Ministry of the Army

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HQ building of the Imperial Japanese Army, Tokyo, from 1937–1945

The Army Ministry (陸軍省, Rikugun-shō), also known as the Ministry of War, was the cabinet-level ministry in the Empire of Japan charged with the administrative affairs of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). It existed from 1872 to 1945.

History[edit]

The Army Ministry was created in April 1872, along with the Navy Ministry, to replace the Ministry of War (兵部省, Hyōbushō) of the early Meiji government.

Initially, the Army Ministry was in charge of both administration and operational command of the Imperial Japanese Army. However, with the creation of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff in December 1878, it was left with only administrative functions. Its primary role was to secure the army budget, weapons procurement, personnel, relations with the National Diet and the Cabinet and broad matters of military policy.

The post of Army Minister was politically powerful. Although a member of the Cabinet after the establishment of the cabinet system of government in 1885, the Army Minister was answerable directly to the Emperor (the commander-in-chief of all Japanese armed forces under the Meiji Constitution) and not the Prime Minister.

From the time of its creation, the post of Army Minister was usually filled by an active-duty general in the Imperial Japanese Army. This practice was made into law under the "Military Ministers to be Active-Duty Officers Law" (軍部大臣現役武官制, Gumbu daijin gen'eki bukan sei) in 1900 by Prime Minister Yamagata Aritomo to curb the influence of political parties into military affairs. Abolished in 1913 under the administration of Yamamoto Gonnohyōe, the law was revived again in 1936 at the insistence of the Army General Staff by Prime Minister Hirota Kōki. At the same time, the Imperial Japanese Army prohibited its generals from accepting political offices except by permission from Imperial General Headquarters. Taken together, these arrangements gave the Imperial Japanese Army an effective, legal right to nominate (or refuse to nominate) the Army Minister. The ability of the Imperial Japanese Army to refuse to nominate an Army Minister gave it effective veto power over the formation (or continuation) of any civilian administration, and was a key factor in the erosion of representative democracy and the rise of Japanese militarism.

After 1937, both the Army Minister and the Chief of the Army General Staff were members of the Imperial General Headquarters.

With the surrender of the Empire of Japan in World War II, the Army Ministry was abolished together with the Imperial Japanese Army by the Allied occupation authorities in November 1945 and was not revived in the post-war Constitution of Japan.

Organization[edit]

  • Under-Secretary of the Army (Vice Minister)
    • Military Affairs Bureau
    • Personnel Bureau
    • Weapons Bureau
    • Army Service Bureau
    • Administration Bureau
    • Intendance (Accounts and Supply)
    • Medical
    • Judicial Bureau
    • Economic Mobilization Bureau
    • Aeronautical Department
    • Economic Mobilization (abolished in April 1945)

The Army Ministry and Imperial General Headquarters were located in Ichigaya Heights, which is now part of Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Ministers of the Army of Japan[edit]

No. Portrait Name Term of Office Cabinet
1 Iwao Oyama 2.jpg Ōyama Iwao
大山 巌
22 December
1885
17 May
1891
1st Itō
Kuroda
1st Yamagata
1st Matsukata
2 Takashima Tomonosuke.jpg Takashima Tomonosuke
高島 鞆之助
17 May
1891
8 August
1892
3 Iwao Oyama 2.jpg Ōyama Iwao
大山 巌
8 August
1892
20 September
1896
2nd Itō
2nd Matsukata
4 Takashima Tomonosuke.jpg Takashima Tomonosuke
高島 鞆之助
20 September
1896
12 January
1898
5 11 KatsuraT.jpg Katsura Tarō
桂 太郎
12 January
1898
23 December
1900
3rd Itō
1st Ōkuma
2nd Yamagata
4th Itō
6 Gentaro Kodama 2.jpg Kodama Gentarō
兒玉 源太郎
23 December
1900
27 March
1902
1st Katsura
7 Masatake Terauchi 2.jpg Terauchi Masatake
寺内 正毅
27 March
1902
30 August
1911
1st Saionji
2nd Katsura
8 Ishimoto Shinroku.jpg Ishimoto Shinroku
石本 新六
30 August
1911
2 April
1912
2nd Saionji
9 Uehara Yusaku.jpg Uehara Yūsaku
上原 勇作
5 April
1912
21 December
1912
10 Kigoshi Yasutsuna.jpg Kigoshi Yasutsuna
木越 安綱
21 December
1912
24 June
1913
3rd Katsura
1st Yamamoto
11 Kusunose Yukihiko ca.1913.jpg Kusunose Yukihiko
楠瀬 幸彦
24 June
1913
16 April
1914
12 Gen. Oka Ichinosuke.jpg Oka Ichinosuke
岡 市之助
16 April
1914
30 March
1916
2nd Ōkuma
13 Ōshima Ken'ichi in 1917.jpg Ōshima Ken'ichi
大島 健一
30 March
1916
29 September
1918
Terauchi
14 Tanaka Giichi.jpg Tanaka Giichi
田中 義一
29 September
1918
9 June
1921
Hara
15 Yamanashi Hanzo.jpg Yamanashi Hanzō
山梨 半造
9 June
1921
2 September
1923
Takahashi
Katō
16 Tanaka Giichi.jpg Tanaka Giichi
田中 義一
2 September
1923
7 January
1924
2nd Yamamoto
17 Kazushige Ugaki 2.jpg Kazushige Ugaki
(宇垣 一成
7 January
1924
20 April
1927
Kiyoura
Katō
1st Wakatsuki
18 Yoshinori Shirakawa.jpg Yoshinori Shirakawa
白川 義則
20 April
1927
2 July
1929
1st Tanaka
19 Kazushige Ugaki 2.jpg Kazushige Ugaki
宇垣 一成
2 July
1929
14 April
1931
Hamaguchi
20 Minami Jirō 1931.jpg Jirō Minami
南 次郎
14 April
1931
13 December
1931
2nd Wakatsuki
21 Araki Sadao.jpg Sadao Araki
荒木 貞夫
13 December
1931
23 January
1934
Inukai
Saitō
22 33 HayashiS.jpg Senjūrō Hayashi
林 銑十郎
23 January
1934
5 September
1935
Okada
23 Kawashima Yoshiyuki2.JPG Yoshiyuki Kawashima
川島 義之
5 September
1935
9 March
1936
24 Hisaichi Terauchi.jpg Hisaichi Terauchi
寺内 寿一
9 March
1936
2 February
1937
Hirota
25 Kōtarō Nakamura.jpg Kōtarō Nakamura
中村 孝太郎
2 February
1937
9 February
1937
Hayashi
26 Sugiyama Hajime1.jpg Hajime Sugiyama
杉山 元
9 February
1937
3 June
1938
1st Konoe
27 Seishirō Itagaki.jpg Seishirō Itagaki
板垣 征四郎
3 June
1938
30 August
1939
1st Hiranuma
28 Hata Syunroku3.jpg Shunroku Hata
畑 俊六
30 August
1939
22 July
1940
Abe
Yonai
29 Hideki Tojo2 (cropped).jpg Hideki Tojo
東條 英機
22 July
1940
22 July
1944
2nd Konoe
3rd Konoe
Tojo
30 Sugiyama Hajime1.jpg Hajime Sugiyama
杉山 元
22 July
1944
7 April
1945
Koiso
31 AnamiKorechika.jpg Korechika Anami
阿南 惟幾
7 April
1945
14 August
1945
Suzuki
32 General Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko.jpg Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni
東久邇宮稔彦王
17 August
1945
23 August
1945
Higashikuni
33 Shimomura Sadamu.jpg
Sadamu Shimomura

下村 定
23 August
1945
1 December
1945
Shidehara

References[edit]

  • Edgerton, Robert B. (1999). Warriors of the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Military. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-3600-7. 
  • Harries, Meirion (1994). Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army. Random House. ISBN 0-679-75303-6. 
  • "Foreign Office Files for Japan and the Far East". Adam Matthew Publications. Accessed 2 March 2005.