Profile no 3. Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Reisen

Red BII-120, flown by Ippiso Shigenori Nishikaichi, Hiryu Kokutai, carrier Hiryu/North of Oahu/Hawaii, 7 December 1941
One of the losses during the attack on Pearl Harbor was Petty Officer 1st class Shigenori Nishikaichi. While participating in the second wave, his aircraft was damaged during a dogfight with P-36 Mohawks. Nishikaichi headed back to the safety of his carrier streaming fuel but soon had no option but to make an emergency landing on Niíhau Island. This island was pre-selected for just such an emergency, and a submarine had been posted off-shore for the rescue of any airman. Contrary to Japanese beliefs however, this island was actually inhabited by a New Zealand family named Robinson, there to preserve its wildlife habitat and the native population. When Nishikaichi put his Zero down, it flipped over and knocked him unconscious. A native farmer rushed to the pilot's aid, taking his pistol and documents as well. As Shigenori spoke only rudimentary English a Japanese farmer on the Island was summoned. The farmer Harada was informed of the attack by Nishikaichi, who at the same time pleaded to the farmer's loyalties to retrieve his weapon and maps and escort him to the rescue beach. As the island had no electricity and no connection to the outside world, and although attempting to contact the submarine with the Zero´s radio, the whole affair came to an end after six days. In desperation Harada stole a shotgun and together with Nishikaichi they entered the township and took some hostages. They were soon overpowered however and Nishikaich was killed. Cornered by hostile Islanders, Harada shot himself. This debacle was later dubbed the "The Niihau Incident".

Note that this is another of the 130 profiles/captions included in my new Pacific Fighter Book.

© Claes Sundin 2019