Takashi Sakai
18 October 1887 – 30 September 1946
Sakai Takashi
General Takashi Sakai
Place of birth Hiroshima prefecture, Japan
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1908 -1945
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held IJA 26th Division, IJA 4th Army, Southern China Area Army, China Expeditionary Army, Central District Army, IJA Third Area Army
Battles/wars Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II
In this Japanese name, the family name is Sakai.

Takashi Sakai (酒井 隆 Sakai Takashi?, 18 October 1887 – 30 September 1946) was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, known for his brutal conquest of Hong Kong in late 1941.


Sakai was born in Kamo District, Hiroshima, now part of Hiroshima city. He was educated in military preparatory schools in Kobe and Osaka and graduated from the 20th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1908, whereupon he was as assigned to the IJA 28th Infantry Regiment. He graduated from the 28th class of the Army Staff College. He was promoted to major in 1924 and lieutenant colonel in 1928. [1]

Career in ChinaEdit

In 1928, Sakai was stationed in Jinan, Shandong Province, China with the IJA 12th Infantry Regiment during the Jinan Incident and is believed by some Chinese historians to be responsible for the murder of Kuomintang army emissaries during negotiations on 4 May 1928. He was transferred to the Tientsin Garrison from 1929-1932.

In 1932, Sakai was promoted to colonel and was assigned to the 5th Section military intelligence of the 2nd Bureau of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from 1932-1934.

As Chief of Staff of the Japanese China Garrison Army from 1934-1935, Sakai orchestrated a series of armed conflicts, which resulted in an armistice with the Chinese government which essentially gave Japan control of Hebei Province. He became commander of the IJA 23rd Infantry Regiment in 1936.

Sakai was promoted to major general in 1937 and was appointed commander of the IJA 28th Infantry Brigade. He became a lieutenant general in 1939, and was assigned to the Coordination Bureau, Asia Development Group, Mengjiang Board from 1939-1940. He was also assigned to the Mongolia Garrison Army at this time.

Recalled to Japan in 1940, Sakai was briefly appointed commander of the Imperial Guards Depot Division.

Jap occupy hk

Takashi Sakai leads Japanese troops down Queen's Road in a parade the day after the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong

World War IIEdit

Sakai was commander of the IJA 23rd Army stationed in Canton in November 1941. He was ordered to use the IJA 38th Division, which was normally under the Southern Expeditionary Army Group to capture Hong Kong, and was given a 10 day time limit.

On 8 December 1941, a few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces commanded by Sakai, and his chief of staff Tadamichi Kuribayashi, invaded Hong Kong. However, the subsequent Battle of Hong Kong did not proceed as quickly or as smoothly as Sakai had planned, and he was forced to request an extension to his deadline. British governor Mark Aitchison Young surrendered all British forces in Hong Kong on 25 December 1941 after 18 days of fighting. Sakai’s frustrations over the unexpectedly strong British resistance may have been reflected by the extreme brutality which characterized the campaign and subsequent occupation. [2]

Sakai served as Japanese Governor of Hong Kong until 20 February 1942. He was recalled to Japan, and retired from active service in 1943.[3]

After the end of the war, Sakai was accused of war crimes at the Chinese War Crimes Military Tribunal of the Ministry of National Defense in Nanking, and sentenced to death on 27 August 1946. Sakai was executed by firing squad on 30 September.[4]



  • Fuller, Richard (1992). Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN 1-85409-151-4. 
  • Snow, Philip (2003). The Fall of Hong Kong: Britain, China, and the Japanese Occupation. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09352-7. 

External linksEdit

Notes Edit

  1. Ammenthorp, The Generals of World War II
  2. Budge, Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
  3. Fuller, Shokan, Hirohito’s Samurai
  4. Stewart, Trial of Takashi Sakai
Preceded by
Sir Mark Young (Governor of Hong Kong)
Head of Japanese Occupation Forces in Hong Kong (with Masaichi Niimi)
1941 - 1942
Succeeded by
Lt. General Rensuke Isogai
de:Sakai Takashi

es:Takashi Sakai ja:酒井隆 zh:酒井隆