The Last Kamikaze: The Story of Admiral Matome Ugaki

Overview

This is the story of a man and a Navy—Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki and the Imperial Japanese Navy. By 1945 the Imperial Navy was physically destroyed and Admiral Ugaki was given the task of defending the Japanese homeland against attack, and he sent hundreds of kamikazes against the American naval forces operating around Okinawa. After Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender on August 15, Ugaki stripped off his insignia of rank, climbed into a torpedo bomber, and flew to Okinawa, where he intended to crash into...

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Overview

This is the story of a man and a Navy—Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki and the Imperial Japanese Navy. By 1945 the Imperial Navy was physically destroyed and Admiral Ugaki was given the task of defending the Japanese homeland against attack, and he sent hundreds of kamikazes against the American naval forces operating around Okinawa. After Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender on August 15, Ugaki stripped off his insignia of rank, climbed into a torpedo bomber, and flew to Okinawa, where he intended to crash into an American ship. But like so many of the other kamikazes, his mission was fruitless, his plane was shot down by American nightfighters. But Admiral Ugaki died, as he has promised to do, in the fashion of the thousands of young men he had sent to their deaths.

Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki was the only high official of the Imperial Japanese Navy to have left a significant record, in the form of a diary started during the preparations for the China Incident, and kept throughout the war—from the planning phase of 1940, through the Pearl Harbor attack, and up until Japan's surrender. Hoyt draws on the diary and numerous other accounts by admirals and historians to create a picture of a Japanese Navy that began in a position of strength but was eventually destroyed by powerful Allied forces, shattering Japan's drive for conquest.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Vice Admiral Ugaki served as chief of staff to the legendary Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Combined Fleet, until Yamamoto was killed in an aerial ambush in 1943. Ugaki, who was himself wounded in the attack, later was appointed commander of the First Battleship Division, remaining in that position until the battle of Leyte Gulf. He was then charged with directing the aerial defense of Japan, oriented around the untried Kamikaze Corps. Hoyt ( Japan's War ) bases part of his narrative on Ugaki's terse but revealing war diary, which the admiral called ``Seaweed of War.'' Often poetic and abstract, the diary nonetheless conveys Ugaki's stoic struggle to prepare himself for defeat and death even as he sent waves of suicide missions into the air against the Americans. Resolved to follow his young pilots to certain death, Ugaki flew a kamikaze mission within hours of Japan's surrender on August 15, 1945, and was never heard from again. A strange, stirring tale, sympathetically related from the Japanese point of view. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Admiral Ugaki held several important posts in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II and died leading a kamikaze attack on the day of the Japanese surrender. Ugaki's wartime diary has recently been published under the title Fading Victory ( LJ 6/91), edited by Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon. Hoyt, a prolific military historian, has used the original diary and other sources to write a survey of the Pacific War from Ugaki's perspective. Weaknesses in Hoyt's book include a redundant style and factual error concerning the Guadalcanal campaign, which has been called the turning point of the Pacific War. In addition, Hoyt's figures for the number of American cruisers participating and lost in this battle are wrong. Hence, this book is not recommended. For another view on Hoyt's work, see the review of Warlord , p. 84.--Ed. --Robert Andrews, Duluth P.L., Minn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275940676
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Pages: 264
  • Lexile: 1270L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

EDWIN P. HOYT is a popular military historian who has written widely on the Pacific War, Japan, and China.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Preparing for Pearl Harbor

Preparing the Attack on Pearl Harbor

The Attack on Pearl Harbor

Victories

In the Coral Sea

The Battle of Midway

Starting Over

Guadalcanal Disaster

Turning Point: Guadalcanal

The Illusion of Air Power

The Death of an Admiral

Seeking the Decisive Battle

The End of Power

The Fifth Air Fleet

The Hope That Failed

Falling Like Cherry Blossoms into the Sea

Operation Ten Go

The Long Summer

The Last Kamikaze

Afterword

Selected Bibliography

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