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Kakogawa Airfield Site Monument
Kakogawa City, Hyōgo Prefecture

The Japanese Army constructed an important airfield in Kakogawa City in 1937. Three Shinbu Special (Suicide) Attack Squadrons were formed at Kakogawa Airfield in April and May 1945, and other Shinbu Squadrons stopped at Kakogawa as they proceeded south toward air bases such as Chiran where they would take off toward Okinawa to make attacks on the American fleet.

A monument was erected in 2015 at the former site of Kakogawa Airfield in front of the Onoe Kōminkan (Public Hall). The monument consists of a metal plaque that provides a history of the airfield along with three historical photographs, a stone post with an engraving of "Army Kakogawa Airfield Site," and a black rectangular stone monument with the words "Peace Monument."

The metal plaque gives the following history of Kakogawa Airfield:

Formerly in this place of Onoe there was Kakogawa Airfield, which was first built in December 1937 in Hyōgo Prefecture as the principal airfield of the Japanese Army to provide air defense for the Kansai Region. In the surrounding area, important military installations were located around the airfield such as an aircraft branch factory, air navigation and communications school, Army hospital, anti-aircraft artillery unit, military police unit (kempeitai), and bomb storage facilities.

The Pacific War began. The 13th and 246th Hikō Sentai (Flying Regiments), organized here to provide air defense for Kansai from the beginning, advanced toward the south to do battle repeatedly with American and British forces. Starting in October 1944, many special (suicide) attack planes from the mainland stopped at Kakogawa on the way to the Philippines for special attack operations that had started there.

In April 1945, when the fighting had passed Taiwan and began at Okinawa, special attack operations were put into effect on the mainland in order to make attacks on American ships off Okinawa. At Kakogawa Airfield, the 76th, 213th, and 214th Shinbu Squadrons were formed.

In addition, special attack planes, which were headed for Chiran in Kagoshima Prefecture from the Kantō and Central Regions, stopped at Kakogawa. Many of the young men died nobly in battle in the sea off Okinawa. The fighting became fiercer each day, and in order to supplement the airmen who were being used up, the 1st Hiko Kyoikutai (Flying Training Wing) also provided men. In July, air attacks by American fighters reached also to the Harima Region, and the areas of Akashi and Himeji were heavily damaged.

On August 15, 1945, the Pacific War ended after four years. The Kakogawa Airfield site soon became spacious farmland again. Now, as development has continued, nothing can be made out of the former airfield.

Akio Kamitani, Representative of Committee to Record History of Kakogawa Airfield

Donated by Kakogawa Lion's Club

The metal plaque also provides this summary of key dates in Kakogawa Airfield's history:

March 1935 - Army Minister announced need for air defense of Kansai Region
June 1936 - Selected Onoe Town in Kakogawa-gun near mouth of Kakogawa River
February 1937 - Ceremony took place at Kakogawa Airfield construction site
July 1937 - Outbreak of Second Sino-Japanese War
December 1937 - Formation of 13th Hikō Rentai (Air Regiment) at Kakogawa
April 1938 - Order to stop operations at Mitsubishi Paper Mill, rescinded in December
August 1938 - Become 13th Hikō Sentai (Flying Regiment) based on reorganization
December 1939 - Nomonhan Incident took place
August 1941 - Ōsaka Aircraft Factory established branch factory in Kakogawa
December 1941 - Start of Greater East Asia War with hostilities against U.S. and Britain
August 1942 - Formation of 246th Hikō Sentai
November 1942 - Advanced to Itami Airfield for air defense of Hanshin (Ōsaka and Kobe) area
March 1944 - Establishment of 1st Hikō Kyōikutai (Flying Training Wing)
April 1945 - Formation of Special Attack Corps 76th Shinbu Squadron
April 1945 - Start of 1st full-scale attack toward Okinawa
May 1945 - Formation of Special Attack Corps 213th and 214th Shinbu Squadrons
August 1945 - Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
August 1945 - End of Greater East Asia War that lasted four years
October 1945 - 33rd Infantry Division of 123rd Field Artillery Battalion stationed at Kakogawa

Metal plaque with history of airfield (left), stone post with
engraving of "Army Kakogawa Airfield Site" (center),
and monument with words "Peace Monument" (right)

Inside Onoe Kōminkan there is an exhibit of about 50 airfield-related items including photographs of Special Attack Corps members.

Tadamasa Itatsu, who served as first director of the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots, was a member of the 213th Shinbu Special Attack Squadron that was formed at Kakogawa Airfield. He took off toward Okinawa from Chiran Air Base on May 28, 1945, but made a forced landing at Tokunoshima when his engine developed problems.

Hamanomiya Park, about one kilometer from the Kakogawa Airfield Site Monument, has a couple of monuments related to the former airfield. The park also has ruins of the foundation of some barracks where airmen stayed.

Kakogawa City also has the Kakogawa Special Attack Corps Monument at Kakurinji, a Buddhist temple with several buildings dating back to the 12th to 15th century. This monument was originally erected in 1959 and moved to Kakurinji in 2001.