General Doihara Kenji
Doihara in 1945
|Nickname(s)||Lawrence of Manchuria, a reference to T. E. Lawrence|
|Born||8 August 1883|
Okayama prefecture, Japan
|Died||23 December 1948 65) (aged|
Sugamo Prison, Tokyo, Japan
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Service/||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Years of service||1904–1945|
|Rank|| General |
|Commands held|| 14th Division |
Seventh Area Army
|Battles/wars|| Siberian Intervention |
Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II
Kenji Doihara(土肥原 賢二Doihara Kenji, 8 August 1883 – 23 December 1948) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. He was instrumental in the Japanese invasion of Manchuria for which he earned fame taking the nickname "Lawrence of Manchuria," a reference to Lawrence of Arabia. However, according to Jamie Bisher, the flattering sobriquet was rather misapplied, as that Colonel T.E. Lawrence had fought to liberate, not to oppress people. In a war fiction by Roger J. Spiller, Lieutenant-General Ishiwara Kanji, his military chief in Manchuria, said that his heavy addiction to opium contributed to his unreliability as an army officer.
The Imperial Japanese Army was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of the Army, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ), an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, and the Inspector General of Military Training.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Japanese invasion of Manchuria began on 18 September 1931, when the Kwantung Army of the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria immediately following the Mukden Incident. After the war, the Japanese established the puppet state of Manchukuo. Their occupation lasted until the Soviet Union and Mongolia launched the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation in 1945.
As a leading intelligence officer, he played a key role to the Japanese machinations that led to the occupation of large parts of China, the destabilization of the country, and the disintegration of the traditional structure of Chinese society to diminish reaction to the Japanese plans by using highly-unconventional methods. He became the mastermind of the Manchurian drug trade and the real boss and sponsor behind every kind of gang and underworld activity in China.
After the end of World War II, he was prosecuted for war crimes in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. He was found guilty, sentenced to death, and hanged in December 1948.
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), also known as the Tokyo Trial or the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, was a military trial convened on April 29, 1946, to try the leaders of the Empire of Japan for joint conspiracy to start and wage war, conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Kenji Doihara was born in Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture. He attended military preparatory schools as a youth, and graduated from the 16th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1904. He was assigned to various infantry regiments as a junior officer, and returned to school to graduate from the 24th class of the Army Staff College in 1912.
Okayama Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūgoku region on the main island of Honshu. The capital is the city of Okayama.
The Imperial Japanese Army Academy was the principal officer's training school for the Imperial Japanese Army. The programme consisted of a junior course for graduates of local army cadet schools and for those who had completed four years of middle school, and a senior course for officer candidates.
Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.
Doihara longed for a high-ranking military career, but his family's low social status stood in the way. He therefore contrived to use his 15-year-old sister as a concubine for a prince, who in exchange, rewarded him with a military rank and a posting to the Japanese embassy in Beijing, China as assistant to the military attaché General Hideki Tōjō.After that Doihara worked more easily his way up the military ladder by taking a number of regular army posts necessary as to earn promotions. He spent most of his early career in various postings in northern China, except for a brief tour in 1921-1922 as part of the Japanese forces in eastern Russia during the Siberian Intervention. He was attached to IJA 2nd Infantry Regiment from 1926 to 1927 and IJA 3rd Infantry Regiment in 1927. In 1927, he was part of an official tour to China and then attached to IJA 1st Division from 1927 to 1928.
Beijing, alternately romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People's Republic of China, the world's third most populous city proper, and most populous capital city. The city, located in northern China, is governed as a municipality under the direct administration of central government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast; together the three divisions form the Jingjinji metropolitan region and the national capital region of China.
China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
A military attaché is a military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission. This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer who retains the commission while serving in an embassy. Opportunities sometimes arise for service in the field with military forces of another state.
He learned to speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, and other Chinese dialects and with this he managed to take a position to the military intelligence. From that post in 1928, it was he who masterminded the assassination of Zhang Zuolin, the Chinese warlord who controlled Manchuria on his way from Beijing to Shenyang ordering to blown up of his train at Shenyang. After that he was made military adviser to the Kuomintang Government until 1929. In 1930, he was promoted to colonel and commanded IJA 30th Infantry Regiment.
Mandarin is a group of related varieties of Chinese spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of Standard Mandarin or Standard Chinese. Because Mandarin originated in North China and most Mandarin dialects are found in the north, the group is sometimes referred to as the Northern dialects. Many local Mandarin varieties are not mutually intelligible. Nevertheless, Mandarin is often placed first in lists of languages by number of native speakers.
Military intelligence is a military discipline that uses information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to assist commanders in their decisions. This aim is achieved by providing an assessment of data from a range of sources, directed towards the commanders' mission requirements or responding to questions as part of operational or campaign planning. To provide an analysis, the commander's information requirements are first identified, which are then incorporated into intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination.
Zhang Zuolin was an influential Chinese bandit, soldier and warlord during the Warlord Era in China. The warlord of Manchuria from 1916 to 1928, and the military dictator of the Republic of China in 1927 and 1928, he rose from banditry to power and influence, only to be thwarted by the excesses of his own ambition and his erstwhile backers, the Japanese Kwantung Army.
Doihara's performance was recognized, and by 1930 he was assigned to the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office. There, together with Hideki Tojo, Itagaki Seishirō, Daisaku Komoto, Yoshio Kudo, Masakasu Matsumara and others, he became a chosen member of the "Eleven Reliable" circle of officers. The Eleven Reliable clique was an external tool of a more closed group of three influential senior military officers called the "Three Crows" (Tetsuzan Nagata, Yasuji Okamura and Toshishiro Obata) who wanted to modernize the Japanese military and to purge it of its anachronistic samurai tradition and the dominant allied clans of Chōshū and Satsuma that favored that tradition. The real sponsor behind both two bodies was Field Marshal Royal Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni, uncle and advisor of the Emperor Hirohito, and responsible for eight fake coups d'état, four assassinations, two religious hoaxes, and countless threats of murder and blackmails between 1930 and 1936 in his effort to neutralize the Japanese moderates, that opposed war, by spreading terror. Higashikuni highly favored covered work by faithful officers inside the intelligence departments in order to bring about the political program of his own clique named "Toseiha". This clique had a decisive materialistic, westernizing approach on the issue of the Empire's expansion, in a rather colonization-like fashion, as opposed to the rival "Kodoha" clique which was for a more "spiritual" way of expansion as an effort to liberate and unite all yellow race peoples under a racial, not nationalistic Empire. Kōdōha, headed by Gen. Sadao Araki, under the national socialistic, totalitarian and populistic philosophical influence of Ikki Kita charged Toseiha for collusion with the Zaibatsu financial conglomerate business clique, or to simply put it, for amoralism and pro-capitalism.It is not quite clear whether Doihara joined the movement for ideological or opportunistic reasons, but in any case, from then on his military career accelerated. In 1931, he became head of the military espionage operations of the Japanese Army of Manchuria in Tientsin. The following year, he was transferred to Shenyang as head of the Houten Special Agency, the military intelligence service of the Japanese Kwantung Army.
While at Tientsin, Doihara, together with Itagaki Seishirō engineered the infamous Mukden Incident by ordering Lieutenant Suemori Komoto to place and fire a bomb near the tracks at the time when a Japanese train passed through. In the event, the bomb was so unexpectedly weak and the damage of the tracks so negligible that the train passed undamaged, but the Imperial Japanese Government still blamed the Chinese military for an unprovoked attack, invaded and occupied Manchuria. During the invasion, Doihara facilitated the tactical cooperation between the Northeastern Army Generals Xi Qia in Kirin, Zhang Jinghui in Harbin and Zhang Haipeng at Taonan in the northwest of Liaoning province.
Next, Doihara took the task to return former Qing dynasty Emperor Pu Yi to Manchuria as to give legitimacy to the puppet regime. The plan was to pretend that Pu Yi had returned to resume his throne by an imaginable popular demand of the people of Manchuria and that although Japan had nothing to do with his return, it could do nothing to oppose the will of the people. To carry out the plan, it was necessary to land Pu Yi at Yingkou before that port froze; therefore, he had to arrive there before 16 November 1931. With the help of the legendary spy Kawashima Yoshiko, a woman well-acquainted with the Emperor, who regarded her as a member of the Chinese Imperial Family, he succeeded in bringing him into Manchuria within the deadline.
In early 1932, Doihara was sent to head the Harbin Special Agency of the Kwantung Army, where he began negotiations with General Ma Zhanshan after he had been driven from Tsitsihar by the Japanese. Ma's position was ambiguous; he continued negotiations while he supported Harbin-based General Ting Chao. When Doihara realized his negotiations were not going anywhere, he requested that Manchurian warlord Xi Qia advance with his forces to take Harbin from General Ting Chao. However, General Ting Chao was able to defeat Xi Qia’s forces, and Doihara realized he would need Japanese forces to succeed. Doihara engineered a riot in Harbin to justify their intervention. That resulted in the IJA 12th Division under General Jirō Tamon coming from Mukden by rail and then marching through the snow to reinforce the attack. Harbin fell on 5 February 1932. By the end of February, General Ting Chao retreated into northeastern Manchuria and offered to cease hostilities, ending Chinese formal resistance. Within a month, the puppet state of Manchukuo was established under Doihara's supervision who had named himself mayor of Mukden. He then arranged for the puppet government to ask Tokyo to supply "military advice". During the next months 150,000 soldiers, 18,000 gendarmes and 4,000 secret police came into the newly-founded protectorate. He used them as an occupying army, imposing slave labour and spreading terror to force the 30 million Chinese inhabitants into abject submission.
Ma's fame as a uncompromised fighter against the Japanese invaders survived after his defeat and so Doihara made contact with him offering a huge sum of money and the command of the puppet state's army if he would defect to the new Manchurian government. Ma pretended that he agreed and flew to Mukden in January 1932, where he attended the meeting on which the state of Manchukuo was founded and was appointed War Minister of Manchukuo and Governor of Heilongjiang Province. Then, after using the Japanese funds to raise and re-equip a new volunteer force, he led, on 1 April 1932, his troops to Tsitsihar, re-establishing the Heilongjiang Provincial Government as part of the Republic of China and resumed the fight against the Japanese.
From 1932 to 1933, the newly-promoted Major General Doihara commanded IJA 9th Infantry Brigade of IJA 5th Division. After the seizure of Jehol in Operation Nekka, Doihara was sent back to Manchukuo to head Houten Special Agency once again until 1934. He was then attached to IJA 12th Division until 1936.
From 1936 to 1937, Doihara was the commander of the 1st Depot Division in Japan until the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, when he was given command of the IJA 14th Division under the Japanese First Army in North China. There, he served in the Beiping–Hankou Railway Operation and spearheaded the campaign of Northern and Eastern Henan, where his division opposed the Chinese counterattack in the Battle of Lanfeng.
After the Battle of Lanfeng, Doihara was attached to the Army General Staff as head of the Doihara Special Agency until 1939, when he was given command of the Japanese Fifth Army, in Manchukuo under the overall control of the Kwantung Army.
In 1940, Doihara became a member of the Supreme War Council which shifted its military policy in China that year to what was called the Three Alls ("Kill all – Burn all – Loot all"). He then became head of the Army Aeronautical Department of the Ministry of War, and Inspector-General of Army Aviation until 1943. From 1940 to 1941, he was appointed Commandant of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. On 4 November 1941, as a general in the Japanese Army Air Force and a member of the Supreme War Council he voted his approval of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
In 1943, Doihara was made Commander in Chief of the Eastern District Army. In 1944, he was appointed the Governor of Johor State, Malaya, and commander in chief of the Japanese Seventh Area Army in Singapore until 1945.
Returning to Japan in 1945, Doihara was promoted to Inspector-General of Military Training (one of the most prestigious positions in the Army) and commander in chief of the Japanese Twelfth Area Army. At the time of the surrender of Japan in 1945, Doihara was commander in chief of the 1st General Army.
Doihara's activity in China vastly exceeded the normal behaviour of an intelligence officer. As chief of the Japanese secret services in China, he worked out, put in motion, and oversaw a wide series of activities, systematically exploiting the occupied areas and disrupting Chinese social structure in the rest of the country to weaken public resistance by using every possible kind of action, including deliberately fueling criminality; fostering drug addiction; sponsoring terrorism, assassinations, blackmail, bribery, opium trafficking, and racketeering; and spreading every kind of corruption in the almost-ungovernable country.The extent of his activities and covert operations is still inadequately understood. According to Ronald Sydney Seth, his activity played a key role in shattering China's ability to confront Japan's expansion by generating chaotic conditions, which prevented any mass reaction in the invaded country.
After the occupation of Manchuria, the Japanese secret service, under his supervision, soon turned Machukuo into a vast criminal enterprise in which rape, child molestation, sexual humiliation, sadism, assault, and murder became institutionalized means of terrorizing and controlling Manchuria's Chinese and Russian populations. Robbery by soldiers and gendarmes, arbitrary confiscation of property, and unabashed extortion became common. Underground brothels, opium dens, gambling houses, and narcotics shops run by Japanese gendarmes competed with the state monopoly syndicate of opium. Many conscientious Japanese officers protested the conditions, but Tokyo ignored them and so they were silenced. The ritual suicide of Gensui Baron Mutō Nobuyoshi, who allegedly had left a note to the emperor, Hirohito, pleading for mercy for the people of Manchuria, was in vain.
Doihara soon expanded his activity into the still unoccupied parts of China. By using about 80,000 paid Chinese villains known as Chiang Mao Tao, he funded hundreds of criminal groups, using them for every kind of social disturbance, turnover, assassinations and sabotage inside unoccupied China. Through the organizations, he soon managed to control a large part of the opium traffic in China, using the money earned to fund his covert operations.
He hired an army of agents and sent them throughout China as representatives of various humanitarian organizations. They established thousands of health centers, mainly in the villages of the districts, for curing tuberculosis, which was then epidemic in China. By adulterating medicines with opium, he managed to addict millions of unsuspecting patients, expanding societal degeneration into areas which had been hitherto untouched by the increasing breakdown of Chinese society. The scheme also created a pool of addicted victims desperate to offer any kind of service to secure a daily dose of opium.
He initially gave food and shelter to tens of thousands Russian White émigré women who had taken refuge in the Far East after the defeat of the White Russian anti-Bolshevik movement during the Russian Civil War and the withdrawal of the Entente and Japanese armies from Siberia. Having lost their livelihoods, and with most of them widowed, Doihara forced the women into prostitution, using them to create a network of brothels throughout China where they worked under inhuman conditions. The use of heroin and opium was promoted to them as a way to tolerate their miserable fate. Once addicted, the women were used to further spread the use of opium among the population by earning one free opium pipe for every six they were selling to their customers.
Winning the necessary support from the authorities in Tokyo he persuaded the Japanese tobacco industry Mitsui of Mitsui Zaibatsu to produce special cigarettes bearing the popular to the Far East trademark "Golden Bat". Their circulation was prohibited in Japan, as they were intended only for export. Doihara's services controlled their distribution in China and Manchuria where the full production was exported. In the mouthpiece of each cigarette a small dose of opium or heroin was concealed, and by this subterfuge millions of unsuspecting consumers were added to the ever-growing crowds of drug addicts in the crippled country, simultaneously creating huge profits. According to testimony presented at the Tokyo War Crimes trials in 1948, the revenue from the narcotization policy in China, including Manchukuo, was estimated as twenty to thirty million yen per year, while another authority [ who? ] stated during the trial that the annual revenue was estimated by the Japanese military at 300 million dollars a year.
Given the chaotic situation in China, the corruption Doihara methodically spread didn't take long to reach the very top. In 1938 Chiang was forced to execute 8 generals commanding Chinese divisions when it was found that they were informers for Doihara's services. This heralded a wave of executions of high-ranking Chinese officials found guilty for every kind of dealing with Doihara during the next 6 years of the war. To many westerners in touch with the Chinese leadership, the purges were without lasting results.
After the surrender of Japan, he was arrested by the Allied occupation authorities and tried before the International Military Tribunal of the Far East as a Class A war criminal together with other members of the Manchurian administration responsible for the Japanese policies there. He was found guilty on counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 35, 36, and 54 and was sentenced to death, while his close colleague Naoki Hoshino, financial expert and director of the Japanese State Opium Monopoly Bureau in Manchuria, was sentenced to life imprisonment. According to the indictment, as tools of successive Japanese governments they: "... pursued a systematic policy of weakening the native inhabitants' will to resist (...) by directly and indirectly encouraging the increased production and importation of opium and other narcotics and by promoting the sale and consumption of such drugs among such people."He was hanged on 23 December 1948 at Sugamo Prison. . Hoshino was released in 1958 and died in 1978.
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Konstantin Petrovich Nechaev was an Imperial Russian Army officer and White movement leader, who commanded a large Russian mercenary army in China from 1924 to 1929. Fighting for the Fengtian clique warlords Zhang Zuolin and Zhang Zongchang, Nechaev took part in several wars of the Chinese Warlord Era until his mercenary force was destroyed in the Northern Expedition. Thereafter, he mostly retired from military service and became a White émigré community leader in Manchuria. Captured by SMERSH during the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, Nechaev was executed by Soviet authorities in 1946.
| Commander, IJA Eastern District Army |
May 1943 – Mar 1944
| Commander, IJA 7th Area Army |
Mar 1944 – Apr 1945
| Inspector General of Military Training |
Apr 1945 – Aug 1945
| Commander, IJA 1st General Army |
Sept 1945 – Sept 1945
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