Gunma Special Attack Corps Monument
Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture
This figure of a kamikaze pilot commemorates the 173 men from Gunma
Prefecture who died during World War II in special (suicide) attacks carried out
in planes, shin'yō explosive motorboats, midget submarines, and kaiten manned
torpedoes. The erection of the Special Attack Corps Monument at Gunma
Prefecture Gokoku Jinja was coordinated by the Tokkōtai Commemoration Peace
Memorial Association and the Association to Pass On the Japanese Spirit
(Nihonjin no kokoro o tsutaeru kai) and was supported by the Gunma Prefecture
Special Attack Pilot Statue Erection Committee.
The monument has a bronze figure of the front half of a kamikaze pilot
standing on a stone pedestal, and a plaque to the right of the figure has the
At one time during the Shōwa Era, Japan fought the Greater East Asia War with
the United States, Britain, and China. It was for our safety and to free Asia
from colonial domination by Europe and America. Japan dominated as the fighting
proceeded and brought under control the area to the South Pacific and Indian
Ocean, but supplies of materials ran short, and our country yielded to enemy
counterattacks from the Philippines to Okinawa.
At that time a desperate battle tactic unprecedented in history was adopted.
This was taiatari (body-crashing) into a ship with a plane or boat. It
was no more than the difficult choice of a proud but poor people. Our countrymen
humbly put together their hands in prayer and bid farewell to these young men about
twenty years old who took off to death.
We place here that brave figure. Today's people who were brought up in a
defeated country and were cut off from history, we hope that you will continue
asking this statue what you will decide to defend in exchange for your lives.
The back of the plaque has listed the names of the 173 men from Gunma
Prefecture who died in special
attacks along with their hometowns and whether they served in the Army or Navy.
Gunma Prefecture's capital of Maebashi was the hometown of 23 Special Attack
Corps members who died, and 21 men came from Takasaki, Gunma's largest city and
the location of the Gunma Prefecture Gokoku Jinja.
The monument was erected in March 2009, and 160 persons, including bereaved
family members, attended the unveiling ceremony.
Prefectures in Japan generally have a gokoku jinja, which is a Shinto shrine
dedicated to persons from that prefecture who died to protect the country. Each
gokoku jinja has several monuments to remember those who died in wars.
The plaque on front of the pedestal of the Special Attack Corps Monument
reads "Ā tokkō" (Ah, Special Attacks) and "we certainly will never forget
you." Similar monuments have been erected at other shrines throughout Japan such
as Tochigi Gokoku Jinja,
Saitama Gokoku Jinja, and
Ehime Gokoku Jinja.
The following last letters were written by Special Attack Corps members from
Gunma Prefecture who died in special attacks:
Gunma Prefecture Gokoku Jinja