Hitoshi Imamura was a general who served in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. A native of Sendai city, Miyagi Prefecture, Imamura’s father was a judge. Imamura graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1907 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry on 26 December of that year, he was promoted to lieutenant in November 1910 and attended the Army War College in 1915. He was promoted to captain in 1917, was sent to England as a military attaché the following year, he was promoted to major in August 1922 and to lieutenant-colonel in August 1926. In April 1927, he was appointed as a military attaché to British India. Promoted to colonel on 1 August 1930, he held staff positions in the Operations Section of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from 1931-1932, his younger brother was Imamura Hosaku, an officer in the Kwantung Army who fought in Chinese Civil War as a mercenary for the Nationalists. With the January 28 Incident of 1932, he was sent to take command of the IJA 57th Infantry Regiment.
On his return to Japan, he became Commandant of the Narashino Army School from 1932-1935. In March 1935, Imamura was promoted from regimental commander to brigade commander of the IJA 40th Infantry Brigade with the rank of major general, he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff, of the Kwangtung Army in Manchukuo in March 1936. He was recalled to Japan to assume the post of Commandant of the Toyama Army Infantry School from 1937-1938. Promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in March 1938, Imamura was given command of the IJA 5th Division based in China, which he continued to command in the early stages of the Second Sino-Japanese War to 1940. From 1940-1941, he was Deputy Inspector-General of Military Training, deputy to one of the most powerful officials in the Japanese Army, he was subsequently appointed Commander in chief of the Twenty Third Army. Imamura became the commander of the Sixteenth Army in November 1941, was directed to lead that army in the invasion of the Dutch East Indies.
As his fleet approached Java, during the invasion, his transport, the Shinshu Maru, was sunk by torpedoes by friendly fire, in the Battle of Sunda Strait and he was forced to swim to shore. Imamura adopted an unusually lenient policy towards the local population of the former Dutch East Indies, in conflict with general opinions and plans of the senior staff of the Southern Army and Imperial General Headquarters. However, his policies won much support from the population and helped to mildly reduce the difficulties of the Japanese military occupation. In late 1942, he assumed command of the new Eighth Area Army, responsible for the Seventeenth Army in the Solomon Islands Campaign and the Eighteenth Army in the New Guinea Campaign. Imamura was based at Rabaul in New Britain. Imamura was promoted to full General in 1943. Along with the naval commander at Rabaul, Vice Admiral Jinichi Kusaka, Imamura surrendered the Japanese forces in New Guinea and the southern Pacific Islands to Australian forces, representing the Allies, in September 1945.
Imamura was detained at Rabaul by the Australian Army, as he and troops under his command were accused of war crimes, including the execution of Allied prisoners of war, were held for a military tribunal. In April 1946, Imamura wrote to the Australian commander at Rabaul, requesting that his own trial for war crimes be expedited in order to speed the prosecution of war criminals under his command. Imamura was charged with "unlawfully to discharge his duty...to control the members of his command, whereby they committed brutal atrocities and other high crimes...". He was tried by an Australian military court at Rabaul on May 1–16, 1947. Imamura served his imprisonment at Sugamo Prison, in Tokyo, until he was released in 1954. Gailey, Harry A.. Bougainville, 1943-1945: The Forgotten Campaign. Lexington, Kentucky, USA: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-9047-9.- neutral review of this book here: Hayashi, Saburo. Kogun: The Japanese Army in the Pacific War. Marine Corps. Association. ASIN B000ID3YRK.
Post, Peter. The Encyclopedia of Indonesia in the Pacific War. Leiden, Boston: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-16866 4. Ammenthorp, Steen. "Imamura Hitoshi". The Generals of World War II. Budge, Kent. "Imamura Hitoshi". Pacific War Online Encyclopedia. Chen, Peter. "Imamua Hitoshi". WW2 Database
Michitarō Komatsubara was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, during the Nomonhan Incident. A native of Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture, where his father was a naval engineer, Komatsubara graduated from the 18th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1905, he served as a military attaché to Russia from 1909–1910, became fluent in the Russian language. After his return to Japan, he was assigned to a number of staff positions within the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff and Supreme War Council. In 1914, he was part of the World War I Japanese Expeditionary Force at the Battle of Tsingtao. On Komatsubara's return to Japan in 1915, he graduated from the 27th class of the Army Staff College and was assigned as commander of the IJA 34th Infantry Regiment. From 1919, Komatsubara was assigned to the Soviet Branch of the 4th Section, 2nd Bureau, of the Army General Staff. After spending 1926–1927 as an instructor at the War College, he returned to Moscow again as a military attache from 1927–1929.
After Komatsubara returned again to Japan, he became commander of the IJA 57th Infantry Regiment from 1930–1932. Two years he became Chief of the Harbin Special Agency in Manchukuo, he was promoted to major general in 1934 and returned to Japan to take command of the IJA 8th Infantry Brigade. Subsequently, from 1936–1937, he was commander of the 1st Imperial Guards Brigade. Promoted to lieutenant general in 1936, he was reassigned to Manchukuo as commander of the IJA 23rd Division, served on the staff of the Kwangtung Army, he retired from the army on 31 January 1940, after more than 35 years of military service. While in retirement he joined the National Policy Research Association attending meetings, sharing his knowledge and experience of both the Russians and the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. Although General Komatsubara had an air of gentleness about him, he carried a sense of gloom, he was admitted to the Tokyo University hospital. Transferred to the army medical school, the 54-year-old general died on 6 October 1940, less than eight months after retiring from the army
Hatazō Adachi was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Adachi was born into an impoverished samurai family in Ishikawa Prefecture in 1890. Too poor to afford the military preparatory schools necessary for a career in the Imperial Japanese Navy, as a youth he tested into the fiercely competitive Tokyo Cadet Academy, which enabled him to enter the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, from which he graduated from the 22nd class in 1910. Adachi served with the 1st Imperial Guards Division, graduated from the 34th class of the Army War College in 1922. Unlike many Army officers of his day, Adachi avoided involvement in the political factions which plagued the Japanese Army in the 1930s. After serving in a number of staff and administrative positions within the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, Adachi was assigned to the Railway Guard unit of the Kwangtung Army, responsible for the security of the South Manchuria Railway in 1933. Adachi was promoted to colonel in 1934, was given command of the IJA 12th Infantry Regiment in 1936.
During the Shanghai Incident of July 1937, Adachi gained a reputation of leading his troops from the front, where the fighting was the thickest. He was injured by a mortar barrage in September, he was promoted to major general in 1938, promoted to commander of the IJA 26th Infantry Brigade. Adachi had a reputation as a "soldier's general", sharing the miserable living conditions of his troops and welcoming open discussion with his officer and staff. Promoted to lieutenant general in August 1940, he was commander of the IJA 37th Division at the Battle of South Shanxi. In 1940, he became a Chief of staff of the North China Area Army from 1941–1942, during the height of its scorched earth campaigns against the Chinese forces. On 9 November 1942, Adachi was appointed commander in chief of the newly formed 18th Army on Rabaul and the north coast of New Guinea from 1942-1945; the 18th Army contained IJA 41st Division, both of which arrived safely. However, the IJA 51st Division, including Adachi and his senior staff, came under Allied air attack while en route from Rabaul to Lae, in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.
All eight transport ships and four destroyers were sunk with the loss of 3,664 men, only 2,427 men of the division were rescued. With the defeat of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Solomon Islands campaign, with landings of US forces led by Douglas MacArthur at Aitape and Hollandia from 22–27 April 1944, isolated the vast majority of Adachi's forces, his forces, suffering from malaria, heat exhaustion and malnutrition were rendered ineffective for the remainder of the war, despite Adachi's efforts to achieve some form of self-sufficiency by planting crops and giving priority in rations to the sick. As ammunition began to run low, many of Adachi's commanders resorted to banzai charges against the Allied beachhead at Aitape rather than surrender. By the end of the war in September 1945, most of his forces had been annihilated. Of Adachi's original 140,000 men 13,000 were still alive when the war ended, he surrendered to the Australian 6th Division by Wewak, New Guinea. At the end of the war, Adachi was taken into custody by the Australian government and charged with war crimes in connection with mistreatment and arbitrary execution of prisoners of war.
Although not involved in any of the atrocities mentioned, Adachi insisted on absorbing command responsibility for the actions of his subordinates during the military tribunal. On 12 July 1947 he was sentenced to imprisonment for life. On 10 September that year he killed himself in his quarters with a paring knife in the prisoners' compound at Rabaul, having first written a number of letters. In one of these, addressed to those officers and men of the Eighteenth Army who were in the compound, he said: "I felt it a great honour to have been appointed the C-in-C in November 1942, at a time when the issue of the day was to be settled, posted to the point of strategic importance in order to ensure that the tide of war moved in our favour. I was thankful for that appointment. However, notwithstanding the fact that my officers and men did their best in the exceptional circumstances, surmounting all difficulties, that my superiors gave the utmost assistance, the hoped-for end was not attained, because of my inability.
Thus I paved the way for my country to be driven into the present predicament. The crime deserves death. During the past three years of operations more than 100,000 youthful and promising officers and men were lost and most of them died of malnutrition; when I think of this, I know not what apologies to make to His Majesty the Emperor and I feel that I myself am overwhelmed with shame.... I have demanded perseverance far exceeding the limit of man's endurance of my officers and men, who were exhausted and emaciated as a result of successive campaigns and for want of supplies. However, my officers and men all followed my orders in silence without grumbling, when exhausted, they succumbed to death just like flowers falling in the winds. God knows how I felt when I saw them dying, my bosom being filled with pity for them, though it was to their country that they dedicated their lives. At that time I made up my mind not to set foot on my country's soil again but to remain as a clod of earth in the Southern Seas with the 100,000 officers and men if a time should come when I would be able to return to my country in triumph."
Hayashi, Saburo. Kogun
Otozō Yamada was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. A native of Nagano Prefecture, Yamada graduated from the 14th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1903, he was taught as an instructor at the academy. He was promoted to captain in September 1912, graduated from the 24th class of the Army Staff College in November. A cavalry officer, his rise through the ranks was steady, he was promoted to major in June 1918 and appointed an instructor at the army cavalry school, receiving a promotion to lieutenant-colonel in August 1922. In August 1925, he was promoted to appointed commander of the IJA 26th Cavalry Regiment. In 1926, he was Chief of Staff of the Chosen Army, he served in the communications section of the 3rd Bureau of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from 1927–1930. Yamada was appointed Commandant of the Cavalry School. From 1931–1932, he returned to the field as commander of the IJA 4th Cavalry Brigade, before resuming a number of administrative positions to 1937.
He was promoted to lieutenant general in August 1934. With the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Yamada was named commander of the IJA 12th Division, based in Manchukuo, he became commander of the IJA 3rd Army in 1938, that of the Central China Expeditionary Army from 1938–1939. Yamada was promoted to full general in August 1940, was recalled to Japan to assume the post of Inspector-General of Military Training from 1940–1944, he served as a member of the Supreme War Council during this period. In July 1944, Yamada returned to Manchukuo as final commander in chief of the Kwantung Army, but soon advised Imperial General Headquarters that it would be impossible to hold the border with the Soviet Union with the forces allocated. With no aid forthcoming from Japan, Yamada attempted to organize large numbers of poorly trained conscripts and volunteers into eight new infantry divisions and seven new infantry brigades; when the Soviet Army invaded Manchuria on 9 August 1945, Yamada's makeshift forces were shattered within days.
At the surrender of Japan, Yamada was taken as a prisoner of war to Khabarovsk in the Soviet Union, where he was a defendant in the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials and sentenced to 25 years in a Soviet labor camp for war crimes related to the activities of Unit 731. Yamada was released in 1956 and was repatriated to Japan where he died in 1965. Frank, Richard B.. Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-100146-1. Fuller, Richard. Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN 1-85409-151-4. Hayashi, Saburo. Quantico, VA: The Marine Corps Association. Ammenthorp, Steen. "Yamada, Otozo". The Generals of World War II. Wendel, Marcus. "List of Commanders of the Kwantung Army". Axis History Factbook
Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni
General Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni was a Japanese imperial prince, a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Army and the 30th Prime Minister of Japan from 17 August 1945 to 9 October 1945, a period of 54 days. An uncle-in-law of Emperor Hirohito twice over, Prince Higashikuni was the only member of the Japanese imperial family to head a cabinet and was the last general officer of the Imperial Japanese military to become Prime Minister, he was the founder of the Chiba Institute of Technology. Prince Naruhiko was born in Kyoto, the ninth son of Prince Kuni Asahiko and the court lady Terao Utako, his father, Prince Asahiko, was a son of Prince Fushimi Kuniie, the twentieth head of the Fushimi-no-miya, the oldest of the sesshu shinnōke or cadet branches of the imperial dynasty from whom an emperor might be chosen in default of a direct heir. Prince Naruhiko was a half-brother of Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi, the father of the future Empress Kōjun, the wife of Emperor Hirohito, his other half-brothers, Prince Asaka Yasuhiko, Prince Nashimoto Morimasa, Prince Kaya Kuninori, all formed new branches of the imperial family during the Meiji period.
Emperor Meiji granted Prince Naruhiko the title Higashikuni-no-miya and permission to start a new branch of the imperial family on 3 November 1906. Prince Naruhiko married the ninth daughter of Emperor Meiji, Princess Toshiko, on 18 May 1915; the couple had four sons. Prince Higashikuni Morihiro. Prince Moromasa. Prince Akitsune. Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko was a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Army. In 1908, he graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy as a second lieutenant, was promoted to lieutenant in 1910 and to captain in 1913. In 1914, he graduated from the Army War College, he was commissioned a captain in the 29th Infantry Brigade, promoted to major in the IJA 7th Division in 1915. Prince Higashikuni studied military tactics at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr and École Polytechnique in Paris France, from 1920 to 1926, during which time he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1920 and to colonel in 1926. Always somewhat of a rebel, Prince Higashikuni's behavior in Paris scandalized the Imperial Court.
He had a French mistress, enjoyed high living. He left his wife and children in Japan, the death of his second son did not prompt his return. In 1926, the Imperial Household Ministry dispatched a chamberlain to Paris to collect him. Upon his return to Japan, he was assigned to the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Headquarters. Promoted to major-general in August 1930 and appointed commander of the 5th Infantry Brigade, he was promoted to lieutenant-general in August 1934 and given command of the IJA 4th Division. After the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, he headed the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service, the IJA 2nd Army stationed in China from 1938–1939, he was promoted to general in August 1939. According to a memo discovered by historian Yoshiaki Yoshimi, Prince Higashikuni authorized the use of poison gas against the Chinese on 16 August 1938. On 13 May 1939 the Imperial General Headquarters authorized the use of poison gas to Japanese Northern China Area Army（大陸指第四百五十二号). Only riot control agents were used till then.
Prince Higashikuni moved to the post at home dated 4 January 1939. Promoted to full general, The prince was awarded the Order of the Golden Kite, 1st Class in 1940. Before the start of the Second World War, on 15 October 1941, outgoing Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe proposed Prince Higashikuni to Emperor Hirohito as his successor for prime minister. Konoe believed that only a member of the Imperial Family with a distinguished military background could restrain the pro-war faction led by Generals Hajime Sugiyama, Hideki Tōjō, Akira Mutō. Prince Higashikuni was the choice of both Chief of Staffs of the Army and the Navy. However, both Emperor Hirohito and the Lord Privy Seal, Kido Kōichi, believed that it would be inappropriate for a member of the Imperial Family to serve in that position, as he could be blamed for anything which went wrong in the war. Thus, two days Hirohito chose General Hideki Tōjō as Prime Minister. In 1946, he explained this decision: "I thought Prince Higashikuni suitable as Chief of Staff of the Army.
Above all, in time of peace this is fine, but when there is a fear that there may be a war more considering the welfare of the imperial house, I wonder about the wisdom of a member of the Imperial family serving."Six weeks Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. During the early stages of the Pacific War, Prince Higashikuni served as commander of the General Defense Command from 1941 to 1944. Prince Higashikuni remained steadfast in his opposition to the war with the Allied powers, was part of the conspiracy which ousted Tōjō in July 1944 following the fall of Saipan to American forces; the American researchers with SCAP found out that he had planned towards the end of the war t
Yasuji Okamura was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army, commander-in-chief of the China Expeditionary Army from November 1944 to the end of World War II. He was found not guilty of any war crime by the Shanghai War Crimes Tribunal after the war. Born in Tokyo in 1884, Okamura enrolled in Sakamachi Elementary School and graduated eight years later. In 1897, he entered Waseda Junior High School. In 1898, he was transferred to Tokyo Junior Army School, was transferred to Army Central Junior School later. Okamura entered the 16th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1899 and graduated in 1904, his classmates included Kenji Doihara and Ando Rikichi. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the IJA 1st Infantry Regiment. In 1910, Okamura entered the 25th class of the Army War College, was promoted to captain soon after graduation in 1913, he served in a number of staff positions on the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff during and after World War I. He moved to China in the early 1920s, served as a military advisor to a Chinese warlord.
From 1932 to 1933, Okamura was Vice chief-of-staff of the Shanghai Expeditionary Army under the aegis of the Kwantung Army. According to Okamura's own memoirs, he played a role in the recruitment of comfort women from Nagasaki prefecture to serve in military brothels in Shanghai, he served as military attaché to Manchukuo from 1933-1934. Okamura was promoted to lieutenant general in 1936, assigned command of the IJA 2nd Division. In 1938, a year after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Okamura was assigned as the commander in chief of the Japanese Eleventh Army, which participated in numerous major engagements in the Second Sino-Japanese War, notably the Battles of Wuhan and Changsha. According to historians Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno, Okamura was authorized by Emperor Hirohito to use chemical weapons during those battles. In April 1940, Okamura was promoted to the rank of full general. In July 1941, he was appointed the commander-in-chief of the Northern China Area Army. In December 1941, Okamura received Imperial General Headquarters Order Number 575 authorizing the implementation of the Three Alls Policy in north China, aimed at breaking the Chinese Red Army.
According to historian Mitsuyoshi Himeta, the scorched earth campaign was responsible for the deaths of "more than 2.7 million" Chinese civilians. In 1944, Okamura was overall commander of the massive and successful Operation Ichigo against airfields in southern China, while retaining personal command of the Japanese Sixth Area Army. A few months he was appointed the commander-in-chief of the China Expeditionary Army; as late as January 1945, Okamura was still confident of the victory of Japan in China. With the surrender of Japan on 15 August 1945, Okamura represented the Imperial Japanese Army in the China Burma India Theater official surrender ceremony held at Nanjing on 9 September 1945. General Okamura is the first confirmed officer in the Japanese army who instituted forced prostitution. Known as the system of "comfort women", his order can be traced back to 1932 with documentation of Japanese Lieutenant-General Okamura Yasuji’s proposal for a “shipment” of comfort women to be sent to Shanghai.
After the war, Okamura was found not guilty of any war crimes in January 1949 by the Shanghai War Crimes Tribunal. Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek retained him as a military adviser for the Nationalist Government. While he was questioned by the investigators, he testified about the Nanking massacre: "I surmised the following based on what I heard from Staff Officer Miyazaki, CCAA Special Service Department Chief Harada and Hangzhou Special Service Department Chief Hagiwara a day or two after I arrived in Shanghai. First, it is true that tens of thousands of acts of violence, such as looting and rape, took place against civilians during the assault on Nanking. Second, front-line troops indulged in the evil practice of executing POWs on the pretext of rations." Okamura returned to Japan in 1949 and died in 1966. Bix, Herbert P.. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-093130-2. Dupuy, Trevor N.. Encyclopedia of Military Biography. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85043-569-3.
Fuller, Richard. Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN 1-85409-151-4. Hayashi, Saburo. Quantico, VA: The Marine Corps Association. Ammenthorp, Steen. "Okamura, Yasuji". The Generals of World War II. Budge, Kent. "Okamura Yatsutsuga". Pacific War Online Encyclopedia. Chen, Peter. "Yasuji Okamura". WW2 Database