Kabayama Sukenori

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Kabayama Sukenori
樺山 資紀
Kabayama Sukenori.jpg
Japanese Admiral Count Kabayama Sukenori
BornDecember 9, 1837
Kagoshima, Satsuma domain Japan
DiedFebruary 8, 1922(1922-02-08) (aged 84)[1]
Tokyo, Japan
AllegianceEmpire of Japan
Service/branch Imperial Japanese Navy
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service1874–1903
RankMajor General, Admiral
Battles/warsAnglo-Satsuma War
Boshin War
First Sino-Japanese War
oBattle of the Yalu
oBattle of Weihaiwei.
AwardsOrder of the Rising Sun (1st class)
Other workGovernor-General of Taiwan
Privy Council
Home Minister
Education Minister

Count Kabayama Sukenori (樺山 資紀, 9 December 1837 – 8 February 1922) was a Japanese samurai military leader and statesman.[2] He was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy. He later became the first Japanese Governor-General of Taiwan during the island's period as a Japanese colony. He is also sometimes referred to as Kabayama Motonori.


Born in Satsuma domain (modern day Kagoshima Prefecture) to a samurai family, Kabayama fought in the Anglo-Satsuma War and the Boshin War.

In 1871, he enlisted in the new Imperial Japanese Army and was accepted with the rank of major due to his previous combat experience. He was one of the defenders of Kumamoto Castle during the Satsuma Rebellion against his former Satsuma countrymen. He was subsequently promoted to colonel, and then major general, and placed in charge of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police.

In 1883, Kabayama changed from the army to the navy, becoming taifu (senior vice minister) of Navy with the rank of rear admiral, and was also ennobled with the title of viscount (koshaku) under the kazoku peerage system. The following year he was promoted to vice admiral.

Kabayama became Vice Navy Minister in 1886. He visited the United States and Europe from 25 September 1887 to 19 October 1888. He then served in several positions before being appointed Navy Minister under the first Yamagata and Matsukata cabinets from 1890-1892. Although not a politician, he spoke out harshly against representative democracy and civilian influence on the government in a speech Banyu Enzetsu made during the second Imperial Diet session. He retired in 1892.

During the First Sino-Japanese War, Kabayama was recalled from the reserves and accepted a field command, and was present at the Battle of the Yalu and Battle of Weihaiwei. It states something of his personality to note that he ordered his flagship, the lightly armed passenger liner Saikyo to charge the Chinese fleet at the Battle of the Yalu River.[3]

Kabayama was commander of the Japanese invasion force for Taiwan. On 10 May 1895, he was promoted to full admiral and became the first Japanese Governor-General of Taiwan, being responsible for moving the seat of government to Taipei. He was elevated to hakushaku (Count) on 5 August 1895 and also awarded the Order of the Rising Sun (first class).

Despite his best efforts to stabilize Japan's rule over Taiwan, his 13 months term as Governor-General were not peaceful. From December 1895 to January 1896, uprisings surfaced in many parts of the island, and he was forced to request reinforcements from home. In the ensuing action, 2800 Taiwanese were killed. Kabayama was succeeded by Lieutenant General Katsura Tarō.[4]

After his return to Japan in June 1896, Kabayama subsequently served on the Privy Council, as Home Minister under the 2nd Matsukata Cabinet, and Education Minister under the 2nd Yamagata cabinet.

Kabayama retired again from duty in 1910. His grave is at the Somei Reien Cemetery, in Sugamo, Tokyo.


  1. ^ Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy
  2. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kabayama Sukenori" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 441.
  3. ^ Paine (2001).
  4. ^ Ching (2001).

References and Further reading[edit]

  • Ching, Leo T.S. (2001). Becoming Japanese: Colonial Taiwan and the Politics of Identity Formation. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-22553-8.
  • Keene, Donald (2005). Emperor Of Japan: Meiji And His World, 1852-1912. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12341-8.
  • Paine, S.C.M. (2001). The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895: Perception, Power, and Primacy. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-61745-6.
  • Sims, Richard (1998). French Policy Towards the Bakufu and Meiji Japan 1854-1894. RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 1-873410-61-1.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Saigō Tsugumichi
Minister of the Navy
17 May 1890 – 8 August 1892
Succeeded by
Nire Kagenori
Military offices
Preceded by
Nakamuta Kuranosuke
Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff
18 July 1984 – 11 May 1895
Succeeded by
Itō Sukeyuki
Political offices
Preceded by
Governor-General of Taiwan
10 May 1895 –2 June 1896
Succeeded by
Katsura Tarō
Preceded by
Itagaki Taisuke
Home Minister
20 September 1896 – 12 January 1898
Succeeded by
Yoshikawa Akimasa
Preceded by
Inukai Tsuyoshi
Minister of Education
Nov 1898 – Oct 1900
Succeeded by
Matsuda Masahisa