About eighty percent of the items on display have been
donated to the museum, and the others come from Kawano's personal collection,
many of which he has purchased after the museum opened in 1988 . The museum displays
two wooden bats used in the Navy by leaders and instructors to inflict physical
punishment on subordinates. Each bat resembles a baseball bat but it is a
little longer and has a uniform thickness. The exhibit room has six enlarged
photos of Vice Admiral Ugaki when he departed from Oita Air Base as he
personally led the final kamikaze attack in the late afternoon of the same day
the Emperor announced Japan's surrender at noon. The museum has a wide variety
of other wartime items, including plane and ship models, uniforms, and hachimaki
Entrance to Museum in
Basement of Director's Home
The museum can be reached by a ten-minute walk from the
central Oita City train station. About a thousand people visit the museum each
year, and Kawano gives talks to children who occasionally visit as part of
their peace studies in sixth grade or junior high school. The museum sells a
379-page book with essays and wartime stories, including several about the
kamikaze corps, written by men who took part in the Yokaren training. No
information at the museum is available in English. Entrance is free.
This small museum run by an individual effectively uses the
Internet to accomplish its goals. Kawano's son has created a museum web site
with history and details of the Yokaren. The site also includes photos of museum
exhibits, six last letters of kamikaze pilots, comments from museum visitors,
and ten essays on wartime experiences written by men trained in the Yokaren.
Visitors to the web site can also use a message board or send an e-mail to the
museum with a question if an answer has not already been posted on the page for
Frequently Asked Questions.
Date of Visit: June 25, 2004
Yokaren Museum - Oita City (Japanese)
1. From inscription on Yokaren Monument in Ami
Town, Ibaraki Prefecture.
2. Based on interview with Kiichi Kawano, Director
of Yokaren Museum in Ōita City.
Ōita Gōdō Shimbun. 1988. "Nōmoa sensō" no akashi ni
(Testimony to "no more war"). August 14.
Ōita-ken Yūhikai, ed. 1995. Yokaren no gunzō: Moto shōnen
kōkūhei no kiroku (Yokaren group: Record of former Navy youth pilots).
Ōita City: Kiichi Kawano.