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In this Japanese name, the family name is Tōjō.
Hideki Tōjō
東條 英機
東条 英機


In office
18 October 1941 – 22 July 1944
Monarch Shōwa
Preceded by Fumimaro Konoe
Succeeded by Kuniaki Koiso

Born 30 December 1884(1884-12-30)
Kōjimachi district of Tokyo, Japan
Died 23 December 1948 (aged 63)
Tokyo, Japan
Political party Imperial Rule Assistance Association (1940–1945)
Other political
affiliations
Independent (Before 1940)
Spouse(s) Katsuko Ito
Children 3 sons
4 daughters
Alma mater Imperial Japanese Army Academy
Army War College
Religion Jodo Shinshu
Signature

Hideki Tōjō[1] (Kyūjitai: 東條 英機; Shinjitai: 東条 英機; About this sound Tōjō Hideki ) (30 December 1884 – 23 December 1948) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, member and succeeding leader of the Taisei Yokusankai and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan during much of World War II, from 18 October 1941 to 22 July 1944. After the end of the war, Tōjō was sentenced to death for war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and executed by hanging on 23 December 1948.

Contents

Biography

Hideki Tōjō was born in the Kōjimachi district of Tokyo in 1884. He was the third son of Hidenori Tōjō, a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army. He was considered the oldest and received the treatment and rights that an eldest child of Japan would receive, which includes an immense amount of honor. Tōjō's two older brothers died before his birth. In 1909 he married Katsuko Ito, with whom he had three sons and four daughters.

As general

In 1933, Tōjō was promoted to major general and served as Chief of the Personnel Department within the Army Minister.

He was appointed commander of the IJA 24th Infantry Brigade in August 1934. In September 1935, Tōjō was transferred to become commander of the Kempeitai of the Kwangtung Army in Manchuria. Tōjō's nickname was "Razor" (Kamisori), earned for his reputation for a sharp, legalistic mind capable of making quick decisions.[2]

During the February 26 Incident of 1936, Tōjō and Shigeru Honjō, a noted supporter of Sadao Araki, came out against the coup attempt. Emperor Hirohito himself was outraged at the attacks on his close advisors, and after a brief political crisis and stalling on the part of a sympathetic military, the rebels were forced to surrender. In the aftermath, the Toseiha was able to purge the Army of radical officers, and the coup leaders were tried and executed. Following the purge, Toseiha and Kōdōha elements were unified in their conservative but highly anti-political stance under the banner of the Kōdōha military clique, with Tōjō in a leadership position.

Tōjō was promoted to Chief of Staff of the Kwangtung Army. As Chief of Staff, Tōjō was responsible for various military operations to increase Japanese penetration into the Mongolia and Inner Mongolia border regions with Manchukuo. In July 1937, he personally led the units of the 1st Independent Mixed Brigade in Operation Chahar.

After the Marco Polo Bridge Incident marking the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Tōjō ordered his forces to move against Hopei and other targets in northern China.

Tōjō was recalled to Japan in May 1938 to serve as Vice-Minister of Army under Army Minister Seishirō Itagaki. From December 1938 to 1940, Tōjō was Inspector-General of Army Aviation.

Rise to Prime Minister

In October 18, 1941, Tōjō was appointed Army Minister in the second Fumimaro Konoe Cabinet, and remained in that post in the third Konoe Cabinet. He was a strong supporter of the Tripartite Alliance between Japan, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. As Army Minister he continued to expand the war with China. After negotiations with the Vichy Government, Japan was given permission to place elements of its army in French Indochina in July 1941. In spite of its formal recognition of the Vichy Government as legitimate; the United States retaliated against Japan by imposing economic sanctions in August, and a total embargo on oil and gasoline exports[3] .

On 6 September, a deadline of early October was fixed in Imperial conference for continuing negotiations. On 14 October, the deadline had passed with no progress. Prime minister Konoe then held his last cabinet meeting, where Tōjō did most of the talking:

For the past six months, ever since April, the foreign minister has made painstaking efforts to adjust relations. Although I respect him for that, we remain deadlocked...The heart of the matter is the imposition on us of withdrawal from Indochina and China...If we yield to America's demands, it will destroy the fruits of the China incident. Manchukuo will be endangered and our control of Korea undermined.[4]

The prevailing opinion within the Japanese Army at that time was that continued negotiations could be dangerous. However, Hirohito thought that he might be able to control extreme opinions in the army by using the charismatic and well-connected Tōjō, who had expressed reservations regarding war with the West, although the emperor himself was skeptical that Tōjō would be able to avoid conflict. On October 13, he declared to Kōichi Kido: '"There seems little hope in the present situation for the Japan-U. S. negotiations. This time, if hostilities erupt, I might have to issue a declaration of war."[5]

On 16 October, Konoe, politically isolated and convinced that the emperor no longer trusted him, resigned. Later, he justified himself to his chief cabinet secretary, Kenji Tomita:

Of course his majesty is a pacifist, and there is no doubt he wished to avoid war. When I told him that to initiate war is a mistake, he agreed. But the next day, he would tell me: "You were worried about it yesterday, but you do not have to worry so much." Thus, gradually, he began to lead toward war. And the next time I met him, he leaned even more toward war. In short, I felt the Emperor was telling me: "My prime minister does not understand military matters, I know much more." In short, the Emperor had absorbed the views of the army and navy high commands.[6]

Hideki Tōjō in military uniform

At the time, Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko was said to be the only person who could control the Army and the Navy and was recommended by Konoe and Tōjō. Hirohito rejected this option, arguing that a member of the imperial family should not have to eventually carry the responsibility for a war against the Occident. Following the advice of Kōichi Kido, he chose instead Tōjō, who was known for his devotion to the imperial institution.[7] The Emperor summoned Tōjō to the Imperial Palace one day before Tōjō took office.

Tōjō wrote in his diary, "I thought I was summoned because the Emperor was angry at my opinion." He was given one order from the Emperor: To make a policy review of what had been sanctioned by the Imperial conferences. Tōjō, who was on the side of the war, nevertheless accepted this order, and pledged to obey. According to colonel Akiho Ishii, a member of the Army General Staff, the prime minister showed a true sense of loyalty to the emperor performing this duty. For example, when Ishii received from Hirohito a communication saying the Army should drop the idea of stationing troops in China to counter military operations of occidental powers, he wrote a reply for the prime minister for his audience with the emperor. Tōjō then replied to Ishii: "If the emperor said it should be so, then that's it for me. One cannot recite arguments to the emperor. You may keep your finely phrased memorandum."[8]

On November 2, Tōjō and Chiefs of Staff Hajime Sugiyama and Osami Nagano reported to Hirohito that the review had been in vain. The Emperor then gave his consent to war.[9]

On 3 November, Nagano explained in detail the Pearl Harbor attack to Hirohito.[10]. The eventual plan drawn up by Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff envisaged such a mauling of the Western powers that Japanese defense perimeter lines—operating on interior lines of communications and inflicting heavy Western casualties—could not be breached. In addition, the Japanese fleet which attacked Pearl Harbor was under orders from Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto to be prepared to return to Japan on a moment's notice, should negotiations succeed.

On 5 November, Hirohito approved in Imperial conference the operations plan for a war against the West and had many meetings with the military and Tōjō until the end of the month. On 1 December, another imperial conference finally sanctioned the "War against the United States, England and Holland"[11]

As Prime Minister

Tōjō continued to hold the position of Army Minister during his term as Prime Minister, from 18 October 1941 to 22 July 1944. He also served concurrently as Home Minister from 1941-1942, Foreign Minister in September 1942, Education Minister in 1943, and Commerce Minister in 1943.

As Education Minister, he continued militaristic and nationalist indoctrination in the national education system, and reaffirmed illiberal policies in government. As Home Minister, he approved of various eugenics measures.

His popularity was high in the early years of the war, as Japanese forces went from one victory to another. However, after the Battle of Midway, with the tide of war turning against Japan, Tōjō faced increasing opposition from within the government and military. To strengthen his position, in February 1944 Tōjō assumed the post of Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff. However, after the fall of Saipan, he was forced to resign on 18 July 1944. He retired to the first reserve list and went into seclusion.

Capture, Prisoner of War trial and execution

After Japan's unconditional surrender in 1945, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur issued orders for the arrest of the first forty alleged war criminals, including Tōjō. Soon, Tōjō's home in Setagaya was besieged with newsmen and photographers. Inside, a doctor named Suzuki had marked Tōjō's chest with charcoal to indicate the location of his heart. When American military police surrounded the house on 8 September 1945, they heard a muffled shot from inside. Major Paul Kraus and a group of military police burst in, followed by George Jones, a reporter for The New York Times'. Tōjō had shot himself 4 times in the chest, but despite shooting directly through the mark, the bullets missed his heart and penetrated his stomach. At 4:29, now disarmed and with blood gushing out of his chest, Tōjō began to talk, and two Japanese reporters recorded his words. "I am very sorry it is taking me so long to die," he murmured. "The Greater East Asia War was justified and righteous. I am very sorry for the nation and all the races of the Greater Asiatic powers. I wait for the righteous judgment of history. I wished to commit suicide but sometimes that fails."[12]

He was arrested and underwent emergency surgery in a U.S. Army hospital, where he was cared for postoperatively by Capt. Roland Ladenson. After recovering from his injuries, Tōjō was moved to the Sugamo Prison.

He was tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East for war crimes and found guilty of the following crimes:

Hideki Tōjō accepted full responsibility in the end for his actions during the war. Here is a passage from his statement, which he made during his war crimes trial:

It is natural that I should bear entire responsibility for the war in general, and, needless to say, I am prepared to do so. Consequently, now that the war has been lost, it is presumably necessary that I be judged so that the circumstances of the time can be clarified and the future peace of the world be assured. Therefore, with respect to my trial, it is my intention to speak frankly, according to my recollection, even though when the vanquished stands before the victor, who has over him the power of life and death, he may be apt to toady and flatter. I mean to pay considerable attention to this in my actions, and say to the end that what is true is true and what is false is false. To shade one's words in flattery to the point of untruthfulness would falsify the trial and do incalculable harm to the nation, and great care must be taken to avoid this.

He was sentenced to death on 12 November 1948 and executed by hanging on 23 December 1948. In his final statements he apologized for the atrocities committed by the Japanese military and urged the American military to show compassion toward the Japanese people, who had suffered devastating air attacks and the two atomic bombings.[13]

Hideki Tojo after his attempted suicide

Tōjō is often considered responsible for authorizing the murder of millions of civilians in China, the Philippines, Indochina, and other Pacific island nations, as well as tens of thousands of Allied POWs.[citation needed] Tōjō is also implicated in government-sanctioned experiments on POWs and Chinese civilians (see Unit 731). Like his German counterparts, Tōjō often claimed to be carrying out orders; in his case those of the Emperor, who was granted immunity from war crimes prosecution.

Many historians criticize the work done by MacArthur and his staff to exonerate Emperor Hirohito (Emperor Shōwa) and all members of the imperial family from criminal prosecutions. According to them, MacArthur and Brig. Gen. Bonner Fellers worked to protect the Emperor from the role he had played during and at the end of the war and attribute ultimate responsibility to Tōjō.[14]

According to the written report of Shuichi Mizota (Mizota Shūichi), interpreter for Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai, Fellers met the two men at his office on 6 March 1946 and told Yonai that: "it would be most convenient if the Japanese side could prove to us that the Emperor is completely blameless. I think the forthcoming trials offer the best opportunity to do that. Tōjō, in particular, should be made to bear all responsibility at this trial."[15]

The sustained intensity of this campaign to protect the Emperor was revealed when, in testifying before the tribunal on 31 December 1947, Tōjō momentarily strayed from the agreed-upon line concerning imperial innocence and referred to the Emperor's ultimate authority. The American-led prosecution immediately arranged that he be secretly coached to recant this testimony. Ryūkichi Tanaka, a former general who testified at the trial and had close connections with chief prosecutor Joseph Keenan, was used as an intermediary to persuade Tōjō to revise his testimony.[16]

Legacy

Tōjō's commemorating tomb is located in a shrine in Hazu, Aichi, and he is one of those enshrined at the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. He was survived by a number of his descendants, including his granddaughter, Yūko Tōjō, a right-wing nationalist and political hopeful who claims Japan's was a war of self-defense and that it was unfair that her grandfather was judged a Class-A war criminal. Tōjō's second son, Teruo Tōjō, who designed fighter and passenger aircraft during and after the war, eventually served as an executive at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Notes

  1. ^ Karnow, Stanley. "Hideki Tojo/Hideko Tojo". In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines. Random House (1989). ISBN 0394594759.
  2. ^ Toland, The Rising Sun
  3. ^ Toland, The Rising Sun
  4. ^ (Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, 2001, p.417, citing the Sugiyama memo)
  5. ^ Kido Kōichi nikki, Bungei Shunjūsha, 1990, p.914
  6. ^ Akira Fujiwara, Shôwa tennô no ju-go nen sensô (The Shôwa Emperor's Fifteen Years War), Aoki Shoten, 1991, p.126
  7. ^ Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, Harper Collins, 2001, p.418, Terasaki Hidenari,Shôwa tennô dokuhakuroku, Bungei Shunjûsha, 1991, p.118
  8. ^ Peter Wetzler, Hirohito and War, 1998, p.51,52
  9. ^ (Peter Wetzler, Hirohito and war, University of Hawai'i press, 1998, p.47-50, Bix, ibid. p.421)
  10. ^ (Wetzler, ibid. p. 29, 35)
  11. ^ (Wetzler, ibid. p.28-30, 39)
  12. ^ Toland, John (1970). The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945. New York: Random House. pp. 871–872. LCCN 77-117669. 
  13. ^ (Toland, ibid, p. 873))
  14. ^ Herbert Bix, Hirohito and the making of modern Japan, 2001, p.583-585, John Dower, Embracing defeat, 1999, p.324-326
  15. ^ Kumao Toyoda, Sensō saiban yoroku, Taiseisha Kabushiki Kaisha, 1986, p.170-172, Bix, ibid. p.584
  16. ^ Dower, ibid. p.325, 604-605

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Shunroku Hata
Minister of War
1940–1944
Succeeded by
Hajime Sugiyama
Preceded by
Fumimaro Konoe
Prime Minister of Japan
1941–1944
Succeeded by
Kuniaki Koiso
Preceded by
Harumichi Tanabe
Minister of Home Affairs
1941–1942
Succeeded by
Michio Yuzawa
Preceded by
Shigenori Tōgō
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1942
Succeeded by
Masayuki Tani
Preceded by
Kunihiko Hashida
Minister of Education
1942
Succeeded by
Nagakage Okabe
Preceded by
Michio Yuzawa
Minister of Home Affairs
Acting

1942–1943
Succeeded by
Michio Yuzawa
Preceded by
Nobusuke Kishi
Minister of Commerce
1943
Office abolished
New creation Minister of Munitions
1943–1944
Succeeded by
Ginjirō Fujiwara
Military offices
Preceded by
Hajime Sugiyama
Chief of Army General Staff
1944
Succeeded by
Yoshijirō Umezu


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

It is natural that I should bear entire responsibility for the war in general, and, needless to say, I am prepared to do so. Consequently, now that the war has been lost, it is presumably necessary that I be judged so that the circumstances of the time can be clarified and the future peace of the world be assured.

Hideki Tōjō (December 30, 1884December 23, 1948) was a General in the Imperial Japanese Army, a nationalist thinker, and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan.

Contents

Sourced

  • It goes without saying that when survival is threatened, struggles erupt between peoples, and unfortunate wars between nations result.
    • Quoted in "The Journal of Historical Review"‎ - Page 34 - by Institute for Historical Review (U.S.) - History - 1992
  • Justice has nothing to do with victor nations and vanquished nations, but must be a moral standard that all the world's peoples can agree to. To seek this and to achieve it - that is true civilization.
    • Quoted in "The Journal of Historical Review‎" - by Institute for Historical Review (U.S.) - History - 1992
  • The reason was the failure of both Japan and China to understand each other and the inability of America and the European powers to sympathize, without prejudice, with the peoples of East Asia.
    • Quoted in "The Journal of Historical Review"‎ - Page 43 - by Institute for Historical Review (U.S.) - History - 1992
  • If one of you should detect any dissatisfaction or unsettled feeling within your (the governors’) jurisdiction, you should take immediate and concrete steps for the complete removal of these elements ... Now the people of our nation must endure their inconveniences and overcome painful hardships in order to win this war.
  • The moment the first American soldier sets foot on the Japanese mainland, all prisoners of war will be shot.
    • Note signed by Tojo (June 1945), left at a camp during the Bataan Death March. Possible forgery since Tojo was no longer in power for over a year at the time of the discovery. Also, the Japanese homeland was not threatened with invasion at the time and it was common sense that the Philippines would be attacked before.
Justice has nothing to do with victor nations and vanquished nations, but must be a moral standard that all the world's peoples can agree to. To seek this and to achieve it - that is true civilization.
  • It is natural that I should bear entire responsibility for the war in general, and, needless to say, I am prepared to do so. Consequently, now that the war has been lost, it is presumably necessary that I be judged so that the circumstances of the time can be clarified and the future peace of the world be assured. Therefore, with respect to my trial, it is my intention to speak frankly, according to my recollection, even though when the vanquished stands before the victor, who has over him the power of life and death, he may be apt to toady and flatter. I mean to pay considerable attention to this in my actions, and say to the end that what is true is true and what is false is false. To shade one's words in flattery to the point of untruthfulness would falsify the trial and do incalculable harm to the nation, and great care must be taken to avoid this.
  • When reflecting upon it today, that the Pearl Harbor attack should have succeeded in achieving surprise seems a blessing from Heaven. It was clear that a great American fleet had been concentrated in Pearl Harbor, and we supposed that the state of alert would be very high.

About Tōjō

  • There was little public sympathy for Tōjō in Japan in the post-war period. His responsibility for the war, his oppressive regime, and his failure to commit suicide turned him into a notorious figure. Later revelations about his personal integrity, impeccable family life, devotion to duty, and loyalty to the emperor somewhat improved his image.
    • Professor Ben-Ami Shillony, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in The Oxford Companion to World War II (1995)

Satire

Japan Forms Alliance With White Supremacists in Well-Thought-Out Scheme
From the East Asian Correspondent, Sept 1, 1939. — In a course of action praised by many as "far-sighted" and "tactically brilliant," the Japanese government has sworn its allegiance to the Axis powers led by white-supremacist Nazi Germany. In a formal statement, Japanese leaders declared, "We wish to be counted among the loyal allies of this back-stabbing, racist hate nation."
Following the announcement, Japanese General and military leader Hideki Tojo told reporters, "We are pleased to enter into an alliance with the paranoid, xenophobic government of Nazi Germany. We anticipate a deeply enriching exchange of our military aid with their deep-seated hatred of our non-white heritage."

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