Rank Name Score Fate(If known) Lt(jg) Tetsuzo Iwamoto 202 Died 1955 CPO Shoichi Sugita 120+1 KIA April 15, 1945 WO Hiroyoshi Nishizawa 862 KIA Oct. 26, 1944 WO Shigeo Fukumoto 72 Final fate unknown, did not survive war Ens Saburo Sakai 60+3 Died Sept. 22, 2000 CPO Takeo Okumura 54 Lt(jg) Junichi Sasai 54 KIA August 26, 1942 Ens Kenji Okabe 50 Lt Naoshi Kanno 48 WO Ryoji Ohara 48 Lt Cdr Iyozoh Fujita 42 WO Sadamu Komachi 40 Ens Kaneyoshi Muto 35 PO1/c Toshio Ota 34 KIA October 21, 1942 WO Kazuo Sugino 32 WO Takeo Tanimizu 32 Ens Susumu Ishihara 30+ CPO Shizuo Ishii 28 Lt(jg) Sadaaki Akamatsu 274 WO Nobuo Ogiya 24 CPO Yoshimi Hidaka 20 Lt(jg) Shigeo Sugio 20 PO3/c Kazushi Uto 19 CPO Kiichi Nagano 19 WO Hiroshi Okano 19 PO1/c Masayuki Nakase 18 Lt(jg) Akio Matsuba 18 Ens Saburo Saito 18+ CPO Yoshio Oki 18 Ens Minoru Honda 17+ Ens Kuniyoshi Tanaka 17 CPO Masao Masuyama 17 Lt(jg) Keishu Kamihara 17 WO Kiyoshi Ito 17 WO Kiyomi Katsuki 16+ CPO Eitoku Matsunaga 16 CPO Hidenori Matsunaga 16 WO Toraichi Takesuka 16 Lt Zenjiro Miyano 16 CPO Bunkichi Nakajima 16 WO Yoshiichi Nakaya 16 CPO Kunimichi Kato 16 Ens Masami Shiga 16 WO Hideo Watanabe 16 Ens Kunimori Nakakariya 16 Ens Yoshimi Minami 15 WO Satoshi Yoshino 15 KIA June 9, 1942 WO Wataru Nakamichi 15 WO Shigeru Shibukawa 15 Lt. Cdr. Motonari Suho 15 WO Minpo Tanaka 15 CPO Kotaro Koyae 15 PO1/c Masuaki Endo 14 KIA June 7, 1942 PO1/c Ichirobei Yamakazi 14 PO2/c Mototsuna Yoshida 14 Ens Masao Taniguchi 14 WO Yukiharu Ozeki 14 WO Kenichi Takahashi 14 WO Kiyoto Koga 13 DOI Sept. 16, 1938 Lt(jg) Watari Handa 13 Died 1948 Ens Akira Yamamoto 13 WO Sahei Yamashita 13 WO Momoto Matsumura 13 WO Toshio Kuroiwa 13 MIA August 26, 1944 WO Hideo Maeda 13 CPO Sadao Uehara 13 KIFA August 27, 1988 WO Gitaro Miyazaki 13 KIA June 1, 1942 Sup Sea Hiroshi Shibagaki 13 Ens Masaichi Kondo 13 PO1/c Shigetaka Omori 13 Lt(jg) Matsuo Hagiri 13 Died Jan. 15, 1997 Ens Isamu Miyazaki 13 Lt(jg) Fujikazu Koizumi 13 WO Sekizen Shibayama 13 WO Kanichi Kashimura 12 KIA March 6, 1943 PO1/c Keisaku Yoshimura 12 WO Takeo Kanamaru 12 CPO Tetsuo Kikuchi 12 PO1/c Kiyoshi Shimizu 12 Lt Chitoshi Isozaki 12 Lt Sadao Yamaguchi 12 Ens Masao Sasakibara 12 PO1/c Noritsura Odaka 12 Ens Koshiro Yamashita 11 CPO Kiyoshi Sekiya 11 WO Kozaburo Yasui 11 CPO Tomezo Yamamoto 11 Lt(jg) Yoshio Wajima 11 PO2/c Matao Ichioka 11 PO3/c Takeichi Kokubun 11 Lt(jg) Hatsuo Hidaka 11 WO Yoshio Oishi 11 Lt(jg) Tsutomu Iwai 11 CPO Yoshijiro Shirahama 11 WO Mitsuo Hori 11 Lt Sumio Fukuda 11 Ens Yoshinao Kodaira 11 WO Ichiro Yamamoto 11 WO Saburo Kitahata 10+ WO Teruo Sugiyama 10 CPO Jiro Tanaka 10 CPO Shinsaku Tanaka 10 PO2/c Takao Banno 10 CPO Isamu Ishii 10 Ldg Sea Kazuo Hattori 10+ CPO Yoshikazu Nagahama 10+ PO2/c Seiichi Kurosawa 10 CPO Yoshiro Hashiguchi 10+ Lt Yasuhiro Shigematsu 10+ Lt Hohei Kobayashi 10+ Ens Matsuo Kagemitsu 10+ Ens Shigeru Takahashi 10 CPO Tomokazu Sasai 10 WO Tomita Atake 10 WO Katsuyoshi Yoshida 10 Cdr Takahide Aioi 10 CPO Kenichi Abe 10 PO1/c Takao Sakano 10 Lt(jg) Isamu Mochizuki 9 LCdr Ayao Shirane 9 WO Toshiyuki Sueda 9 PO1/c Kiyonobu Suzuki 9 PO1/c Juzo Okamoto 9 WO Kiichi Oda 9 Lt(jg) Mitsugu Mori 9 Lt(jg) Kazuo Tsunoda 9 Lt(jg) Hideo Morinio 9 Lt(jg) Jiro Matsuda 9 Lt(jg) Kaname Harada 9 PO2/c Hideo Izumi 9 PO3/c Susumu Matsuki 9 WO Yoshio Nakamura 9 PO2/c Saji Kanda 9 Ens Tadao Yamanaka 9 PO1/c Toshihisa Shirakawa 9 CPO Tokushige Yoshizawa 9 CPO Teigo Ishida 9 Lt(jg) Ichiro Higashiyama 9 Lt Yoshio Fukui 9 WO Katsue Kato 9 Ens Shigetoshi Kudo 9 Lt Cdr Tadashi Kaneko 8 Lt Masao Iizuka 8 Lt(jg) Takeyoshi Ono 8 Lt Kenji Nakagawa 8 Lt Yukio Endo 8+ PO3/c Toyoo Moriura 8 CPO Hiroshi Suzuki 8 PO1/c Kaoru Takaiwa 8 PO1/c Yoshio Iwaki 8 WO Yuichi Ema 8 PO1/c Koichi Magara 8 WO Katsuma Shigemi 8 PO1/c Kurakazu Goto 8 PO1/c Shigeru Yano 8 WO Yoshihisa Tokuji 8 Lt(jg) Satoru Ono 8 Ens Kazuo Muranaka 8 Lt Mochifumi Nango 8 KIA July 18, 1938 CPO Hiroji Yoshihara 8 WO Kenji Yanagiya 8 Ens Katsujiro Nakano 7 LtCdr Yoshio Shiga 6 A1/c Tadayoshi Yonekawa 6 Lt(jg) Shiro Kuratori 6 WO Sakuji Hayashi 6 Lt Takashi Oshibuchi 6 CPO Yoshiichi Sasaki 6 Lt Masaharu Nishiwaki 5+ PO1/c Toshiaki Honda 5+5 KIA May 13, 1942 Lt Yoshishige Hayashi 5 PO Masahiro Mitsuda 5 Lt Tamotsu Yokoyama 5 CPO Yoshimitsu Naka 5 Lt Yutaka Morioka 5 PO1/c Toyomitsu Tsujinoue 5 PO1/c Yoshisuke Arita 5 WO Yoshihiko Takenaka 5 CPO Seiji Ishikawa 5 PO2/c Enji Kakimoto 5 Committed Suicide in POW camp, August 5, 1944
2The score for Nishizawa is based on the story that he told his CO, Cdr. Harutoshi Okamoto, that this was his score, shortly before his death at the controls of a Ki-49 "Helen", NOT a DC-3 as has been reported in numerous other sources. He has also been linked to scores of 147 and 103, both works of fiction.
3For many years Sakai's score was considered to be 64. This has turned out to be a number that can not be verified. Sakai himself never made a claim for any specific number of kills. The number 64 was arrived at by Martin Caidin when he was doing research for "Samurai!", the autobiography of Saburo Sakai. Many, more reputable historians now wonder at Caiden's research, as well as his morals, given that Saburo Sakai was paid little if any money from the book, to which he contributed the most information.
4In some sources Akamatsu's score is said to be 54. It is has been said that he claimed over 350 victories when intoxicated, and 260 when he was sober, but almost no one believed him. It is thought that he actually scored over 30 victories. And considering he had over 8000 hours of flight time, perhaps the claim of 54 victories is not so fantastic after all.
There are also stories of him rushing to the flight line in a jalopy, coming from his favourite brothel, jumping into the cockpit of his fighter still wearing a robe and wooden clogs. Saburo Sakai, who knew Akamatsu, said "Don't believe those silly stories-it's all nonsense!" Which leads me to wonder even more at Martin Caidin's heavy hand. For he must have put the story in Sakai's book, "Samurai!", since the very story that Sakai refuted, is in his autobiography!!
5Not in the list of aces, but, listed in the book on page 35, with 5 personal kills and 18 assists. This is why I list him with 5+. A. Lowe.
This Web page is ©2000 Al Lowe. All rights reserved.
Sources: Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No. 22, Imperial Japanese Navy Aces 1937-45 by Henry Sakaida
and Samurai! The autobiography of Saburo Sakai, by Saburo Sakai with Martin Caidin and Fred Saito.
If you have any problems with my opinion, send me email. jakeREMOVETHIS@billybishop.net.
Be sure to take out "REMOVETHIS" before sending the email.