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Ozuki Air Base Foundation of Peace Monument
Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture

The Ozuki Air Base Foundation of Peace Monument is dedicated to pilots who took off from Ozuki Army Air Base and died in battle. These pilots mainly belonged to the Army's 4th and 47th Sentai (Regiment). The monument is located on the grounds of Renseiji Temple, on a hill with a view of the runway of the JMSDF (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force) Flight School. Renseiji Temple is near the main gate of the JMSDF Ozuki Air Base.

The 4th Sentai had a special attack unit, called Kaiten Seikū Tai, which made ramming attacks on American B-29s during bombing missions over Japan. Two pilots from this unit, Second Lieutenant Miosaburō Yamamoto and Sergeant Major Tsutomu Murata, are included on the Tokkōtai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association's list of men who died in all types of Army and Navy special attacks (often referred to as "suicide attacks" outside Japan) [1]. These two pilots brought down B-29 Superfortresses on April 18 and May 7, 1945, respectively, when they rammed B-29s with their Ki-45 Toryū (Dragon Killer) Type 2 Fighters (Allied code name of "Nick") after taking off from Ozuki Air Base [2]. Also on the Renseiji Temple grounds is a monument with a poem written by Second Lieutenant Miosaburō Yamamoto.

On August 20, 1944, Sergeant Shigeo Nobe made a ramming attack against a B-29 bomber, which downed this aircraft and also a second B-29 hit by flaming debris from the collision [3]. Nobe made this ramming attack on his own accord, and it occurred before formation of a formal special attack unit in the 4th Sentai, so Nobe's attack is not recognized as a special attack ("tokkō" in Japanese) even though he died in the same way as Yamamoto and Murata.

Several pilots of the 4th Sentai claimed to have shot down multiple B-29s. Warrant Officer Sadamitsu Kimura claimed 22 B-29s destroyed before being killed by Superfortress gunners in July 1945, but historians have attributed him with eight B-29 victories. Japanese pilots tended to overestimate the number of kills, since they claimed a victory when a B-29 started smoking and appeared to be going down, even though the plane ended up surviving. [4]

The left side of the Ozuki Air Base Foundation of Peace Monument has engraved the following words:

During the Pacific War, 69 brave men of the skies took off from Ozuki Air Base and died gloriously in battle.

Surviving comrades erect the "Foundation of Peace" monument in order to pass on to future generations a peaceful Japan established by these noble lives and so that a disastrous war will not happen again. The monument has engraved the names of the valiant men who died in battle in order to honor them.

May 9, 1993
Members of Ozuki Association (Former Army Air Unit)

The backside of the monument has an engraved bronze plaque that lists the 69 men from Ozuki Air Base who died in battle. The information includes name, squadron, home prefecture, and date of death.

Names of 69 men from Ozuki Air Base
who died in battle (click to enlarge)

A sign at the entrance to the monument area at the top of small hill has the following words:

During the Pacific War 69 heroes of the skies from Ozuki Air Base died gloriously in battle as they intercepted attacking American aircraft and achieved considerable battle results.

We pass on to our children and grandchildren today's peaceful Japan, which was built with these noble lives. In order that we never repeat an ill-fated war, our surviving comrades obtained cooperation from local people and erected this "Foundation of Peace" monument to mourn those men who died in battle as a foundation of peace, remember their dying wishes, and honor forever their achievements.

Erection Date: May 8, 1993
Members of Ozuki Association (surviving comrades association)

At this site there is a monument with the haiku poem of Miosaburō Yamamoto, leader of the Kaiten Seikū Squadron, which carried out special (suicide) attacks. Following is his poem that is engraved on the monument:

A lotus flower
When it falls
Floating on water

December 1998


1. Tokkōtai Senbotsusha 1990, 299.

2. Takaki and Sakaida 2001, 104-6.

3. Takaki and Sakaida 2001, 14-6.

4. Takaki and Sakaida 2001, 118, 123.

Sources Cited

Takaki, Koji, and Henry Sakaida. 2001. B-29 Hunters of the JAAF. Botley, UK: Osprey Publishing.

Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai (Tokkōtai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990. Tokubetsu Kōgekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.