Tetsuo Tanifuji with
his wife Asako
Crash Attack With New Wife On Board
On August 19, 1945, the Soviet Army started its occupation and was moving
southward. In southern Manchuria, the Army's 1st Kyōiku Unit of the 5th Renshū
(Training) Hikōtai, whose commander was First Lieutenant Saburo Minowa, was
stationed at Dahushan Airfield. The members primarily had been carrying out
training as a tokko (special attack) unit. The Emperor's announcement of the
war's end was received. When the Japanese people residing there were proceeding
with preparations for repatriation back to Japan and with their final
tasks, 11 Type 97 Fighters  (Allied code name of Nate) took off from the
airfield. The civilian Japanese people probably thought it was an Army transfer
Contrary to expectations, this squadron disappeared toward the north. According to records, Second Lieutenants Tatsuo Imada, Iyoji Baba, Teruo
Iwasa, Iwao Ōkura, Tetsuo Tanifuji, Kōji Kitajima, Shinji Miyagawa, Toshikazu
Hino, Itsuo Hatano, and Warrant Officer Kiyoshi Ninomiya were young men from 22
to 27 years old. It is thought that they all as training officers, who had trained
and sent off many Special Attack Corps members, followed after the Special
Attack Corps members who they had sent out on their own from this place.
The target was a group of Soviet tanks that was gathered near Chifeng.
This special attack squadron , in which Second
Lieutenant Tanifuji's new wife Asako rode in a plane with her husband, launched
a special (suicide) attack. In addition, a woman named Sumiko, whose relative
owned Iyoya Ryokan (Inn), went in Second Lieutenant Ōkura's plane. In the panic state at war's end,
it was an act in which they were compelled by strong feelings of people in this
overseas territory. It provides a glimpse of one wartime tragedy.
The people who they had known near the airfield were sent afterward to Siberia
and did not return to Japan until the end of 1948.
Now there is a monument erected on the grounds of Setagaya Kannon Temple, which
is well-known for two tokkō (special attack) kannon .
The monument consoles the spirits of the squadron members who purely chose
(based on a conversation with Morimasa Koshitsuka, who was leader of a
special attack unit at Kinshū)
Translated by Bill Gordon
The source of the story on this web page is pages 280-1 of the following book:
Makino, Kikuo, ed. 1979. Ichioku nin no shōwa shi (Nihon
no senshi 4): Tokubetsu kōgekitai (Shōwa history of 100 million
people (Japan's war history, Volume 4): Special Attack Corps). Tōkyō:
1. Osuo (2005, 177) states that the men used Type 2
Advanced Trainers and Type 98 Direct Co-operation Planes to make the attack rather
than Type 97 Fighters mentioned in the story. It is not clear why the story
mentions 11 planes were used, since in the following paragraph only 10 names are provided
of pilots who died in the attack.
2. Its name was the Shinshū Fumetsu Special Attack
Squadron. Shinshu Fumetsu means "immortal divine land" and refers to Japan.
3. A Kannon is the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
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