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Tsukuba Naval Air Group Peace Monument
Kasama City, Ibaraki Prefecture 

This monument erected in 2017 by Sumire Daycare Center remembers Tsukuba Naval Air Group members who died in special (suicide) attacks during the latter part of the Pacific War. From April 6 to May 14, 1945, 55 Kamikaze Special Attack Corps members from Tsukuba Naval Air Group made sorties in Zero fighters from Kanoya Air Base in southern Kyūshū as members of six Tsukuba Squadrons.

The monument's inscription in the center front reads "Peace Monument," and the characters on the far right read "Tsukuba Naval Air Group Site." The left side has two historical photographs, including a bomb-laden Zero fighter to be used in a special attack, and a small map of the nearby area.

The back of the monument gives the following history of Tsukuba Naval Air Group:

The Tsukuba Naval Air Group was formed at this location in September 1934 and was here until the war's end in August 1945.

Pilot training was provided with Type 93 Intermediate Trainers (called Akatonbo or Red Dragonfly). In March 1944, the air group's responsibility was changed to training of fighter pilots with Zero fighters. In May 1945, it become an operational unit with Shiden fighters (Allied nickname of George). On this runway, rigorous training took place day and night. Intense training exercises such as takeoffs and landings, steep dives, turns, and evening flying were carried out. They were called "furious Tsukuba" men. There were not just a few men who died in performance of their duties during intensive training.

The grounds had many barracks and other buildings standing in rows, and at one time there were over 3,000 men who belonged to the air group. In spare moments from training, the men enjoyed themselves by mingling with local residents in activities such as a masquerade party. However, near the war's end the area suffered considerable damage from air attacks by American aircraft.

When the war situation became serious, young men who left from here made sorties after October 1944 as Kamikaze Special Attack Corps members in operations in the Philippines and Okinawa, and 73 men gave their lives for their homeland. Among these, there were 55 air group members who were named specially to the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Tsukuba Unit that was organized at this location and who died gloriously in battle. We will never forget that peace and prosperity in today's Japan have been built on the noble sacrifices of these young men.

Here we sincerely pray from our hearts for repose of their souls with feelings of respect and gratitude.

We together with members of the Tsukuba Naval Air Group Friends Association called for the preservation of the Air Group's headquarters building and planned for its realization in order to make known to future generations the wartime experiences and the dreams of young men who gathered and spent their youth at this location and left the nest here.

We are resolved to carry out our duty to convey firmly the desire of these dedicated young men who tried to protect our homeland and the tragedy of war and preciousness of peace to the children at Sumire Daycare Center built at the edge of the former runway. We erect this monument with a desire for eternal peace.

December 19, 2017

Asahi School (Private Education Institution) Sumire Daycare Center

Cooperating organization:
Tsukuba Naval Air Group Friends Association

Sumire Daycare Center across street from
 Tsukuba Naval Air Group Peace Monument

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