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Meiji Air Base Monument
Anjo City, Aichi Prefecture

The 210th Naval Air Group was based at Meiji Air Base in Aichi Prefecture. Near the end of March 1945, the 210th Air Group sent Zero fighters, Shiden fighters, and Suisei dive bombers to Kokubu No. 1 Air Base and Tenzan carrier attack bombers to Kushira Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture in preparation for an attack against the Allied fleet approaching Okinawa.

A total of 23 men from the 210th Air Group died in suicide attacks by the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps during the Battle of Okinawa [1]. On April 6, 1945, 13 men died in 7 Suisei dive bombers that took off from Kokubu No. 1 Air Base, and 3 men died in a Tenzan carrier attack bomber that sortied from Kushira Air Base in the 3rd Mitate Unit. On April 11, 1945, 4 men died in 2 Suisei dive bombers and 3 pilots in Zero fighters died in flights from Kokubu No. 1 Air Base.

A monument erected in 1996 in a small park at the site of the former Meiji Air Base has a plaque with the following history:

In April 1943 in the midst of the Pacific War, under supervision of the Yokosuka Naval Facilities Division, construction of a Navy airfield began in about 200 hectares of farmland located between three villages that existed then of Meiji Mura Oaza Higashibata, Nezaki, and Izumi in Hekikai-gun of Aichi Prefecture. From the latter part of March in the following year until the end of the war (August 15, 1945), naval air groups used it as an air base while construction work was carried out at the same time. During that period, these air groups carried out further training for crewmen who had completed their education at training air groups in order that they would become skilled at flying various types of new and powerful aircraft (Zero fighter, Shiden fighter, Gekko night fighter, Suisei dive bomber, Tenzan carrier attack bomber, Saiun carrier-based reconnaissance plane, and others). Together with training, from December 1944 though April of the following year, the air group at the base participated as an operations unit in the ambush of American Army long-range B-29 strategic bombers that attacked primarily the Nagoya area and in the operation to destroy the American military invasion force at Okinawa (Okinawa Special Attack Operation).

Also, in the early morning of January 13, 1945, during the Mikawa Earthquake that shook this area (damage to Higashibata: 77 homes completely destroyed, 121 homes partially destroyed; 24 persons killed, 5 seriously injured, 36 slightly injured), men at the base made rescues and provided aid and disaster relief for victims in neighboring towns and villages.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War, we erect this monument to tell future generations of these historical facts and to pray once again for everlasting world peace.

March 1996
Higashibata Neighborhood Association

The plaque then lists the following air groups:

Air Groups at Meiji Air Base

May to July 1944 - 345th Naval Air Group Meiji Detachment
July to September 1944 - 341st Naval Air Group Meiji Detachment
September 1944 to end of war - 210th Naval Air Group
June 1945 to end of war - Tokai Naval Air Group

The left side of the monument plaque shows a map of Meiji Air Base with six runways (two at 1,400 meters and four at 1,200 meters).

Note

1. The information in this paragraph comes from Osuo 2005, 212-3, 230.

Source Cited

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kougekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tokyo: Kojinsha.