An exhibition of rare images, archival materials and artifacts from Japanese kamikaze pilots will go on display at the Battleship Missouri Memorial in Honolulu’s Pearl Harbor April 11.



On loan from the Chiran Peace Museum in Kagoshima, Japan, this is the first time the collection, which also includes final goodbye letters from the pilots, will be showcased in the U.S.

The USS Missouri, site of Japan’s formal surrender to the Allied forces on Sept. 2, 1945, was struck by a kamikaze pilot’s Japanese Zero fighter plane on April 11, 1945, during the Battle of Okinawa. 

The Missouri's baker, Harold "Buster" Campbell, captured this photograph of the plane as it was about to strike the ship.
The Missouri's baker, Harold "Buster" Campbell, captured this photograph of the plane as it was about to strike the ship. Photo Credit: Battleship Missouri Memorial

No U.S. soldiers were seriously injured in the attack, but the 19-year-old Japanese pilot was killed instantly. The Missouri’s commanding officer, Capt. William Callaghan, ordered that the Japanese pilot receive a military funeral, however, and he was buried at sea the next morning in a ceremony attended by Missouri crewmembers.  

“The scar from the kamikaze attack is still visible on the side of the USS Missouri, but it now serves as a reminder to our guests that in the midst of war between enemies, a meaningful act of humanity emerged that continues to inspire today,” Michael Carr, the president and CEO of the Battleship Missouri Memorial, said in statement. “We are also honored to present in this exhibit historical artifacts from the Chiran Peace Museum and show today’s generations another side to the people engaged in war and how the world has changed since then.”

The exhibition will be showcased onboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial through Nov. 11.

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