Himeji Naval Air Group Monument
Kasai City, Hyōgo Prefecture
The Himeji Naval Air Group
was formed in October 1943 and used Uzurano Airfield as its base. The Air Group
mainly had responsibility for flight training on the Type 97 Carrier Attack
Bomber (Allied code name of Kate), which had a three-man crew. The airfield also
was used to test Shiden and Shiden-kai fighters produced by the
Kawanishi Aircraft factory next to the airfield. The runway, no longer in use,
remains in much the same condition as during the war.
This monument erected in
1999 has two stone tablets. The stone tablet related to the Kamikaze Corps
stands on the left. The taller center part of this tablet has the following
Himeji Naval Air Group
Site of Uzurano Airfield
The right side of the
tablet has the following poem:
Meeting their end in the beautiful skies
The clouds of Uzurano at sunset
May they drift on forever
The left side of the tablet gives the history of the kamikaze squadrons from Himeji Air Group:
The Kamikaze Special Attack
Corps Hakuro  (White Egret) Squadrons were formed from Himeji Naval Air Group
members, and they spent day and night training here at Uzurano Airfield.
The 63 men led by
Lieutenant Kiyoshi Satō had 21 carrier attack bombers that sortied five times
starting April 6, 1945, from Kushira Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture. The men
met heroic deaths in battle action as they carried out taiatari
(body-crashing) attacks together with their aircraft against American ships
The fighting finally
started for the defense of the mainland. To counter the attacks by American
forces with their massive material resources, the Kikusui Operation was set in
motion with the fighting strength of our Okinawan defense forces, and special
attack squadrons made up of air group aircraft were expanded. An all-out attack
began by sea and air.
The Himeji Air Group Hakuro
Squadrons joined this as had been decided. These men sortied as they
communicated their farewells to their beloved families in faraway hometowns.
They performed their duty as soldiers by giving their young lives in special
attacks from which they did not return again.
We erect this stone
monument here now at Uzurano to communicate to future generations these
historical facts, to console the spirits of these brave men who gave their lives
for their country, and to sincerely pray for the realization of eternal peace
with divine help.
The back of the tablet
lists the names of the men who died along with the sortie dates of the Kamikaze
Corps squadrons from Himeji Air Group:
April 6, 1945 - 39 men
April 12, 1945 - 12 men
April 16, 1945 - 6 men
April 28, 1945 - 3 men
May 4, 1945 - 3 men
The back and front of the
stone tablet on the right gives information about the construction of Uzurano
Airfield, the history of Himeji Air Group, and the Kawanishi Aircraft factory.
The sign on the left of the two stone tablets provides data about Himeji Air
Group and the Kawanishi Aircraft factory.
The following last letters were written by Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps members from Himeji Naval Air Group who died in special attacks:
1. Hakuro (白鷺), also pronounced as
shirasagi, means white egret. Himeji Castle, which dates back to the 14th
century, has the name of Shirasagi Castle or Hakuro Castle. The squadrons'
pronunciation of Hakuro comes from several Japanese sources including the
following article from Sankei News dated May 23, 2017: "Hakuro-tai no tokkō
ni shiryō de semaru: Himeji-shi heiwa shiryōkan de ihin nado 200-ten tenji"
(Approaching the special attacks of Hakuro Squadrons through source material:
200 objects displayed at Himeji City Peace Museum) <https://www.sankei.com/region/news/170523/rgn1705230024-n1.html>
(January 13, 2020).