Seki file photo

Yukio Seki

Died25 Oct 1944
CountryJapan
CategoryAir

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

Yukio Seki was born in Iyo Saijo, Shikoku, Japan. In 1938, he was accepted into both the Navy and the Army's academies, and he opted to join the Navy. He graduated from Eta Jima in Nov 1941. His early career saw him aboard battleship Fuso and seaplane carrier Chitose; aboard the latter he played a very minor role in the Battle of Midway. In 1942, he enrolled in the Naval flying academy in Kasumigaura, Ibaraki, Japan, and then trained as a carrier dive bomber pilot. In Jan 1944, he became an instructor at Kasumigaura. In Sep 1944, he was transferred to Tainan, Taiwan then in Oct 1944 to the 201st Air Group in the Philippines.

At Philippines, Vice Admiral Takijiro Onishi authorized the transformation of the occasional suicide fighter attacks by dying pilots into a massed campaign. The first kamikaze mission was called during the Oct 1944 Battle off Samar during the Leyte Campaign. He was approached by Commander Asaichi Tamai, who asked him

"Seki, Admiral Onishi himself has visited the 201st Air Group to present a plan of greatest importance to Japan. The plan is to crash-dive our Zero fighters loaded with 250-kilogram bombs, into the decks of enemy carriers, in order to insure the success of the Sho operation. You are being considered to lead such an attack unit. How do you feel about it?"

"You absolutely must let me do it", he answered after a couple of seconds, and it touched Tamai. However, Seki was later quoted in saying "Japan's future is bleak if it is forced to kill one of its best pilots. I am not going on this mission for the Emperor or for the Empire... I am going because I was ordered to!" On 20 Oct 1944, Seki cut a small strand of his hair and gave it to Tamai to bring home to his parents; it was a tradition of Japanese warriors who wished to send something for their families to remember them by. Several days and several unsuccessful kamikaze missions passed before Seki's Shikishima special attack squadron of Zero fighters found their target. Prior to the attack, some of his comrades noted that Seki would seek all opportunities to drop his bomb before considering a suicide attack. When Chief Warrant Officer Hiroyoshi Nishizawa returned from battle, he reported that Seki's fighter was the first to attack at 1045 (American reports put his attack at 1051), immediately followed by another suicide attack at the same spot. Flames rose 1,000 meters in the air, recalled Nishizawa. Whether Seki actually plunged into the American carrier St. Lo as a kamikaze is still unknown today, but his 250-kilogram bomb undoubtedly played a critical part in the sinking of the American ship.

Sources: the Divine Wind, Wikipedia.

Yukio Seki Timeline

25 Oct 1944 During the first major special attack conducted by the Japanese Navy, pilot Yukio Seki sank carrier USS St. Lo while another suicide pilot damaged carrier USS Santee.

Photographs

Portrait of Yukio Seki, circa 1939Seki in flight gear, probably before his last flight on 25 Oct 1944SekiSt Lo exploded after hit by bomb or kamikaze, possibly of Seki, 25 Oct 1944




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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Anonymous says:
    7 Apr 2011 06:26:37 PM

    Fall my Pupils,
    My Cherry blossoms.
    Just as I will fall
    In the service of our land.

    Poem/Song by Lieutnant Yukio Seki during WW2
  2. Mike Dunne says:
    21 Jan 2012 03:47:33 AM

    My goodness Peter, you are doing a marvelous job of this site...good on you!

    I would be happy to let you use any of my Aircraft illustrations, gratis, if you wish to.

    Kind regards

    Mike Dunne

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More on Yukio Seki
Event(s) Participated:
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign


Yukio Seki Photo Gallery
Portrait of Yukio Seki, circa 1939
See all 4 photographs of Yukio Seki



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