Kōji Sakai

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Kōji Sakai
Sakai Koji.jpg
General Kōji Sakai
Born November 4, 1885
Aichi prefecture, Japan
Died March 2, 1973(1973-03-02) (aged 87)
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1905 -1945
Rank General
Commands held IJA 1st Independent Mixed Brigade, IJA 109th Division
Battles/wars Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II

Kōji Sakai (酒井 鎬次, Sakai Kōji, 4 November 1885 – 2 March 1973) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War


A native of Aichi Prefecture, Sakai graduated from the 18th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1905, and was commissioned into the Imperial Guard's 4th Infantry Regiment. He graduated from the 24th class of the Army Staff College in 1912.

After serving in a staff position within the personnel department of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, Sakai was dispatched to France as a military attaché from 1915–1917, and was thus able to observe the fighting in World War I firsthand as an official observer from the Japanese government.

On his return to Japan, Sakai was again assigned to staff positions, but due to his fluency in French and European experience, was selected to participate in the Japanese delegation to the Versailles Peace Treaty negotiations. His rise through the ranks was steady and rapid thereafter: major in 1921, lieutenant colonel in 1925, colonel in 1929, and major general in 1931.[1]

From 1927-1929, Sakai served on Japan's delegation to League of Nations. On his return to Japan, he was given command of the IJA 22nd Infantry Regiment from 1929–1931 and served as an instructor at the Army War College from 1931-1934. He was Commandant of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy from 1934-1936.

In 1936, Sakai was appointed commander of the IJA 24th Infantry Brigade, and was assigned to China with tensions rising in the prelude to the Second Sino-Japanese War. From 1937-1938, he was commander of the IJA 1st Independent Mixed Brigade, which participated in Operation Chahar to seize Chahar Province from China.

After the success of that operation, Sakai was transferred to rear echelon operations as commander of the IJA 7th Depot Division in 1938 and the IJA 109th Division in 1939. He retired from active service in 1940. During the final stages of the Pacific War, he was recalled to active duty, but served in a largely advisory capacity to the Army General Staff from 1943-1944.


  1. ^ Ammenthorp, The Generals of World War II


  • Jowett, Phillip S., Rays of The Rising Sun, Armed Forces of Japan’s Asian Allies 1931-45, Volume I: China & Manchuria, 2004. Helion & Co. Ltd., 26 Willow Rd., Solihull, West Midlands, England.
  • Ammenthorp, Steen. "Sakai, Koji". The Generals of World War II. 
  • Imperial Japanese Army Bio site (Japanese)