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Kōyasan Naval Air Group Monument
Kōya Town, Wakayama Prefecture

The plateau atop Mt. Kōya (Kōyasan) in Wakayama Prefecture was the site of a Navy airfield from August 1944 to the end of WWII. Kōyasan's history as the home of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism dates back to 816 A.D. when Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) founded a monastery there. In July 2004, Kōyasan and other sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountain Range were designated as a World Heritage Site.

The Kōyasan Naval Air Group Monument stands among the tall ancient cedars of Okunoin (Inner Sanctuary) with its over 200,000 gravestones along a path stretching two kilometers. A plaque to the right of the monument gives the history of Kōyasan Naval Air Group and the monument:

On August 15, 1944, here in this holy place of Kōyasan, when the Pacific grew very fierce and intense, the Kōyasan Detachment of the Mie Air Group was formed. Here is the site where Navy Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program) trainees engaged in rigorous training day and night and received Yokaren's basic education.

Trainees who graduated transferred to various air combat bases as Special Attack Corps members. They died in battle in the air, sea, and land as they gave their lives in defense of their homeland Japan.

This memorial column was erected through the special efforts of Yoshitaka Nonaka (Kōyasan Air Group instructor), High Priest of Honno-in at Kōyasan Naval Air Group's Temple Complex, and the cooperation of many related persons in order to pray for eternal world peace and for the spirits of our war comrades who died in battle as they did their utmost for the rebuilding of Japan, which had been burned to the ground.

Kōyasan Naval Air Group Memorial Column Erection Committee
October 1987

The four units of Kōyasan Naval Air Group (111th, 112th, 113th, 134th) and the officers lodged in separate temples at Kōyasan.

The right side of the monument has inscribed the song of Kōyasan Naval Air Group. Below is an English translation of this song:

Morning daybreak in this holy place radiant
With morning sun's rays spreading over the world
Towering cedars standing from long ago
Thundering roars sound loudly
Echoing against mountains with eight-petal lotus flowers
We youth soldiers of the skies

Strength of Emperor's country
Pledging tomorrow's distinguished service
Emperor's words not forgetting awake or asleep
In training during which we work hard
Now when we offer ourselves
We youth soldiers of the skies

Kneeling to worship the far-off Imperial Palace
In the cloudless East in the middle of the night
Looking up at moonlight on the high peak
Where we will give our lives as shields in the sky
No corner where there is concern
We youth soldiers of the skies

By guidance of our Empire's founder from long ago
Japan will prosper forever
Even to the ends of the world
Great commission that will cover the earth
Soaring to the heavens on wings
We youth soldiers of the skies

Fearless eagles holding up
Our naval banner shining strongly
Roaring in the divine war
Unceasing Japanese spirit to destroy
On sea and land enemies who would harm us
We youth soldiers of the skies