Yoshijirō Umezu

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In this Japanese name, the family name is "Umezu".
Yoshijirō Umezu
UmezuYosijiro.jpg
General Umezu Yoshijirō
Native name 梅津 美治郎
Nickname(s) Stoneman
Born (1882-01-04)January 4, 1882
Nakatsu, Ōita Prefecture, Japan
Died January 8, 1949(1949-01-08) (aged 67)
Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1903 - 1945
Rank General
Commands held Japanese China Garrison Army, IJA 2nd Division, Japanese First Army, Kwangtung Army
Battles/wars
Other work Chief the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff

Yoshijirō Umezu (梅津 美治郎 Umezu Yoshijirō?) (January 4, 1882 – January 8, 1949) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II.

Biography[edit]

Umezu was born in Nakatsu (Ōita Prefecture) where his family ran a bookstore since the 18th century. During his years at the Seisei Highschool in Kumamoto he decided to pursue a military career. He graduated from the 15th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy on November 30, 1903 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry the following February 12. Promoted to lieutenant on June 30, 1905, he entered the 23rd class of the Army Staff College, graduating first in 1911. Following his promotion to captain on March 25, 1912, he was sent to Europe for further studies in Germany and Denmark. While in Denmark, he was also a military observer from Japan during the course of World War I, and was promoted to major on June 1, 1918. From 1919-1921, he was appointed as a military attaché to Switzerland.[1]

Umezu was promoted to lieutenant colonel on February 8, 1922 and to colonel on December 15, 1925. During the 1920s, he was a member of the Tōseiha led by General Kazushige Ugaki along with Gen Sugiyama, Koiso Kuniaki, Tetsuzan Nagata and Hideki Tōjō. They represented a politically moderate line between the armed forces, in opposition to the radical Kōdōha movement guided by Sadao Araki. He served as an instructor at the Army Staff College from 1923–1924, and was commander of the IJA 3rd Infantry Regiment from 1924-1926.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Umezu held a number of staff positions within the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff. He was promoted to major general on August 1, 1930. Umezu returned to the field as a lieutenant general (promoted August 1, 1934) and commander of the Japanese China Garrison Army from 1934–1935 and as commander of the IJA 2nd Division from 1935-1936.[2]

After being recalled to Japan in 1936, Umezu was appointed Vice Minister of War from 1936-1938. He returned to China in 1938 as commander-in-chief of the IJA 1st Army, and subsequently commander-in-chief of the Kwangtung Army from 1939-1944. He was promoted to full General on August 1, 1940.[3]

The Surrender of Japan on the USS Missouri

In July 1944, Umezu was appointed as the final Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff and a member of the Supreme War Council. Along with War Minister Korechika Anami and Soemu Toyoda, Chief of Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff, Umezu opposed surrender in August 1945; he believed that the military should fight on, forcing the Allies to sustain such heavy losses in an invasion of Japan, that Japan could negotiate for peace under better terms. He was aware of the planned coup d'état by junior officers opposed to the surrender, but did nothing to either aid or hinder it.[4] He was personally ordered by Emperor Hirohito to sign the instrument of surrender on behalf of the armed forces on September 2, 1945 and thus, was the Army's senior representative during the surrender ceremonies on the battleship USS Missouri at the end of World War II.[5] He entered the reserves on November 30.

After the war, he was arrested by the SCAP authorities and tried as a war criminal at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo. He was found guilty of Counts 1, 27, 29, 31 and 32 of waging a war of aggression and sentenced to life imprisonment on November 12, 1948.[6] While in prison, he became a convert to Christianity. Umezu died from rectal cancer in prison in 1949.

Umezu signing the instrument of surrender to the Allied nations
Another perspective of Gen. Umezu signing the instrument of surrender

References[edit]

Books[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Dupuy, Encyclopedia of Military Biography
  2. ^ Ammenthorp, the Generals of World War II
  3. ^ Budge, Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Butow, Japan's Decision to Surrender
  5. ^ Shokan, Hirohito's Samurai
  6. ^ Maga, Judgement at Tokyo
Government offices
Preceded by
Kenkichi Ueda
Governor-General of Kwantung
1939-1944
Succeeded by
Otozō Yamada
Military offices
Preceded by
Kotaro Nakamura
Commander, China Garrison Army
Mar 1934 – Aug 1935
Succeeded by
Hayao Tada
Preceded by
Kiyoshi Katsuki
Commander, IJA 1st Army
May 1938 – Sep 1939
Succeeded by
Yoshio Shinozuka
Preceded by
Kenkichi Ueda
Commander, Kwantung Army
Sep 1939 – Jul 1944
Succeeded by
Otozō Yamada
Preceded by
Hideki Tōjō
Chief of Imperial Japanese Army General Staff
Jul 1944 – Sept 1945
Succeeded by
none