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Tamon Tamaguchi
August 17, 1892- June 4, 1942 (aged 49) [1]

Japanese Vice Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi
Place of birth Shimane Prefecture, Japan
Place of death Pacific Ocean near Midway Island
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Navy
Years of service 1912-1942
Rank Vice Admiral
Commands held Isuzu, Ise
IJN 5th Fleet, 2nd Carrier Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Order of the Rising Sun
Order of the Sacred Treasures [2]
Order of the Golden Kite (1st class)
Japanese painting entitled "Last Moments of Admiral Yamaguchi"
In this Japanese name, the family name is Yamaguchi.

Tamon Yamaguchi (山口 多聞 Yamaguchi Tamon ?, 17 August, 1892 - 4 June 1942) was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II and an alumnus of Princeton University (1921-1923).



Born in Shimane prefecture, Yamaguchi graduated from the 40th class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1912, ranked second out of 144 cadets. As a midshipman, he served on the cruiser Soya and battleship Settsu. After his commissioning as an ensign, he was assigned to the cruiser Chikuma and battleship Aki.

Yamaguchi attended naval artillery and torpedo school from 1915-1916, and was then assigned to the destroyer Kashi.

By 1918, Yamaguchi had been promoted to lieutenant and was assigned to a navigation unit with the naval squadron escorting Imperial German Navy submarines received by the Japanese government as part of repatriation payments from Germany at the end of World War I. He then traveled to the United States and attended Princeton University from 1921-1923. On his return to Japan the following year, he served on the battleship Nagato for six months, before graduating from the Naval Staff Collage with honors in 1924. Yamaguchi was promoted to lieutenant commander in 1924.

A member of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff in 1927, Yamaguchi was promoted commander the next year and later assigned to the Japanese delegation at the London Naval Conference in 1929-1930. On his return to Japan, he was assigned as executive officer on the cruiser Yura.

Tamon Yamaguchi

Promoted to captain in 1932, Yamaguchi was the naval attaché to Washington, DC from 1934-1937. On his return to Japan, he was assigned as captain to the cruiser Isuzu (from 1936-1937), followed by the battleship Ise (from 1937-1938).

Promoted to rear admiral on 15 November 1938, he was Chief of Staff for the IJN 5th Fleet from 1938-1940 until his eventual appointment as commander of the 2nd Carrier Division, consisting of the aircraft carriers Sōryū and Hiryū.

Yamaguchi's carrier force was part of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and subsequently participated in the Indian Ocean Raid. During the Battle of Midway, Yamaguchi sparred with his superior officer, Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, upon a reconnaissance plane discovering an American aircraft carrier (USS Yorktown) near Midway. At the time, the Japanese carriers' planes were armed with bombs. Nagumo wished to switch the armament to torpedoes. Yamaguchi demanded that no time be wasted and that the planes be launched to attack the American carrier with bombs. Nagumo rejected this; shortly afterward, American carrier aircraft destroyed all the Japanese carriers except Yamaguchi's flagship Hiryū. Yamaguchi quickly ordered two successive attacks on Yorktown which crippled it. Shortly afterward, another carrier air strike against Hiryū resulted in hits by aircraft from USS Enterprise. Yamaguchi was killed in action, choosing to go down with the sinking aircraft carrier. Legend has it that he and the captain of Hiryū went down with the stricken carrier while calmly admiring the moon. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of vice admiral.


  • Midshipman - 17 July 1912
  • Ensign - 1 December 1913
  • Sublieutenant - 13 December 1915
  • Lieutenant - 1 December 1918
  • Lieutenant Commander - 1 December 1924
  • Commander - 10 December 1928
  • Captain - 1 December 1932
  • Rear Admiral - 15 November 1938
  • Vice Admiral - 5 June 1942 (Posthumous)[3]




  • Fuchida, Mitsuo (with C.H. Kawakami and Roger Pineau), Midway - The Battle that Doomed Japan: The Japanese Navy's Story, Annapolis, 1955.
  • Fuller, Richard (1992). Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1854091514.  

External links


  1. ^ Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy.
  2. ^ Yamaguchi Tamon at
  3. ^ Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy


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