Kimura Masatome (1891-1960)

Photograph of Kimura Masatomed

Japanese Navy. Via Morison (1951).

Kimura Masatome was born in Tottori prefecture and graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy in 1912. Though trained in mine warfare, he spent almost his entire career in destroyers. He was promoted to rear admiral early in the war and become one of the foremost Japanese sea commanders.

Kimura commanded 8 Transport Fleet, the convoy that was mauled by Kenney’s 5 Air Force at the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Badly wounded, with his flagship sunk from under him, he returned to Rabaul with the survivors and was reassigned to Destroyer Squadron 1, 5 Fleet in the Kuriles. He carried out the brilliant evacuation of Kiska in July 1943.

Kimura's force was rushed towards Formosa after the Halsey raids on that island in late 1944. The Japanese aviators had grossly overestimated damage to the enemy, but Kimura and the other Japanese admirals dispatched to “mop up” managed to elude a trap.

Kimura participated in the battle of Leyte Gulf, providing escort to Kurita’s powerful surface force. In February 1944, Kimura was assigned the suicidal mission to bombard the American landings on Mindoro, and, in one of the most brilliant coups of the war, managed to penetrate the American defenses and bombard San Jose for twenty minutes, then get away, with the loss of a single destroyer. However, the bombardment did little to hinder the American operation, since the Japanese Army had decided not to put up a fight for the island.

Kimura held senior staff positions in the final months of the war and was promoted to vice admiral after the surrender.

Service record

1891-12-6   born in Tottori prefecture
Graduates from Naval Academy, ranked 107 in a class of 188. Assigned to CL Asama
1914-8-11   CL Yakumo
1914-12-1 Ensign
1915-12-13   BB Sagami
1916-4-4   CL Suma
1916-12-1 Lieutenant junior grade     
Torpedo School Basic Course
1917-6-1   Gunnery School Basic Course
1918-7-1   1 Naval District
1918-7-16   BB Mikasa
1920-7-22   4 Naval District
1920-8-24   Commander, torpedo boat
1920-9-1   Instructor, Torpedo School
1920-12-1 Lieutenant
1921-7-27   AP Seito
1922-9-1   Instructor, Torpedo School
1923-6-30   Commander, TB Kamome
1923-12-1   Commander, AM W-3
1925-12-1   Commander, AM Yugure
1926-8-1   Commander, AM Kisaragi
1926-12-1 Lieutenant Commander
Commander, DD Maki
1929-5-10   Commander, DD Asanagi
1929- 9-5   Commander, DD Hagi
1930-11-15   Commander, DD Hokaze
1932-1-28   Commander, PG Katata
1932-9-20   Staff, 3 Fleet
1932-12-1 Commander Commander, PG Atami
1934-3-10   Commander, DD Asagiri
1935-11-15   Commander, Destroyer Division 16
1936-12-1   Commander, Destroyer Division 21
1937-12-1 Captain Commander, Destroyer Division 8
1939-1-28   Commander, AV Kagu Maru
1939-4-20   Commander, AO Shiretoko
1939-12-5   Commander, CL Jintsu
1940-10-15   Commander, CA Suzuya
1942-11-1 Read admiral
1942-12-5   Commander, Maizuru Guard Force
1943-2-5   Staff, 1 Fleet
1943-2-14   Commander, Destroyer Squadron 3
1943-3-6   1 Naval District
1943-6-8   Commander, Destroyer Squadron 1
1944-11-20   Commander, Destroyer Squadron 2
1945-1-3   Navy General Staff
1945-2-18   Staff, Combined Fleet
1945-6-1   Schoolmaster, Antisubmarine Warfare School
1945-7-15   Chief Instructor, Naval Academy
1945-11-1 Vice Admiral
1960-2-14   dies


Dupuy et al. (1992)

Fuller (1992)

Garfield (1965)

Materials of IJN (accesssed 2007-11-15)

Morison (1950, 1951)

Prados (1995)

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