Kagoshima Naval Air Group Monument
Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture
Kagoshima Naval Air Group, established in April 1943, provided basic
training for airmen who entered the Navy's Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training
Program). Many Yokaren graduates, including those from Kagoshima, died in battle
as part of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps. The former Kagoshima Air Base,
which was used by Kagoshima Air Group until the end of the war and as a
civilian airport until 1972, is located in the Kamoike Area of Kagoshima City
and has now been turned into a residential and office area.
Kagoshima Air Base was not used as a kamikaze sortie base except in one case.
Two Type 2 Flying Boats (Allied code name of Emily), which took off from
Kagoshima, served as lead planes for the Azusa Special Attack Unit made up of
Ginga bombers that carried out a long-range suicide
attack on American ships at Ulithi on March 11, 1945. An
American PB4Y-2 Privateer patrol bomber shot down one lead plane in route
to Ulithi with 12 crewmembers, who were the only special attack deaths during
the war from an aircraft that took off from Kagoshima Air Base.
The Kagoshima Naval Air Group Monument, located near Kamoike Kominkan
(Public Hall), has a bas-relief figure of a dead airman ascending to heaven.
Beneath this figure is a plaque with the following words:
Kisama (You) and Ore (I) Monument
Kagoshima Naval Air Group
Dedicated to Spirits of War Dead
The Japanese language has various personal pronouns for "I" and "you" that
can be used for different social situations. The personal pronouns kisama
(you) and ore (I) are only used in male speech. Men in the WWII Navy typically
used these pronouns between themselves, and "kisama to ore" (you and I) is the
phrase used to start each of the five stanzas of the famous Japanese Navy song
"Douki no sakura" (Cherry blossoms of same class).
The bronze plaque at the bottom front of the monument lists the members of
Yokaren's 12th Ko Class from Kagoshima Air Group who died in battle.
The monument's backside has a plaque with the following inscription:
In 1943 during the middle of the Greater East Asia War, the Kagoshima
Naval Air Group was founded here. Many young eagles left the nest here at
Kamoike and died in battle during the war to defend our country.
Twenty years after the war's end, we friends met together and talked of
those days. We erect this monument to console the spirits of our comrades
Surviving Members of Kagoshima Naval Air Group and Other Supporters
The left side of the walkway to the monument has a separate stone plaque with the following
In prior days there was a beach here. There were white sand, old pine trees,
and peace and tranquility. The establishment here in this area of the Kagoshima
Naval Air Group was in April 1943 during the middle of the Pacific War. The area
suddenly became busy.
Youths of 16 and 17 years of age still with boyish faces gathered here
distressed at the country's peril. As flight training students of all types,
they spent time receiving basic training by performing activities such as rowing
small boats, striving in land combat, and learning piloting. Their number was 7
thousand at the peak and 20 thousand in total through the war's end.
During that time the number of war dead from this base reached 1,280 persons.
They died when caught in American air attacks, intercepted by enemy aircraft
while flying from other bases, and destroyed during special attacks in which
they tried to crash into enemy ships. We who survived will never forget their
sacrifices of long ago which are behind our postwar prosperity.
The right side of the walkway to the monument has a separate stone plaque in
two parts. The first part has the following inscription with wording very similar
but slightly different than
that found on the plaque on the monument's back:
Kisama (You) and Ore (I) Monument
At the first of April 1943, during the middle of the Greater East Asia
War, the Kagoshima Naval Air Group was founded here. Many eagles left the
nest here at Kamoike and died in battle during the war to defend our
Twenty years after the war's end, we friends who were air group members
met together and talked of those days. We erect this monument praying for
the spirits of our comrades who gave their lives during our country's peril.
The last part of the plaque on the right side explains the meaning of the
- The bronze figure on the upper section of the monument face shows a
young crew member ascending to heaven.
- The two stone columns represent hands, flat together in the direction of
heaven, praying for eternal peace.
- The linking together of the two columns represents kisama (you)
and ore (I).
- The seven holes in the right column represent the seven buttons of a
Kagoshima Naval Air Group Remembrance Committee
Kagoshima City has two other nearby monuments related to Kagoshima Naval Air
Group Monument. Inside the schoolyard fence at Kamoike Elementary School, located a few
blocks from the Kagoshima Naval Air Group Monument, there is a stone column with
the inscription "Site of Naval Air Group Kagoshima Base." The
Kagoshima Naval Air Group Sekishin Monument is located at Kamoike Ryokuchi Park.
Young dead airman
from Kagoshima Air Group
ascending to heaven