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Takashi Sakai
Lt. General Takashi Sakai
Governor of Hong Kong
under Japanese occupation

In office
25 December 1941 – 20 February 1942
Serving with Masaichi Niimi
Monarch Shōwa
Prime Minister Hideki Tōjō
Preceded by Sir Mark Aitchison Young
Succeeded by Rensuke Isogai
Personal details
Born (1887-10-18)18 October 1887
Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Died 30 September 1946(1946-09-30) (aged 58)
Alma mater Army War College
Military service
Allegiance  Empire of Japan
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1908-1943
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands IJA 26th Division, IJA 4th Army, Southern China Area Army, China Expeditionary Army, Central District Army, IJA Third Area Army
Battles/wars Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II

Lieutenant-General Takashi Sakai (酒井 隆 Sakai Takashi?, 18 October 1887 – 30 September 1946) was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, known for his role in the Battle of Hong Kong in late 1941.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Sakai was born in Kamo District, Hiroshima, now part of Hiroshima city. He was educated in military preparatory schools in Kobe and Osaka and graduated from the 20th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1908, whereupon he was as assigned to the IJA 28th Infantry Regiment. He graduated from the 28th class of the Army Staff College. He was promoted to major in 1924 and lieutenant colonel in 1928.[1][not in citation given]

Career in China[edit | edit source]

In 1928, Sakai was stationed in Jinan, Shandong Province, China with the IJA 12th Infantry Regiment during the Jinan Incident and is believed by some Chinese historians[by whom?] to be responsible for the murder of Kuomintang army emissaries during negotiations on 4 May 1928. He was transferred to the Tientsin Garrison from 1929 to 1932. In 1932, Sakai was promoted to colonel and was assigned to the 5th Section military intelligence of the 2nd Bureau of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from 1932 to 1934.

As Chief of Staff of the Japanese China Garrison Army from 1934–1935, Sakai orchestrated a series of armed conflicts, which resulted in an armistice with the Chinese government which effectively gave Japan control of Hebei Province. He became commander of the IJA 23rd Infantry Regiment in 1936. Sakai was promoted to major general in 1937 and was appointed commander of the IJA 28th Infantry Brigade. He became a lieutenant general in 1939, and was assigned to the Coordination Bureau, Asia Development Group, Mengjiang Board from 1939 to 1940. He was also assigned to the Mongolia Garrison Army at this time.

Recalled to Japan in 1940, Sakai was briefly appointed commander of the Imperial Guards Depot Division.

World War II[edit | edit source]

Sakai was commander of the IJA 23rd Army stationed in Canton in November 1941. He was ordered to use the IJA 38th Division, which was normally under the Southern Expeditionary Army Group to capture Hong Kong, and was given a 10 day time limit.

On 8 December 1941, a few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces commanded by Sakai, and his Chief of Staff Tadamichi Kuribayashi, invaded Hong Kong. However, the subsequent Battle of Hong Kong did not proceed as quickly or as smoothly as Lieutenant-General Sakai had planned, and he was forced to request an extension to his deadline. Sir Mark Young, the Governor of Hong Kong, surrendered all British forces in Hong Kong on Christmas Day, after 18 days of fighting. Lt.-Gen. Sakai’s frustrations over the unexpectedly strong British resistance may have been reflected by the extreme brutality which characterized the campaign and subsequent occupation.[2]

Sakai served as Japanese Governor of Hong Kong until 20 February 1942. He was recalled to Japan, and retired from active service in 1943.[3]

After the end of the war, Sakai was accused of war crimes at the Chinese War Crimes Military Tribunal of the Ministry of National Defense in Nanking, and sentenced to death on 27 August 1946. Sakai was executed by firing squad on 30 September.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • Fuller, Richard (1992). Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN 1-85409-151-4. 
  • Snow, Philip (2003). The Fall of Hong Kong: Britain, China, and the Japanese Occupation. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09352-7. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Ammenthorp, The Generals of World War II
  2. Budge, Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
  3. Fuller, Shokan, Hirohito’s Samurai
  4. Stein, Trial of Takashi Sakai
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Mark Aitchison Young
as Governor of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
1941–1942
Served alongside: Masaichi Niimi
Succeeded by
Rensuke Isogai

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