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Shigeru Fukudome
Japanese admiral Fukudome Shigeru
Born (1891-02-01)February 1, 1891
Died February 6, 1971(1971-02-06) (aged 80) [1]
Place of birth Yonago, Tottori, Japan
Allegiance  Empire of Japan
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Navy
Years of service 1913-1945
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held Nagato
2nd Air Fleet, 10th Area Fleet, 13th Air Fleet, First Southern Expeditionary Fleet
Battles/wars World War II
o Philippines campaign (1944–45)

Shigeru Fukudome (福留 繁 Fukudome Shigeru?, February 1, 1891 – February 6, 1971) was an admiral and Chief of Staff of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.


Early life and career[]

Born in Yonago, Tottori prefecture, Fukudome graduated from the 40th class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1913, ranked 8 out of 144 cadets. As a midshipman, he served on the cruisers Soya and Izumo and battleship Satsuma. After his promotion to ensign, he was assigned to the battleship Hizen and cruiser Kashima.

After attending torpedo school and naval artillery school, he served on the patrol boat Manshu, followed by the cruiser Chitose and was promoted to lieutenant in 1918. After attending navigational training, he was assigned as chief navigator to the destroyer Sakura, and cruiser Niitaka. He was then appointed executive officer on the oiler Kamoi, on its voyage to the United States from 1921-1922. After his return to Japan, he was assigned a number of staff positions. He then graduated from the Naval War College (Japan) with honors in 1924, and was promoted to lieutenant commander. After a tour as chief navigator on the cruiser Iwate, he joined the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff and was promoted to commander in 1929. He continued to hold a number of staff positions through the 1930s. He was promoted to captain in 1933, and was captain of the battleship Nagato from 1938-1939. He was promoted to rear admiral on November 15, 1939.

Pacific War[]

Fukudome was first assigned to the Combined Fleet in 1940 to April 1941 (where he conducted aerial torpedo exercises with Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in the early 1940 in contemplation of the proposed attack on Pearl Harbor), which was then under discussion. After his promotion to vice admiral in 1942, he again served as Chief of Staff under Admiral Yamamoto and his successor Admiral Mineichi Koga from May 1943 to March 1944,

On March 31, 1944, while traveling from Palau to deliver plans for the Japanese counterattack against the Marianas Islands (code named "Z plan") to Japanese headquarters near British North Borneo, Fukudome had the dubious distinction of being the first flag officer in Japanese history to be captured by the enemy after his plane crash landed in a storm near Cebu. (Admiral Koga, who had been traveling in a separate plane was killed on the same day). He was released by the Americans to prevent retaliation on civilians by Japanese forces, but the battle plans fell into American hands.[2]

After Koga's death in March 1944, Fukudome became commander-in-chief of the 6th Air Base and 2nd Air Fleet, based in the Kyūshū-Okinawa-Formosa district. He later noted that this appointment was out of convenience, arguing that since he had no experience with naval aviation, his assignment to a newly formed air unit must be because of the immediate need for an officer of flag rank. On October 10, 1944, the headquarters of the 2nd Air Fleet moved from Katori in Chiba Prefecture to Taiwan; at the same time as the headquarters move, the 200 Imperial Japanese Army aircraft present in Taiwan were assigned to him to bolster his 100-aircraft fleet, with additional reinforcements coming in later in smaller quantities over time.

In late October 1944, because of the heavy losses of Japanese air units in the Philippines, Fukudome's responsibility was expanded to cover the Philippines as well. He moved his headquarters to Manila on October 22. Another 450 aircraft reached Clark Field over the next two days to join the approximately 100 aircraft that were already there under Vice Admiral Takijirō Ōnishi, who became his chief of staff. In Jan 1945, the 2nd Air Fleet was dissolved and merged with the 1st Air Fleet. With the merger of the two air fleets in the Philippines, Fukudome was transferred to Singapore to command the IJN 10th Area Fleet, which at the time consisted mainly of the 13th Air Fleet with 450 aircraft (mostly trainers) and the First Southern Expeditionary Fleet (2 operational cruisers and other smaller ships). He arrived in Singapore and took over command on January 16, 1945, and remained in this role until the end of the war. Because of the American control of air and sea after the Philippines campaign, he was effectively stranded in Singapore without the ability to affect the outcome of the war in a significant way.[3]

After the war, Fukudome was interrogated in Tokyo between December 9–12, 1945 by Rear Admiral Ralph A. Ofstie of the United States Navy. In addition to the cooperative interrogation with the Americans, Fukudome was also entrusted by the British to take charge of repatriating Japanese nationals from the Singapore area.[4]

However, despite the high regard and trust extended by American and British officers due to Fukudome’s cooperative behavior and attitude, once the task of repatriation was accomplished, Fukudome was arrested by the British government at the instigation of American prosecutors, and accused of war crimes; he was tried by a military tribunal in Singapore in connection with the execution of two downed American airmen during his tenure in Singapore, and found guilty of negligence in the performance of his duties.[5][not in citation given]

Following his release in 1950, Fukudome became a member of a 12-man commission to advise the Japanese government on the organization of the Japanese Self-Defense Force before his death in 1971. His grave is at the Tama Cemetery in Fuchu, outside of Tokyo.

Notable Positions Held[]

Equipping Officer, CVS Kamoi - 1 December 1921 - 12 September 1922

Chief Navigator, CVS Kamoi - 12 September 1922 - 10 December 1922

Staff Officer, 1st Fleet - 8 January 1924 - 15 October 1924

Staff Officer, Combined Fleet - 8 January 1924 - 15 October 1924

Staff Officer, Combined Fleet - 16 November 1933 - 15 November 1934

Staff Officer, 1st Fleet - 16 November 1933 - 15 November 1934

Vice-Chief-of-Staff, China Area Fleet - 25 April 1938 - 15 December 1938

Staff Officer, 3rd Fleet - 25 April 1938 - 15 December 1938

Commanding Officer, BB Nagato - 15 December 1938 - 5 November 1939

Chief-of-Staff, Combined Fleet - 15 November 1939 - 10 April 1941

Chief-of-Staff, 1st Fleet - 15 November 1939 - 10 April 1941

Chief-of-Staff, Combined Fleet - 22 May 1943 - 6 April 1944

Commander-in-Chief, 2nd Air Fleet - 15 June 1944 - 8 January 1945

Commander-in-Chief, 13th Air Fleet - 13 January 1945 - 15 August 1945

Commander-in-Chief, 10th Area Fleet - 5 February 1945 - 15 August 1945

Commander-in-Chief, 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet - 5 February 1945 - 15 August 1945

Dates of Promotions[]

Midshipman - 17 July 1912

Ensign - 1 December 1913

Sublieutenant - 13 December 1915

Lieutenant - 1 December 1918

Lieutenant Commander - 1 December 1924

Commander - 30 November 1929

Captain - 15 November 1933

Rear Admiral - 15 November 1939

Vice Admiral - 1 November 1942

Portrayal in films[]

Fukudome was one of the characters that appeared in the 1970 American/Japanese war film Tora! Tora! Tora!, where he was portrayed by the Japanese actor Koji Kawamura.



  • Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). Encyclopedia of Military Biography. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85043-569-3. 
  • Parrish, Thomas (1978). The Simon and Schuster Encyclopedia of World War II. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-24277-6. 
  • Van Der Vat, Dan (1978). Pacific Campaign: The U.S.-Japanese Naval War 1941-1945. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-79217-2. 

External links[]


  1. Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy
  2. Bradsher, The Z-PLan Story
  3. Van der Vat, Pacific Campaign: The U.S.-Japanese Naval War 1941-1945
  4. USSBS, Interrogations of Japanese Officials
  5. Chen, World War II Database

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