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Tenzan Unit Monument
Setagaya City, Tōkyō Prefecture

The Tenzan (nicknamed "Jill" by Allies) was a single-engined three-seat carrier attack bomber used by the Japanese Navy in kamikaze attacks during the Battle of Okinawa. Men from the 251st, 254th, and 256th Flight Corps joined forces to form the Tenzan Kikusui Unit, and 9 planes (27 men) made sorties to attack the American fleet on April 6, 1945 [1].

The monument's plaque lists the names of the 27 men who died and has the following inscription:

On April 6, 1945, near the end of the Greater East Asia War, the Tenzan Unit (Kikusui Unit, Kamikaze Special Attack Corps) made sorties from Kushira Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture and carried out body-crashing attacks against the invading enemy task force situated off Okinawa. All unit members died heroic deaths as they quickly sunk or greatly damaged 5 battleships, 2 aircraft carriers, and 3 other ships.

The results of 10 ships sunk or damaged with 9 planes may be exaggerated. The Japanese sent 303 planes on suicide missions on April 6-7, but these attacks sunk or damaged only 34 ships (Warner 1982, 196). It is improbable that the Tenzan Unit achieved such a high success rate when only about 11% of the planes who participated in the operation sunk or damaged American ships.

This monument, built in 1961, stands in a corner of the grounds of Setagaya Kannon Temple, the location of two Tokkō (Special Attack) Peace Kannon [2] statues and the Shinshū Fumetsu Special Attack Squadron Monument. An annual memorial service is held at the Tenzan Unit Monument on the nearest Sunday to April 6.

The following last letter was written by a Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Tenzan Kikusui Unit member who died in a special attack:


1. Tokkōtai Senbotsusha (1990, 165) indicates three other men in a tenth Tenzan plane made a sortie from Kushira Air Base on April 6, 1945. This plane was part of the No. 3 Mitate Squadron of the Tenzan Unit. 

2. A Kannon is the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.

Sources Cited

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

Warner, Denis, Peggy Warner, with Commander Sadao Seno. 1982. The Sacred Warriors: Japan's Suicide Legions. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.