Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Miyazaki Shigesaburo (1892–1965)

Japanese army general who assumed command of the 31st Division in 1944. Born in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, on 4 January 1892, Miyazaki Shigesaburo graduated from the Military Academy in 1914 and the Army War College in 1929. He was a member of the Army General Staff from 1925 to 1929. In 1938, he was promoted to colonel and became a staff officer in the Taiwan Army.

In August 1939, Colonel Miyazaki commanded the 16th Infantry Regiment in the Battle of Nomonhan against Soviet forces in Mongolia, executing the final, successful night attack against Hill 997 on 8 September. Promoted to major general in 1943, Miyazaki assumed command of the 26th Brigade in fighting in China. Then, in 1944, he had charge of the 31st Division in the struggle for Imphal in Burma, the climax of his military career. The operation was a reckless one for Japanese forces, which had to advance 120 miles through the jungle without resupply. Miyazaki never complained to his superiors about the mission and occupied Kohima, north of Imphal, on 6 April 1944. He then defended it against British attack for two months without resupply, while his superior, Lieutenant General Sato Kotoku, withdrew his own division, leaving Miyazaki alone. Finally, his division was surrounded by British troops, but Miyazaki was able to extract his force, including the wounded.

Miyazaki was promoted to lieutenant general in June 1944 and took command of the 54th Division of Twenty-Eighth Army in Burma, where he enjoyed several tactical successes. He was able to escape entrapment by British forces, but by early August, only about 4,000 of his 9,000-man division remained. Many regarded the 5-foot-tall Miyazaki as one of the most skillful and tenacious Japanese generals of the war. He died in Tokyo on 30 August 1965.

Kotani Ken


Further Reading
Allen, Louis. Burma: The Longest War, 1941–1945. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984.; Kirby, Woodburn. The War against Japan. Vols. 2 and 3. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1958.; Toyoda, Minoru. Meisho Miyazaki Shigesaburo (General Miyazaki Shigesaburo). Tokyo: Kojinsha, 1986.; Truscott, Lucian K., Jr. The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry: Life in the Old Army, 1917–1942. Edited and with Preface by Lucian K. Truscott III and Foreword by Edward M. Coffman. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1989.
 

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