Battleship Yamato Memorial Tower
Cape Inutabu, Tokunoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture
On April 7, 1945, U.S. carrier planes sunk Yamato on its way to
Okinawa, where the Japanese Navy planned to have the giant battleship run
aground and then fight off American sea and ground forces with its artillery for
as long as possible. The Navy designated the mission as "special attack" (tokko
in Japanese), which meant the men on Yamato were expected to die in the
One cruiser and eight destroyers accompanied Yamato, but no air cover
was provided. Yamato sunk at 2:22 p.m. after almost two hours of fighting
off American planes dropping bombs and torpedoes. In addition to Yamato,
the light cruiser Yahagi and the destroyers Asashimo, Hamakaze, Isokaze,
and Kasumi sank. According to a sign next to the tower, 3,721 men
from this Japanese task force lost their lives that day .
The Battleship Yamato Memorial Tower was erected in April 1968 on Cape
Inutabu, located in the southwest part of the small island of Tokunoshima. Yamato
sunk in the East China Sea about 200 miles northwest of Tokunoshima (Yoshida
1985, 152). A sign in front of
the tower gives the official name as "Memorial Tower of Special Attack
Fleet with Battleship Yamato as Flagship," so the memorial honors the men
killed in all ships that sunk. A memorial service is held annually at the tower
on April 7.
1. This number is inconsistent with that provided
by Spurr (1981, 308), who indicates that 4,250 men lost their lives (3,063 from
Yamato and 1,187 from escort ships).
Spurr, Russell. 1981. A Glorious Way to Die: The Kamikaze
Mission of the Battleship Yamato, April 1945. New York: Newmarket Press.
Yoshida, Mitsuru. 1985. Requiem for Battleship Yamato.
Translation and Introduction by Richard H. Minear. Seattle: University of