Hiromichi Shinohara

Nbr. of Victories:

58

Hiromichi Shinohara graduated from the Tokorozawa Flying School in 1934 and was assigned to the 11th Sentai, posted in Manchuria. On 27 May 1939, Shinohara downed four Soviet I-16's during his first combat sorty. Within 24 hours, he scored six more victories, downing an L-Z reconniassance aircraft and five I-15's. His victories continued, culminating in an amazing record of 11 victories in a single day, on 27 June, 1939. Shinohara's luck ran out on 27 July, 1939 when he himself was shot down by Russian fighters after claiming three victories during a bombing escort mission. Warrant Officer Hiromichi Shinohara was posthumously promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant, having claimed 58 victories in only three months of combat, earning the title of 'Richtofen of the Orient'.

Toshio Sakagawa

Nbr. of Victories:

49

Major Toshio jSakegawa led the 25th Sentai in China between November 1942 and July of 1944, during which time he downed 49 enemy aircraft. He was subsequently transferred back to Japen to serve as the executive officer of the newly formed 200th Sentai, equipped with the new Ki-84 fighter. The 200th Sentai was sent to the Phillipines where it suffered badly at the hands of the USAAF and US Navy Figheters. Sakegawa was killed on 19 Deember 1944 when the transport aircraft he was riding in crashed.

Satoshi Anabuki

Nbr. of Victories:

39

Satoshi Anabuki entered the Tokyo Army Aviation School in 1938 and received additional training at Kumagaya and Tachiarai, completing training in March 1941. In July he was assigned to the 3rd Chutai of the 50th Sentai, stationed in Formosa. On 7 December, 1941 Corporal Anabuki participated in attacks on the Phillipines and scored his first aerial combat victory on 22 December. In April 1942 he was outfitted with the new Ki-43-I-Hei Hayabusa fighter and by June was in Burma. On 24 December, 1942 he downed two RAF Hurricanes while doing battle with his damaged landing gear extended. In January 1943 he was credited with his first B-24 bomber and then on 8 October he downed three B-24's and two of their P-38 escorts, with one of the B-24's being rammed by Anabuki, wounding himself and forcing a crash landing. For his actions on that day, he received numereous awards. In February 1944 he returned to Japan where he served as a flight instructor before being promoted to Master Sergeant and assigned to ferry much needed Ki-84 Hayates fignters to the Phillipines. It was during these flights that he downed six US Navy Hellcats. He later flew in defense of the homeland, where he downed a B-29 bomber. Master Sergeant Anabuki is credited with 224 missions and 30 victories, although his peresonnal diaries reflect 51 victories. Postwar historians have credited him with 39 victories.

Isamu Sasaki

Nbr. of Victories:

38

Isamu Sasaki graduated from the Tokyo Army Aviation School in March of 1941 and was assigned to the 50th Sentai, based in Formosa. In January 1942 Sasaki was transferred to Thailand where he scored his first victory over Rangoon. Between January 1942 and April 1944 Sasaki claimed over 20 victories before returning to Japan to become an examiner of test pilots. On 25 May 1945 Sasaki scored three victories over B-29 Superfortresses over Tokyo in a singel sortie. When the war ended, Sasaki was credited with over 38 kills and was awarded the Bukosho (Medal of Honor, B Class) and promoted to Warrant Officer.

Shogo Takeuchi

Nbr. of Victories:

30

Second Lieutenant Shogo Takeuchi graduated from the Army Aviation Academy in September 1939, and was assigned to the 64th Sentai. Takeuchi honed his dogfighting skills under the tutalage of Major Tateo Kato, and Captain Kttsumi Anma and proved his skills on 31 January 1942 when he shot down three Hurricane II fighters over Singapore. In April 1942 Takeuchi transferred to the 68th Sentai, flying the new Ki-61 Hein fighters. In December he assumed command of the 2nd Chutai as a Captain. In June of 1943 the 68th Sentai arrived at Wewak, beginning a long cammpaign, punctuatred by equipment problems with the new fighter, lack of spare parts and many senior officesr being killed in action. By December 1943 the 68th Sentai had only three pilots left. On 15 December 1943 Takeuchi sustained damage to his fighter from a P-47 fighter, subsequently crash landing at Hansa Airfield. He was pulled from the wreckage, but passed away three hours later. Takeuchi had flown over 90 missions over New Guinea and is credited with 16 aircraft. Historians credit Takeuchi with over 30 victories including his earlier service in the China/Burma/India theater of operations. Captain Shogo Takeuchi was posthumously promoted to the rank of Major.

Tateo Kato

Nbr. of Victories:

18

Tateo Kato gratuated in the 37th Class of the Army Military Acadamy in 1925, and quickly transferred to the Army Air Force, completing flight training in 1927. Kato proved to be an exceptional pilot, becoming a flight instructor at the Tokorozawa and Akeno flying schools, and by 1936 was a chutai leader within the 5th Hiko Rentai. Kato and his unit performed well in the China War beginning in 1937, and when he returned to Japan in May of 1938, he had nine victories to his credit. He became the commandor of the 64th Sentai, which became very active when the Pacific War began, accounting for over 260 aerial victories while under Kato's command. Lieutenant Colonel Kato routinely flew combat missions and on 22 May, 1942 he was killed in action when his fighter was shot down while attacking a Blenheim bomber over the Bay of Bengal. In recognition of his distinguished service, Lieutenant Colonel Tateo Kato was postumously promoted two ranks to Major General. He was credited with 18 victories.

Shigeo Nango

Nbr. of Victories:

15

Shigeo Nango graduated from the Army Military Academy in April 1939, followed by a course of fighter training at Akeno. Upon completion of his fighter training he was posted to the 33rd Sentai. He trained in Manchuria during the Nomonhan incident and in January 1942 he became a squdron leader of the 2nd Chutai/59th Sentai in the Dutch East Indies. In August 1943 he was posted into the frontline in New Guinea, where he flew daily sorties from But Airfield. On 23 January 1944 Captain Nango was shot down over Wewak while intercepting B-25 bombers and their escorts. Though records are scarce, it is thought that Captain Nango shot down over 15 American aircraft over New Guinea. In April 1944, Nango was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and given a citition for his service.

Fujitaro Ito

Bukosho (medal of Honor)

Nbr. of Victories:

13

Fujitaro Ito enlisted in the Army in the mid 1930's, initially serving in the 36th Infantry Regiment. Entering flight training in April 1939, he graduated from Kumagaya Flying School in December and was assigned to the 5th Sentai, where he remained until the war's end. After flying for several years with the 5th Sentai, Ito entered the Aviation Commissioned Officers' Academy, graduating in Novermber of 1942, receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant three months later. By July of 1943, the 5th Sentai was stationed in the Ease Indies, flying the Ki-45. Shortly after arriving in the Easet Indies, Ito's chutai responded to an attack by B-24s on their airfield. In the ensuing fight, Ito downed three of the attacking bombers. In December 1944, the B-29s began attacking Nagoya and First Lieutenant Ito was in the defense organized by the JAAF. In the next eight months Ito fought the bombers in Ki-45s, Ki-61s and Ki-100s. He took charge of the 3rd Chutai in January 1945 and led until the end of the war, receiving the Bukosho in July of 1945. Captain Fujitaro Ito was credited with more than 13 bombers shot down during the war. Fujitaro Ito passed away on 15 May 1983.

Yohei Hinoki

Nbr. of Victories:

12

Yohei Hinoki received his flight commission in June 1941 and was posted to the 64th Sentai, serving in the Malayan campaign. Here he learned the art of dogfighting from Captain Iwori Sakai. On the opening day of the war, he was credited with a half-share victory over a Number 34 Squadron Blenheim IV bomber, and By 31 January 1942 had claimed two Hurricane II victories. On 10 April 1942 Hinoki clashed with the AVG (Flying Tigers) over Loiwing China, being severely wounded, and hospitalized for a month. On 25 November 1943 Honoki downed a P-51 Mustang, followed two days later by another Mustang, a P-38, and a B-24 Liberator. Unfortunately he suffered a severe leg wound during this sortie, forcing amputation of his right leg soon after landing. After several months of recuperation, he returned to Japan, becoming a flight instructor at the Akeno Fighter School. As the war progressed, Hinoki returned to combat missions, flying missions against B-29's after being outfitted with an artificial leg. Major Hinoki flew his last combat mission on 16 July 1945, flying a Ki-100 against P-51D's of the 506th Fighter Group. During this sortie Hinoki downed the Mustang piloted by Captain John Benbow of the 457th Fighter Squadron. Major Hinoki is credited with 12 victories during his career. Major Yohei Hinoki passed away in January 1991.

Hideo Miyabe

Bukosho (Medal of Honor)

Nbr. of Victories:

12

Hideo Miyabe was one of the great fighter leaders of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. He graduated in the 52nd Class of the Army Air Officers School in 1939 and spent the early yeears of the war fighting in the China/Burma/India theater of opertions. He has the distinction of being the first fighter pilot to reportedly attack a B-29 bomber. On 26 April, 1944 Miyabe attacked a B-29 of the 444th Bomber Group which was flying supplies from India to China reportedly scoring hits to the bomber's starbord engines. In april 1945 Major Miyabe became the leader of the 64th Sentai and was awarded the Bukosho on 10 June, 1945. He is officially credited with 12 combat victories but many historians believe the number is much higher. Major Hideo Miyabe passed away in October 1978.

Isamu Kashiide

Bukosho (Medal of Honor, B Class)

Nbr. of Victories:

9

Isamu Kashiide graduated from flight school in February 1934 and joined the 1st Air Regiment. In July 1938 he was assigned to the 59th Sentai in Northern China. In September 1939 his unit was transferred to Nomonhan where he downed two Russian I-16s on the last day of the conflict. When the Pacific War started Kashiide took part in the invasion of the Phillipines. In 1944, Kashiide's unit returned to Tokyo where he began battling the B-29s sent to destroy the Japanese homeland. During the night raids of 14/15 June 1944 Kashiide reported shooting down two B-29s and damaging another. During another daylight raid of 20 August, Kashiide claimed three B-29s shot down and three damaged. On 27 January 1945 Kashiide shot down another B-29 from the 878th Bomber Squadron/499th bomber group named 'Rover Boy Express'. Kashiide claimed another three B-29 victories on 27 March 1945 and reported damage to others. He received the Bukosho on 8 May 1945 for distinguished service angainst the raiding B-29s. By war's end kashiide claimed to have dispatched 26 B-29s, however this number is disputed by historians and former pilots, who credit Kashiide with seven B-29s plus the two Russian fighters in 1939.

Makoto Ogawa

Bukosho (Medal of Honor)

Nbr. of Victories:

9

Makoto Ogawa started his military flying career with the 7th Air Regiment before switching to fighters.In August of 1938 he graduated from the Kumagaya Aviation School but was not posted to a front line unit. Instead he was posted as an assistant flight instructor at the Kumagay Aviation School. It was not until the end of 1941 that he was transferred to Manchuria, joining the 70th Sentai. Ogawa spent three years defending the skies over Manchuria before being transferred to Tokyo in the spring of 1944 to defend the skies over the capital. Re-equipped with Ki-84s Makoto Ogawa and the 70th Sentai began battling B-29s in the skies over Tokyo. When the war ended, Ogawa had brought down seven B-29s and two escorting P-51s, making him the top ace of the 70th Sentai. On 9 July 1945 Ogawa was awarded the Bukosho and promoted to Second lieutenant.

Koki Kawamoto

Bukosho (Medal of Honor, B Class)

Nbr. of Victories:

8

Prior to seeing combat in late 1943, Koki Kawamoto was an experienced flight instructor, having served with the Akeno Fighter School and the 106th Flight School in Formosa. Due to his exceptional flight experience, he rapidly rose through the ranks of the 50th Sentai, flying Ki-43's over French Indochina and Burma. In April 1945, Kawamoto took charge of the 50th Sentai, cammanding it through the end of the war. He was credited with eight victories, and was awarded the Bukosho (Medal of Honor, B Class) in June 1945.

Nobuji Negishi

Bukosho (Medal of Honor)

Nbr. of Victories:

6

Nobuji Negishi entered the Tokyo Army Aviation School in October 1939, graduating in 1942. He was assigned to the 244th Sentai which had been newly formed for the defense of Tokyo. He later transferred to the 18th Sentai and then to the 53rd Sentai, both based in Japan for defense of the homeland. Flying Ki-45s with the 53rd Sentai, Negishi downed two B-29s on 10 March 1945 on his first night mission. Negishi was awarded the Bukosho on 9 July 1945 for his achievments against the B-29s. He is credited with six B-29 victories and damaged to seven others.

Yoshio Yoshida

Nbr. of Victories:

6

Yoshio Yoshida graduated from the 55th Class of the Army Officers' Flight Academy in March of 1942. He the attended the Akeno Fighter School for additional training, then joined the 70th Sentai. As the USAAF began B-29 attacks on Manchuria in July of 1944, the 70th Sentai, flying the Ki-44-II-Hei fighters, was transferred into the region to provide defense against the bombers. On 8 September, 1st Lieutenant Yoshida claimed his first "prpbable" kill against the B-29. As the raids on Tokyo began in November of 1944, the 70th Sentai was transferred to Toyko for defense, and upgraded to the Ki-84 'Frank'. On 13 April 1944 Yoshida, now commanding the 3rd Chutai, downed a B-29, and followed two days later with another. Flying sorties at night Yoshida scored victores over six additonal B-29's between 10 March and 25 May, 1945. He was awarded the Bukosho for his accomplishments, and became the 2nd highest B-29 "killer' of the 70th Sentai with six confirmed victories and one probable.

Tadao Sumi

Bukosho (Medal of Honor, A Class)

Nbr. of Victories:

6

Tadao Sumi transferred from the infantry into flight training in February of 1941, following service during the sieges of Shanghai and Nanking. In November of 1941 he earned his wings. Following the April 1942 Doolittle raid on Tokyo, the 244th Sentai was formed to provide air defense for the region and Sumi was assigned to this unit. At the end of 1944, Sumi transferred to the 56th Sentai and began flying the Ki-61. From this point until the end of the war, Sumi flew almost daily against the B-29's which raided the Japanese homeland. During a series of night sorties over Osaka on 13 March, 1945 Tadao Sumi made repeated attacks on the B-29 force and succeeded in shooting down four bombers and damaging three others, before being forced to bail out when his Ki-61 ran out of fuel. He struck the airplane as he bailed out and was forced to spend three months in the hospital. In reconginion of his deeds of 13 March, Sumi was awarded a letter of commendation from the commander of the 15th Military District and on 21 June 1945 he was awarded the Bukosho (Medal of Honor, A Class). Tadao Sumi was one of a very select few to receive the highest grade of this medal. Sumi returned to combat against the raiding B-29's and was later wounded again. Tadao SUmi is credited with five B-29 bombers destroyed and four more damaged as well an an escorting P-51 destroyed. Warrant Officer Tadao Sumi passed away on 25 June, 1985.

Teruhiko Kobayashi

Nbr. of Victories:

5

Teruhiko Kobayashi graduated from the Army Military Academy in the late 1930's, joining an artillery unit as a Second Leiutenant. He changed his career and entered flight training and was assigned to the 45th Sentai upon graduation, flying light bombers. In the Spring of 1943, he converted to fighters, joining the Akeno Fighter School. He completed his fighter training in June of 1944 and was promoted to Captain in November, becoming the youngest air group commander in the IJAAF. In November of 1944 he became the assistant to the commander of the 244th Sentai, flying the Ki-61-I-KAI Hein fighters, defending their homeland against enemy bombers. The exploits of the 244th Sentai were published daily in the newspapers and his unit gained considerable fame. Major Kobayashi is credited with five victories, three B-29's and two F6F Hellcats. After the war, Kobayashi joined the Self-Defense air force and was killed in June 1957 in a training accident involving a T-33, crashing on approach in bad weather.