attack
Squadron Commander Ogawara
Tunnels were built into the rocky cliffs next to Kabira Bay in
order to hide the squadron's 50 shinyō boats from the enemy. The tunnels still
exist on one of the small
islands in the bay.
Squadron Commander Ogawara (sitting in front holding child)
with Kabira villagers and squadron members (January 1946)
The 19th Shinyō Special Attack Squadron had 186 total members,
which included 7 officers, 50 shinyō boat pilots, 35 maintenance workers, 21
headquarters personnel, and 73 base workers. The squadron was officially formed
on October 15, 1944, after the shinyō boat pilots trained at Kawatana Torpedo
Boat Training School in Nagasaki Prefecture from August 16 to September 15.
Kabira Bay Shinyō Peace Monument (far right)
next to several family grave sites
The 19th Shinyō Squadron arrived at Ishigakijima on December 11,
1944. Squadron Commander Lieutenant Ogawara and the base commander had arrived
earlier by plane.
Officers and shinyō boat pilots of
19th Shinyō Special Attack Squadron (November 1944)
The historical photographs and information on this web page about the 19th
Attack Squadron are from pages 42-3 (written by Jitsunosuke Hara, former 19th
Squadron shinyō boat pilot) of the following book:
Shinyō Association (Shinyōkai), ed. 1990. Ningen heiki:
Shinyō tokubetsu kōgekitai (Human weapon: Shinyō Special Attack
Corps). Shiro Arai, general editor. Volume 2 of 2. Tōkyō: Kokushokankōkai.