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Ishadō Monument
Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture

Captain Yōkyū Ishadō, a native of Ishigaki Island, led the Army's first special (suicide) attack against Allied ships from Shiraho Airfield on the northern coast of the island. He and his other three squadron members flew Army Type 99 Assault Planes (Allied code name of Sonia) toward the enemy fleet at Kerama Rettō. Ishadō, an Army Academy graduate, died at the age of 24 years and was promoted two ranks to Lieutenant Colonel after his death by special attack.

In 2013, a monument was erected at the former site of Shiraho Airfield to remember the deaths of Yōkyū Ishadō and the other 30 Special Attack Corps members who took off from Shiraho toward Okinawa and Kerama Rettō. The front of the monument has a photograph of Ishadō with the following inscription:

Imperial Japanese Army
8th Hikō Shidan (Flying Division) Makoto 17th Hikōtai (Flying Squadron)
Monument to Lieutenant Colonel Yōkyū Ishadō and
Other Corps Members

The back side of the monument facing the sea has the following history and a last poem written by Yōkyū Ishadō to his parents and family on March 23, 1945:

Our country, 68 years after the end of the Greater East Asia War, has overcome its postwar devastation and established a plentiful life in peace. We must pass on to future generations historical truth and keep in mind that Japan's current peace and prosperity were brought about based on the foundation of heroes who gave their lives during the critical point of our country's existence and many persons who were victims of the war. In the latter part of the Greater East Asia War when plans for a breakthrough in the war situation had to be made, the Imperial Japanese Army formed the Special Attack Corps. Young men, with sacrifice of their lives, undertook their duty to protect their country, took off from the Special Attack Corps base on Ishigaki Island, and died nobly in battle in the deep sea.

At 4 a.m. on March 26, 1945, four Ishadō Squadron planes and six escort planes led by Captain Yōkyū Ishadō, a native of Ishigaki Island who was a squadron leader of the Imperial Japanese Army's Makoto 17th Hikōtai (Flying Unit) of the 8th Hikō Shidan (Flying Division), took the lead for the Army's Special Attack Corps when they took off from the base at Shiraho on Ishigaki Island. They carried out special attacks on enemy aircraft carriers to the west of Kerama Rettō, and their battle results were highly publicized throughout the country.

We pass on to future generations the distinguished service of Lieutenant Colonel Yōkyū Ishadō (after special attack received special promotion of two ranks) and his squadron members, who died in battle with love for their hometowns and country and with a spirit of dedication for an eternal noble cause. We erect here this monument to remember Lieutenant Colonel Yōkyū Ishadō and other squadron members so that their noble spirit to protect their hometowns and country will be taught in future times and to express our aspiration for everlasting peace.

August 15, 2013

Last Poem of Lieutenant Colonel Yōkyū Ishadō

A fine and long-awaited chance has come
Happily I lay down my life in the deep sea

Captain Yōkyū Ishadō, who took off
in a special attack from Ishigaki
Island on March 26, 1945
(photo on right side of monument face)

The back of the monument also has a list of Special Attack Corps members who flew from Shiraho Airbase and never returned. The list has the name, rank after death, age, and home prefecture for each airman. The ages of the men who died ranged from 17 years (two men) to 29 years.

8 men - Makoto 17th Hikōtai
6 men - Dokuritsu 23rd Hikō Chūtai
7 men - 17th Hikō Sentai
7 men - 105th Hikō Sentai
3 men - 19th Hikō Sentai

The 19th Hikō Sentai, whose members usually flew directly from Taiwan toward Okinawa to make special attacks against the enemy fleet, has the 19th Hikō Sentai Special Attack Monument at Mabuni Hill on Okinawa.