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Sumino Grave Monument
Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture

On January 25, 1945, Hidenobu Sumino died in battle at the age of 24 years during a special (suicide) attack as commander of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 27th Kongō Squadron.

Sumino grew up in Sasebo City in Nagasaki Prefecture and graduated from Fukuishi Elementary School in Sasebo City. He graduated from Nagasaki Teachers College before he entered the Navy in the 13th Class of Yobi Gakusei (Reserve Students).

On March 21, 1956, a gravestone was erected for Hidenobu Sumino in Higashiyama Navy Cemetery, now part of Higashi Park in Sasebo City. The Navy Cemetery has about 60 monuments including the Nagasaki Prefecture Yokaren Monument and Yahagi Monument. The back of the gravestone indicates that Shinichi Sumino, most likely a relative, erected it.

The front of the monument has engraved the following:

Navy Lieutenant Commander
Junior 5th Rank, 5th Order of Merit, 3rd Class
Hidenobu Sumino Grave

The rank of Lieutenant Commander shown on the front of the gravestone is after the special promotion of two ranks for death in a special attack.

The left side of his gravestone has engraved details regarding his death in battle:

On January 25, 1945, Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Hidenobu Sumino courageously died in battle at the age of 24 years at the head of Lingayen Gulf as Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Kongō Squadron Commander.

Some Japanese sources (e.g., Hara 2004, 169; Tokkōtai Senbotsusha 1990, 143; Tokkōtai Senbotsusha 1999, 40) indicate that Sumino died in a special attack on January 9, 1945. However, two sources (Osuo 2005, 42, 172; Tokkōtai Senbotsusha 1990, 49) confirm the gravestone date of January 25, 1945, for Sumino's death. Inexplicably, Tokkōtai Senbotsusha (1990) indicates January 9 on one page (143) and January 25 on another (49). Osuo explains that the other three Zero fighters carrying bombs in the 27th Kongō Squadron made forced landings and did not carry out special attacks on January 25. Sumino's special attack from Tuguegarao Airfield in the northern part of Luzon Island was the last one by the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps from a base in the Philippines.

Photograph of Hidenobu Sumino in
visitor building of Higashiyama Navy Cemetery

Sumino wrote the following farewell poem in tanka form with a form of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables (Tokkōtai Senbotsusha 1999, 40):

Today existing
Tomorrow's life
Not known to oneself
Peacefully, sound of crickets'
Crying can be heard

The word "naku" in Japanese can refer to either weeping or the chirping sound made by crickets. In the poem above Sumino uses the kanji (Chinese character) for weeping rather than the usual one to refer to the chirping sound made by crickets.

The visitor building at Higashiyama Navy Cemetery has several Navy-related exhibits including one with Hidenobu Sumino's photograph and biographical information. Some of this biographical information has been included for this web page.

Sources Cited

Hara, Katsuhiro. 2004. Shinsō kamikaze tokkō: Hisshi hitchū no 300 nichi (Kamikaze special attack facts: 300 days of certain-death, sure-hit attacks). Tōkyō: KK Bestsellers.

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.

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

________. 1999. Tokkōtai iei shū (Special Attack Corps death poem collection). Tōkyō: Tokkōtai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyōkai.