After the war, Douglas MacArthur prohibited publishing war memoirs and stories until the Peace Pact was signed in 1951. It was a blank period of the war memories. After that, however, many books started to be published. At that time I was busy studying before and after entering university. Since I began to work in the textile industry in 1957, I read books of war stories, especially, on the Naval aviation at leisure time. I was a mere reader. When Capt Genda’s memoir was published in 1962, I was fascinated at the 343 Kokutai. Incidentally, TEIJIN LIMITED I worked for had its main polyester fiber plant at Matsuyama. The company had bought a wide area of the old Matsuyama Navy Airfield after the war. The main runway was used for civilian airlines but the company’s plants were located on the both sides. I often visited Matsuyama on business in the 1970 to 80’s. I never forgot the old activities of the Shiden-Kais and collected newspaper and magazine articles and books on them.
The 343 Kokutai pilots flew single-engined Kawanishi N1K2-J ("violet lightning-improved" in Japanese) fighters, which performedimpressively in battle in comparison to other fighters such as the Zero. Thebook does not include any total summary statistics of battle results of the 343Kokutai, probably due to significant differences between Japanese and Americanpilot claims and actual losses during major battles. However, the book doesprovide some statistics. The Introduction statesthat 88 pilots from the 343 Kokutai died in battle (Appendix lists 91 names of pilots killed inaction), and many individual chapters on major battles provide figures onplanes downed and casualties for each side.
World War II created many squadrons of experts. Many are familiar with the Luftwaffe's JV-44, but far fewer are aware of the Imperial Navy's equivalent, the 343rd Kokutai, commanded by Captain Minoru Genda.