In January 2007, wreckage of a former Japanese Army fighter, which crashed in Bataan Peninsula, the southern Luzon Island in the Philippines, was discovered. The wreckage was found by the search team organized by the people related to the US Army Air Corps pilot who crashed with the Japanese fighter. It is believed that due to the type of the engine, etc., the wreckage is from the plane piloted by Sgt. Kurosawa Toshisada of the 50th Air Regiment of the Japanese Army. Mr. Sugahara Kan, a resident of Hayama-machi, Kanagawa-ken and WWII historian, who has been corroborating with the search of Sgt. Kurosawa’s plane says, “The wreckage is very valuable to the Kurosawa family,” and has been exploring the relatives of Sgt. Kurosawa.
According to the records and newspapers published both in the US and Japan, on February 9, 1942, Sgt. Kurosawa and his 5 comrades who were aboard Type 97 fighters engaged in dogfights with the US fighters. Sgt. Kurosawa, while chasing one of the P-40s piloted by a USAAC officer, crashed near the summit of cloud covered Mt. Mariveles on Bataan Peninsula, and has been missing since.
The people related to this USAAC officer organized a search team, and searched for the wreckage of the US and Japanese fighters since the beginning of this year. At the end of January, they discovered the wreckage of the engine, etc., of the fighter.
At the request of the search team, Mr. Sugahara showed the photos of the engine and accessories to specialists, who concluded that the engine was installed on a Type 97 fighter due to the number of the cylinders and the shapes of the accessories. Since there was no other Type 97 fighter that crashed in the area, it is believed the wreckage is from Sgt. Kurosawa’s plane.
The US fighter has not been discovered yet, and the search will continue. Currently, the team has part of the wreckage of Sgt. Kurosawa’s plane under its custody. However, most of the wreckage still remains in the mountains. The search team leader says that they would be willing to provide any assistance necessary with the Kurosawa family, should they wish to visit the site where Sgt. Kurosawa crashed.
According to the record of the 50th Air Regiment Veterans’ Association (dissolved), Sgt. Kurosawa’s next of kin, Mr. Kurosawa Setsusuke(?) lived in Nishi 5, Kita 16 Jo (present Kita-ku), Sapporo-City. Those who happen to know Sgt. Kurosawa’s family are kindly requested to contact Mr. Sugahara at (phone number).
[Photo of Spike holding the MG part]
Caption: A US member of the team holds a MG part, which Sgt. Kurosawa’s plane was considered to be equipped with. (Courtesy of the search team)
Due to the space available, in addition to the above-mentioned photo, the Kanto (Tokyo) and Hokkaido District editions carried a photo of the engine.