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  Ki-45 Nick  
5th Sentai

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Click For Enlargement
via Banzai / H. Sakaida

Pilot  Major Katsushige Takada (KIA)
Observer  M/Sgt Motomiya (KIA)

Crashed  May 27, 1944

Pilot History
Takada graduated the Army Military Academy's 46th Term and was the commanding officer of the 5th Sentai. According to Japanese Military Affairs section of the Army Ministry, Major Takada was the first 'planned' [Kamikaze] suicide attack by a Japanese plane on an enemy ship.  But, further research by Richard Dunn indicates this attack was made by Major Takada's own initiative, not a higher order.

Aircraft History
Built by Kawasaki. Assigned to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) to the 5th Sentai. No known markings.

Mission History
On May 27, 1944 a joint strike by Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) and Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) aircraft took off on a mission to attack the American amphibious force off Biak.  Major Takada's group of four Ki-45 hastily planned to launch a mission from their base at Sorong. Along with seven Ki-43's of the 24th Sentai. The Ki-45s approached the fleet at 300' and using cloud cover, their target were destroyers. Takada's was hit by anti-aircraft fire while attempting to drop his bomb and tried to escape on one engine. Seeing his other men crashing into the sea, he turned to make another attack, an account of the attack is written in The Sacred Warriors. Takada's Ki-45 hit the water about 30' from the Sub Chaser No. 699.  The wreckage tumbled into its midship, burying its engine into the wooden hull.  16 of the crew were thrown into the sea, and many suffered burns.  One was found burned to death, still at his AA position. Another crew member was missing. Takada's observer was thrown clear of the plane as it crashed, floated unconscious and later picked up by natives on western Biak and returned to Japanese lines at Manokwari on June 3, 1944.

Major Takada's Cigarette Case
A small cigarette case was recovered from the burned wreckage impacted into the ship, and souvineered,  It was silver plated and embossed with an Imperial army star, and burned in the crash.  A faint inscription reading "Terada" and kanji inscription reading:
"Five Admonitions For Military Men:
1. To serve loyally
2. To be courteous
3. To set a high value on military success
4. To observe your faith
5. To aim at being simple"

On the reverse side it was inscribed: "This case taken from Major Tarada Japanese Imperial Air Force May 26, 1944, after he had joined his imperial ancestors on Biak."

In February 1998, the owner of the case a collector and Henry Sakaida located the relatives of Takada and offered to return the case, They were thankful, but declined the case, stating they had many other mementos of him.

"Major Takada's Case" by Henry Sakaida (Banzai # 194 Part 1 July 1998)
"Major Takada's Case Part 2" by Henry Sakaida (Banzai # 198 Part 2 November 1988)
J-Aircraft "First Kamikaze" by Richard Dunn
The Sacred Warriors - Japan's Suicde Legions page 63

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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