saburo sakai

Japanese fighter ace Saburo Sakai.
He was the Imperial Japanese Navy’s fourth ranked fighter ace of the war and it’s second best to survive the war.

On one occasion Sakai having returned to base within a damaged Zero after a four hour and 47 minute flight. Saburo having sustained a bullet wound to the head and being blinded in one eye, insisted on making his mission report, before seeking medical attention.

Sadaaki “Matsu-chan” Akamatsu describing fighter tactics against American planes with the Raiden. This a shot from some great footage i managed to find, I HIGHLY HIGHLY suggest watching it from the link at the bottom.

Sadaaki Akamatsu (born 30 July 1910) was an infamous JNAF ace who fought from 1937 in China till the end of WW2 in 1945. Akamatsu was well known, with a reputation as a trouble-maker and also a trickster. Many of his air-victories were obtained while drunk and his supervisors stood behind him, as did his fellow pilots who frequently defended and covered for him. When intoxicated he boasted that by the end of the war he had 350 victories (260 when not) but it is he is generally credited with over 30. No matter what his score was, he had more than 8000 flight hours & was never wounded even tho his plane was hit multiple times. His nicknames, Matsu-chan (little pinetree) and Teimei were puns of his name: Akamatsu means “red pine” in English, while Teimei is the on-yomi reading of the kanji of his first name.

Akamatsu could be compared as the “Japanese Marseille” with his Rogue Characteristics and great flying skills. There are many interesting stories about him including bolting from a brothel to jump in his fighter still wearing his Kimono & wooden clogs! Famous ace Saburo Sakai said about these stories “Don’t believe those silly stories - it’s all nonsense!” A story that is true is when the 34yr old flew single-handedly with his Zero into a formation of 75 P51s, shooting one down and making it out alive. One American who witnessed it said “If he had been American he would have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.” 

After the war he became a fish search pilot for the Kochi Fishery Assocation with a plane his old comrades bought until he sold it to contribute to his alcoholism, he ran a cafe in Kochi city till he died on February 22nd 1990 of pneumonia, a broken and dejected man.

(My own words of info taken from Osprey: Japanese Naval Aces)

Ensign Junichi Sasai (1918-1942), commanding the Tainan Zero fighter group, Lae. Supervisor of the Saburo Sakai, 64-victory ace, himself an ace, standing in front of the captured P-40, similar to the one he shot down. KIA while Saburo was in the hospital in Japan but kept the special tiger belt buckle that Sasai gave him until his own death in 2000.

Saburō Sakai (坂井 三郎 Sakai Saburō, August 25, 1916 – September 22, 2000) was a Japanese naval aviator and flying ace (“Gekitsui-O”, 撃墜王) of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II

Rabaul, 8 August 1942: A seriously wounded Sakai returns to Rabaul with his damaged Zero after a four-hour, 47-minute flight over 560 nmi (1,040 km; 640 mi). Sakai’s skull was penetrated by a machine-gun bullet and he was blind in one eye, but insisted on making his mission report before accepting medical treatment.

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