|Born||21 Aug 1897|
|Died||7 Apr 1945|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Kosaku Ariga graduated from the Naval Academy on 24 Nov 1917. On 11 Jul 1918, he was assigned to the battleship Hyuga, and shortly after he was promoted to the rank of ensign. Between late-1918 and mid-1919, he completed torpedo and gunnery school courses. After experience serving aboard destroyers, he was given the rank of lieutenant (jg) on 1 Dec 1920. Between 20 Nov 1922 and Nov 1923, he served aboard the battleship Nagato. Upon completing an advanced course at the Torpedo School, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in Dec 1923. On 1 Nov 1929, at the rank of lieutenant commander, he received his first command, the destroyer Yugao, followed by other destroyers. In the early 1930s, he also served on land with the 1st Naval District and the Chinkai Guard District. In Dec 1937, he was made the executive officer of the cruiser Sendai. Immediately before the Pacific War, he commanded a minesweeper division and the Destroyer Division 11, successively. On 15 Nov 1940, he was promoted to the rank of captain.
On 18 Jun 1941, Ariga was given command of the Destroyer Division 4, with which he participated in the Battle of Midway. At Midway, men aboard his flagship Arashi picked up an American torpedo bomber pilot from the sea, interrogated him, and executed him.
On 20 Feb 1943, Ariga was transferred to the 1st Naval District briefly to prepare him for the command of the cruiser Chokai. In Jun 1944, he was relieved from Chokai, and between 10 Jul and 5 Nov 1944, he was the Chief Instructor at the Torpedo School. He joined the 2nd Fleet on 6 Nov 1944. On 16 Nov, the battleship Yamato joined the fleet, and on 25 Nov Ariga was made her commanding officer with a promotion to the rank of rear admiral.
In Apr 1945, Yamato was called to participate in the Ten-Go (Ten'ichigo) Operation. The operation called for a suicide mission of ten ships to sail straight into the American fleet supporting the Okinawa landing. If Yamato was not able to sail into the American fleet, she was to beach herself on Okinawa to serve as a mighty coastal fortress while the sailors disembark to become infantry. If that failed, she then was to draw as much fire from American aircraft as possible so that a concurrent suicide operation by Kamikaze aircraft (Operation Kikusui) would confront less resistance from the air. On 7 Apr 1945, while still 270 miles north of Okinawa, Yamato was attacked by waves of American carrier aircraft. Yamato sank after an agonizing two hours of progressively worse listing. Ariga chose to go down with the ship. He was posthumously made a vice admiral.
Source: The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia.
Kosaku Ariga Timeline
|21 Aug 1897||Kosaku Ariga was born.|
|7 Apr 1945||Kosaku Ariga, commanding officer of battleship Yamato, went down with the ship as the battleship sank.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945