Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Sasaki Minoru (1893–1961)

Japanese army general. Born in Hiroshima Prefecture on 1 January 1893, Sasaki Minoru graduated from the Military Academy in 1914 and from the Military Staff College in 1923. Stationed in Poland and Soviet Russia as a resident officer from 1928 to 1930, he was then assigned as an instructor at the Army War College and served on the General Staff in 1932. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1933 and to colonel in 1937. Promoted to major general in 1939, he took command of the 4th Cavalry Brigade before becoming chief of staff of the Sixth Army. In August 1942, Sasaki became head of the Army Mechanized Department. In May 1943, he was assigned as commander of the Southeast Detachment at Munda on New Georgia Island, responsible for the defense of the central part of the Solomon Islands, including New Georgia and Kolombangara.

At the end of June 1943, Allied forces assaulted New Georgia before the Japanese could complete construction of their defensive positions. Sasaki nonetheless was able to block the initial U.S. attempt to take Munda Airfield on 7 July. Despite reinforcements and a strong effort, Sasaki was forced to give up Munda on 4 August. Sasaki had no choice but to withdraw to Kolombangara. Under continued attack, the outlying islands were occupied one by one, and Kolombangara was isolated. Short of ammunition and provisions, Sasaki supervised the successful evacuation of some 9,400 Japanese defenders to Bougainville.

Reassigned to Eighth Army Area headquarters in November 1943, Sasaki was promoted to lieutenant general. He died at Tokyo on 27 April 1961.

Kita Yoshito


Further Reading
Altobello, Brian J. Into the Shadows Follow: The Brutal Battle for New Georgia. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 2000.; Morison, Samuel Eliot. United States Naval Operations in World War II. Vol. 6, Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier, 22 July 1942–1 May 1944. Boston: Little, Brown, 1950.
 

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