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Ariizumi file photo [19634]

Tatsunosuke Ariizumi

Given NameTatsunosuke
Born16 Apr 1904
Died31 Aug 1945


ww2dbaseTatsunosuke Ariizumi was born in 1904 into a wealthy family with a history of naval service. Upon graduation with the 51st class of the Japanese Navy Academy at Etajima, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan in Jul 1923, he served aboard a number of warships, including carrier Akagi. He ultimately ended up in the submarine service, being assigned to RO-64 in Apr 1931, and then moving on to serve as the torpedo officer aboard I-51, I-56, and I-70 through the 1930s. In Jul 1937, he completed his studies at the Naval War College. In Aug 1937, he was assigned to Sasebo, Japan as the chief of staff to the 3rd Submarine Squadron. By the end of the 1930s, his knowledge of submarine warfare would take him to the First Bureau of the First Section of the Naval General Staff, where he was responsible for strategic planning. In Nov 1940, he was promoted to the rank of commander. As a staff officer with Japanese 6th Fleet, he participated in the planning of the midget submarine attack on Pearl Harbor in the US Territory of Hawaii at the opening chapter of the Pacific War and participated in the design of the I-400-class carrier submarine during the war. On 26 Mar 1944, as the commanding officer of submarine I-8, he ordered the brutal execution of the 98 survivors of Dutch merchant ship Tjisalak, which had just been sunk by I-8 in the Indian Ocean; he personally executed a number of the ship's officers by sword or pistol. On 29 Jun 1944, I-8 sank Australian merchant ship Nellore by torpedo and gunfire; of the 7 survivors captured by Ariizumi, he only permitted a Javanese mother and her young child to live, executing the other 5. When the stories of these atrocities began to flow back to Britain by means of the lucky survivors, Ariizumi was given the nickname of "The Butcher". In Oct 1944, he was promoted to the rank of captain. In Dec 1944, he was made the commanding officer of the 631st Naval Air Corps with simultaneous command of a group of special aircraft carrier submarines; these weapons together were originally meant to deliver a demoralizing attack in the American rear, but ultimately Ariizumi, personally overseeing Operation Arashi ("Storm") aboard I-401, would only be able to strike at the American anchorage at Ulithi in the Caroline Islands, much closer to Japanese waters. En route to Ulithi, he received Emperor Showa's surrender message, but at the same time also received conflicting orders from admirals who refused to give up; known as a ruthlessly aggressive officer, Ariizumi chose to obey the latter, but within two days he would change his mind. Shamed with defeat and burdened with the possibility of being tried as a war criminal, he committed suicide by taking a pistol to his mouth before I-401 arrived in Japan. He was buried at sea by the crew of I-401 in a ceremony that somehow escaped the notice of the American prize crew aboard the Japanese submarine.

John Geoghegan, Operation Storm

Last Major Revision: Nov 2013


Tatsunosuke Ariizumi with German Navy submarine officers, Penang, Straits Settlements, 1940sPortrait of Tatsunosuke Ariizumi, date unknown

Tatsunosuke Ariizumi Timeline

16 Apr 1904 Tatsunosuke Ariizumi was born in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.
11 Jan 1945 Tatsunosuke Ariizumi met with the officers of Japanese Navy 631st Naval Air Group for the first time.
12 Jan 1945 Tatsunosuke Ariizumi arrived at Tokyo, Japan.
15 Aug 1945 I-401 received conflicting orders, one from Emperor Showa ordering her to surrender in the form of the radio address, another from naval leadership ordering all submarines to carry out existing orders; Tatsunosuke Ariizumi, commanding officer of 6th Fleet who was aboard the submarine, chose to follow the latter. I-400, under Commander Toshio Kusaka, opted to obey the order to surrender.
16 Aug 1945 At 2100 hours, I-401 received specific orders to set sail for Kure, Japan; this order came through just as the submarine was preparing to launch Seiran attack aircraft against the US anchorage at Ulithi, Caroline Islands (Operation Arashi). Tatsunosuke Ariizumi, commanding officer of 6th Fleet who was aboard the submarine and who previously continued the operation despite the country's surrender, now chose to obey. Instead of Kure, however, he set sail for the Sanriku coast in northeastern Honshu island so that the officers and men could disappear into the population rather than having to surrender dishonorably.
20 Aug 1945 I-401 received orders to report in with her current location. Tatsunosuke Ariizumi, commanding officer of 6th Fleet who was aboard the submarine, did not respond.
31 Aug 1945 Tatsunosuke Ariizumi committed suicide aboard submarine I-401 by taking a pistol to his mouth at 0420 hours. He was buried at sea in a ceremony that somehow evaded the US boarding party.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Leon Viger says:
8 Nov 2020 05:58:07 AM

On 2 July 1944 the SS Jean Nicolet was torpedoed by Ariizumi and all survived until Ariizumi took them onboard tortured killed then the remainder with hands tied he submerged. How did you fail to include this?

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Ship(s) Served:
» Akagi
» I-401

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Tatsunosuke Ariizumi Photo Gallery
Tatsunosuke Ariizumi with German Navy submarine officers, Penang, Straits Settlements, 1940sPortrait of Tatsunosuke Ariizumi, date unknown

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