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Kōchi Gokoku Jinja Yokaren Monument
Kōchi City, Kōchi Prefecture

Kōchi Gokoku Jinja was established in 1868 as a Shintō shrine to honor persons from Kōchi Prefecture who died in wars to protect Japan (gokoku means "defend country"). The shrine stands on a small hill, and there are eighteen monuments at the bottom of the hill next to the path that leads up the hill to the shrine. The monuments include one erected in 1988 to honor Navy Yokaren (Preparatory Flight Training Program) graduates from Kōchi Prefecture who gave their lives in battle. Yokaren graduates who died in battle included many members of the tokkōtai (Special Attack Corps) who carried out suicide attacks against Allied ships near the end of World War II.

The Yokaren Monument base has a plaque with the following history:

The Navy Hikō Yoka Renshūsei (Flight Preparatory Trainee) system was established in 1930 to respond to the demands of the times. Its history did not last any more than 15 years, but fundamental education and character building for flight crewmen were provided to youths of about 15 years of age. For this reason they endured rigorous training to develop themselves.

In the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and the Pacific War, they fought as the core of the Navy's air power in deed as well as in name. When the country faced an unprecedented crisis, they became members of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps and carried out hissatsu no taiatari (certain-death body-crashing) attacks of one plane to sink one ship. For their beloved homeland and for the security of their fellow countrymen, they bravely offered their brief youth and died nobly in battle without seeking any reward or honor.

Not forgetting this noble self-sacrifice, we pray for eternal world peace. We strongly hope that the calamity of war will not be repeated again in the future. We erect this monument more than 40 years after the war's end in order to pass on to future generations our Yokaren classmates' virtues, which are buried in a corner of history and have become faded.

October 2, 1988
Kōchi Prefecture Yokaren Yūhi Association

Kōchi Gokoku Jinja also has monuments to honor the Navy as a whole and those who died in battle at Iwo Jima (Iōtō), the Philippines, and New Guinea.

The following last letters were written by Yokaren graduates from Kōchi Prefecture: