February 19, 1890|
|Died||June 29, 1957
Kingoro Hashimoto (橋本 欣五郎 Hashimoto Kingorō?, February 19, 1890 – June 29, 1957) was a soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army and politician. He was famous for having twice tried to stage a coup against the civilian government in the 1930s.
Hashimoto was born in Okayama City, and a graduate of the 23rd class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1911. He subsequently graduated from the Army Staff College in 1920. In April 1922, he was assigned to the Kwangtung Army in Manchuria and was stationed at Harbin. In 1923, he was sent on special assignment to Manzhouli, near the border with the Soviet Union. From September 1927 through June 1930, he was reassigned as military attaché to Turkey. On his return to Japan, he was posted to the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, and headed a Russian studies department. He was promoted to colonel in August, 1930 and became an instructor at the Army Staff College in October.
From the middle of 1930, Hashimoto became increasingly involved in right-wing politics within the military, with active participation in various attempts at coups d'état. He was also a founder of radical secret societies within the Army.
Hashimoto actively participated in the March incident of 1931. The Sakurakai (Cherry Blossom Society) was formed secretly by him and Captain Isamu Chō. The Sakurakai group sought political reform: the elimination of party government by a coup d'état and the establishment of a new cabinet based upon state socialism, in order to stamp out Japan's allegedly corrupt politics, economy, and thought; which literally meant a return to a pre-westernized Japan.
The attempt failed, but Hashimoto, along with Isamu Chō and Shūmei Ōkawa, organized a further coup, the Imperial Colors Incident, also known as the October Incident, with Sadao Araki. All the conspirators were arrested and transferred to other posts. There were also suspicions of the instigation of himself and Araki in the final attempt, the Military Academy Incident.
Despite these failures, Hashimoto continued as an active radical thinker during World War II. He was involved in the Taisei Yokusankai (Imperial Rule Assistance Association). He proposed a nationalist single party dictatorship, based on socialism, which was similar to European fascism. The militarists had strong industrial support, but also socialist-nationalist sentiments on the part of radical officers, aware of poor farmers and workers who wanted social justice. He represented the extreme left-wing of the militarists. Supporters of Fumimaro Konoe's "Right-Socialist" revolution (socialist and populist ideas, rooted in the poorest farmers, fishermen, and industrial workers), opposed the "right-wing" militarists represented by Senjuro Hayashi, in the same "revolutionary grouping". Later receiving political patronage by Hiranuma Kiichirō, another right-wing politician with Japanese Navy links in the official establishment.
Hashimoto later was elected to the House of Representatives, and became vice-president of the Diet of Japan. The Yokusan Sonendan (Imperial Rule Assistance Young Men's Corps) under his leadership had a mission of guiding the nationalist and militarist indoctrination of young people throughout the war.
He was involved in the Panay incident of December 12, 1937 in which Japanese bombers attacked and sank, without provocation, the USS Panay (PR-5) on the Yangtze River in China. Hashimoto was the senior Japanese officer in the region, and a few days after the sinking was quoted in US newspapers as saying "I had orders to fire." Even so, US-Japanese relations continued to sour in the aftermath of the incident, which would eventually lead to the Pacific War.
Hashimoto was a fervent supporter of aggressive policies during the Second Sino-Japanese War period, and thus supported the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in 1940, along with the other military extremists of the Imperial Japanese Army.
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