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Hisashi Ohara

Given NameHisashi


ww2dbaseHisashi Ohara was a 23-year veteran of the Japanese Navy. During the Battle of Midway, he was the executive officer of carrier Soryu and was present at Soryu's bridge during the entire battle. He recalled the time when the carrier was sunk:

"Our planes were being made ready for a second sortie (against Midway Island) and were all lined up on the flight deck ready to take off. The planes in the hangar below decks were loaded with bombs and fuel, ready to be brought to the flight deck, so that the first bomb started all these planes burning. The bombs loaded aboard the planes went off one by one by induced explosion.... Due to the large fires aboard the ship, the large gasoline storage area in the stern of the ship exploded, leaving only the bow afloat, after which the gasoline storage tanks in the forward part of the ship exploded and sank the ship."

ww2dbaseOhara sustained injuries during the loss of carrier Soryu and required hospitalization. After his recovery, his assignments were limited to shore duties only, which included the staff at the Hydraulic Bureau of the Navy Department, staff at the Southern Sea Route Department, and instructor at the Naval College. After the war, he was interrogated by Captain C. Shands of the United States Navy, who commented Ohara as a "stolid individual" but the information he provided during the interrogation were accurate and useful, particularly the detailed accounts of Soryu's sinking. Ohara shared the comment that the loss of the carriers at Midway was devastating because, as a consequence, the Japanese Navy no longer had enough capacity to deal with the American advances up the Solomon Islands chain.

Dan van der Vat, The Pacific Campaign
Jonathan Parshall and Tony Tully, Shattered Sword
Interrogations of Japanese Officials

Last Major Revision: Mar 2007

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Harry says:
7 Jul 2021 11:48:46 AM

Mr. Chen,
I'm asking if you would please provide the original source for Cmdr. Ohara's quote that begins with "Our planes were being made ready for a second sortie..."

Please note that I have the original source (both volumes) of "Interrogations of Japanese Officials" from the USSBS. The index indictates that Cmdr. Hara is referenced only in Nav-39, and Nav-39 does not contain that quote. Additionally, I have not found it in "Shattered Sword" either- although definitely not for lack of trying. Any information which you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

2. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
8 Jul 2021 10:05:31 AM

Harry, thank you for posting your question. It ended up that I had missed listing one source where that quote came from, which is _The Pacific Campaign_ by Dan van der Vat. The particular quote can be found on page 190. Thank you for pointing this out and the source section of this brief biography has been updated.
3. Anonymous says:
15 Jul 2021 08:05:03 AM

Mr. Chen,
Many thanks for your timely response. I'm attempting to track down the original source of Cmdr. Ohara's statement. Although I don't own a copy of "The Pacific Campaign", it's my understanding (from Amazon comments on his book) that it has no footnotes- and only a limited bibliography.

That said, those same comments mention that he used (among others), S. E. Morrison. With that in mind, I have just now ordered a copy of "Coral Sea, Midway, and Submarine Actions" by Morrison.

If you happen to know (OFFHAND) the original source of Cmdr. Ohara's quote, I respectfully ask that you mention it here so that I may purchase it. Otherwise, I'm on the trail. Thanks again for the assist. Take care and blue skies...


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More on Hisashi Ohara
Event(s) Participated:
» Raids into the Indian Ocean
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands

Ship(s) Served:
» Soryu

Famous WW2 Quote
"You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terrors. Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival."

Winston Churchill

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