The long road to Tokyo: Japanese aggression in China, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific, with special attention to books about the Rape of Nanking, Japanese fighter planes and pilots, the Burma campaign, and the Hiroshima bomb

Flying Tigers
revised and updated

WARBIRD HOME > JAPAN

JAPAN AT WAR, 1931-1945

Helicopter carrier
Izumo

Shades of the Sino-Japanese War! The cruiser Izumo (then Englished as Idzumo) was stationed at Shanghai in the 1930s as flagship of Japanese forces there. She was the target of the first bombing mission of the Chinese Air Force on August 14, 1937, supposedly under Claire Chennault's direction. Later, as the war moved inland, the aircraft carrier Kaga joined her with a complement of A5M "Claude" fighters to escort long-range bombers against Nanjing and Hankou. Kaga also took part in the Pearl Harbor attack and in the calamitous mission against Midway, where she was one of five aircraft carriers sunk 1942. Izumo followed her to the bottom in 1945, just before the war ended.

Now both names are afloat again, as helicopter carriers for Japan's maritime Self-Defense Force. I find it intriguing that the once-pacifistic nation that emerged after the American occupation now feels sure enough of its independence that it would resurrect these names from history. Above is DDH-183, otherwise known as JS Izumo, at 814 feet a larger vessel than the USS Enterprise of the Second World War. She was commissioned in 2016, and her sister ship JS Kaga in March this year. Though nearly as large as contemporary carriers, the Izumo-class don't have a catapult or "ski-jump" that would be needed to launch most fixed-wing warplanes.

Izumo has been deployed to the Indian Ocean as part of an Indo-Japanese effort to balance the Chinese naval buildup there. (On Sri Lanka, indeed, the Chinese have a navy base on the south side of the island while Japan develops one on the north side.) Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Japan's long war:

Nomonhan (Japan v. Russia, 1939)
Russian aircraft losses at Nomonhan
Elusive target: Bombing Japan from China (Richard Dunn)
Did U.S. leaders know that war was coming?
A guest of the Japanese in the Dutch Indies (Arie Biemond)
"New Guinea was my introduction to war" (anonymous)
Ketsu-go (waiting for the Americans, summer 1945)
Olympic vs. Ketsu-go (the invasion that didn't happen)
Japan's Longest Day: how Japan surrendered
The U.S. Navy arrives in Tokyo Bay, August 1945
Did Japanese soldiers fight for the Vietminh?

The Hiroshima files:

Why Truman dropped the bomb (Richard Frank)
Why Truman dropped the bomb II (Wilson Miscamble)
Little Boy vs Operation Olympic (an internet debate)
How many died at Hiroshima?--counting the uncountable
What was the yield of the Hiroshima bomb?
Was there a third bomb? What was its target?
Been down that lonely road: NASM confronts Enola Gay
Hiroshima and the end of the war--a reading list

Flying Tigers

The Japanese Army Air Force files:

Notes on the Japanese Army Air Force
The decision to move south (Japan v. the West, 1941)
Mr. Suzuki recalls the Flying Tigers (December 1941)
Lucky Sevens? life and death of the 77th Sentai (Richard Dunn)
JAAF deployments against Rangoon, December-March (maps)
Japanese army aircraft met by the AVG
Joe Baugher's Hayabusa files
Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa ("Oscar") armament (Richard Dunn)
About those Nakajima Ki-43 machineguns
Regimental song of the 64th Sentai (video)
Japanese army aces and their victory claims
JAAF fighter pilots lost in China-Burma area, 1941-42
Ki-45 Toryu (Dragon Slayer, aka Nick)

Why's a Zero?

Why's a Zero? and a primer on the Japanese calendar
Japanese warplane names and designations (Osamu Tagaya)
Allied code-names in perspective (Richard Dunn)
Sussing out the 'Chengdu Zero'
Zeros over China, 1941-1942 (Ben Schapiro)
Unraveling the Zero's performance data (Richard Dunn)
'Never dog fight the Zero' (the San Diego evaluations)
A conversation with Saburo Sakai and a scrap of his scarf
'Winged Samurai': rethinking the Sakai myths
An interview with another Zero pilot

Kamikaze, cannibals, & other mysteries:

Bushido: the Japanese Field Service Code, 1941
'Be as one already dead' (Ruth Benedict)
The soldier who cut up living prisoners (London Times)
The butchered bodies of New Guinea (graphic photos)
The Rape of Nanking: Japan in denial
Meet Colonel Tsuji, genius and cannibal
Outram Road Prison, Singapore
Done to death: the prisoners of Rabaul
The man who didn't shoot down Pappy Boyington
Why the kamikaze volunteered (Yasuho Izawa)
A Japanese army pilot trains to die
'Crashing bodily into a target is not easy' (the how-to manual)
'I will be waiting for you at Yasukuni Shrine'
'Annihilate them all' (the order to murder PWs)

Books & stuff:

Japan at War--book reviews on this site
The webmaster's picks: 10 books worth reading
Books about Japanese aircraft and aces

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