Toshikazu Kase

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Toshikazu Kase
Kase Toshikazu.JPG
Born(1903-01-12)January 12, 1903
DiedMay 21, 2004(2004-05-21) (aged 101)
NationalityJapanese
OccupationDiplomat

Toshikazu Kase (加瀬 俊一, Kase Toshikazu, 12 January 1903 – 21 May 2004) was a Japanese civil servant and career diplomat. During World War II he was a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official. Hideaki Kase is his son and Yoko Ono is his niece.

The Japanese representatives on board USS Missouri during the surrender ceremonies on 2 September 1945. Kase on right, wearing top hat.
Kase (right) with Japanese Foreign Minister Shigemitsu at signing of Instrument of Surrender on board USS Missouri, September 2, 1945

Biography[edit]

Kase was born in Chiba, Japan, from a family of upper-class landowners.[1] After passing his Foreign Service Examination in 1925 he left Tokyo Higher Commercial College (later Hitotsubashi University)[2] and attended Amherst College and Harvard as a Research Fellow, graduating in 1927.

He took up diplomatic posts in both Berlin and London before returning to Tokyo where he was posted to the North America desk of the Japanese Foreign Office. He was on duty on the weekend of the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941.[3] Acting as secretary to Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo, Kase had assisted in the preparation of the document formally terminating negotiations with the United States. In an interview after retirement, he blamed Japanese diplomats in Washington for delays in decoding and delivering the cabled text of the statement, which he claimed should have been delivered an hour prior to the beginning of the attack.[4]

On 2 September 1945 Kase was present as part of the Japanese delegation on board USS Missouri for the signing of the treaty of surrender in 1945.[5] At his suggestion Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and other civilian members of the party wore formal diplomatic attire of morning dress and top hats "because we were representing our sovereign" (an exception to this was Saburo Ota, who wore no hat in addition to being clad in white formal wear in contrast to other civilian members black morning dresses). Kase had drafted the English text of the document accepting the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.[6]

Kase continued to work in the Foreign Ministry until 1948 when he left to practice journalism. In 1950 Kase published a book that gave an account of the war from a Japanese perspective.[5]

Resuming his diplomatic career in 1954, Kase took up an appointment as chief advisor to the same foreign minister whom he had assisted at the surrender ceremony on board the USS Missouri. In 1955 he became Japan's first ambassador to the United Nations.[7] His final diplomatic posting, before retiring in 1960, was as ambassador to Belgrade.[8]

He was interviewed in English for The World at War series.

Kase died, aged 101 years, in Kamakura, of heart failure.[9][10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary in "The Telegraph" of 3 June 2004
  2. ^ USS Missouri.com
  3. ^ Brooke, James. (2003-11-08) "Toshikazu Kase: A Japanese Witness to History Adroitly Survived It", The New York Times.
  4. ^ Obituary in "The Telegraph" of 3 June 2004
  5. ^ a b Journey to the Missouri, Kase, Toshikazu & Rowe, David Nelson, Eds, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1950. ISBN 0-208-00747-4 Synopsis from Digital Library for Nuclear Issues Archived 2011-06-06 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Obituary in "The Telegraph" of 3 June 2004
  7. ^ Britannica Book of the Year 2005
  8. ^ Obituary in "The Telegraph" of 3 June 2004
  9. ^ Obituary: "Toshikazu Kase, 101, Japanese Diplomat". New York Times, 2 June 2004, p 10 NYT Archive
  10. ^ Pearson, Natalie Obiko, "Toshikazu Kase, Japanese Diplomat in War, Peace". Chicago Sun-Times, 1 June 2004.

Other sources[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Renzō Sawada
Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations
1955–1957
Succeeded by
Koto Matsudaira
Preceded by
New office
Japanese Ambassador to Yugoslavia
1958–1960
Succeeded by
Yōsuke Nakae