Sasebo Naval District

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Sasebo Naval District Headquarters circa 1930

Sasebo Naval District (佐世保鎮守府 Sasebo chinjufu?) was the third of five main administrative districts of the pre-war Imperial Japanese Navy. Its territory included the western and southern coastline of Kyūshū, the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and Korea, as well as patrols in the East China Sea and the Pacific

Sasebo also contained the Sasebo Naval Arsenal, specializing mostly in destroyers and smaller warships; and its anchorage was one of the largest in Japan. The District encompassed anchorages at Imari and Hirado ports as well as the designated third echelon naval ports yokobu (要港部?) of Takeshiki (Tsushima), Kagoshima, Kuji (Amami-Ōshima), and Wakamatsu (Gotō Islands)

History[edit]

The location of Sasebo 33°10′05″N 129°44′06″E / 33.168°N 129.735°E / 33.168; 129.735 (Sasebo, Nagasaki)Coordinates: 33°10′05″N 129°44′06″E / 33.168°N 129.735°E / 33.168; 129.735 (Sasebo, Nagasaki) facing China and Korea, and near the foreign treaty port of Nagasaki was recognized of strategic importance by the leaders of the early Meiji government and early Imperial Japanese Navy. In 1883, the then Lieutenant Commander Tōgō Heihachirō nominated what was a tiny fishing village as the ideal location for a naval base. With the formation of the navy in 1886, Japan was divided into five Naval Districts (海軍区?) each with a headquarters (鎮守府?). Sasebo was designated as the "Third Naval District" (第三海軍区, dai-san kaigunku), and its harbor was dredged, a breakwater constructed and docking, coaling and repair facilities for warships were established, and the military base was officially opened in 1889. To stress the importance of the base, Emperor Meiji made a personal inspection tour in 1890.

The base was connected to the rest of Japan by rail in 1898, and the Sasebo Naval Arsenal, which would eventually expand to become one of the largest shipyards in Japan for the construction of smaller warships, began operation in 1903. As with the other Naval Districts, Sasebo was intended to operate as independently as possible, and facilities included armories, production factories for torpedoes, naval mines and naval artillery (and associated ammunition), and also a naval hospital and training centers. In concept, the Naval District was similar to the United States Navy Sea Frontiers concept. the Naval District maintained a small garrison force of ships and Naval Land Forces which reported directly to the Guard District commander, and hosted detachments of the numbered fleets on a temporary assignment basis.

Sasebo was the closest ship repair facility for the Imperial Japanese Navy to the combat zones of the Russo-Japanese War and saw considerable activity during that conflict.

In 1920, the Japanese navy established an air wing and a wireless communications center in 1922. In 1934, the Tomozuru capsized off Sasebo with loss of most of its crew, and leaving behind serious questions about the basic design of many Japanese warships.

In 1941, base facilities were expanded considerably for the Pacific War. The base also hosted a major portion of the Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces. The Imperial Japanese Navy had some 60,000 people working in the dock yard and associated naval stations at the peak of World War II, outfitting ships, submarines and aircraft.

However, most of the base was destroyed by American air raids on Japan on June 28, 1945. After the surrender of Japan, Sasebo was occupied by the U.S. Marine Corps' Fifth Division, and the Sasebo Naval District was formally abolished on November 30, 1945.

Part of the former base facilities is still in use by the United States Navy as the United States Fleet Activities Sasebo and by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. One of the former base structures is now a museum.

Order of Battle at time of the attack on Pearl Harbor[edit]

  • Third Naval District (Admiral Tanimoto)
    • AO Sata
    • Sasebo Naval Base
      • Base HQ
      • Communications
      • Supply
      • Accounting
      • Construction
      • Ports & Docks
      • Navy Yard
      • Navy Hospital
      • Navy Prison
      • Naval Fuel Depot
      • Base Garrison
      • Special Naval Landing Forces
    • Sasebo Submarine Base
    • Sasebo Air Group
    • Sasebo Guard Force
      • Sasebo Coastal Defense Squadron
        • PM Kozan Maru
      • Sasebo Local Defense Squadron
        • PG Shinkyo Maru (2672 tons)
        • PG Shinkyo Maru #5
      • Minesweeper Division 42
        • AMc Seki Maru (297 tons)
        • AMc Toshi Maru #7 (297 tons)
    • Oshima Guard Force (based at Naze, Oshima Island)
      • AMc Chuon Maru #8
      • AMc Hakata Maru #7 (257 tons)
      • AMc Himejima Maru
      • Minesweeper Division 41
        • AMc Kyo Maru #1
        • AMc Kyo Maru #3
        • AMc Kyo Maru #5

List of commanders[edit]

Commanding officers[edit]

No. Name Portrait Rank Term of Office
Start End
1 Akamatsu Noriyoshi Akamatsu Noriyoshi.jpg Vice Admiral 26 September 1887 27 June 1891
2 Abo Kiyoyasu Abo Kiyoyasu.jpg Vice Admiral 27 June 1891 12 December 1892
3 Inoue Yoshika Fleet Admiral Viscount Yoshika Inoue.jpg Vice Admiral 12 December 1892 20 May 1893
4 Aiura Norimichi Aiura Norimichi.jpg Rear Admiral 20 May 1893 13 July 1894
5 Shibayama Yahachi Shibayama Yahachi.jpg Rear Admiral

Vice Admiral (after 7 October 1897)

13 July 1894 8 October 1897
6 Aiura Norimichi Aiura Norimichi.jpg Vice Admiral 8 October 1897 19 January 1899
7 Tōgō Heihachirō Tōgō Heihachirō.jpg Vice Admiral 19 January 1899 20 May 1900
8 Samejima Kazunori Kazunori Samejima.jpg Vice Admiral

Admiral (after 18 November 1905)

20 May 1900 2 February 1906
9 Arima Shinichi Arima Shinnichi.jpg Vice Admiral 2 February 1906 22 November 1906
10 Uryū Sotokichi Uryu Sotokichi.jpg Vice Admiral 22 November 1906 1 March 1909
11 Arima Shinichi Arima Shinnichi.jpg Vice Admiral 1 March 1909 1 December 1909
12 Dewa Shigetō Dewa Shigeto.jpg Vice Admiral 1 December 1909 1 December 1911
13 Shimamura Hayao Shimamura Hayao.jpg Vice Admiral 1 December 1911 25 March 1914
14 Fujii Kōichi Fujii Kouihi.jpg Vice Admiral 25 March 1914 10 August 1915
15 Yamashita Gentarō Yamashita Gentaro.jpg Vice Admiral 10 August 1915 1 December 1917
16 Yashiro Rokurō Yashiro Rokuro.jpg Vice Admiral

Admiral (after 2 July 1918)

1 December 1917 1 December 1918
17 Takarabe Takeshi Takeshi Takarabe.jpg Vice Admiral

Admiral (after 25 November 1919)

1 December 1918 27 July 1922
18 Tochinai Sōjirō Tochiuhi Soujirou.jpg Admiral 27 July 1922 1 June 1923
19 Saitō Hanroku Vice Admiral 1 June 1923 5 February 1924
20 Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu.jpg Admiral 5 February 1924 15 April 1925
21 Hyakutake Saburō Saburō Hyakutake.jpg Vice Admiral 15 April 1925 10 December 1926
22 Furukawa Shinzaburō Vice Admiral 10 December 1926 12 October 1928
23 Iida Nobutarō Nobutaro Iida.jpg Vice Admiral 12 October 1928 11 November 1929
24 Tosu Tamaki Vice Admiral 11 November 1929 1 December 1930
25 Yamanashi Katsunoshin Katunoshin Yamanashi.jpg Vice Admiral 1 December 1930 1 December 1931
26 Nakamura Ryōzō Ryōzō Nakamura.jpg Vice Admiral 1 December 1931 1 December 1932
27 Sakonji Seizō Seizo Sakonji Close-up.jpg Vice Admiral 1 December 1932 15 November 1933
28 Yonai Mitsumasa Yonai Mitsumasa cropped.jpg Vice Admiral 15 November 1933 15 November 1934
29 Imamura Nobujirō Imamura Nobujiro.jpg Vice Admiral 15 November 1934 2 December 1935
30 Hyakutake Gengo Hyakutake Gengo.JPG Vice Admiral 2 December 1935 16 March 1936
31 Matsushita Hajime Hajime Matsushita.jpg Vice Admiral 16 March 1936 1 December 1936
32 Shiozawa Kōichi Shiozawa kōichi.JPG Vice Admiral 1 December 1936 1 December 1937
33 Toyoda Teijirō Toyoda Teijirō.JPG Vice Admiral 1 December 1937 15 November 1938
34 Nakamura Kamezaburō Nakamura kamesaburō.JPG Vice Admiral 15 November 1938 15 November 1939
35 Hirata Noboru Vice Admiral 15 November 1939 15 October 1940
36 Sumiyama Tokutarō Tokutarou Sumiyama.jpg Vice Admiral 15 October 1940 20 November 1941
37 Tanimoto Matarō Tanimoto Mataro.jpg Vice Admiral 20 November 1941 11 November 1942
38 Nagumo Chūichi Chuichi Nagumo.jpg| Vice Admiral 11 November 1942 21 June 1943
39 Komatsu Teruhisa Komatsu Teruhisa.jpg Vice Admiral 21 June 1943 4 November 1944
40 Sugiyama Rokuzō Rokuzo Sugiyama.jpg Vice Admiral 4 November 1944 30 November 1945

Chief of Staff[edit]

  • Captain Tameo Nakamizo (April 25, 1889 – May 15, 1890)
  • Rear-Admiral Koreyoshi Ogata (May 15, 1890 – February 18, 1891)
  • Rear-Admiral Masanaga Matsumura (February 18, 1891 – July 23, 1891)
  • Rear-Admiral Tadashi Nomura (July 23, 1891 – May 20, 1893)
  • Vice-Admiral Nagataka Uemura (May 20, 1893 – December 5, 1894)
  • Vice-Admiral Tomomichi Onomoto (December 5, 1894 – December 27, 1897)
  • Vice-Admiral Yoshitomo Inoue (December 27, 1897 – May 23, 1898)
  • Captain Masaki Hashimoto (May 23, 1898 – March 22, 1899)
  • Rear-Admiral Ichiro Nijima (March 22, 1899 – June 19, 1900)
  • Rear-Admiral Tasuku Serata (June 19, 1900 – July 4, 1900)
  • Admiral Motaro Yoshimatsu (July 4, 1900 – July 6, 1901)
  • Vice-Admiral Hikohachi Yamada (July 6, 1901 – October 19, 1903)
  • Rear-Admiral Shinjiro Uehara (November 21, 1903 – June 6, 1904)
  • Vice-Admiral Baron Toshiatsu Sakamoto (June 6, 1904 – November 2, 1905)
  • Admiral Motaro Yoshimatsu (November 2, 1905 – February 2, 1906)
  • Rear-Admiral Ichiro Nijima (February 2, 1906 – April 7, 1906)
  • Vice-Admiral Koshi Saito (April 7, 1906 – October 21, 1907)
  • Rear-Admiral Genzaburo Ogi (October 21, 1907 – May 15, 1908)
  • Vice-Admiral Baron Shinrokuro Nishi (May 15, 1908 – May 26, 1908)
  • Vice-Admiral Tamotsu Tsuchiya (May 26, 1908 – December 10, 1908)
  • Admiral Baron Gentaro Yamashita (December 10, 1908 – March 4, 1909)
  • Rear-Admiral Genzaburo Ogi (March 4, 1909 – December 1, 1909)
  • Vice-Admiral Yasutaro Egashira (December 1, 1909 – March 11, 1911)
  • Admiral Kaneo Nomaguchi (March 11, 1911 – September 21, 1911)
  • Vice-Admiral Rinroku Eguchi (September 21, 1911 – April 20, 1912)
  • Vice-Admiral Otojiro Ito (April 20, 1912 – December 1, 1913)
  • Rear-Admiral Ichitaro Nakajima (December 1, 1913 – March 25, 1914)
  • Vice-Admiral Tomojiro Chisaka (March 25, 1914 – December 1, 1914)
  • Vice-Admiral Hiromi Tadakoro (December 1, 1914 – December 1, 1916)
  • Vice-Admiral Hanroku Saito (December 1, 1916 – December 1, 1917)
  • Vice-Admiral Nobutaro Shimomura (December 1, 1917 – November 10, 1918)
  • Admiral Saburo Hyakutake (November 10, 1918 – December 1, 1919)
  • Vice-Admiral Kenzo Kobayashi (December 1, 1919 – May 1, 1922)
  • Rear-Admiral Kametaro Muta (May 1, 1922 – December 1, 1923)
  • Vice-Admiral Shiro Furukawa (December 1, 1923 – December 1, 1925)
  • Vice-Admiral Yukichi Shima (December 1, 1925 – December 1, 1927)
  • Vice-Admiral Togo Kawano (December 1, 1927 – December 10, 1928)
  • Vice-Admiral Akira Fujiyoshi (December 10, 1928 – December 1, 1930)
  • Vice-Admiral Giichiro Kawamura (December 1, 1930 – December 1, 1931)
  • Vice-Admiral Yoshiyuki Niiyama (December 1, 1931 – November 15, 1933)
  • Vice-Admiral Eikichi Katagiri (November 15, 1933 – November 15, 1934)
  • Rear-Admiral Hiroyoshi Tabata (November 15, 1934 – March 1, 1935)
  • Vice-Admiral Ibō Takahashi (March 1, 1935 – October 31, 1935)
  • Vice-Admiral Mitsumi Shimizu (October 31, 1935 – November 16, 1936)
  • Vice-Admiral Hidesaburo Koori (November 16, 1936 – September 1, 1938)
  • Vice-Admiral Masami Kobayashi (September 1, 1938 – November 15, 1939)
  • Vice-Admiral Kakuji Kakuta (November 15, 1939 – October 15, 1940)
  • Vice-Admiral Shigenori Horiuchi (October 15, 1940 – October 10, 1941)
  • Vice-Admiral Gisaburo Yamaguchi (October 10, 1941 – December 2, 1942)
  • Vice-Admiral Masaki Ogata (December 2, 1942 – November 15, 1943)
  • Vice-Admiral Shigeji Kaneko (November 15, 1943 – January 29, 1945)
  • Rear-Admiral Keishi Ishii (January 29, 1945 – November 30, 1945)

References[edit]