Sadao Araki: Wikis


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Sadao Araki
May 26, 1877(1877-05-26) – November 2, 1966 (aged 89)
Sadao Araki.jpg
General Sadao Araki
Place of birth Komae, Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1898 -1945
Rank General
Commands held IJA 6th Division
Inspector General of Military Training,
Battles/wars Russo-Japanese War
Siberian Intervention
Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II
Awards Order of the Sacred Treasures (1st class)
Order of the Golden Kite (2nd class)
Order of the Rising Sun (1st class)
Other work Minister of War, Minister of Education
In this Japanese name, the family name is Araki.

Baron Sadao Araki (荒木貞夫 Araki Sadao ?, 26 May 1877 – 2 November 1966) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army before World War II. A charismatic leader and one of the principal nationalist right-wing political theorists in the late Japanese Empire, he was regarded as the leader of the radical faction within the politicized Japanese Army. He later served a Minister of Education during the Konoe and Hiranuma administrations.




Early career

Araki was born in Komae, Tokyo; his father was an ex-samurai retainer of the Hitotsubashi branch of the Tokugawa family. Araki graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in November 1897; and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in June of the following year.

Promoted to lieutenant in November 1900 and promoted to captain in June 1904, Araki served as company commander of the 1st Imperial Regiment during the Russo-Japanese War.

After the war, Araki returned to graduate from the Army Staff College at the head of his class. He served on the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff in April 1908, and served as a language officer stationed in Russia from November 1909 to May 1913, when he was made military attaché to Saint Petersburg during World War I. He was promoted to major in July 1918 and was assigned to the Kwantung Army.

Araki served as a Staff Officer at Expeditionary Army Headquarters in Vladivostok during the 1918-19 during the Japanese Siberian Intervention against the Bolshevik Red Army), and was commander of the IJA 23rd Infantry Regiment. During this period in Siberia, Araki carried out secret missions in the Russian Far East and Lake Baikal areas.

Promoted to major general, Araki was made commander of the IJA 8th Infantry Brigade in March 1923. He served as Provost Marshal General from January 1924 until May 1925; whereupon he rejoined the Army General Staff as a Bureau Chief. Araki was promoted to lieutenant general in July 1927 and then became Commandant of the Army War College in August of the next year.

Araki served as commander of the IJA 6th Division 1929-1931, when he was appointed Inspector General of Military Training, one of the most prestigious posts within the Army. He was promoted to the rank of full general in October 1933. [1]

As cabinet minister

Under the cabinet of Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai in December 1931, Araki was appointed to the post of Minister of War. As Army Minister, he however supported the instigators of the May 15 Incident, calling them "irrepressible patriots".[2] He also supported General Shiro Ishii and his biological warfare research project Unit 731.

Prince Saionji, one of the Emperor's closest and strongest advisors, attempted to stop the military take-over of the government. In a compromise, a naval officer was chosen to become Prime Minister, Admiral Makoto Saito. Araki remained as War Minister in 1932 and immediately began making demands on the new government. Later that month, the Japanese unveiled its new foreign policy, which they dubbed the Japanese Monroe Doctrine (Hakko Ichiu and Amau doctrines) that was a blueprint for Japanese expansionism in Asia.

From September 1932 onwards, Araki became more outspoken in promoting totalitarianism, militarism and expansionism. In a 23 September news conference Araki first mentioned the philosophy of Kodoha ("The Imperial Way"), which linked the Emperor, the people, land and morality as one indivisible entity, and which emphasized State Shintoism. Araki also strongly promoted the concept of the Seishin Kyoiku (spiritual training) for the army.

After serving as a member of the Supreme War Council in 1934, Araki was ennobled with the title of baron (danshaku) in 1935 under the kazoku peerage system. He retired from the military in March 1936, as part of the fallout from the February 26 Incident.

After retirement, Araki was appointed Education Minister, in the cabinet of Konoe Fumimaro in 1937, which placed him in an ideal position to promote his militaristic ideals into the national education system and the general populace. Araki proposed the integration of the samurai code in the national education system, himself believing in militaristic education. He promoted the use of the official academic text Kokutai no Hongi (Japan's Fundamentals of National Policy) and the "moral national bible" "Shinmin no Michi" ("The Path of Subjects") an effective catechism on nation, religion, cultural, social and ideological topics. Araki continued to serve as Education Minister under Prime Minister Kiichiro Hiranuma.

Political career

In 1924, Araki founded the Kokuhonsha (Society for the Foundation of the State), a secret society containing some of the most powerful generals, admirals and civilians dedicated to his the right-wing (and in practical terms fascist) philosophy mixing totalitarianism, militarism, expansionism, and loyalty to the emperor. Araki was also theoretician of the even more radical Sakurakai (Cherry Blossom Society) which actively attempted to bring about a 'Showa Reformation' through coups d'état.

As a colonel, Araki was the principal proponent of the Kodaha political faction (Imperial Benevolent Rule or Action Group) within the Japanese Army, together with Jinzaburo Mazaki, Heisuke Yanagawa and Hideyoshi Obata. Their opposition was the Toseiha (Control Group) led by General Kazushige Ugaki. The Kodaha represented the radical and ultranationalist elements within the army; the Toseiha attempted to represent the more conservative moderates. These groups had a common intellectual origin in the Double Leaf Society, a 1920s military thinking group, supporting samurai ideals.

The groups were later to merge into the Imperial Way Faction (Kodoha) and incorporated a mixture of right-wing and socialist ideas, particularly those of Kita Ikki and the fascist thinking of Nakano Seigo, of which Araki was a leading member.

In January 1939, Araki became involved in the National Spiritual Mobilization Movement and revitalized it by having it sponsor public rallies, radio programs, printed propaganda and discussion seminars at tonarigumi neighborhood associations.

Araki and the “Strike North Group”

Within the Army, Araki was a solid supporter of the Hokushin-ron and its proposal to fight against Communism in Soviet Far East and Siberia. Araki was considered a leading expert on the Soviet Union and was fanatically opposed to communism.

An essential first step in the Hokushin-ron proposal was for Japan to seize control of Manchuria. Araki was a supporter of the unauthorized studies of China and the preparation of war scenarios by radical junior officer cliques within the Army. Through his connections with the Sakurakai, Araki intensified efforts to take the government away from civilian control and isolate the Emperor (Shōwa Reformation), and to unite the many secret societies, as well as to put a close confidant, Shigeru Honjo, in as commander of the Kwantung Army.

Time Magazine January 23 1933

The Kwantung Army had 12,000 men available for the invasion of Manchuria at the time of the Mukden Incident, but needed reinforcements. Araki arranged that another protégé, Chosen Army commander Senjuro Hayashi was briefed to move his forces from Korea north into Manchuria without permission from Tokyo in support of the Kwantung Army.

The plot to seize Manchuria proceed as planned, and when presented by the fait accompli, all Prime Minister Reijiro Wakatsuki could do was weakly protest and resign with his cabinet. When the new cabinet was formed, Araki as War Minister was the real power in Japan.

After 1945

After World War II, Araki was arrested by the American Occupation authorities and brought before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, where he was tried for war crimes. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but was released from Sugamo Prison in 1955 for health reasons.[3] He died 11 years later. His grave is at Tama Cemetery, in Fuchu, Tokyo



  • Beasley, W.G. (2007). The Rise of Modern Japan, 3rd Edition: Political, Economic, and Social Change since 1850. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0312233736.  
  • Samuels, Richard (2007). Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0801446120.  
  • Maga, Timothy P. (2001). Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2177-9.  
  • Young, Louise (2001). Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism (Twentieth Century Japan: the Emergence of a World Power). University of California Press. ISBN 0520219341.  

External links


  1. ^ Ammenthorp. The Generals of World War II
  2. ^ Japan at War, Time-Life, 1980, p. 18
  3. ^ Maga, Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials
Political offices
Preceded by
Kazushige Ugaki
Minister of War
Apr 1931-Dec 1931
Succeeded by
Sadao Araki
Preceded by
Takashi Hishikari
Governor-General of Kwantung
Succeeded by
Kenkichi Ueda


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The sword is our steel Bible!

Baron Sadao Araki (May 26, 1877November 2, 1966) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army before World War II. A charismatic leader and one of the principal nationalist right-wing political theorists in the late Japanese Empire, he was regarded as the leader of the radical faction within the politicized Japanese Army.


  • The sword is our steel Bible!
    • Quoted in "Irving Wallace: A Writer's Profile" - Page 373 - by John Leverence, Sam L. Grogg - 1974
  • In order to have enough of the raw materials...which will be lacking in wartime, we should plan to acquire and use foreign resources existing in our expected sphere of influence, such as Sakhalim, China, and the Southern Pacific.
    • 1933. Quoted in "Carriers in Combat: The Air War at Sea" - Page 43 - by Chester G. Hearn - History - 2007
  • Now the opportunity to destroy the USSR has arrived.
    • Quoted in "The greatest battle: Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow" - Page 215 - by Andrew Nagorski - 2007
  • According to our belief, Japan was founded by the Sun Goddess Amaterasu Omikami, who is revered by the entire nation for her all-pervading virtue, and from whom our Imperial House is descended.
    • Quoted in "Contemporary Japan" - Page 422 - by Nihon Gaiji Kyokai - 1932
  • A war minister is able to force the adoption of any measure desired by the Camp or to block any measure that meets his disapproval.
    • Quoted in "Shakai kagaku tokyu" - Page 883 - by Waseda Daigaku Shakai Kagaku Kenkyujo, Waseda Daigaku Ajia Taiheiyo Kenkyu Senta - Social sciences - 1992
  • If we have a thousand bamboo spears, there's nothing to worry about a war with the Soviet Union.
    • Quoted in "Sugamo Diary" - Page 30 - by Yoshio Kodama - 1960
  • Give me a Japanese division armed with bamboo spears and I'll wipe out the entire Russian Far Eastern Army.
    • Quoted in "Until They Eat Stones" - Page 254 - by Russell Brines - 1944
  • Frivolous thinking is due to foreign thought. Japan must no longer let the impudence of the white peoples go unpunished. It is the duty of Japan to fulfill her natural destiny, to cause China to respect the Japanese, to expel Chinese influence from Manchuria, and to follow the way of imperial destiny.
    • Quoted in "World War II almanac" - Page 9 - by Robert Goralski - History - 1981
  • The spirit of the Japanese nation is, by its nature, a thing that must be propagated over the seven seas and extended over the five continents. Anything that may hinder its progress must be abolished, even by force.
    • Quoted in "Dragon in the Dust" - Page 229 - by Post Wheeler - 2007
  • We have no hesitation in declaring that we are a military nation- in the cause of Kodo and the highest morality.
    • Quoted in "Behind the Japanese Mask" - Page 43 - by Jesse Frederick Steiner - History - 1943
  • What sort of government is it that permits so many children to go to school hungry, without even a morsel of food in their stomachs? It cannot be! It must not be!
    • Quoted in "They Shall Inherit the Earth" - Page 55 - by Otto Zoff, Anne Garrison - 1943
  • Let the League of Nations say whatever it pleases, let America offer whatever interference, let China decry Japan's action at the top of her voice, but Japan must adhere to her course unswervingly.
    • Quoted in "China and America" - Page 200 - by Foster Rhea Dulles - Political Science - 1981
  • It is Japan's mission to be supreme in Asia, the South Seas and eventually the four corners of the world.
    • Quoted in "Japan and the Defence of Australia" - Page 15 - by Edmund Leolin Piesse - 1935
  • Unless you remove the weeds, a good crop will be ruined.
    • Quoted in "The Quarterly review" - Page 20 - by William Gifford, John Taylor Coleridge - 1935
  • Setbacks there and at home will only increase our strength...
    • About Japanese soldiers sent to Kiska. Quoted in "Out on the Causeway" - Time Magazine - May 24, 1943
  • The foundations of our Empire are now based more firmly than ever! The birth of a Crown Prince shows that the prosperity of the Imperial Household is increasing many times.
    • Quoted in "Sun's Son's Son" - Time Magazine - January 1, 1934
  • It is now time for our nation to frustrate the wild dreams of the whites.
    • Quoted in "Britons Beaten?" - Time Magazine - October 16, 1933
  • In appointing our Ambassador to the United States at this important time, with the 1936 crisis ahead, such considerations as dignity, past career, equity and sentiment must be discarded and a man of ability chosen in the interests of the country. In the light of these considerations, we find Hiroshi Saito, present Minister of Holland, the right person for the post.
    • Quoted in "Up Saito!" - Time Magazine - December 25, 1933
  • I ask you to remember that the Japanese troops are a strictly disciplined force and perform their duties with as little harmfulness as possible.
    • Quoted in "President Proposes" - Time Magazine - July 4, 1932

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