Yoshitoshi Tokugawa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Yoshitoshi Tokugawa
Tokugawa Yoshitoshi.jpg
General Yoshitoshi Tokugawa
Born24 July 1884
Tokyo, Japan
Died17 April 1963(1963-04-17) (aged 78)
Tokyo, Japan
AllegianceEmpire of Japan
Service/branchWar flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service1903–1945
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldTokorozawa Army Aviation School, Akeno Army Aviation School
AwardsOrder of the Rising Sun, 1st class

Lieutenant General Baron Yoshitoshi Tokugawa (徳川 好敏, Tokugawa Yoshitoshi, 24 July 1884 – 17 April 1963) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and one of the pioneers of military aviation in Japan.


Tokugawa Yoshitoshi was the son of Count Tokugawa Atsumori (1856–1924) (head of the Shimizu branch of the Tokugawa clan). Through his father, he was the grandnephew of the last Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu. While his father had been created a count in 1884, he had relinquished the title in 1899.[1] Yoshitoshi graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1903, after having specialized in military engineering.

In 1909, Tokugawa was sent as a military attaché to France, specifically to study aeronautical engineering and military applications for the use of aircraft in combat. He purchased a Farman III biplane, which he shipped back to Japan. On 19 December 1910, Tokugawa flew Japan's first successful powered aircraft flight at Yoyogi Parade Ground where Tokyo's Yoyogi Park is now located, only seven years after the Wright Brothers' flight in the United States. On 5 April 1911, Tokugawa piloted the inaugural flight at Japan's first permanent airfield in Tokorozawa.[2]

Tokugawa, together with General Hino Kumazo promoted the new technology to the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff and helped establish the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service.

On 23 April 1911, Tokugawa set a Japanese record with a Blériot, flying 48 miles in 1 hour 9 minutes 30 seconds.

Tokugawa led the 2nd Air Battalion, was Commanding Officer of the 1st Air Regiment, and was General Officer Commanding the Army Aviation Corps three times through the 1920s and 1930s. In 1928, he was created a baron.[3] He served as Director of the Training Department in the Tokorozawa Army Aviation School, as Commandant of the same school and the Akeno Army Aviation School, and was later attached to the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff. Tokugawa came to be known in Japan as "the Grandfather of Flight"[4]

He entered the active reserve from 1939, and was recalled for command of the Imperial Army Aviation School in March 1944, before finally retiring the following year.



  • Boyne, Walter (1997). CLASH OF WINGS: World War II in the Air. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-83915-6.
  • Hallion, Richard P (2003). Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age, from Antiquity through the First World War. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516035-5.
  • Yoshimura, Akira (1996).  Zero Fighter. Praeger Trade. ISBN 0-275-95355-6.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Genealogy
  2. ^ Tokorozawa Aviation Museum Information Department
  3. ^ Genealogy
  4. ^ [1] Time Magazine