Sakonju Naomasa (1890-1948)

Photograph of Sakonju Naomasa

Wikimedia Commons

Sakonju Naomasa began the war as the Japanese naval attaché to Thailand. He was a rear admiral in command of Cruiser Division 16 in March 1944. While on a commerce raid that month, Sakonju ordered the beheading of 69 passengers from the British merchant ship Behar.

On 7 June 1944, Sakonju's cruiser division escorted a force attempting a counterlanding on Biak. His force spotted a superior Allied force on radar just in time to escape.

Sakonju again led a reinforcement attempt on 23 October 1944, during the battle of Leyte. His force lost a light cruiser and a destroyer to air attack on 26 October, but succeeded in transporting about 2000 troops from Mindanao to Ormoc. He continued leading "Tokyo Express" reinforcement runs into Leyte until the end of the campaign.

Sakonju was hanged by the British in 1948 for the Behar atrocity.

Service record

1890-6-6   born
1912-7-17 Midshipman     
Graduates from  Naval Academy, standing 98 in a class of 144. Assigned to Soya
1913-5-1   Suwo
1913-12-1 Ensign  
1914-3-23   Hashidate
1914-12-1   Torpedo School Basic Course
1915-5-26   Gunnery School Basic Course
Lieutenant junior grade     
1916-12-1   Maizuru Sailor Corps
1917-12-1   Niitaka
1918-1-25   Adzuma
1918-9-4   Harukaze
1918-12-1   Torpedo School Advanced Course
1919-12-1 Lieutenant CL Tenryu
1920-12-1   1 Naval District
1921-7-11   Chief, Chichijima Radio Station
1922-8-19   Sasebo Air Group
1922-12-1   BB Mutsu
1923-12-1   Wakamiya
1924-12-1   Instructor, Torpedo School
1925-12-1 Lieutenant commander
1926-12-1   Staff, Destroyer Squadron 1
1927-12-1   Staff, Destroyer Squadron 2
1929-2-1   Staff, Training Fleet
1929-12-24   Instructor, Torpedo School
1930-6-1   Instructor, Communications School
1930-12-1 Commander  
1933-3-10   Executive officer, Kako
1933-11-15   Manchuria Expeditionary Force
1935-10.31   Navy General Staff
1935-11-15 Captain Chief, Tokyo Radio Station
1936-12-1   Commander, Settsu
1938-7-20   Navy General Staff
1940-9-25   4 Naval District
1940-10-15   Chief of staff, 4 Naval District
1941-8-11   Navy General Staff
1941-9-1   Attaché, Thailand
1941-10-15 Rear admiral
1943-7-15   Navy General Staff
1943-9-10   Staff, Southwest Area Fleet
1943-9-16   Commander, Cruiser Division 16
1944-10-15 Vice admiral
1944-12-1   Staff, China Area Fleet
1944-12-15   Chief of staff, China Area Fleet
1948-1-21   Hanged for war crimes


Australian Association for Maritime History (2000-9; accessed 2011-4-3)

Boatner (1996)

Hong Kong's War Crimes Trial Collection (accessed 2011-4-3)

Materials of IJN (accessed 2007-12-10)

Prados (1995)

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