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Yasu Shin'yō Monument
Kōnan City, Kōchi Prefecture

The Japanese Navy used shin'yō explosive motorboats to attack American ships in the Philippines and Okinawa. In preparation for the American invasion of the Japanese mainland, shin'yō squadrons were deployed along the coast. The shin'yō monument in the former town of Yasu, part of Kōnan City since 2006, honors the 111 men of the 128th Shin'yō Squadron at Tei Base who died in an accident one day after the war's end.

A sign at the monument site gives the history of the accident and the origin of the monument:

This shin'yō squadron, the Kure Naval Base 23rd Totsugeki Unit Tei Detachment, had its headquarters at Susaki. The 160 squadron members [1] led by Navy Lieutenant Seisaku Takenaka [2] awaited the decisive battle for the mainland. They were stationed in Sumiyoshi and responsible for defense of the homeland.

At about 6 p.m. on August 16, 1945, the day after the end of the war, orders to sortie came from headquarters. While all squadron members went to their posts and prepared to launch their motorboats, 111 brave men under Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Aono [3] met their death instantly when explosives on the special attack boats were accidentally set off. In order to always remember their spirits, volunteers of Yasu Town formed a remembrance association and erected this monument on August 16, 1956, through donations from various sources.

After this, volunteers from the remembrance association and the 13th Kō Class Kōchi Prefecture Chapter maintained the monument and surrounding area. In 1976, as a project of the Kōchi Prefecture Marine Association, this sign about the monument's origin, the outer fence, the flag pole, and the sign at the entrance were put up, and the surroundings were arranged as now exist.

August 16, 1976
Kōchi Prefecture Marine Association

The sign also lists the names and ranks of the 111 men who died.

A separate smaller stone monument at the site has the following poem:

This ground, this shore, ah, 128th Shin'yō Squadron
Rumbling of the sea at Cape Tei, cries of our comrades from that time?
Pounding of the waves at Tosa Sumiyoshi, whispers of spirits who gave their lives?
Ah, this ground, this shore, covered with blood of young men

Eidai Hayashi's investigates in detail the accident that killed 111 men of the 128th Shin'yō Squadron in his 2009 book Kuroshio no natsu: Saigo no shin'yō tokkou (Kuroshio summer: Last shin'yō special attack). He explains that the faded inscription on the monument erected in 1956 (see tall monument to right shin'yō pilot statue in photograph at top of page) contains several mistakes. For example, the monument states that 111 men of the 9th Shin'yō Squadron lost their lives on August 16, 1945, but actually the squadron is the 128th Shin'yō Squadron. Apparently the person who wrote the history for the monument inscription mistakenly picked up "9th" from the 9th group of shin'yō squadrons formed at Kawatana Torpedo Boat Training School in Nagasaki Prefecture [4].


Shin'yō pilot statue erected in 1976

Notes

1. Hayashi (2009, 70) and Shin'yō Association (1990, 196) state that the 128th Shin'yō Squadron had 171 total members.

2. Seisaku Takenaka actually had the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade, not Lieutenant (Hayashi 2009, 264).

3. Lieutenant Junior Grade Hisataka Aono, who was one of the boat group leaders, died in the explosion and was promoted from Ensign after his death (Hayashi 2009, 70, 124).

4. Hayashi 2009, 263-5.

Sources Cited

Hayashi, Eidai. 2009. Kuroshio no natsu: Saigo no shin'yō tokkō (Kuroshio summer: Last shin'yō special attack). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.

Shin'yō Association (Shin'yōkai), ed. 1990. Ningen heiki: Shin'yō tokubetsu kōgekitai (Human weapon: Shin'yō Special Attack Corps). Shirō Arai, general editor. Volume 2. Tōkyō: Kokushokankōkai.