As part of the Hiji municipal government’s plan to build a memorial park on the site of a former World War II training base, the municipality in Oita Prefecture has put up a display of a replica of a suicide torpedo. Erected in the Oga district of the city, they hope to complete the park within the fiscal year and has even allotted ¥35 million ($340,000) for this year’s budget for its construction.
During the unveiling ceremony of the life-sized “kaiten” torpedo held last April 3, Hiji mayor Yoshimi Kudo said, “I hope that children will come to see the replica so they do not forget the horrors of war and hold feelings for peace.” The replica on display is made of copper and weighs around four tons. Donations from companies and individuals amounting to ¥6.3 million made the reproduction of the full-scale model possible. A metal processing company, Matsumoto Shouten Co., studied the kaiten intensively before producing the replica to make it as realistic as possible, as there are no existing blueprints for the model.
During the Second World War, Japan had three bases in Yamaguchi Prefecture for training kaiten torpedo pilots. The base in Oga opened after the Battle of Okinawa. While 16 kaiten torpedoes were used in Beppu Bay for training, the war ended before one could be used against the Allied forces. Bombs and other types of explosives are normally kept on the nose of the torpedo, which employs one man to pilot. It usually measures 14.75 meters in length and a meter in diameter. The memorial park Hiji municipal government is planning will span around 1,700 square meters in the land which is formerly the site of a pool where kaiten leaks were checked.
[via The Asahi Shimbun]
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