Jirō Minami

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Minami Jirō
Minami Jirō 1931.jpg
General Minami Jirō
Born August 10, 1874
Hiji, Ōita Prefecture, Japan
Died December 5, 1955(1955-12-05) (aged 81)
Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1895 - 1936
Rank General
Commands held 16th Division
Japanese Korean Army
Kwantung Army
Battles/wars Russo-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
Other work Governor-General of Korea
Privy Council (Japan)
In this Japanese name, the family name is "Minami".

Jirō Minami (南 次郎 Minami Jirō?, 10 August 1874 – 5 December 1955) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and Governor-General of Korea between 1936 and 1942.

Life and military career[edit]

Born to an ex-samurai family in Hiji, Ōita Prefecture, Minami came to Tokyo as a boarding student, and was eventually accepted into the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. After graduating from the academy in February 1895, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the cavalry in May. He was promoted to lieutenant in October 1897 and to captain in November 1900.

Minami served in the Russo-Japanese War as a member of the headquarters staff and as a company commander in the 1st Cavalry Regiment, where he participated in the Siege of Port Arthur. He was promoted to major in March 1905 and to lieutenant colonel in February 1910. Promoted to colonel in August 1915, he commanded the IJA 13th Cavalry Regiment during World War I, from 1914-1917. Minami was Chief of the Cavalry Section of the Ministry of War from 1917-1919.[1]

Attaining the rank of major general in July 1919, Minami served as commander of the IJA 3rd Cavalry Brigade in 1921–1923, then as Commandant of the Cavalry School in 1922–1923, and returned to the Imperial Japanese Army Academy as its commandant in 1923-1924.

Minami was promoted to lieutenant general in February 1924, and commanded the IJA 16th Division from 1926 to 1927. After serving as Vice Chief Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from 1927 to 1929, he became Commander-in-Chief of the Chosen Army from 1929 to 1930. He was promoted to full general in March 1930.[2]

Returning to Japan, Minami was appointed Minister of War in the Wakatsuki Cabinet in 1931. As War Minister, he role dispatched Major General Yoshitsugu Tatekawa to Manchuria specifically to curb the militarist behaviors of the Kwantung Army, but the Mukden Incident took place to worsen Sino-Japanese relations before Tatekawa could act.[3] Minami was War Minister during the Imperial Colors Incident.

Minami served as a member of the Supreme War Council from 1931 to 1934. He then received a posting as Commander of the Kwangtung Army from 1934 to 1936, during which time he was concurrently Japanese ambassador to Manchukuo.

Minami was placed on the reserve list in 1936, after the February 26 Incident, and forced into retirement from active service.

However, in 1936, Minami was appointed 8th Governor-General of Korea between 1936 and 1942.[4] His tenure in Korea was marked by a more hard-line approach than his predecessors, with a rolling back of various liberal reforms of the 1920s. In addition, Minami outlawed all but one of the Korean language newspapers, and strongly pushed for the soshi-kamei policy.

After his term in Korea, Minami served as a member of the Privy Council from 1942 to 1945, and had a seat in the House of Peers in the Japanese Diet in 1945.

After World War II, Minami was arrested by the American Occupation authorities and brought before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. He was convicted only of Counts 1 and 27: i.e. of being a leader in the plan to wage an unprovoked war of aggression against China, largely since he was Minister of War at the time of the Manchurian Incident. However he was acquitted of waging a war of aggression against the United States, the British Commonwealth and the Netherlands, and also acquitted of two charges related to prisoner abuse.[5] He was sentenced to life in prison but was paroled in 1954 on the grounds of his health. He died a year later.

Political offices
Preceded by
Kazushige Ugaki
Minister of War
Apr 1931 - Dec 1931
Succeeded by
Sadao Araki
Government offices
Preceded by
Takashi Hishikari
Governor-General of Kwantung Leased Territory
Dec 1934 - Mar 1936
Succeeded by
Kenkichi Ueda
Preceded by
Kazushige Ugaki
Governor-General of Korea
Aug 1936 - May 1942
Succeeded by
Kuniaki Koiso
Military offices
Preceded by
Hanzo Kanaya
Commander, IJA Chosen Army
Aug 1929 – Nov 1930
Succeeded by
Senjuro Hayashi
Preceded by
Takashi Hishikari
Commander, Kwangtung Army
Aug 1929 – Nov 1930
Succeeded by
Kenkichi Ueda

References[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Buzo, Adrian (2002). The Making of Modern Korea, A History. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-23749-1. 
  • Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). Encyclopedia of Military Biography. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85043-569-3. 
  • Maga, Timothy P. (2001). Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2177-9. 

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Dupuy, Encyclopedia of Military Biography
  2. ^ Ammenthorp, The Generals of World War II
  3. ^ Chen, World War II Database
  4. ^ Wendel, Governor-Generals of Korea
  5. ^ Maga, Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials