General Yoshinori Shirakawa
|Born||January 24, 1869
Iyo, Ehime, Japan
|Died||May 26, 1932
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Service/branch||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Years of service||1890-1932|
|Commands held||11th Infantry Division
1st Infantry Division
Shanghai Expeditionary Army
|Battles/wars||First Sino-Japanese War
World War I
Second Sino-Japanese War
|Awards||Order of the Golden Kite (2nd class)
Order of the Rising Sun (1st class)
|Other work||Minister of War|
Shirakawa was born to a samurai class family in Iyo, Ehime domain in Shikoku (present day Ehime prefecture). He attended military preparatory schools as a youth, specializing in military engineering and served with the IJA 21st Infantry Regiment. He graduated from the 1st class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1890 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant the following year.
Shirakawa entered the Army Staff College in 1893, but was forced to leave the following year due to the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War. During the war, he was promoted to first lieutenant. He returned to graduate from the Army Staff College and was promoted to captain in 1899. Shirakawa was then assigned as commander of the IJA 21st Infantry Regiment. In 1902, he was assigned to the Imperial Guards.
Promoted to major in 1903, Shirakawa returned to command the IJA 21st Infantry Regiment during the Russo-Japanese War. During the war, he was promoted to become Chief of Staff of the IJA 13th Division. Shirakawa became a lieutenant colonel in 1907, colonel in 1909, and commander of the IJA 34th Infantry Regiment.
During World War I, Shirakawa was commander of the IJA 9th Infantry Brigade. He served as Head of the Personnel Bureau in the Ministry of War from 1916–1919, and after his promotion to lieutenant general in 1919, as Commandant of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. In 1921, he was given a combat command again, as commander of the IJA 11th Division, and from 1922 as commander of the IJA 1st Division.
From 1922–1923, Shirakawa served as Vice-Minister of War under General Hanzo Yamanashi. After briefly serving as Head of Army Aeronautical Department, Shirakawa was appointed Commander in Chief of the Kwangtung Army from 1923–1926. during which time he was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.
With tensions in China rapidly ramping up towards open war, Shirakawa was dispatched to China on February 25, 1932 to become commander in chief of the Shanghai Expeditionary Army. However, two months later, on April 29, 1932 he was severely injured in a bomb set by Korean independence activist Yoon Bong-Gil in Shanghai's Hongkou Park and died on May 26.
Shirakawa was posthumously awarded with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, Order of the Golden Kite 2nd Class, and elevated to the rank of danshaku (baron) under the kazoku peerage system. His ashes were divided between graves located in his hometown of Matsuyama and in Tokyo's Aoyama Cemetery.
- Bix, Herbert P. (2001). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-093130-2.
- Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). Encyclopedia of Military Biography. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85043-569-3.
- Sims, Richard (2001). Japanese Political History Since the Meiji Renovation 1868–2000. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-23915-7.
- Ammenthorp, Steen. "Shirakawa Yoshinori". The Generals of World War II.
- Wendel, Marcus. "List of Commanders of the Kwantung Army". Axis History Factbook.
- Ammenthorp, The Generals of World War II
- Wendel, Axis History Factbook
- Dupuy, Encyclopedia of Military Biography
|Minister of War
Apr 1927 – Jul 1929
|Commander, Shanghai Expeditionary Army
Feb 1932 – Apr 1932
|Commander, Kwantung Army
Oct 1923 – Jul 1926