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Lt. Col. Masahiko Takeshita (竹下正彦 Takeshita Masahiko?) was the head of the domestic affairs section of the Military Affairs Bureau of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. In August 1945, he helped plan a coup along with Major Kenji Hatanaka and a handful of others[who?], with the intent of preventing the Emperor's announcement of Japan's surrender from being broadcast.
As the most senior officer involved in the coup, he was, at times, the leader of the group. He believed, as did his co-conspirators and many others, that the Emperor had to be separated from his peace-seeking advisors and convinced to change his mind. They believed that the costs of repelling an Allied land invasion would not be devastating, and that, ultimately, Japan would be better off under military rule, with his brother-in-law, Minister of War Korechika Anami as shogun.
Takeshita had a close relationship with Anami, and was among the few who had the Minister's ear; Anami considered Takeshita one of his closest confidants, and so it was through him that the rebels gained much of their information and influence. Ultimately, however, Anami insisted that while he was sympathetic with the rebels' cause, he could not actively oppose the wishes of the Emperor. Despite being so trusted by the Minister, he was at times confused as to Anami's true desires regarding the coup.
In the afternoon on August 14, Anami officially announced to the conspirators that the Cabinet had decided to terminate the war. The Cabinet operated by unanimous decision, and so this meant that Anami had given in. Faced with the now fully official opposition of the Cabinet, and the final loss of any aid Anami might have provided, Takeshita withdrew from the plot along with Col. Okikatsu Arao.
Early on the morning of August 15, 1945, Major Hatanaka spoke with Takeshita, trying one last time to convince him to rejoin the rebellion, and to secure the aid of General Anami. Takeshita refused, and realized, given the circumstances, that Anami would probably try to commit suicide. He traveled to the General's house, and acted as kaishakunin, second, in his brother-in-law's act of seppuku.
Unlike several of his co-conspirators, Takeshita survived through the events of August 15, and, as of 1968, was the head of the Command and General Staff college, a general in the Land Self-Defense Forces.
- Brooks, Lester (1968). "Behind Japan's Surrender: The Secret Struggle That Ended an Empire." New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.