Hajime Toyoshima

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Hajime Toyoshima
Hajime Toyoshima.jpg
Hajime Toyoshima
Born(1920-03-29)March 29, 1920
Kagawa Prefecture, Japan
DiedAugust 5, 1944(1944-08-05) (aged 24)
Cowra, New South Wales, Australia
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch Imperial Japanese Navy
Years of service1938–44
RankChief Petty Officer
Battles/warsWorld War II

Sergeant Hajime Toyoshima (豊嶋一, Toyoshima Hajime, 29 March 1920 – 5 August, 1944)[1] was a Japanese airman in World War II. His A6M Zero was the first of that type (after those recovered after the attack on Pearl Harbor) to be recovered relatively intact on Allied territory when he crash landed on Melville Island, Northern Territory, Australia. Toyoshima was the first Japanese prisoner of war to be captured in Australia. While a prisoner of war, Toyoshima was one of the instigators of the breakout from the prisoner of war camp located in Cowra, New South Wales, Australia, sounding a bugle to signal the commencement of the escape and died during the escape attempt.

Early life[edit]

Toyoshima was born on March 29, 1920.[2] Little is known of Toyoshima's early life.[1]

Raid on Darwin[edit]

Toyoshima's crashed aircraft

Toyoshima took part of the 19 February 1942, Japanese air-raid on Darwin, Australia.[1][3] His Zero, tail code BII-124,[3][4] was launched from the IJS Hiryu.[5] His Zero crash-landed on Melville Island,[6] where he was taken prisoner by local islander Matthias Ulungura.[4][7] Toyoshima was the first Japanese prisoner of war to be captured in Australian territorial jurisdiction.[1][8] Toyoshima suffered only superficial injuries in the crash-landing.[3] He strove to move as far away from his Zero on foot, understanding that the aircraft would aid Allied Military intelligence.[3] Before Toyoshima's crash, only nine Zeros had been shot down in the Pearl Harbor attack, 74 days before the first air raid on Darwin; their pilots had died, and the badly damaged wrecks were of little use.[3][9]

Cowra breakout[edit]

By the time Toyoshima had arrived at the Cowra POW camp, he had adopted the alias "Tadao Minami" (南忠男, Minami Tadao).[1][3] Toyoshima signaled the 1:45 am start of the mass escape of Japanese prisoners of war from the Cowra POW camp with a bugle call.[1][8] He died at some time later in the breakout.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Steven Bullard and Keiko Tamura. "Blankets on the wire The Cowra breakout and its aftermath" (PDF) (in English and Japanese). Australian War Memorial Australia-Japan Research Project. Retrieved 24 April 2010.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ "The Territory Remembers - Hajime Toyoshima". The Territory Remembers. Government of the Northern Territory. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Gordon, Harry (1978). "2". Voyage from shame: the Cowra breakout and afterwards. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 0-7022-2628-9.
  4. ^ a b c "Sergeant (Sgt) Hajime Toyoshima (left), the first Japanese prisoner of war (POW)". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  5. ^ Reid, Richard. "Australia under attack: 1942 to 1943". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Statue to honour Matthias Ullungura, first man to capture WWII prisoner of war". ABC News (Australia). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  7. ^ Hall, Robert (1997). The Black Diggers: Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in the Second World War. Aboriginal Studies Press. p. 100. ISBN 9780855753191.
  8. ^ a b "All in - 'break-out'". www.ww2australia.gov.au. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  9. ^ Rearden, Jim. Koga's Zero: The Fighter That Changed World War II. ISBN 0-929521-56-0. Archived from the original on 2008-12-27.

External links[edit]