Tanaka Giichi

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In this Japanese name, the family name is "Tanaka".
Tanaka Giichi
田中 義一
Tanaka Giichi.jpg
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
20 April 1927 – 2 July 1929
Monarch Shōwa
Preceded by Wakatsuki Reijirō
Succeeded by Osachi Hamaguchi
Personal details
Born (1864-06-22)22 June 1864
Hagi, Chōshū Domain
Died 29 September 1929(1929-09-29) (aged 65)
Tokyo, Japan
Resting place Tama Reien Cemetery, Fuchū, Tokyo
Political party Rikken Seiyūkai
Alma mater Imperial Japanese Army Academy
Army War College
Profession General
Signature

Baron Tanaka Giichi (田中 義一?, 22 June 1864 – 29 September 1929) GBE KCMG was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, politician, and the 26th Prime Minister of Japan from 20 April 1927 to 2 July 1929.

Early life and military career[edit]

Tanaka (officer)

Tanaka was born to a samurai family in Hagi, Nagato Province (modern day Yamaguchi Prefecture), Japan. He graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy and the 8th class of the Army War College in 1892, and served in the First Sino-Japanese War.

After the end of the war, he was sent as a military attaché to Moscow and Petrograd, and was in Russia at the same time as Takeo Hirose of the Imperial Japanese Navy, with whom he became close friends.Tanaka was fluent in the Russian language, which he learned while attending mass every Sunday at a Russian Orthodox church, which enabled him to practice his Russian at church social events, although it is uncertain if he ever actually converted to Christianity. Later in the Russo-Japanese War, he served as aide to General Kodama Gentarō in Manchuria. In 1906, Tanaka helped draft a defense plan which was so highly regarded by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff and General Yamagata Aritomo that it was adopted as basic policy until World War I. He was also awarded the Order of the Golden Kite (3rd class) in April 1906.

In 1911, Tanaka was promoted to major general, and was made director of the Military Affairs Bureau at the Army Ministry, where he recommended an increase in the strength of the standing army by two additional infantry divisions. He was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure (1st class) in September 1918.

Promoted to full general in 1920, he served as War Minister under Prime Ministers Hara Takashi (1918–21) and the 2nd Yamamoto administrations (1923–24), during which time he backed the Siberian Intervention. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun (1st class) in September 1920.

After retiring from the army, he was invited to accept the post of party president of the Rikken Seiyukai political party in 1925, and was made a member of the House of Peers. He was later elevated to the title of danshaku (Baron) under the kazoku peerage system. Tanaka had been scheduled to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal at the time of his retirement. However, when news reached the ears of the Army Ministry of a 3 million Yen bonus that Tanaka received on agreeing to join the Rikken Seiyukai, the promotion was denied.

As Prime Minister[edit]

Tanaka (politician)

Tanaka became Prime Minister of Japan on 20 April 1927, during the Shōwa financial crisis, serving simultaneously as the Foreign Affairs Minister. He later added the posts of Home Minister (4 May 1928 to 23 May 1928), and Colonial Affairs Minister (10 June 1929 to 2 July 1929) to his portfolio.

On the domestic front, Tanaka attempted to suppress leftists, Communists and suspected Communist sympathizers through widespread arrests (the 15 March incident of 1928, and the 19 April incident of 1929).

In foreign affairs, he continued the aggressive interventionist policies he began as a military officer in China, Manchuria and Mongolia. On three separate occasions in 1927–1928 he sent troops to intervene militarily in China to block Chang Kai-shek’s Northern Expedition to unify China under Guomindang rule, in what became known as the Jinan Incident.

Tanaka came into office even as forces were already beginning to converge that would draw Japan into World War II. In 1928, however, the machinations of the ultranationalist secret societies and the Kwantung Army resulted in a crisis: the assassination of the Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin and the failed attempt to seize Manchuria. Tanaka himself was taken by surprise by the assassination plot and argued that the officers responsible should be publicly court-martialed for homicide. The military establishment, from which Tanaka was by now estranged, insisted on covering up the facts of the incident, which remained an official secret. Bereft of support, and under mounting criticism in Diet and even from Emperor Hirohito himself, Tanaka and his cabinet resigned en masse on 2 July 1929.

Tanaka was succeeded by Hamaguchi Osachi, and he died a few months after his resignation. He was awarded the Order of the Paulownia Flowers on his death. His grave is at the Tama Cemetery in Fuchū, Tokyo.[1]

The Tanaka Memorial[edit]

In 1929, China accused Tanaka of having authored the "Tanaka Memorial Imperialist Conquest Plan", which advocated the conquest of Manchuria, Mongolia, and eventually the whole of China. He was alleged to have presented the plan to the Emperor in 1927. The plan was presented as fact in the wartime propaganda movies Why We Fight, which claimed that the plan envisaged the conquest of America after East Asia.[2] In a memoir published in the mid-1950s, a Japanese-born Taiwanese businessman, Tsai Chih-Kan, claimed that he had personally copied the "Plan" from the Imperial Library on the night of 20 June 1928, in a covert action assisted by several of Japan's leading pre-war politicians and officers who were opposed to Tanaka. Today, most historians regard the document as a forgery.[3]

Awards and Decorations[edit]

From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Find-a-grave website
  2. ^ Dower, John W (1987). War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. Pantheon. ISBN 0-394-75172-8. p.22.
  3. ^ 日本批判の根拠『田中上奏文』 中国側 『偽物』認める見解, Tokyo Shimbun, 1 January 2008

References[edit]

  • Gluck, Carol. Japan's Modern Myths. Princeton University Press (1987). ISBN 0-691-00812-4
  • Hane, Mikiso. Modern Japan: A Historical Survey. Westview Press (2001). ISBN 0-8133-3756-9
  • Harries, Meirion. Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army. Random House; Reprint edition (1994). ISBN 0-679-75303-6
  • Morton, William Finch. Tanaka Giichi and Japan's China Policy. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ōshima Ken'ichi
Army Minister
Sept 20, 1918–9 Jun 1921
Succeeded by
Yamanashi Hanzō
Preceded by
Yamanashi Hanzō
Army Minister
Sept 2, 1923–7 Jan 1924
Succeeded by
Ugaki Kazushige
Preceded by
Kijūrō Shidehara
Minister of Foreign Affairs
20 April 1927 – 2 July 1929
Succeeded by
Kijūrō Shidehara
Preceded by
Suzuki Kisaburō
Home Minister
4 May 1928 – 23 May 1928
Succeeded by
Mochizuki Keisuke
Preceded by
none
Minister of Colonial Affairs
10 June 1929 – 2 July 1929
Succeeded by
Genji Matsuda
Preceded by
Wakatsuki Reijirō
Prime Minister of Japan
1927–1929
Succeeded by
Osachi Hamaguchi