Kashihara Jingu Shrine, established in 1889 in honor of Japan's first emperor
Jinmu, is located in a forested area of about 500,000 square meters.
Survivors of the 13th Ko Class of the Navy Yokaren (Preparatory Flight
Training Program) erected a monument in 1973 on the grounds of Kashihara Jingu
Shrine. A separate plaque near the main monument gives the following history of the Yokaren and the
13th Ko Class graduates, many who died in special (suicide) attacks near the
end of World War II:
The Navy Ko Hiko Yoka Renshusei (Navy Ko Preparatory Flight Training
Program Trainees) were selected from applicants who were junior high school
and high school students in the old educational system in order to train air
officers with the objective of strengthening the Navy's air power. From
the 1st Class to the 16th Class, 148,115 trainees entered the program.
Trainees who were selected first undertook general studies and military
studies in the Hiko Yoka Renshusei (Preparatory Flight Training Program
Trainees) course of study that first and foremost groomed future Navy air
officers and provided training of mind and body. Next they advanced to
flight training to acquire flying skills, and thereafter they were assigned to
front line operational units where they played active roles as members of
the air force.
The 28,111 members of the 13th Ko Class of the Yokaren (Preparatory
Flight Training Program), with the odds against them in the autumn of the
national crisis during World War II, abandoned their studies and joined Air
Groups at Tsuchiura, Mie, Nara, Miho, Matsuyama, and Kagoshima. They became
officers and key personnel at every location where the Japanese and American
navies were located near the war's end as the setting sun approached the
There were 13th Ko Class graduates who completed special attack training
in Type 93 Intermediate Trainers and were just about ready to sortie at the
end of the war. Some individuals sortied as crewmembers of "ohka" human
bombs, "kikka" jet-propulsion aircraft, and "shusui" rocket fighters. Also,
during the Battle of Okinawa, 13th Ko Class graduates took part as members
of the Shinpu (Kamikaze) Special Attack Corps (1st and 3rd Kusanagi Squadrons, 1st
Sakigake Squadron, 1st and 2nd Hachiman Kinko Squadrons, Hachiman Jinchu
Squadron, Hachiman Shinbu Squadron, Koka Squadron, Shirasagi Sekichu Squadron,
1st and 2nd Kinno Shirasagi Squadrons, 3rd Seiki Squadron, Kotohira Suishin
Squadron, 4th Mitate Squadron, 1st to 5th Shiragiku Squadrons, Shirasagi Yobu
Squadron, 12th Air Flotilla Suitei Squadron, Jinrai Unit).
Halfway to their ambitious undertakings, other 13th Ko Class graduates,
as spirits protecting the country, died in searching for the enemy,
training, transferring between bases, or eaten away by disease.
As their hearts went out to the skies, 13th Ko Class graduates also
sortied in "kaiten" human torpedoes (Shincho Special Attack Corps Chihaya Squadron, Tamon
Squadron, Tatara Squadron, Tenmu Squadron, Kongo Squadron, Hakuryu Squadron,
Todoroki Squadron, Shinbu Squadron), "koryu" and "kairyu" special submarines,
and "shinyo" surface special attack boats (Special Attack Corps 20th, 22nd, 25th,
34th, 35th, 37th, 38th, 39th, and 101st Shinyo Squadrons). They died gloriously
at the end of taiatari (body-crashing) attacks in the deep southern
As part of Japan's last national defense force, 13th Ko Class graduates
went all out in every phase of the Special Attack Corps in the skies, on the
water, under water, and on land. Their everlasting feats endure.
Among the Ko Yokaren war dead of six thousand and several hundred, 13th
Ko Class graduates who died numbered 1,005 men. Moreover, this was the largest number
of war dead spirits among any class of the Ko Yokaren.
At the foot of Mt. Omine where the Shugen sect of Buddhism originated, on
the sacred grounds of Kashihara Jingu Shrine in the forests of Unebi where
Emperor Jinmu established the country (located in Tenkawa Village,
Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture, a place where the clear waters of Dorogawa
flow and bluish stones are quarried), survivors of the 13th Class, with hopes
for eternal world peace, record the names of comrades who died and, with
prayers for eternal peace for these spirits, erect this monument.
November 18, 1973
Respectfully written by Seiichi Matsutani
The bronze plaque to the right of the monument lists names of 13th Ko
Class Yokaren graduates who died for their country.
There is an information board close to the monument with photographs and
technical information about aircraft used in special attacks and other
special attack weapons used by Navy Yokaren graduates in suicide attacks near the end
of World War II. The photos include a Zero fighter, Shiragiku trainer, Ginga
bomber, Type 94 reconnaissance seaplane, Type 93 intermediate trainer, kaiten
human torpedo, kairyu midget submarine, and shinyo explosive motorboat.
The area around the 13th Ko Class Monument also includes a monument to honor
dead from the aircraft carrier Zuikaku, which sank during the Battle
of Leyte Gulf on October 25, 1944. There is also a small monument built to
remember those men who died from the three destroyers Wakatsuki, Hatsuzuki,
and Akitsuki and the 601st Air Group.