Admiral Masatomi Kimura
December 6, 1891|
|Died||February 14, 1960
Hofu, Yamaguchi Japan
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Service/branch||Imperial Japanese Navy|
|Years of service||1913–1945|
|Commands held||Maki, Asanagi, Oite, Hagi, Hokaze, Katata, Atami, Asagiri,
Destroyer Group 16, Destroyer Group 21, Destroyer Group 8
Kagu Maru, Shiretoko, Jintsu, Suzuya
2nd Destroyer Squadron
1st Destroyer Squadron
3rd Destroyer Squadron
|Battles/wars||World War II
oBattle of the Bismarck Sea
oEvacuation of Kiska
oBattle of Leyte Gulf
|Awards||Order of the Sacred Treasure, 2nd Class
Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd Class
|Other work||Anti-Submarine Warfare School
Hofu Naval Communications School
Although born into the Kondō family of Shizuoka city Shizuoka Prefecture, Kimura was adopted by a family in Tottori city, Tottori prefecture soon after birth, and considered Tottori his official residence. He was a graduate of the 41st class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, but was a mediocre student, placing 107 out of 118 cadets.
Kimura served his cadet duty on the Asama, making a cruise to Honolulu and to the west coast of the United States. Commissioned as a midshipman on December 9, 1913, he transferred to Yakumo on his return in 1914. After he was commissioned as an ensign on December 1, he was assigned to the battleship Sagami and Suwo. After completing required coursework in torpedo warfare and naval artillery, he was posted to the South Pacific in the closing stages of World War I. On his return to Japan in 1918, he was posted to the Mikasa.
After his promotion to lieutenant in 1920, he commanded numerous torpedo boats and minesweepers. In 1926, after he was promoted to lieutenant commander, he was given command of the destroyer Maki. He subsequently captained the destroyers Asanagi, Oite, Hagi, Hokaze, river gunboats Katata, Atami, destroyer Asagiri, Destroyer Group 16, Destroyer Group 21, Destroyer Group 8, auxiliary seaplane tender Kagu Maru, auxiliary oiler Shiretoko, and cruisers Jintsu and Suzuya. He was promoted to commander in 1932 and to captain in 1937.
Kimura was captain of Suzuya during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He later assisted in the rescue of the crew of the Mikuma after that cruiser had been hit and sunk by American bombers during the Battle of Midway. On 1 November 1942, Kimura was promoted to Rear Admiral. He subsequently served in a number of staff positions, and was also commander of Desron3, with Shirayuki, Shikinami, Uranami, Tokitsukaze, Yukikaze, Asashio, Arashio, and Asagumo. He was assigned to escort eight transports with 6000 soldiers of the IJA 51st Division and 400 marines from Rabaul to Lae, New Guinea. In the Battle of the Bismarck Sea on 3–4 March 1943, US Navy and RAAF bombers inflicted severe damage on the Japanese convoy, sinking all of the transports and four destroyers. Admiral Kimura was wounded by machine gun fire in the shoulder and stomach, and his flagship, Shirayuki, was among the four destroyers sunk during the engagement. He, and most of his crew, were rescued by Shikinami.
After recovering from his injuries, Kimura was assigned to cover the withdrawal of Japanese troops from Kiska Island in the Aleutians. When poor weather threatened the withdrawal operations, Kimura disobeyed orders and remained on station until the last man was recovered. Afterward, in 1944, he was assigned to escort reinforcements to Leyte Island and Mindoro Island in the Philippines. On 1 April 1945, Kimura became commandant of the Anti-submarine Warfare School, and the Hofu Naval Communications School. He was promoted to Vice Admiral on 1 November 1945, a few days before he entered the reserves on 10 November.
Kimura had a postwar career in the salt industry, and died of stomach cancer in 1960, aged 68.
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