Matsuo Monument (Kikuchi Jinja)
Kikuchi City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Kikuchi Jinja, established in 1870 by order of Emperor Meiji, enshrines
several members of the Kikuchi Clan who were known for their bold service in
defense of the Japanese Emperor especially during the 13th and 14th centuries.
The shrine grounds have a bust, erected in 1969, of Commander Keiu Matsuo,
one of the six midget submarine crewmen who died in the attack by three
two-man midget submarines at Sydney Harbour in 1942.
A sign to the right of the bust gives a history of Keiu Matsuo and the
Commander Keiu Matsuo, War God
Navy Commander Keiu Matsuo was born in Mitama (now part of Yamaga City)
as the second son of his father Tsuruhiko and his mother Matsue. After
attending Kamoto Junior High School while growing up, he entered the Navy.
He graduated from the Naval Academy, and he was appointed a Navy Lieutenant
Resolved to die for his country in a time of national crisis during the
Greater East Asia War, he piloted a special (midget) submarine together with
Senior Chief Petty Officer Tsuzuru on May 31 of the same year.
Together with their comrades they made an underwater attack at Sydney
Harbour and distinguished themselves in battle as they sacrificed their
lives in a national crisis. The enemy's Rear Admiral Gould praised their
courage and held a naval funeral for them. He called for his fellow
countrymen to recognize the nobility of their courage and deaths for their
Keiu Matsuo's deeds graciously were made known to the Emperor, and he was appointed
Navy Commander with a special promotion of two ranks. He was granted medals
of the Order of the Rising Sun 6th Class, Order of the Sacred Treasure 5th
Class, and Order of the Golden Kite 4th Class. He was declared a war god (gunshin).
During his life he deeply revered Kikuchi Jinja and admired the spirit of
loyalty of the Kikuchi Clan. He strove to inherit that spirit. He died in
battle in awe-inspiring fashion during his sortie in which he was prepared
to die. That is why this statue has been erected here.
This statue was erected at the time of the visit to Australia by the
Commander's mother to return her thanks for the kind treatment by the
Australian government. It was erected through the generosity of persons who
supported the trip and individuals who wanted to honor the memory of the
Tanka Poems by Parents of Commander Matsuo
Teachings of spirits
He effectively followed them
A warrior's path
A flower raised
That he might fall
For the Emperor's sake
But after the storm
The garden is lonely
The two tanka poems on the monument sign are 31-syllable poems with
lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables.
Close-up of bust of
Commander Keiu Matsuo
In the back of the information sign there is a stone monument that has engraved on front
the same two poems by Commander Matsuo's father Tsuruhiko and mother Matsue. The
back of the stone monument, which indicates it was erected in 1970, has a brief
history of Commander Matsuo.
Another monument honoring Keiu Matsuo
stands at the Matsuo family gravesite in nearby Yamaga City, Kumamoto