Gunichi Mikawa

Japan, 1888-1981

Japansk viceadmiral.

Gunichi Mikawa was born on 29 August 1888 and graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy in 1910. After service in the cruiser Asama, battleship Satsuma and battle cruiser Kongo he attended the Naval Torpedo and Gunnery Schools during 1913-14. In late 1914 he joined the cruiser Aso for World War I duty, including a cruise to China. This was followed by tours in the destroyer Sugi and transport Seito and studies at the Naval War College. In 1919-20, Lieutenant Mikawa was attached to the Japanese delegation to the post-war peace conference in France.

During the 1920s, Mikawa served as Navigating Officer of a number of ships, was an instructor at the Naval Torpedo School and held several other highly-visible posts. At the end of the decade, Commander Mikawa was part of the delegation to the London Naval Conference and shortly thereafter became Naval Attache in Paris. Promoted to the rank of Captain in late 1930, he returned to Japan to take up administrative and training duties. He was Commanding Officer of the heavy cruisers Aoba and Chokai and the battleship Kirishima in the mid-1930s. Late in 1936 he attained the rank of Rear Admiral and became Chief of Staff of the Second Fleet. Mikawa had duty with the Naval General Staff and Imperial Headquarters in 1937-39, then went to sea to command a succession of fleet squadrons, first in cruisers and then in battleships.

Promoted to Vice Admiral in 1940, Mikawa's squadron duty continued until July 1942 when he assumed command of the Eighth Fleet in the central and southern Pacific. On 9 August 1942, he led a surface task force in the Battle of Savo Island, achieving a very one-sided tactical victory. Mikawa's Eighth Fleet service continued into 1943, encompassing the long and costly campaigns to retake Guadalcanal and defend eastern New Guinea. He had Naval General Staff and other shore posts in Japan during April-September 1943. From late 1943 until late 1944, Vice Admiral Mikawa was in charge of the Second South Sea Fleet and the Southwestern Area Fleet in the Philippines. Reassigned to Japan following the October 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf, he left active duty in May 1945. Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa died in 1981.