The grounds of Zenshōji Temple have an unusually shaped column to honor
Army Youth Pilot (Rikugun Shōhi) Program graduates who died in battle. The plaque on the wall
behind the column gives the following explanation of the monument's purpose
along with the history behind it:
The Army Youth Pilot system began with its 1st Class in February 1934 at the Tokorozawa 
In 1938, due to expanding demand of the Army
Air Force, the Tōkyō Army Flight School was established in Murayama , and the
6th Class started at the school. In addition, Army Youth Pilot schools were
established in Ōtsu and Ōita, and training corps were formed in each place for
hurried training. Forty-six thousand young eagles left the nest through the
20th Class at war's end.
As the backbone of the Army Air Force's piloting, communications, and
maintenance, they went through the China Incident  and the Nomonhan Incident
 and took part in the Greater East Asia War. They actively participated,
risking their lives, at the battlefront of the skies north and south during
the crisis threatening the survival of Japan. Over four thousand five hundred
young eagles, including over 450 special attack force members ,
gave their lives in the sky with concern for the peace and prosperity of their
country. They were still rosy-cheeked teenagers.
In 1963, a monument was erected on the site of the Tōkyō Army Youth
Pilot School. Since then, every year survivors gather together for a
memorial service. Now, based on the care of these people, a memorial column
has been erected at this spot hoping for eternal repose of the departed.
memorial honors the great achievements of the war dead and embodies our hope
for eternal peace.
October 10, 1990
Graduates of Army Youth Pilot Training Program
Youth Pilot Association
Each support for the railing around the column has engraved on it the name of
one of the twenty classes that graduated from the Army Youth Pilot Training
The following last letters and other writings were written by Army Youth Pilots
who died in special attacks: