Miura Gorō

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Viscount Miura Gorō
Miura Goro.jpg
General Miura Gorō
BornJanuary 1, 1847
Hagi, Chōshū Domain, Japan
DiedJanuary 28, 1926(1926-01-28) (aged 79)
Tokyo, Japan
AllegianceEmpire of Japan
Service/branchWar flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
RankLieutenant General
Battles/warsBoshin War
Satsuma Rebellion
Other workPrivy Council

Viscount Miura Gorō (三浦 梧楼, 1 January 1847 – 28 January 1926) was a lieutenant general in the early Imperial Japanese Army.

Biography[edit]

Miura was born in Hagi in Chōshū Domain (modern Yamaguchi Prefecture), to a samurai family with the name of Andō, but was adopted by the Miura.[1] After studying at the Meirinkan clan military academy, he entered the Kiheitai irregular militia of the Chōshū domain and played an active role in the Boshin War to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate, he fought at the Battle of Hokuetsu[1]. He later held various posts in Army-Navy Ministry under the Meiji government and was commander of the Hiroshima District, he helped suppress the Hagi Rebellion in his native Chōshū[1]. During the Satsuma Rebellion, he served as commander of the Army's Third Brigade during the Battle of Tabaruzaka[2].

In 1882, Miura was appointed commander of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy[2]. In 1884, he accompanied Ōyama Iwao on a tour of Europe, to study the military systems in various western countries, and favoured an army organisation modelled after the French, and on his return became commander of the Tokyo Garrison. However, Miura come into increasing conflict with the Army leadership under General Yamagata Aritomo over conscription policies, the need for a large standing army, and the government's fire-safe of the assets of the Hokkaidō Colonization Office, as well as Aritomo's favouritism for an army modelled after that of Prussia[2]. Yamagata and Prince Arisugawa blocked a move by Emperor Meiji to appoint Miura as Chief of staff of the Ministry of the Army in 1886, and he was transferred from Tokyo to the Kumamoto Garrison. Miura resigned rather than accept the demotion, but remained an outspoken critic of Yamagata and the direction he was taking the Imperial Japanese Army[2], he became a leading member of the Getsuyōkai, an army fraternal association which had been established by the largely-French trained first graduating classes of the Army Academy. While the Getsuyōkai's main purpose was to encourage research into the latest military developments, under Miura the association's journal, Getsuyōkai kiji, published scathing critics of Yamataga and other army leaders, and promoted the concept of a small, defensive army. Stung by the unceasing criticism, Yamagata ordered Miura into the secondary reserves and ordered the Getsuyōkai disbanded in 1889[2].

Miura, who had been elevated to the title shishaku (viscount) under the kazoku peerage system in 1884, was appointed a member of the House of Peers from 1890, and became president of the Gakushuin Peers School from 1892.

In September 1895, Miura was appointed Japan’s resident minister in Korea, succeeding Inoue Kaoru. Miura was increasingly concerned over growing Russian influence over the Korean government, and less than a month after his arrival in Korea, Empress Myeongseong ordered the disbanding of the Japanese-trained Hullyeondae militia. Miura saw this as a first step in an attempt to remove pro-Japanese members of the government and loyalists to the Heungseon Daewongun, which would then lead to Russian intervention. Miura then staged a counter-coup, assassinating the Empress; however, this plan backfired due to international outrage over the incident, widespread anti-Japanese violence throughout Korea, the arrest of pro-Japanese government officials and King Gojong seeking shelter in the Russian consulate. Miura initially denied any Japanese involvement in the incident, despite eye-witness accounts otherwise, and the Japanese government issued a statement that he had acted independently, without instructions from Tokyo[2]. Miura was recalled to Japan and placed on a trial with the involved military personnel at the Hiroshima District Court; the trial was held for political purposes to give an impression of rule of law to western nations. Miura's attorney argued in defense, that killing is not murder when done to achieve political supremacy with Miura even admitting to the assassination. Nonetheless, the court found him not guilty on technical grounds of insufficient evidence and Miura and cohorts emerged from trial as national heroes.[3]

Later, after the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty in 1910, Miura became a privy councilor and focused on eliminating vestiges of the clan-based factionalism from politics, gaining a reputation as an Éminence grise for fixing issues "behind-the-scenes". On his death of uremia in 1926 he was posthumously awarded the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers.

Popular culture[edit]

Awards and decorations[edit]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Lanman, Charles (1883). Leading men of Japan. with an historical summary of the empire. D. Lathrop and company. pp. 132–133. ASIN B002WU3D8M.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Drea, Edward J (2009). Japan's Imperial Army: Its Rise and Fall, 1853-1945. University Press of Kansas. pp. 44–75. ISBN 0700616632.
  3. ^ Chung, Henry (1921). The Case of Korea: A collection of evidence on the Japanese domination of Korea, and on the development of the Korean Independence Movement. New York, Chicago, London and Edingurgh: Fleming H. Revell Company. p. 327. ISBN 978-1-104-57912-8. Notwithstanding these facts, there is no sufficient evidence to prove that any of the accused actually committed the crime originally meditated by the,. Neither is there sufficient evidence to establish the charge that Hirayama Iwahiko killed Li Koshoku, the Korean Minister of the Household, in front of the Kon-Chong palace.
    As to the accused, Shiba Shiro, Osaki Masakichi, Yoshida Hanji, Mayeda Shunzo, Hirayama Katsukuma, and Hiraishi Yoshitarom there is not sufficient evidence to show that they were in any way connected with the affair.
    For these reasons the accused, each and all, are hereby discharged in accordance with the provisions of article 165 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The accused, Miura Goro, Sugimura Fukashi, Okamoto Ryunosuke, Adachi Kenzo, Kunimoto Shigeakira, Terasaki Taikichi, Hirayama Iwabiko, Nakamura Takewo, Fuji Masahira, Iyuri Kakichi, Kiwaki Sukenori, and Sokoi Masutaro, are hereby released from confinement; the documents and other articles seized in connection with this case are restored to their respective owners.
    Given at Hiroshima Local Court by Yoshida Yoshihide, Judge of Preliminary Enquiry; Tamura Yoshiharu, Clerk of the Court.

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