Rear Admiral Tanaka

January 02, 2009


I was facinated by the letter that you received from Edy Goto regardong Admiral Tanaka as possibly being related to him through his/her grandmother who was Tanaka's sister.

In my late husband's writing, he mentions visiting the Yunagi Destroyer when Tanaka visited his relatives in Osaka sometime in the early 1930s. My husband was a child at that time and was invited by his Uncle Tanaka to visit the ship. The whole family went.

My husband never mentioned Tanaka's given name but he did say that he graduated from the Naval Academy and was the Captain of the destroyer Yunagi and Vice Commander of the submarine fleet and an expert on torpedos.

I feel that this Tanaka must have been my husband's uncle and I have been researching to determine if this is so. If you have uncovered any more information on the Admiral, I would be grateful if you could forward it to me.  I shall look forward to your response either way.

Sincerely, Charlotte


Nice to hear from you, indeed Admiral Tanaka was a fighting sailor who did well at the Guadalcanal Battle of Tassarafonga.

Here is some detail from Wikipedia you may not have found:

Raizo Tanaka

     Raizo Tanaka
     27 April 1892 - 9 July 1969[1]

     Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka
     Place of birth Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan
     Allegiance Empire of Japan
     Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Navy
     Rank Vice Admiral
     Commands held Tachikaze
     Mako Guard District
     Battles/wars World War II
       a.. Battle of the Java Sea
       b.. Battle of Midway
       c.. Battle of the Eastern Solomons
       d.. Battle of Tassafaronga

     Awards Order of the Rising Sun
     Order of the Sacred Treasures

 In this Japanese name, the family name is Tanaka.
Raizo Tanaka (?? ??, Tanaka Raizo?, 27 April 1892 - 9 July 1969) was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. A torpedo specialist, he mainly commanded destroyer units and was a primary leader of the "Tokyo Express" reinforcement and resupply convoys during the Guadalcanal campaign. In this capacity he was the victor in the Battle of Tassafaronga in which he defeated a much larger force of United States Navy cruisers and destroyers.

       a.. 1 Early career
       b.. 2 World War II
       c.. 3 Postwar
       d.. 4 References
         a.. 4.1 Books
         b.. 4.2 External links
       e.. 5 Notes


[edit] Early career
Born in what is now part of Yamaguchi city, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Tanaka graduated from the 41st class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1913, ranked 34 out of 118 classmates.

As a midshipman, Tanaka served on the cruiser Azuma, battleship Aki, and cruiser Nisshin. After promotion to sub-lieutenant, he served on the cruiser Kasagi and battleship Kongo.

He then attended the basic torpedo and naval artillery schools from December 1916 through December, 1917, after which he was assigned to the destroyers Hatsushimo, Kusunoki and battleship Katori. He returned to torpedo school, attending the advanced course from December 1919 to December 1920. Between 1921 and November 1923 Lieutenant Tanaka was assigned as the executive officer on the submarine tender Karasaki, cruiser Iwate, destroyer Shiokaze, and cruiser Yura.[2] In December, 1925, Tanaka was appointed as executive officer as well as an instructor at the Japanese Navy's torpedo school. After one year at the school, he did two years of staff duty, including one year at Kure Naval District, the Navy's main base.[3]

In 1930, Lieutenant commander Tanaka commanded the destroyer Tachikaze and in 1931, after promotion to commander, commanded the destroyer Ushio. From December 1932 to December 1936, he worked on the staff for the Yokosuka Naval District.

> From 1 December 1937 until 15 December 1938, Captain Tanaka commanded the

cruiser Jintsu. He then served as Chief of Staff of the Mako Guard District from 15 December 1938 to 15 November 1939. Subsequently, he commanded the battleship Kongo from November 1939 to November 1940.[4]

[edit] World War II
On 26 September 1941, Captain Tanaka took command of Destroyer Squadron 2 (DesRon2) with his flag on Jintsu. He was promoted to rear admiral on 15 October of the same year. DesRon2, under Tanaka, and initially comprising eight destroyers in addition to Jintsu, participated in the Japanese invasions of the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies, including the Battle of the Java Sea, during the early months of the Pacific War between Japan and Allied forces.[5]

On 21 May 1942, Tanaka's DesRon2, consisting of Jintsu and 10 destroyers, sortied from Kure to support the Japanese assault on Midway Island by escorting the transports carrying the invasion troops. After the Japanese defeat in the Battle of Midway, the ships returned to Japan via Guam.[6]

After the Allied landings on Guadalcanal on 7 August 1942, Tanaka and DesRon2 departed Japan immediately for the main Japanese central Pacific base at Truk. DesRon2 departed Truk on 16 August, escorting a convoy carrying troops to counterattack the Allied forces on Guadalcanal. On 25 August, during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, Tanaka's ships were attacked by U.S. aircraft from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. One transport and one destroyer were sunk and Jintsu was heavily damaged, with Tanaka suffering injuries. Due to the damage to Jintsu, Tanaka shifted his flag to destroyer Kagero.[7]

Stationing himself at the Japanese naval base in the Shortland Islands, over the next several months Tanaka organized reinforcement and resupply efforts to Japanese forces involved in the Guadalcanal campaign. Due to the threat of Allied air attack, Tanaka directed the use of warships to deliver men and material to Guadalcanal because the warships could make the run to Guadalcanal and back in a single night, reducing their exposure to Allied air attack. The Japanese called these supply runs "Rat Transportation" and the Allies called them the "Tokyo Express."

On 30 November 1942, late in the Guadalcanal campaign, Tanaka personally led a "Tokyo Express" run to Guadalcanal. Tanaka's force included eight destroyers which Tanaka led from his flagship Naganami. That night, an American force of five cruisers and four destroyers, commanded by Carleton H. Wright, prepared to intercept Tanaka's ships in Ironbottom Sound near Guadalcanal. Using radar, the American ships surprised Tanaka's force and sank one Japanese destroyer with gunfire. Tanaka, however, quickly responded by issuing orders for his ships to maneuver, fire torpedoes, and vacate the area. The Japanese "Long Lance" torpedoes hit four of Wright's cruisers as Tanaka's ships escaped back up The Slot towards the Shortlands. One of the American cruisers sank and the other three hurt cruisers were so badly damaged that it was nine months before any of them returned to action. The Battle of Tassafaronga was one of the most severe defeats suffered by the United States Navy in World War II.

On 12 December 1942 on another "Tokyo Express" run, Tanaka's destroyer was hit and sunk by torpedoes fired from a USN PT boat near Guadalcanal and Tanaka was injured. On 29 December 1942 Tanaka was transferred to Singapore. In 1943, he was assigned to shore duty in Burma and remained on shore duty for the rest of the war. [8] He was promoted to vice admiral on 15 October 1944.

[edit] Postwar
Tanaka retired from the navy on 26 June 1946 and died on 9 July 1969 at 77 years of age.[9]

[edit] References

[edit] Books
 a.. Crenshaw, Russell S., Jr. (1995). The Battle of Tassafaronga. Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of Ame. ISBN 1-877853-37-2.
 b.. D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 081595302X.
 c.. Dull, Paul S. (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-097-1.
 d.. Frank, Richard B. (1990). Guadalcanal : The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle. New York: Penguin Group. ISBN 0-14-016561-4.
 e.. Hara, Tameichi (1961). Japanese Destroyer Captain. New York & Toronto: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-27894-1.
 f.. Kilpatrick, C. W. (1987). Naval Night Battles of the Solomons. Exposition Press. ISBN 0682403334.
 g.. Lacroix, Eric; Linton Wells (1997). Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870213113.
 h.. Morison, Samuel Eliot (1958). "Chapter 8". The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942 - February 1943, vol. 5 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-58305-7.

[edit] External links
 a.. Author unknown. "Rear-Admiral Raizo Tanaka". http://www.dutcheastindies.webs.com/tanaka.html. Retrieved on 2006-12-14.
 b.. Naval History via Flix. "Tanaka Raizo". http://navalhistory.flixco.info/G/143349x19846(a5557z1naZRaizo%20Tanaka)/259869/j0.htm. Retrieved on 2006-12-14.
 c.. Nishida, Hiroshi. "Tanaka, Raizo (Naval Academy 41st)". Imperial Japanese Navy. http://homepage2.nifty.com/nishidah/e/px41.htm#v017. Retrieved on 2006-06-14.
 d.. Parshall, Jon; Bob Hackett & Sander Kingsepp. "HIJMS JINTSU: Tabular Record of Movement". Combinedfleet.com. http://www.combinedfleet.com/jintsu_t.htm. Retrieved on 2006-06-14.
 e.. Wendel, Marcus. "Japanese Navy: Mako Guard District". Axis History Factbook. http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=7860. Retrieved on 2006-12-14.

[edit] Notes
 1.. ^ Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy
 2.. ^ Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy.
 3.. ^ Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy.
 4.. ^ Wendel, Marcus, Axis History Factbook, Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy, and [1]
 5.. ^ Hackett, HIJMS Jintsu, Combinedfleet.com and Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy.
 6.. ^ Hackett, HIJMS Jintsu, Combinedfleet.com
 7.. ^ Hackett, HIJMS Jintsu, Combinedfleet.com
 8.. ^ http://www.dutcheastindies.webs.com/tanaka.html and Naval History via Flix.
 9.. ^ Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy.

Best regards,

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