HONOLULU – A kamikaze exhibition opened Saturday aboard the USS Missouri, now a memorial in Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor, to mark the 70th anniversary of a Japanese pilot’s suicide attack on the battleship during World War II.
The exhibition shows how young Kamikaze pilots lived before crashing their bomb-laden aircraft into enemy warships and shows their portraits and final letters to their families, with English translations. The items are on loan from Kagoshima Prefecture’s Chiran Peace Museum.
Minamikyushu Mayor Kampei Shimoide, who flew over from Kagoshima Prefecture to attend the opening ceremony, said he hopes war will never be repeated.
Kagoshima was the site from which many young kamikaze pilots departed for their missions during the final phase of the war.
On April 11, 1945, a pilot crashed his Zero fighter plane into the USS Missouri off Kagoshima’s Kikai Island. The aircraft burst into flames upon impact but did not seriously damage the ship.
The following day, as instructed by the battleship’s commanding officer, the crew of the battleship gave the Japanese pilot a military funeral at sea.
That September, Japan would sign the formal documents of surrender to end the war aboard the same warship in Tokyo Bay.