Kenji Doihara: Wikis


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Kenji Doihara
8 August 1883 - 23 December 1948
Kenji Doihara.jpg
General Kenji Doihara
Nickname Lawrence of Manchuria
Place of birth Okayama prefecture, Japan
Place of death Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1904–1945
Rank General
Commands held IJA 14th Division, IJA 5th Army, IJA 7th Area Army (Singapore)
Battles/wars Siberian Intervention
Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II
In this Japanese name, the family name is Doihara.

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, and was instrumental in the planning of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Doihara was nicknamed 'Lawrence of Manchuria', a reference to the West's Lawrence of Arabia.




Early life and career

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.

On graduation, he was sent to Beijing, China as a military attaché. Doihara could speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, and was fluent in several other Chinese dialects as well. With his linguistic abilities and understanding of Chinese history and culture, Doihara was soon earmarked by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff for military intelligence duties. He spent most of his early career in various postings in northern China, except for a brief tour in 1921-1922 as part of Japanese forces in eastern Russia during the Siberian Intervention.

Meanwhile Doihara worked his way up the military ladder, and 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. He was then made Military Adviser to the Chinese Government until 1929. In 1930 he was promoted to colonel and commanded IJA 30th Infantry Regiment.

The “Lawrence of Manchuria”

Doihara's performance was recognized, and he was assigned to Imperial Japanese Army General Staff in 1930 to 1931, and assigned to head military espionage operations from the Army’s Tientsin office. The following year he was transferred to Shenyang as head of the Houten Special Agency, another espionage office under the control of the Kwantung Army where he served until early 1932.

While at Shenyang, Doihara, together with Colonel Itagaki Seishiro were instrumental in engineering the Mukden Incident, and (as part of the following invasion of Manchuria) suborning the cooperation of Northeastern Army generals Xi Qia in Kirin, Chang Ching-hui in Harbin and Chang Hai-peng at Taonan in the northwest of Liaoning province.

Next Doihara was dispatched by Itagaki to return former Qing dynasty emperor Pu Yi to Manchuria. The plan was to pretend that Pu Yi had returned to resume his throne in answer to a popular demand of the peoples of Manchuria, and that although Japan had nothing to do with his return; it could do nothing to oppose the popular demand of the people. In order to carry out this plan, it was necessary to land Pu Yi at Yingkou before that port became frozen; therefore, it was imperative that he arrive there before 16 November 1931. Doihara successful brought Pu Yi 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 the Harbin Incident to justify their intervention. This resulted in the IJA 12th Division under General Jiro 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.

Because of Ma's fame and heroics fighting the Japanese, Doihara made contact with Ma and offered him a huge sum of money to join the new Manchukoan government and Army. Ma agreed and flew to Mukden in January 1932, where he attended the meeting that founded the state of Manchukuo and he was appointed as War Minister and Governor of Heilongjiang Province. However, after secretly using the Japanese money to raise and reequip a new volunteer force he led his troops from Tsitsihar on 1 April 1932 reestablishing the Heilongjiang Provincial Government for the Republic of China and continued to resist the Japanese.

From 1932 to 1933 the newly promoted Major General Doihara was commanding 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.

Second Sino-Japanese War

From 1936 to 1937 Doihara was the commander of the 1st Depot Division, in Japan until the outbreak of 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 spearheading the campaign of Northern and Eastern Honan were his division was struck by the Chinese counterattack in the Battle of Lanfeng.

Following the Battle of Lanfeng, Doihara was attached to the 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 Kwantung Army.

In 1940 Doihara became a member of the Supreme War Council, 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 the Commandant of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. On 4 November 1941, as a major 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 Army District. 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.

After the war, Doihara was arrested by the American occupation authorities and tried before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo for war crimes. Doihara was found guilty of Counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32, 35, 36, and 54 and was sentenced to death. He was hanged on 23 December 1948 at Sugamo Prison.[1]


  1. ^ Maga, Judgment at Tokyo


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  • Barrett, David (2001). Chinese Collaboration with Japan, 1932-1945: The Limits of Accommodation. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804737681.  
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  • Toland, John (1970). The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945. Random House. ISBN 0812968581.  
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External links


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