interview with Chief Priest Kazutoshi Yoshitome
(the third year graduate of Military school for youth tank operator)
HD video, sounds
26 min 17 sec
Military school for youth tank operator is an educational institution found by Imperial Japanese Army in Fujinomiya Ciy, Shizuoka in 1942 where young boys from the age of 14 to 19 received trainings for 2 years.
More than 4,000 students studied there with 1,550 teaching staff. For the first year class, the school received 8,229 applications for the position of 150. The rate of competition was 55.
The young tank soldiers were called Wakajishi (young lion) or little tank. Together with the young combat pilots called young eagles, both of them were praised as the two greatest forces of the military.
After the war, the school was taken over by the U.S. Military and closed. Some of the school buildings were taken apart and moved to another location. Later it was used for elementary school and junior high school.
In one corner of the former school site, Wakajishi shrine was built to enshrine 600 teachers and students who died in the Pacific War.
First, Wakajishi tower was built in December 1965 to commemorate the lost school alumni and later the shrine was established in October 1984.
Alongside the tower, 97type medium tank called “returned tank” is in the shrine site. The tank was returned from Saipan after the war. It’s displayed in memory of the 40 young soldiers who lost their lives in the battles in Saipan.
Kazutoshi Yoshitome (the third year graduate of Military school for youth tank operator)
Yutaka Motizuki (the third year graduate of Military school for youth tank operator)