Only search Kamikaze Images

Totoro Shin'yō Tunnels
Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture

Local residents living around Totoro Harbor in the former small fishing village of Akamizu (now part of Nobeoka City) have preserved three tunnels that were dug by hand into the rock cliffs near the end of the war. The tunnels were used to store shin'yō explosive motorboats to be used in suicide attacks against Allied ships if they approached the shore of the Japanese mainland. The shin'yō boat pilots never received the order to sortie before the Pacific War ended.

A sign near the three tunnels provides the following history:

These tunnels are places where shin'yō surface tokkō (special attack) motorboats of the former Japanese Navy were stored. Between 1944 and 1945, 146 shin'yō squadrons were formed. These were primarily stationed along the Japanese Pacific coast in the southern part of the country. They waited there so they could be sent against enemy ships.

At Totoro, the 48th Shin'yō Squadron and the 116th Shin'yō Squadron were stationed in May 1945. The 116th Shin'yō Squadron Isono Unit made its base at Meisui Elementary School, where the men waited for the order to sortie. Storage tunnels, which might be called waiting shelters, were dug at the shore. They had a width and height of 3 meters and a depth of 30 meters with rails laid down the middle.

The body of a shin'yō special attack boat was made of plywood, and the boat was powered by two automobile engines. The bow carried a 250-kg bomb with the objective of crashing into an enemy ship and sinking it by the attack.

As squadron members at Totoro Harbor waited for the order to sortie, they practiced making taiatari (body-crashing) attacks at full speed by using a large motorized sailing boat as a supposed enemy ship. They also spent time practicing outside the harbor and maintaining the boats.

April 2004
Akamizu Town

The 116th Shin'yō Squadron had 25 Model 5 Shin'yō boats, which had a crew of two each. The 48th Shin'yō Squadron used slightly smaller Model 1 Shin'yō boats that had a crew of one. Model 1 boats had a length of 5.1 meters in comparison to the Model 5's length of 6.5 meters. They both carried 250 kg of explosives in the bow.

Hideo Den, one of the officers in the 116th Shin'yō Squadron, wrote about his wartime experiences in the 2002 book entitled Tokkōtai datta boku ga ima wakamono ni tsutaetai koto (What I as a former Special Attack Corps member would like to say to today's young people).

In the past there has been a full-size shin'yō replica on display by the three tunnels, but it is no longer there.

Meisui Elementary School, which the 116th Shin'yō Squadron
used for their base as squadron members waited
for the order to sortie against enemy ships