Shima Kiyohide (1890-1973)

Photograph of Shima Kiyohide

Dull (1978)

Shima Kiyohide, a rear admiral in command of Minesweeper Division 19 at the start of the war, commanded the invasion of Tulagi during the Battle of the Coral Sea. He later commanded a small cruiser-destroyer force that was sent by a wildly over-optimistic naval command to finish off the remnants of Halsey's Third Fleet after the aerial battle of Formosa in 1944. In fact, Halsey had pulverized Japanese air power in the area with no more serious loss that two badly damaged cruisers. Shima smelled a trap and retreated, saving his force from certain and pointless destruction.

Shima was later assigned to join Nishimura's force during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Due to the poor communications that prevailed among the Japanese units participating in that battle, Shima never caught up with Nishimura's force, and when he spotted its few survivors retreating from Surigao Strait, he prudently joined them.

Whether Shima was lacking in physical courage or simply was a realist who saw no point in wasting the lives of his men could probably be argued indefinitely (Time 1952):

At that time, things flashed in my head were thus: ... If we continued dashing further north, it was quite clear that we should only fall into a ready trap.

By 1944, physical courage in the Japanese Navy was tantamount to suicide. But the Japanese considered suicide in the Emperor's service a virtue.

Service record

1890-2-25   born
Graduates from Naval Academy, standing 69th in a class of 148. Assigned to Aso
1912-3-29   Hashidate
1912-9-11   Aki
1912-12-1 Ensign
1914-1-15   Iwami
1914-12-1 Lieutenant junior grade     
Torpedo School Basic Course
1915. 5-26   Gunnery School Basic Course
1915-12-13   Ibuki
1916-4-4   Katori
1916-12-1   2 Fleet
1917-7-2   2 Naval District
1917-12-1   Naval College B Course
1918-4-15   Torpedo School Advanced Course
1918-12-1 Lieutenant Torpedo School Expert Course
1919-2-28   Staff, Destroyer Squadron 4
1920-12-1   Kirishima
1921-12-1   Naval College A Course
1923-10-15   Staff, 2 Fleet
1924-12-1 Lieutenant commander     
1 Naval District
1925-4-2   Aide-de-camp, Prince Nobuhito
1926. 5-1   Navy General Staff
1928-2-15   Trip to Europe, USA
1929-2-1   Staff, Combined Fleet
1929-11-30 Commander
1930-4-26   Instructor, Torpedo School
1930-6-1   Instructor, Communications School
1930-11-15   Instructor, Torpedo School / Instructor, Gunnery School  / Instructor, Kasumigaura Air Group
1931-12-10   Instructor, Comm.School / Instructor, Torpedo School
1931-12-16   Instructor, Comm.School / Instructor, Torpedo School / Instructor, Yokosuka Air Group
1933-2-25   Navy General Staff
1933-4-1   Manchuria Expeditionary Force
1933-6-1   Staff, Manchuria Expeditionary Force
1933-11-15 Captain Manchuria Expeditionary Force
1934-10-22   Navy General Staff
1934-11-15   Chief, S8, N3, Navy General Staff
1936-12-1   Commander, Oi
1937-12-1   Chief Instructor, Communications School
1939-11-15 Rear admiral
Chief of staff, 4 Naval District
1940-10-15   Staff, 4 Fleet
1940-11-15   Commander, Minesweeper Division 19
1942-7-14   Navy General Staff
1942-9-10   Staff, Southwest Area Fleet
1942-10-3   Commander, Cruiser Division 16
1943-5-1 Vice admiral
1943-9-16   Schoolmaster, Yokosuka Communications School
1944-2-15   Commander, 5 Fleet
1945-2-5   Navy General Staff
1945-5-5   Takao Guard District
1945-5-10   Commander, Takao Guard District
1946-4-30 - Retires
1973-11-7   Dies


Dull (1978)

Fuller (1992)

Materials of IJN (accessed 2007-12-12)

Prados (1995)

Time (1952-1-12; accessed 2011-6-18) 

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