Yamanashi Hanzō

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Yamanashi Hanzō
Yamanashi Hanzo.jpg
General Yamanashi Hanzō
Native name 山梨 半造
Born April 6, 1864
Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, Japan
Died July 2, 1944(1944-07-02) (aged 80)
Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1886–1927
Rank General
Commands held IJA 18th Division
Other work Minister of War
Governor-General of Korea

Yamanashi Hanzō (山梨 半造, 6 April 1864 – 2 July 1944) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, Minister of War and Governor-General of Korea from 1927 to 1929.


A native of Osumi District in Sagami Province (part of present-day Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Yamanashi graduated from the 8th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1886 and from the 8th class of the Army Staff College in 1892. He was assigned to the IJA 4th Infantry Brigade and served in combat as an infantry platoon commander during the First Sino-Japanese War[1] with the IJA 2nd Army.

After the war, Yamanashi served in a number of administrative and staff positions, before being posted to Germany as a military attaché from 1898 to 1902.

During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, Yamanashi was vice chief-of-staff of the IJA 2nd Army and subsequently chief-of-staff of the IJA 3rd Division. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in late 1904.[1] He returned to Europe immediately after the end of the war as military attaché to Austria-Hungary, serving from the end of 1905 to 1907, and again to Germany from in 1907.

Yamanashi was promoted to major general in 1911, and assigned command of the IJA 30th Infantry Brigade. He was transferred to the IJA 1st Infantry Brigade the following year. After serving in a number of administrative positions within the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, he was again given a field command during World War I, commanding the IJA 18th Division at the Battle of Tsingtao. In 1916, Yamanashi was promoted to lieutenant general and in 1921 he was promoted to full general.

From 1921 to 1923, Yamanashi served as Army Minister under the cabinets of Prime Ministers Hara, Takahashi and Katō Tomosaburō.[2] As Army Minister, Yamanashi initiated reforms which cut 2200 officers and 60,000 men from the roster of the Imperial Japanese Army. This was equivalent to approximately five divisions, but as it was spread out across the entire army, the effects were less noticeable than the subsequent abolishment of four divisions outright by Yamanashi's successor, Ugaki Kazushige. Yamanashi also unsuccessfully attempted to challenge the entrenched concept within the Imperial Japanese Army that "spirit" (elan, or yamato-damashii) could prevail over deficiencies in modern weaponry or technology. However, at the end of his tenure, the Imperial Japanese Army was still behind the other major powers in terms of mechanization and aviation.[3]

During the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, Yamanashi was appointed martial law commander of the Tokyo region, until the post was abolished in November 1923, but continued to be head of the Tokyo regional police forces through August 1924.

Yamanashi retired from active military service in 1927. From December 1927 to August 1929, Yamanashi served as Japanese Governor-General of Korea.[4] He followed the relatively lenient policies established by his predecessors, and there was little significant change in Korea under Japanese rule during his tenure.[5]

After his return to Japan, he became embroiled in a number of prominent corruption scandals involving allegation of misuse of Army funds. Although Yamanashi was acquitted, a number of his close associates were convicted, and he retired from public life at the end of 1929.[6] Yamanashi died of natural causes at his home in Kamakura, Kanagawa in 1944 at the age of 80.

Political offices
Preceded by
Tanaka Giichi
Minister of War
June 1921 – September 1923
Succeeded by
Tanaka Giichi
Preceded by
Ugaki Kazushige
Governor-General of Korea
December 1927 – August 1929
Succeeded by
Saitō Makoto



External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kowner, Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War, p. 429.
  2. ^ Dupuy, Encyclopedia of Military Biography
  3. ^ Lone, Stewart (2010). Provincial Life and the Military in Imperial Japan: The Phantom Samurai. Routledge. ISBN 0203872355.  page 121
  4. ^ Wendel, Axis History Database
  5. ^ Lee, Yur-Bok (1999). Korean-American Relations: 1866–1997. SUNY Press. ISBN 0791440257.  page 63
  6. ^ Mitchell, Richard H (1996). Political Bribery in Japan. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824818199.