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More On Giant WW2 Japanese
Sub I-400 Found Off Hawaii

By Harry Cooper
President, Sharkhunters International


Thanks to all who sent clips and notices about this boat.......especially those who sent the clip of the two Hawaiian newscasters who kept gushing about the "Japanese Spy Submarine".  

 I-400 and her sister I-401 were anything but spy submarines.  They were massive submarines, the biggest diesel boats ever built at some 400 feet long.In addition to her guns, mostly anti-aircraft, these boats had a watertight hangar that could hold three seaplanes.  I-400 and I-401 along with another large Japanese boat I-219, were en route to bomb the Panama Canal with their floatplanes.  Germany had already surrendered and there was a mad rush to move as many American troops and war materiel to the Pacific to fight against Japan as possible and as quickly as possible.  



The Japanese understandably wanted to prevent this as they were already on the verge of their own surrender so the logical step would be to shut down the Panama Canal, thereby forcing American convoys to go around one of the southern Capes to reach the Pacific.  As our Far Eastern Representative YOYA KAWAMURA (1739-LIFE-1991) put it some years ago: "It was like rushing to put out a fire on the horizon when your own kimono is ablaze."

 The Japanese surrender came before they could reach the Canal and the boats were taken over on the high seas by US Navy personnel.  



The Aichi M6AI Seiran aircraft, three of these were carried by the I-400 class Japanese Submarines.USS Greenlet, Submarine rescue ship.

There is more to this story that they haven't picked up on as yet.  The Skipper of this boat was Korvettenkapitaen Tatsunosuke Ariizumi.  When he was Skipper of submarine I-8, he was guilty of terrible atrocities including having survivors they had pulled from the water having their hands tied behind them and one by one, forced to run the gauntlet on the afterdeck between two rows of I-8 sailors armed with knives, machetes and clubs, hacking them to death.  If anyone made it through this gauntlet, there was a large Japanese sailor with a rifle with fixed bayonet ready to spear the man and pitch him overboard like a side of beef.  

 Our Member WILLIAM FLURRY (4183-1995) was one of a handful of those who survived this ordeal when his ship SS JEAN NICOLETTE was sunk and the survivors brought aboard I-8 for this torture.  He and a handful of others survived because after some had already been killed by the crew and their gauntlet, a destroyer came over the horizon and Ariizumi had to dive to escape.  He dived I-8, leaving a dozen or so survivors still on the foredeck, hands still tied behind their backs.  Some, like FLURRY, were able to remain afloat until the destroyer rescued them.
 An American prize crew took over the I-400 and I-401 boats but left a small part of the Japanese crew aboard to operate the submarine until they got back to port, now in American hands.  The guys in the US Navy prize crew were not aware of the prior atrocities committed by I-400 Captain Ariizumi as they were bringing these boats back to Japan but the ONI did know and they were waiting to arrest Ariizumi when the boat docked.

 Surprise!  When they went in to take him off the boat, Ariizumi was nowhere to be found.  The crew explained that in the previous night, Ariizumi had taken his own life and the crew put his body overboard while they were underway.  A check of the route they took on their return showed that the boat had passed very close to a point of land, giving way to the speculation that Ariizumi had merely slipped over the side and swam ashore.
 Please feel free to pass this on to your local news outlets - TV, radio and print, to let them know there is more to the story than merely finding this boat.  Incidentally, our Member DONALD PIERSON (4373-1995) rode I-401 as part of the US Navy prize crew that subsequently brought her to Pearl Harbor after the war.
 Harry Cooper
 Sharkhunters International
 The World's ONLY International Source of U-Boat History
 EarthLink Revolves Around You.

For a fascinating account of the I-400's surrender and transpacific voyage in American hands after the war, go here



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