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Lt. Saburo Sakai (autographed by Saburo Sakai & Masajiro “Mike” Kawato ) ~ 35% Off ~ Free Shipping

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  • Saburo Sakai commemorative First Day Cover, WWII replica bullion Naval Aviator wings, autograph ink-cut signature by Saburo Sakai adhered to an ace playing card and second Ace Card with a pencil-cut signature of Masajiro “Mike” Kawatoa fragment skin piece off of the wing of an A6M2 Japanese Zero.
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Product Description

Frame Size 16" x 20"

 An ink cut-signature of Saburo Sakai adhered to an ace playing card and a second ace playing card signed in pencil by Masajiro “Mike” Kawato and between both   

signed ace cards is a 1¼” x 2¼” aluminum wing skin fragment piece off and A6M2 Japanese Zero. Also a replica Japanese Naval Aviator wings. Comes with a COA.


(64 victories)

 Lt. Saburo Sakai was born in Saga, Japan into a family of samurai ancestry but made a living as farmers. Sakai's father passed away when he was 11. He joined the Japanese Navy on 31 May 1933 when he was 16. Upon graduation, he served as a turret gunner aboard battleship Kirishima. In 1936, he left Kirishima to join the pilot training program. He graduated first in has class in 1937 as a carrier pilot (although he never received carrier duty) and was presented a silver watch by Emperor Showa.

 During WW2, in 1938, Sakai was assigned to China flying an A5M Navy Type 96 fighter, and was slightly wounded in the following year. In Oct 1939, he shot down a Russian-built DB-3 bomber over China. In 1940, he was among those chosen to fly the new A6M Zero fighters in field tests in combat against Chinese forces. On 8 Dec 1941, as a member of Tainan Air Group based in Taiwan, he flew one of the 45 A6M Zero fighters from his unit against Clark Airfield in the Philippine Islands, downing a P-40 Warhawk fighter during that mission. On 9 Dec, he was sent to attack American targets again during bad weather. On 10 Dec, he shot down the B-17 Flying Fortress piloted by Captain Colin P. Kelly, the first B-17 to be lost in the war. In early 1942, he was transferred to Tarakan Island in Borneo and fought in the Dutch East Indies. Initially ordered to down all Allied aircraft regardless of military or civilian, but at one incidence, he allowed a Dutch DC-3 passenger liner to go unharmed after he spotted a blond woman with a child through one of the passenger windows. Between late Jan and Apr 1942, he was grounded due to illness.

 At the rank of petty officer first class, Sakai re-joined the Tainan Air Group in Apr 1942, now based at Lae, New Guinea. On 17 May, together with fellow aces Hiroyoshi Nishizawa and Toshio Ohta, the three young pilots pulled a stunt of performing aerial acrobatics over an Allied airfield; the performance was done without any anti-aircraft fire, but they were later scolded by commanding officer Lieutenant (jg) Junichi Sasai. His tenure in New Guinea saw the most of his kills during the Pacific War. His unit was relocated to Rabaul in New Britain, Solomon Islands on 3 Aug, just days before the Americans launched the Guadalcanal campaign. The Tainan Air Group attacked Henderson Field almost daily, and Sakai saw many engagements there. On 8 Aug 1942, he scored a killed against a F4F Wildcat fighter flown by James "Pug" Southerland over Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. After an extended dogfight where no one seemingly had a clear upper hand over, Sakai was able to hit Southerland's fighter underneath the left wing root, downing it. As he engaged SBD-3 Dauntless dive bombers from carrier Enterprise over Guadalcanal, however, he was not successful. He fired 232 rounds at one, scoring several hits but unable to disable the heavily-armored aircraft, he was hit by shots from the rear machine gun (manned by Harold L. Jones), blowing away his canopy and hitting him once in a head. Blinded in one eye by blood, he flew upside down periodically to prevent blood from blinding his other eye. "If I must die, at least I could go out as a Samurai. My death would take several of the enemy with me", he initially thought, as he felt the left side of his body paralyzed after his head wound. After a brief moment, he abandoned that idea as he realized his aircraft was in flyable condition, and he was able to control it despite his partial paralysis. he returned to Rabaul after a nearly 5-hour flight without his cockpit canopy. He insisted on making his debriefing report after landing, and collapsed immediately afterwards. His squadron mate Hiroyoshi Nishizawa drove him to the unit surgeon, who was able to stabilize his condition. He was evacuated to Yokosuka, Japan on 12 Aug where he endured a long surgery without anesthesia, repairing most of the damage to his head, but his right eye would never recover fully. He was out of commission for five months.

 Upon recovery, Sakai trained new fighter pilots. In Apr 1944, he was able to convince his superiors to let him fly again despite the poor vision in his right eye. He was deployed to Iwo Jima, Japan with the Yokosuka Air Wing. On 24 Jun, he mis-identified a group of 15 F6F Hellcat fighters as friendly and flew too close, and was attacked; he was able to shake off 20 minutes worth of attacks from these fighters and returned to base unscathed. On 5 Jul 1944, he was ordered to lead a kamikaze special attack mission, but returned to base after failing to locate the reported American task force. In Aug 1944, he was promoted to the rank of ensign, 11 years after his enlistment. In Aug 1945, just before the war ended, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant (jg).

 During the course of WWII, Saburo Sakai destroyed an estimated 64 enemy aircraft, most of which were American.

After the war, Sakai retired from the Japanese Navy at the rank of lieutenant. He became a devout Buddhist who refused to kill another living thing. He eventually started a printing shop to make a living, and hired family, friends, and fellow veterans who otherwise could not find work. He lost his first wife in 1954, and he later remarried. He visited the United States and met some of his former adversaries, including Harold L. Jones, the rear gunner who nearly killed him over Guadalcanal. In 2000, he worked briefly for Microsoft as a consultant to the game Combat Flight Simulator 2. In his later years, he was a motivational speaker for Japanese schools and businesses; his theme was always "never give up". In his final years, he attracted much attention for his criticism for Japan's inability to accept responsibility for starting the wars in Asia and the Pacific. "Who gave the orders for that stupid war?", he said in an article reported 10 Aug 2000 by the Associated Press. "The closer you get to the emperor, the fuzzier everything gets." Sakai told reporters near the end of his life that he still prayed for the souls of the Chinese, American, Australian and Dutch airmen he had killed. "I pray every day for the souls of my enemies as well as my comrades," he said. "We all did our best for our respective countries." He passed away from a heart attack in 2000.


 Lt. Masajiro “Mike” Kawato

(19 victories)

Masajiro Kawato was the oldest of seven children, and grew up in Tango-cho, north of Kyoto. He volunteered for fighter pilot school in 1941 at the incredible age of 16. He became a Zero pilot and ace who was credited with 19 kills, and suffered 17 wounds as a Japanese Naval aviator in WW2. He recounted in his auto biography how he was the pilot that shot down Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. While originally believed to be an accurate claim, some historians feel he was in error after verifying coordinates and data from flight logs and other records. Kawato himself was shot down five times. His fifth and final time near was New Britain Island. Having successfully delivered a model 21 bomb mid-stern to an Australian destroyer, he returned to drop a second from his specially modified two passenger Zero. On his third pass his plane received crippling anti-aircraft fire that seriously damaged its structural integrity and killed his communications operator. Undeterred he chose to fly his Zero into the side of the destroyer, Kamikaze style. With just 150 feet to his target, the intense gun fire from the destroyer tore the wing off and sent him full-throttle into the sea. Left for dead, he spent three days floating in the open ocean before finally washing up on the south side of New Britain Island. For two months he subsisted on not much more than snails and small lizards that had been sun-dried, coconuts and sweet potatoes taken from the fields of native farmers. Once captured, he was treated by doctors and then delivered to a P. O. W. camp in Australia. In the meantime, he had been declared dead by the Japanese military and a funeral was held. Three and a half years after he left for war, he returned home and visited the very altar where his own funeral services had been held. Kawato was just 20 years old. It took years to re-establish his condition in the legal record to that of a living person. After the war Kawato went on to be a pilot for Japan Airlines. In 1976, after years of planning and at considerable personal expense, he set out to set the single engine non-stop trans-Pacific flying record. Flying solo in a single engine Piper Comanche, Kawato flew nonstop from Japan to Crescent City, California, a trip in excess of 5000 miles and 35 hours flying time. On arriving, he was presented with numerous awards including a Resolution of Honor from the California State Assembly. In 1978, two years after moving to California, Kawato published his own account of his wartime experiences which he titled, "Bye Bye Black Sheep" which he often personally autographed at public appearances. He later moved to the Seattle area. He lived a quiet life in a little cottage tucked away in a quaint Federal Way neighborhood and passed away at the age of 76 of intestinal cancer.


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