|Minister of War of the Japanese Empire|
3 June 1937 –30 August 1939
|Preceded by||Hajime Sugiyama|
|Succeeded by||Shunroku Hata|
|Born||21 January 1885|
Morioka, Iwate, Japan
|Died|| 23 December 1948 63) executed by hanging (aged|
Sugamo Prison, Japan
|Years of service||1904–1945|
Seishirō Itagaki(板垣 征四郎Itagaki Seishirō, 21 January 1885 – 23 December 1948) was a General in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II and a War Minister. Convicted of war crimes, he was executed in 1948.
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.
Itagaki was born in Morioka city, Iwate prefecture into a samurai class family formerly serving the Nanbu clan of Morioka Domain. He graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1904. He fought in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904–1905.
Samurai (侍) were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan.
The Nanbu clan was a Japanese samurai clan who ruled most of northeastern Honshū in the Tōhoku region of Japan for over 700 years, from the Kamakura period through the Meiji Restoration of 1868. the Nanbu claimed descent from the Seiwa Genji of Kai Province and were thus related to the Takeda clan. The clan moved its seat from Kai to Mutsu Province in the early Muromachi period, and were confirmed as daimyō of Morioka Domain under the Edo-period Tokugawa shogunate. The domain was in constant conflict with neighboring Hirosaki Domain, whose ruling Tsugaru clan were once Nanbu retainers.
From 1924-1926, Itagaki was a military attaché assigned to the Japanese embassy in China. On his return to Japan, he held a number of staff positions within the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff during 1926–1927 before being given a field command as commanding officer of the IJA 33rd Infantry Brigade based in China. His brigade was attached to the IJA 10th Division from 1927–1928. Itagaki was then transferred to command the IJA 33rd Infantry Regiment in China from 1928–1929, under the aegis of the Kwantung Army.
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.
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.
The Kwantung Army was an army group of the Imperial Japanese Army in the first half of the 20th century. It became the largest and most prestigious command in the IJA. Many of its personnel, such as Chiefs of staff Seishirō Itagaki and Hideki Tōjō were promoted to high positions in both the military and civil government in the Empire of Japan and it was largely responsible for the creation of the Japanese-dominated Empire of Manchuria. In August 1945, the army group, around 713,000 men at the time, was defeated by and surrendered to Soviet troops as a result of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.
Itagaki rose to become Chief of the Intelligence Section of the Kwantung Army from 1931, in which capacity he helped plan the 1931 Mukden Incident that led to the Japanese seizure of Manchuria.He was subsequently a military advisor to Manchukuo from 1932–1934.
The Mukden Incident, or Manchurian Incident, was an event staged by Japanese military personnel as a pretext for the Japanese invasion in 1931 of northeastern China, known as Manchuria.
Manchuria is a name first used in the 17th century by Japanese people to refer to a large geographic region in Northeast Asia. Depending on the context, Manchuria can either refer to a region that falls entirely within the People's Republic of China or a larger region divided between China and Russia. "Manchuria" is widely used outside China to denote the geographical and historical region. This region is the traditional homeland of the Xianbei, Khitan, and Jurchen peoples, who built several states within the area historically.
Manchukuo was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan in Northeast China and Inner Mongolia from 1932 until 1945. It was founded as a republic, but in 1934 it became a constitutional monarchy. It had limited international recognition and was under the de facto control of Japan.
Itagaki became Vice Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army from 1934, and Chief of Staff in 1936.
From 1937 to 1938 Itagaki was commander of the IJA 5th Division in China during the early part of the Second Sino-Japanese War. His Division took a leading part in the Battle of Beiping-Tianjin, Operation Chahar, and the Battle of Taiyuan. However, in the Battle of Xuzhou his forces were repulsed during the Battle of Taierzhuang in the vicinity of Linyi that prevented them from coming to the aid of Rensuke Isogai's IJA 10th Division.
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle.
Operation Chahar, known in Chinese as the Nankou Campaign, occurred in August 1937, following the Battle of Beiping-Tianjin at the beginning of Second Sino-Japanese War.
The Japanese offensive called 太原作戦 or the Battle of Taiyuan was a major battle fought between China and Japan named for Taiyuan, which lay in the 2nd Military Region. This battle concluded in loss for the NRA, including part of Suiyuan, most of Shanxi and their most modern arsenal at Taiyuan and effectively ended large-scale regular resistance in the North China area.
Recalled to Japan in 1938, Itagaki briefly served as War Minister from 1938-1939. On December 6, 1938, Itagaki proposed a national policy in accordance with Hakko Ichiu (Expansion) at the Five Ministers Conference,which was the Japanese highest decision making council, and the council made a decision of prohibiting the expulsion of the Jews in Japan, Manchuria, and China as Japanese national policy.
Itagaki returned to China again as chief of staff of the China Expeditionary Army from 1939-1941. However, the defeat of Japanese forces against the Soviet Red Army at Nomonhan in the summer of 1939 was a major blow to his career, and he was reassigned to command the Chosen Army in Korea, then considered a backwater post.
As the war situation continued to deteriorate for Japan, the Chosen Army was elevated to the Japanese Seventeenth Area Army in 1945, with Itagaki still as commander in chief. He was then reassigned to the Japanese Seventh Area Army in Singapore and Malaya in April 1945. He surrendered Japanese forces in Southeast Asia to British Admiral Louis Mountbatten in Singapore on 12 September 1945.
After the war, he was taken into custody by the SCAP authorities and charged with war crimes, specifically in connection with the Japanese seizure of Manchuria, his escalation of the war against the Allies during his term as War Minister, and for allowing inhumane treatment of prisoners of war during his term as commander of Japanese forces in Southeast Asia. He was found guilty on counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 35, 36 and 54 and was condemned to death in 1948 by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Itagaki was hanged on 23 December 1948 at Sugamo Prison, Tokyo.
Count Hisaichi Terauchi was a Gensui in the Imperial Japanese Army and Commander of the Southern Expeditionary Army Group during World War II. He was ordered to lead the occupation over Southeast Asia.
Kanji Ishiwara was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. He and Itagaki Seishirō were the men primarily responsible for the Mukden Incident that took place in Manchuria in 1931.
Kenji Doihara 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.
Yoshijirō Umezu was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. He was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment.
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Rensuke Isogai was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and Governor of Hong Kong under Japanese occupation from February 20, 1942 to December 24, 1944.
Hakkō ichiu(八紘一宇, "eight crown cords, one roof" i.e. "all the world under one roof") was a Japanese political slogan that became popular from the Second Sino-Japanese War to World War II, and was popularized in a speech by Prime Minister of Japan Fumimaro Konoe on January 8, 1940.
Masakazu Kawabe was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army. He held important commands in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and during World War II in the Burma Campaign and defense of the Japanese homeland late in the war. He was also the elder brother of General Torashirō Kawabe.
Yasuji Okamura was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army, and 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.
Yukio Kasahara was a leading general in the Imperial Japanese Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Takashi Hishikari was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army.
Yoshitsugu Tatekawa was a Lieutenant General in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. He played an important role in the Mukden Incident in 1931 as Major General and he concluded the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in 1941 as ambassador to the Soviet Union.
Jo Iimura was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army in the Pacific War.
Jun Ushiroku was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army.
Yūzō Matsuyama, was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II.
Kiichirō Higuchi was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II.
Sadamu Shimomura was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and the final Minister of War of the Empire of Japan.
Shigeru Katagiri was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, commanding Japanese ground forces on New Guinea during the closing months of the war.
The history of the Jews in Japan is well documented in modern times with various traditions relating to much earlier eras.
Tadashi Hanaya was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, commanding Japanese ground forces in Burma during World War II.
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| Army Minister |
Jun 1938 – Aug 1939
| Succeeded by|
| IJA 7th Area Army |
Apr 1945 – Aug 1945
| Succeeded by|
| IJA 17th Area Army |
Feb 1945 – Apr 1945
| Succeeded by|
| IJA Chosen Army |
Jul 1941 – Apr 1945
| Succeeded by|