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Home Leaders & Commanders Japanese High Command

Japanese High Command

General Hideki Tojo 1884 - 1948

Prime Minister, Chief of Staff of the Army, and Minister of War from October 1941 until July 1944. Tojo could almost be described as the dictator of Japan. He was the principal director of all Japanese war operations. When military fortunes began to turn against Japan he attempted to stabilize his position by handing over his post of Minister of War to Umezu. However after the fall of Saipan in July 1944 he resigned his remaining posts and was succeeded by Koiso. After his resignation he attempted to commit suicide, he lived, but only to be found guilty of war crimes by the Allies and was hanged.

Lt General Kuniaki Koiso 1880 - 1950

Appointed Prime Minister after the fall of Tojo in 1944, Koiso was almost a token Prime Minister as he was not party to any military decisions. He was not popular with either government ministers who favoured making peace, nor with those who wished to prosecute the war until the bitter end. He resigned in April 1945 after his demands to be included in military decisions were rejected.

Kantaro Suzuki 1867 - 1948

Suzuki became Prime Minister in April 1945 after the collapse of Koiso's premiership. He was one of the Japanese leaders who were in favour of peace, and it was he who finally asked Emperor Hirohito to decide on the surrender of Japan. Suzuki resigned after the surrender was announced.

General Yoshijiro Umezu 1880 - 1949

Chief of Staff of the Army from July 1944. Previously he had been Minister of War when Tojo relinquised this post. Umezu was one of the government leaders who were in favour of continuing the war as long as possible. He was a reluctant participant in the signing of the Japanese instrument of surrender on the USS Missouri.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto 1884 -1943

Minister of the Navy and Commander in Chief of the 1st Fleet. Yamamoto was the architect of the Japanese carrier forces and planned the surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour. Yamamoto was killed when his aircraft was shot down following the discovery of his flight plans by the Americans in April 1943.

 

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