|Born||2 Nov 1890|
|Died||10 Jul 1944|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseYoshitsugu Saito was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1890. He graduated from the Japanese Army Academy in 1912 and was commissioned a cavalry officer. In 1924, he graduated from the Army Staff College. In 1938, he became Chief of Staff of the Japanese 5th Division. In 1939, he was promoted to the rank of major general. In 1940, he became the chief of cavalry operations of the Kwangtung Army. In 1942, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. In Apr 1944, he was made the commanding officer of Japanese 43rd Division on Saipan, Mariana Islands. Shortly after, he would be in charge of all Japanese Army units on Saipan, which included the 43rd Division and the 47th Independent Mixed Brigade; he would be the effective commander of naval infantry units as well, since the disgraced Chuichi Nagumo was reluctant to make major decisions. When the Americans landed on the island, Saito conducted a conservative defensive campaign, hiding in caves during the day, attacking only in the darkness of the night. On 6 Jul 1944, he sent out a determined message to his troops:
ww2dbaseSaito was wounded by shrapnel days after. At dawn on 10 Jul 1944, he committed ritual suicide in a cave, disemboweling himself with a sword followed by his adjutant shooting him in the head. When his remains were discovered by US Marines, Holland Smith honored him by giving him a military burial.
Last Major Revision: Oct 2014
Yoshitsugu Saito Timeline
|2 Nov 1890||Yoshitsugu Saito was born in Tokyo, Japan.|
|6 Jul 1944||Yoshitsugu Saito announced that he would fight to the death alongside his troops on Saipan, Mariana Islands.|
|10 Jul 1944||Yoshitsugu Saito committed ritual suicide in a cave near Tanapag, Saipan, Mariana Islands.|
|13 Jul 1944||US Marines gave Japanese Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito a military burial near Tanapag, Saipan, Mariana Islands.|
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