Captain Ryoko Azuma (東 良子) (born December 10, 1973) is the first woman to become the chief of a warship unit in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. She was also a member of the first female class at the National Defense Academy of Japan.


Ryoko Azuma
Native name
BornDecember 10, 1973
Service/branchJapan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Commands held1st Escort Division


After graduating from high school, Azuma entered the National Defense Academy of Japan in 1992, where she was one of the first women to enter the academy.[1] In March 1996, she entered the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. She became the vice captain of JDS Kashima, and in March 2013 she became the captain of JS Setoyuki.[2] Alongside Miho Otani, she was the first woman to become the captain of a training ship.[3] In 2014 Azuma became the first female captain to conduct a deep sea navigation training.[4] On January 1, 2015, she was official promoted to the rank of colonel. On March 23, 2016, she transferred to the Maritime Staff Office.

On March 6, 2018, she became the commander of 1st Escort Division [ja], and was the first woman to command a warship squadron for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.[5][6] The squadron is made up of four warships and the helicopter carrier JS Izumo.[7] On August 5, 2018, she took command of a mission to deal with the pirates in the Gulf of Aden in Somalia.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "<VOICE> 女性自衛官の声-各地で活躍する防大女子1期生-". 防衛白書. 2012. Retrieved 2017-01-10.
  2. ^ a b Kato, Masaya (July 20, 2019). "Trailblazing female commander leads Japan's top naval squadron". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  3. ^ "海自「艦長の夢かなった」". 福島民報. 2013-03-22. Archived from the original on March 27, 2013. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  4. ^ "海上自衛隊:活動内容:平成26年度遠洋練習航海". Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  5. ^ INC, SANKEI DIGITAL (2018-03-06). "女性初の護衛隊司令着任 東良子1等海佐「職責に集中」". 産経ニュース (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  6. ^ "Japan's navy appoints first woman to command warship squadron". Reuters. 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  7. ^ "Meet Ryoko Azuma, Japan navy's first female chief of warship unit". The Economic Times. 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2019-09-26.