Nishizawa: Japan's Deadliest Combat Pilot—102 U.S. Air Force Kills
by Martin Caidin
Stag, October 1961, pp. 36, 38-9, 70-3
Hiroyoshi Nishizawa is generally acknowledged as the
Japanese WWII fighter pilot with the highest number of kills, although the exact
number varies based on source. This story focuses on dogfights during the
first half of his career with no specific mention of any kills between his total of 52
achieved by November 1942 and his final total of 102 kills when he died in
battle on October 26, 1944.
On October 25, 1944, Nishizawa led four Zero fighters that escorted five
Zeros carrying 550-lb bombs of the first official squadron of the Kamikaze Special
Attack Corps. He volunteered the next day for a suicide mission as a Kamikaze
Corps pilot, but Commander
Tadashi Nakajima refused his request due to his inestimable value as an
experienced fighter pilot.
This historical story differs from other far-fetched
stories about kamikaze pilots published in men's adventure magazines in the
1950s and 1960s. The author Martin Caidin, author of Saburo Sakai's
autobiography entitled Samurai! (1957), vividly depicts the actual accomplishments of Japan's greatest ace who flew together with Saburo Sakai in
many aerial battles.
Stag's magazine cover introduces the story with the following quote:
"I led the greatest kamikaze raid." However, this quote never appears in the
story, and in fact no quote from Nishizawa is in the story. Much of the
information about him in this story comes from his fellow fighter pilot Saburo Sakai.
Notes have been added to the story in order to provide comments on
geographical inaccuracies near the end of the page. Click on the note number to go to the
note at the bottom of the web page, and then click on the note number to return
to the same place in the story.
Leading ace of the Imperial's crack Lae Wing, he made the Pacific his
private battleground and any Allied plane that flew across it his personal
There are ten P-40 fighters in a long column, patrolling at fourteen thousand
feet over the vital New Guinea base of Port Moresby. The formation leader
suddenly sights four Japanese Zeros, two thousand feet lower than his own force.
It couldn't be better. He snaps out his orders. Three fighters are to dive
with him to bounce the enemy; the remaining six P-40s will hold their altitude,
ready to come down at once in case there is trouble. He doesn't expect any.
After all, he is in a perfect position to attack: he holds an altitude
advantage, and he has fast-diving, heavily-armed fighter planes. It's just the
kind of situation that any pilot would want—meat on the table.
Smoothly, functioning as a team, the four P-40s roll on their backs and
plummet toward the Japanese fighters. The plan is simple: as the Zeros scatter,
each P-40 pilot will take one, bounce him hard, and end the battle almost as
quickly as it begins.
But it doesn't happen that way, for the P-40 pilots have run into the worst
hornet's nest in all the Japanese Navy. Those aren't rookies in those Zeros;
they're the best that Japan has ever put into the air. Not only are the Japanese
pilots aces, they are the leading aces of the famed Lae Wing, and the Lae
Wing is the crack outfit of Japan's fighter pilots. The pilot's names:
Nishizawa, Sakai, Ota, and Takatsuka. . . .
Even before the P-40 commander sighted the four Zeros, Nishizawa had picked
out the American planes, rocking his wings in signal to the other pilots and
pointing. Each Zero pilot nodded. Ota slid in just a few feet to fly off
Nishizawa's wing; Takatsuka did the same with Sakai. From afar the Japanese
planes never appeared to move. The pilots gave no indication that they were
aware of the P-40s above them.
The heavy American planes plunged at high speed, each pilot ready to fire. At
the last second, just before that moment when the Zeros would be helpless, the
Japanese formation leaped out of the way. But instead of rolling away and
scattering, as the P-40 pilots expected them to do, the Zeros nosed upward in a
swift, almost vertical climb.
The lead American fighter broke to the right and pulled up steeply into the
beginning of a loop. Still in the climbing turn, the airplane shuddered as it
ran into a stream of cannon shells. A wing tore off in the high-g maneuver,
sending the fighter tumbling crazily through the air. Score one for Saburo
Hiroyoshi Nishizawa hauled his Zero up almost into a stall, hanging on the
prop. A P-40 moved into his sights, and a long burst of two cannon and two machine
guns turned the fighter into a flaming streamer. The other two P-40s went down
before the guns of Toshio Ota, and Takatsuka.
The Zeros scattered now to the right and left, as the remaining six P-40s,
hovering overhead, raced to the scene—to find empty space before their guns. The
Zeros whirled upward, came around in wicked, tight loops, with P-40s in front of
their cannon. Nishizawa, Sakai, and Ota hammered a fighter apiece out of the
air; Takatsuka's quarry rolled and dived away.
Regrouping, the Zero pilots climbed and flew back toward Lae. It was quite a
fight: seven out of ten P-40s shot down, without a bullet hole in any of the
Japanese fighters. But how could the P-40 pilots have known what they were
The date of the air battle was May 7, 1942, and the four Japanese pilots had
made what they called a "dream sweep," on a reconnaissance mission from
Port Moresby. When they took-off from Lae, their combined kills already were
great enough to command attention of all Japan. Saburo Sakai, with combat in
China, the Philippines, Java, and Lae, had scored 22 kills to become the leading
ace of Japan. Nishizawa, with barely a month in combat against the American and
Australian planes at Moresby, had chalked up 13 kills. Ota had scored 11;
Takatsuka trailed with nine.
Saburo Sakai went on to become Japan's greatest living ace with an officially
credited total of 64 kills in aerial combat. But it was Hiroyoshi Nishizawa who
was to be honored as the greatest Japanese fighter pilot of all time, the only
Japanese ever to reach the astounding figure of more than 100 kills (unofficial
count 102) in aerial combat.
Petty Officer Nishizawa received his baptism in combat as a pilot of the Lae
Wing. Only the most gifted and promising Navy fighter pilots were assigned to
this wing. It operated originally from Formosa to the Philippines, and
spearheaded the air battles that broke the back of Allied resistance in Java.
In April of 1942, Naval Captain Masahisa Saito led a group of Zero fighters
to a newly established air base at Lae, on the eastern coast of New Guinea,
where the designation Lae Wing became official. Lae-based Zero fighters flew
escort for twin-engined bombers staging out of Rabaul. During their stay at
their lonely airbase they got more than enough attention from American bombers
flying from Port Moresby's complex of airdromes only 180 miles away.
Some of the wildest air fighting of the Pacific War took place within this
area, a stretch of combat that had strangely evaded the attention of the
historians. The two types of American fighters based at Moresby were the P-39
Airacobra and P-40 Tomahawk and Kittyhawk models, airplanes the Japanese pilots
disdained as being greatly inferior to the agile Zero.
Lae was a miserable, wretched mudhole. It had a single dirt runway just 3,000
feet in length. Originally hacked out of the New Guinea jungle by the
Australians, the strip was served by a small seaport, the only feature of which
was a small Australian freighter, gutted and battered, lying around in the
On three sides of the runway towered the rugged mountains of the Papuan
Peninsula. The strip ran at a right angle from the mountain slope almost down
to the water. By the beach was a small aircraft hangar, riddled with bullets and
bomb fragments, and filled with the wreckage of three old Australian planes.
The Japanese operated the Lae airstrip much as their soldiers operated in the
field—severe austerity. There were no hangars, no maintenance shops, not even a
control tower. The men, pilots and members of the ground crews, slept in crude
shacks hastily thrown together from trees cut down at the edge of the field.
Ground motorized transport consisted of an ancient, captured American
automobile, which several mechanics had managed to rebuild into working
condition. The entire combat garrison consisted of 200 sailors who manned the
flak guns and maintained a perimeter guard at the edge of the jungle. One
hundred maintenance men, 30 pilots, and a half-dozen staff people completed the
roster. A comparable American installation would probably have had more than
The daily routine varied only according to the dictates of weather or
American bombs. Each morning, at 2:30 a.m., the maintenance crews started to
work on the fighters. One hour later the pilots were awakened. After breakfast,
six of them went to the airstrip where they stood by six Zero fighters, warmed
up and ready for take-off, guns loaded and hot. These comprised the interceptor
defense of Lae. There was no radar, there were no patrols, but the Zeros could
be—and often were—rolling in seconds.
Even the combat routes became standard. To reach the Port Moresby area—a
prime target of Japanese bombers with its airfield and shipping facilities—the
Zeros and bombers had to cross the Owen Stanley Range which reached to 15,000
feet. Over the ridgeline, water lay before them, and then Port Moresby.
By April 11th, Hiroyoshi Nishizawa had already chalked up a confirmed total
of ten American fighter planes shot down in combat. On this day he added to his
total. Nine Zeros, making a fighter sweep to Moresby, caught four Airacobra
pilots unawares, and came out of the sun as a broad, sweeping scythe. The
brilliant ace Saburo Sakai, leading the formation, shot down two of the P-39s.
Nishizawa blew the wing off another to reach 11 kills, and Toshio Ota scored the
fourth kill of the day. The battle, beginning as it did with a dive out of the
sun, ended in just about five seconds
Nishizawa in the spring of 1942 was 23 years old. His record and performance
in combat proved so impressive that Saburo Sakai, then Japan's greatest ace,
personally selected him, along with Toshio Ota, to fly as a team. As the leading
aces of the Lae Wing, they became famous in the Japanese Navy as the "cleanup
"Hiroyoshi Nishizawa did not simply fly his airplane," Sakai explained to me
after the war, "he became a part of the Zero, welded into the fibre of the
fighter, an automaton which functioned, it seemed, like a machine capable of
intelligent thought. He was the greatest of all Japanese fighters.
"He was devoted to his life as a fighter pilot. You must understand this to
understand the man—everything else was subordinated to this role."
The man who was to become the Ace of Aces of Japan simply did not look his
part. Indeed, Nishizawa appeared to be in need of a hospital bed. He was five
feet eight inches, but his weight of only 140 pounds gave him a gaunt look. He
was prone to tropical skin diseases and terrible attacks of malaria.
But no matter how Nishizawa may have appeared on the ground, in the air he
was magnificent. His wingmen worshiped him. Strangely, Nishizawa remained aloof
from friendship. Only Sakai and Ota could, on rare occasion, penetrate his cold,
seemingly unfriendly, reserve. Often Nishizawa would pass an entire day without
any more conversation than was necessary to respond to a query or an order from
a superior officer. He would not meet the overtures of even his closest friends,
the men with whom he lived and fought.
Leading ace of the Imperial's crack Lae Wing,
he made the Pacific his private battleground and any
Allied plane that flew across it his personal target.
He was a "loner," disdaining friendship, silent, almost like a pensive
outcast rather than an object of veneration.
Nishizawa lived for only two things: to fly and to fight. Once he took wing,
he underwent a startling transformation. His reserve, his aloofness vanished. To
the pilots of the Lae Wing he became the "Devil."
He was totally unpredictable in the air, and no other pilot could do with the
Zero what Nishizawa would command, and receive, from his agile fighter. His
aerobatics were at once breathtaking, brilliant, impossible, and heart-stirring
His eyesight was phenomenal. He could spot planes off in the distance long
before they were sighted by the other pilots, and this is an invaluable aid in
battle. Throughout his career, Nishizawa was never caught unawares by the enemy.
In the last two weeks of April 1942, Nishizawa, already an ace several times
over, ran into the doldrums. In this period, strangely enough, both Nishizawa
and Sakai failed to score a kill, despite several major air battles. If moody
before, Nishizawa was now positively black with anger.
On April 29th, in response to a blistering assault by American twin-engine
bombers against the Lae airdrome, six fighter pilots, including Nishizawa and
Sakai, went out for a surprise strafing attack against the Moresby airdrome.
To forestall the American anti-aircraft fire, the Zeros cleared the mountain
ridge at 16,000 feet, barely a thousand feet over the top of the Owen Stanley
Range. Then, instead of continuing at altitude, they passed the crest and pushed
over into steep dives.
Forming a triangle they plummeted toward the unsuspecting base, hitting the
field in a wide, howling sweep at treetop level. Fighters and bombers had just
been fueled and bombed in preparation for a mission. On their initial pass,
catching the Americans completely by surprise, the Zeros flamed three fighters
and a bomber, made three more strafing runs, and then beat it for home. Without
any opposition in the air there were no kills scored. The success of the
strafing runs failed to placate Nishizawa, and in his black mood he was
completely ignored by his fellow pilots.
On the succeeding mission, nine Zeros flew a sweep to Moresby for another
strafing run. But not today—nine P-39s and P-40s on patrol were waiting for the
Japanese, ready for battle.
Nishizawa (front row, right) shown with
other members of the famed Lae Wing
(photo and caption from p. 38 of story)
The American fighters broke out of a circle and roared head-on at the Zeros.
In the wild scramble that followed, Saburo Sakai was the only Japanese pilot who
scored, with three kills that boosted his total well ahead of his fellow aces.
Two Zeros went down, but it was a fight that favored the Japanese. Despite
several occasions when he hammered away at the rugged American fighters,
Nishizawa returned to Lae "empty-handed." That night he refused to eat.
The next morning, May 2nd, the Zeros went back. The eight Japanese fighters
encountered thirteen patrolling American planes, but had the extraordinary good
fortune to close the distance between the two forces without being sighted.
First to spot the enemy ships, Nishizawa rocked his wings in signal; abruptly
smoke burst from his exhausts as he advanced his throttle to overboost power and
broke from the Zero formation. The others followed his lead as he swung around
in a wide turn, coming up to the American formation from the left and rear,
still without being seen!
Before the American pilots ever knew the Zeros were in the air, the Japanese
hit them like an avalanche.
Nishizawa screamed in, swift and turning. On his initial pass he led slightly
a trailing P-40; his cannon shells exploded the fighter's tanks. Immediately the
American planes scattered, but the evasion was too late. Nishizawa locked onto
the tail of a P-39; the American flipped on his back and dived at full power.
Anticipating the maneuver, the Japanese ace rammed the stick forward, raking the
Airacobra as the airplane flashed before the Zero's guns.
The battle had in these few seconds become a wild, swirling melee. Even as
Nishizawa's cannon scored his second kill, a P-40 locked on his own tail.
Against the Zero, there is simply no opportunity for maneuvering. Nishizawa hit
the throttle and hauled the stick back in a swift motion. The Zero flicked up
and around in an unbelievably tight loop. The Japanese pilot came out of his arc
on the tail of the P-40, pouring bullets and cannon balls into the cockpit.
That made three, and it was an exultant Nishizawa who flew back in a happy
ratrace with the other Zero pilots to Lae. Sakai scored two kills and the other
pilots shot down three fighters between them. It was a rout: hit without
warning, trying to maneuver after the Japanese had bounced them, the Americans
failed to down a Zero.
By the third week in May, Nishizawa's toll had climbed to 20 kills, making
him an ace four times over. Ever trying to dream up some new idea that would
foster continued dogfights, Nishizawa planned a special "dance" he wanted to
perform over the Allied field at Moresby. He drew Sakai and Ota aside one night
at the field and explained his plan. The next morning was scheduled for an
escort mission to Moresby. After the attack, the three pilots would "slip back"
to the enemy base and "do a few demonstration loops right over the field." The
usually dour Japanese ace chuckled: "it will drive them crazy on the ground."
Sakai and Ota stared in disbelief at Nishizawa—he actually seemed happy.
Led by commander Tadashi Nakajima, a force of 18 Zero fighters escorted a
heavy force of bombers in a major strike at the Allied installations. The raid
proved, however, a dismal failure. With ample warning of the strike, the
Americans and Australians dispersed their bombers, and the attack did little
more than dig holes in the runways.
In the air the story was different. Three American fighter formations pounded
in a rush at the Zeros. The Japanese planes turned to meet their adversaries
head-on. The clashing forces exploded into widely scattered individual
dogfights, exactly what the Zero pilots wanted. Nishizawa got one, to bring his
score to 21. Sakai, always pushing, always methodical, flamed two American
fighters to reach a tally of 29 kills. They were the only Japanese pilots to
score. Two Zeros went down.
After the battle, escorting the bombers on their return to Rabaul, Sakai
indicated by hand signals to Nakajima that he was going after some enemy planes
far below the Japanese formation. Nishizawa and Ota dove away with him. The
three reformed at 12,000 feet and returned to Moresby.
They found empty skies. Sakai slid back his canopy, motioning closer the
other two planes until the three Zeros were wingtip to wingtip. He raised his
hand over his head, described a ring with his thumb and forefinger, and then
raised three fingers. Both pilots waved in acknowledgement: three loops, all
Sakai nosed down, Nishizawa and Ota flying as though the three airplanes were
one. Picking up speed, he eased back on the stick. The three Zeros went up and
over on their backs, soaring around in a precision loop. Twice more the fighters
went up, around, and down—and no enemy fighters, no flak!
Nishizawa rocked his wings, pointing down. He wanted to do the loops again,
this time starting the maneuver at six thousand feet. Down went the three
fighters, and three more times they whirled through the loops. There was still
no response from the base. The three disappointed Japanese headed home.
Just after nine o'clock that night an American bomber flashed low over Lae.
Caught by surprise, the Japanese were stunned when the bomber raced away without
dropping bombs or firing its guns. But a white object had plummeted from the
airplane, falling to the ground directly in the center of the runway. It was a
message container knotted inside a towel.
The message read: "To the Lae Commander: We were much impressed with those
three pilots who visited us today, and we all liked the loops they flew over our
field. It was quite an exhibition. We would appreciate it if these same pilots
returned here once again, each wearing a green muffler around his neck. We're
sorry we couldn't give them better attention on their last trip, but we will see
to it that the next time they receive an all-out welcome from us."
It was signed by a group of fighter pilots at Moresby. Nishizawa, Sakai and
Ota laughed long into the night . . .
More and more, the Americans smashed at the Lae airstrip with B-25 and B-26
bombers, and Japanese pilots began to score a mounting toll of the twin-engined
raiders. May 24th went into the record books of the Lae Wing as a "slaughter."
Eleven Zeros got into the air fast enough during an attack to hit six B-25s
which had come in on the deck. Nishizawa and Ota each flamed a bomber. Off
Salamanua, the remaining pilots shot down three of the remaining four bombers.
On August 2nd, Nishizawa made his first kill of a four-engined B-17 bomber,
an airplane that had frustrated his many other previous attacks, and which was
considered at that time to be the most dangerous American warplane in the skies.
The break for Nishizawa came over Buna at 12,000 feet.
Flying in a formation in which every Japanese pilot was an ace, he came in
against his target in a gradual, closing climb, rolling steadily as he poured
cannon shells into the fuel tanks. A splash of flame showed. Within seconds the
entire wing of the B-17 was ablaze, sending flames into the fuselage and the
bomb bay. The explosion that followed flipped the Zero through the air as if it
were a toy.
In the continuing battle, three Airacobras responded to radioed calls for
help from the B-17s. One American fighter came down in a screaming, full-power
dive, pouring cannon shells into a Zero which vanished in a ball of flame. As
the P-39 came around after a long pullout, Nishizawa rolled into him, his
shells entering the cockpit and killing the pilot. Sakai and Ota each scored a
kill to down the remaining Airacobras, but not before one of the American pilots
blasted Sueyoshi, Nishizawa's wingman, out of the air.
The Japanese ace fell into a bitter mood of self-accusation, blaming himself
for Sueyoshi's death. For several days he snapped at anyone who spoke to him.
But then, a week later, came electrifying news. Guadalcanal had been invaded by
the Americans. The Lae Zeros were to be sent out against the invasion force.
On August 7th, Hiroyoshi Nishizawa was officially credited with the shooting
down in the air of six American Navy F4F fighter planes, to go into the history
books of Japan as one of the handful of Japanese pilots ever to accomplish so
tremendous a feat. This toll was second, throughout the entire war, only to the
ace Kenji Okabe. In 1943, Okabe, over Rabaul, set the all-time record of seven
kills—F4F Wildcats, TBF Avengers, and SBD Dauntlesses. But Okabe took off and
landed three times during the day to fly three separate interception missions.
Nishizawa's six air kills were made after a long fight, against fighters, in a
long and sustained air battle.
The only other Japanese pilot of the Lae Wing to score that day was Sakai,
who was officially credited with shooting down an F4F and an SBD, and two TBFs.
(Official U.S. Navy records reveal that two TBFs were badly damaged during a
fight with a single Zero, but after sustaining and extinguishing fires, made it
back to their carriers. The claims were made not by Sakai, who was terribly
wounded in the fight, but by his wingmen.)
The battle over Guadalcanal was the beginning of the end for the famed pilots
of the Lae Wing. Saburo Sakai returned to the field with bullet fragments
imbedded in his brain, and blind in one eye. He was ordered back to Japan for
surgery. Within a few days, most of the Zero force was transferred to Rabaul.
From here, Nishizawa, now the leading ace on combat duty, led mission after
mission against American Navy and Army air units in the Solomons.
In November of 1942, with 52 kills to his credit officially, Nishizawa was
ordered back to the home islands. Here he had the opportunity to visit with
Sakai, recuperating from his operations. Nishizawa's toll in the air placed him
close to, but not yet exceeding, Sakai's own performance in the skies. But now,
blinded in one eye and out of the fighting, there was no question that Sakai
would eventually relinquish his position as the leading Japanese ace to
Or so it seemed. But Nishizawa had been assigned to the Yokosuka Training
Wing as a pilot-instructor. He chafed at the bit, and begged reassignment to the
Philippines. The day before leaving, during his visit to Sakai, he was forced to
tell his friend that almost all the great pilots of Lae—Ota, Sasai, Yonekawa,
Hatori, and the others—had been lost in battle. Of the original group of 80 Zero
pilots, only nine, including Sakai and Nishizawa, were still alive.
On October 25th, 1944, the Japanese Navy flew the first officially ordered
kamikaze attack of the war against the American fleet near Suluan in the
Philippines. Five Zero fighters flew as the "suicide" airplanes, each carrying a
single 550-pound bomb, and escorted by four Zero fighters flying as escort,
commanded by Hiroyoshi Nishizawa. The great Japanese ace, now with an accredited
total of more than 100 air kills in combat, led the fighters through skies
swarming with American planes that far surpassed the older Zeros in speed and
performance. Nishizawa took the kamikazes through and around storms. Following
his orders to the letter, he circled and watched the five suicide pilots push
over into dives from which they would never pull out. Then he returned with his
flight to the Zero base at Mabalacat on Cebu .
That night he volunteered to lead the kamikaze mission on the following
morning. Commander Tadashi Nakajima, who had been his superior officer at Lae,
"He told me," explained Nakajima shortly after the war, "that he was
convinced that he would soon die. He insisted that he had a premonition of
death. He felt that he would live no longer than a few days more.
"I wouldn't let him go. A pilot of such brilliance was of more value to his
country behind the controls of a fighter plane than he would be diving into an
enemy carrier, as he begged to be permitted to do. Nishizawa was an inspiration
to every Japanese pilot."
Even as the kamikazes began swelling to a terrifying torrent of death and
destruction against the American fleet, a new shipment of Zero fighters arrived
at Clark Field. Nishizawa was ordered to fly several other fighter pilots in a
transport plane to Clark, from where they would ferry the Zeros back to
Mabalacat . Before leaving the base, Nishizawa watched in silence as the ground
crew wired a 550-pound bomb to his own fighter, which was flown on a kamikaze
mission by Naval Air Pilot 1st Class Tomisaku Katsumata (who dove successfully
into a deckload of armed and fueled American planes on the deck of a carrier off
Early on the morning of October 26th, 1944, Nishizawa was at the controls of
the old and unarmed transport that took off from Mabalacat for Clark Field.
Somewhere over the jungles of Cebu , skimming the treetops to avoid patrolling
American Navy fighters, the lumbering Japanese transport was spotted by a group
of Hellcats. The swift Grummans dove out of the sky, streaking after their
There was never any doubt of the outcome. For several minutes, perhaps, the
consummate skill of Hiroyoshi Nishizawa staved off the inevitable. But there was
nothing, really, that he could do. The streamers of tracer bullets from the
Hellcats bracketed the old transport with their flashing lines. Bullets tore
into the bodies of the pilots in the cabin, smashed into the engines,
pounded the wings, slashed open the fuel tanks with fingers of fire. Twisting,
dodging, skidding and slipping wildly, Nishizawa at least made the enemy fighter
pilots marvel at their quarry.
And then it was over. A mushrooming ball of flame speared through the trees,
leaped upward from the jungle as the Hellcats arced around in climbing turns.
No one among them would ever know if he was the man to send to his death the
brilliant Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, Ace of Aces of the Imperial Navy of Japan, victor
over more than one hundred American aircraft shot down in battle.
1. Mabalacat is located on Luzon Island, not Cebu
Island. Cebu is far to the south of Mabalacat.
2. This makes no sense, because Clark Air Field
is next to Mabalacat.
3. Both Clark and Mabalacat are next to each other
on Luzon Island, and Cebu Island is far to the south. Therefore, it is not
possible for Nishizawa to have been over the jungles of Cebu on an extremely
short flight between Clark and Mabalacat. Several Japanese sources clarify that
Nishizawa was flying from Cebu Air Base to Mabalacat Air Base and was shot down
over Mindoro Island, which makes sense geographically. Inoguchi (1958, 61)
explains that Nishizawa was flying from Cebu Air Base to Clark Field when he was
shot down in the transport plane in which he was a passenger, not the pilot.
Inoguchi, Rikihei, and Tadashi Nakajima, with Roger Pineau.
1958. The Divine Wind: Japan's Kamikaze Force in World War II.
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.