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Tsuji file photo [8768]

Masanobu Tsuji

Given NameMasanobu
Born11 Oct 1902
Died20 Jul 1968


ww2dbaseMasanobu Tsuji was born in the Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan into a poor family. When he was younger, he aspired to become a teacher, but after seeing Japanese Army officers in uniform, he was determined to join the military. He became an apprentice at a shipping company in Osaka, Japan after failing his first attempt to enter a military academy, but he was ultimately able to do so at the age of 16, entering an academy in Nagoya, Japan. On 24 Mar 1920, he completed his studies and received a silver watch from Crown Prince Hirohito. After several more years of military training, he joined the Ishikawa 7th Infantry Regiment. In Oct 1927, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. In Dec 1928, he completed studies at the Army College; during the years there, he studied some Russian and Chinese. In 1932, he was assigned to China and participated in actions during the First Battle of Shanghai and was injured in the left knee. He was a staff officer in the Kwantung Army in Northeast China between 1937 and 1939. During WW2, he led trops in Malaya, Burma, and Guadalcanal. He was fanatical in combat, and was wounded 7 times. His often let loose his emotions without reservation, thus he was often transferred by his superiors who were fed up with him. Commonly understood to be a ruthless leader who believed that the end justified the means, he cared little about incurring casualties on either side for as long as he successfully completed his missions. After the end of the war, he went into hiding in Thailand. Through his connections in Nanjing, China, he became an employee of the Chinese intelligence service. He also offered his services to anti-French groups in Vietnam. In 1948, he requested departure from Chinese service, which was granted. He returned to Japan after he made sure he would not be tried for war crimes for ordering the massacre of Allied prisoners of war in the Philippine Islands and for ordering the massacre of Chinese civilians in Singapore. He wrote a book titled Senko Sanzenri (3,000 Li in Hiding) about his years in hiding, and it became a best seller. He later ran for the Parliament and won a seat. In 1961, he traveled to Laos and disappeared. He was assumed dead on 20 Jul 1968, possibly a casualty of the Laotian Civil War.

Dan van der Vat, The Pacific War

Last Major Revision: Nov 2009


Portrait of Masanobu Tsuji, circa 1940s

Masanobu Tsuji Timeline

11 Oct 1902 Masanobu Tsuji was born in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.
24 Mar 1920 Tsuji Masanobu completed his studies at a military academy in Nagoya, Japan; he received a silver watch from Crown Prince Hirohito for this achievement.
20 Jul 1968 Masanobu Tsuji was declared dead after having disappeared in Laos.

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Event(s) Participated:
» First Battle of Shanghai
» Guadalcanal Campaign

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Portrait of Masanobu Tsuji, circa 1940s

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