Shigetoshi Kudo was trained as a reconnaissance pilot and was assigned to the famous Tainan Kokutai in October 1941. When the Pacific War began he supported the Kokutai by performing reconnaissance and navigation duties over the Philippines and Dutch East Indies. The unit eventually moved to Rabaul, where Kudo was credited with his first aerial victories using air-to-air bombs. Kudo returned to Japan in the fall of 1942 where he trained to fly the Nakajima J1N1 Gekko (“Irving”) nightfighter.
The Tainan Kokutai was redesignated the 251st Kokutai in November 1942, Kudo rejoining the unit in May 1943. On strength were two J1N1 nightfighters which had been modified with the addition of oblique-firing 20mm cannon on the orders of the squadron commander, CDR Yasuna Kozono. These guns were angled to fire 30 degrees above and below the line of flight, similar to the Schräge Musik installation on German nightfighters. Kudo flew the J1N1 defending Rabaul against American B-17s, eventually claiming six plus an Australian Hudson and becoming the first nightfighter ace of the Pacific War. Japanese sources credited him with nine victories.
Kudo returned to Japan in February 1944 and was assigned to the Yokosuka Air Group. He was injured in a landing accident in May 1945. He survived the war but died in 1960.