- Tanaka Giichi
name = Tanaka Giichi
caption =Prime Minister of Japan
birth_date = birth date|1864|6|22|df=y
Nagato Province, Japan
death_date =death date and age|1929|9|29|1864|6|22
Prime Minister of Japan
20 April 1927
2 July 1929
Emperor Taishō Emperor Shōwa
nihongo| Tanaka Giichi, 1st Baron Tanaka |田中 義一| Tanaka Giichi , (
22 June 1864– 29 September 1929) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, politician, and the 26th Prime Minister of Japanfrom 20 April 1927to 2 July 1929.
Early life and military career
Tanaka was born to a "
samurai" family in Hagi, Nagato Province(modern day Yamaguchi Prefecture), Japan. He graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academyand the Army War College in 1892, and served in the First Sino-Japanese War, and later in the Russo-Japanese War, as aide to General Kodama Gentaro. In 1906, he helped draft a defense plan which was so highly regarded by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staffthat it was adopted by as basic policy until World War I.
Tanaka was fluent in the
Russian language, which he learned while as a military attachéto Moscow. He attended mass every Sunday at a Russian Orthodoxchurch, which enabled him to practice his Russian at church social events, although it is uncertain if he ever actually converted to Christianity.
In 1911, Tanaka was promoted to
major general, and was made director of the Military Affairs Bureau at the Army Ministry, where he recommended an increase in the strength of the standing army by two more infantrydivisions.
Promoted to full
generalin 1920, he served as War Minister under Prime Ministers Hara Takashi(1918-21) and the 2nd Yamamoto administrations (1923-24), during which time he backed the Siberian Intervention.
After retiring from the army, he was invited to accept the post of party president of the "
Rikken Seiyukai" political party in 1925, and was made a member of the House of Peers. He was later elevated to the title of "danshaku" ( Baron) under the " kazoku" peerage system.
Tanaka had been scheduled to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal at the time of his retirement. However, when news reached the ears of the Army Ministry of a 3 million Yen bonus that Tanaka received on agreeing to join the "Rikken Seiyukai", the promotion was denied.
As Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Japanin 1927, during the Shōwa financial crisis, serving simultaneously as the Foreign Affairs Minister.
On the domestic front, Tanaka attempted to suppress leftists,
Communistsand suspected Communist sympathizers through widespread arrests (the March 15 incidentof 1928, and the April 19 Incidentof 1929).
In foreign affairs, he continued the aggressive interventionist policies he began as a military officer in China,
Manchuriaand Mongolia. On three separate occasions in 1927-1928 he sent troops to intervene militarily in Chinato block Chang Kai-shek’s Northern Expedition to unify China under Kuomingtangrule, in what became known as the Jinan Incident.
Tanaka came into office even as forces were already beginning to converge that would draw Japan into
World War II. In 1928, however, the machinations of the ultranationalist secret societies and the Kwantung Armyresulted in a crisis: the assassination of the Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolinand the failed attempt to seize Manchuria. Tanaka himself was taken by surprise by the assassination plot, and argued that the officers responsible should be publicly court-martialed for homicide. The military establishment, from which Tanaka was by now estranged, insisted on covering up the facts of the incident, which remained an official secret. Bereft of support, and under mounting criticism in Diet and even from Emperor Hirohitohimself, Tanaka and his cabinet resigned en masse.
He was succeeded by
Hamaguchi Osachi, and died a few months later.
The Tanaka Memorial
In 1929, China accused Tanaka of having authored the "
Tanaka MemorialImperialist Conquest Plan", which advocated the conquest of Manchuria, Mongolia, and eventually the whole of China. He was alleged to have presented the plan to the Emperor in 1927. Today, most Japanese historians regard the document as a forgery [ [http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2008010190071313.html 日本批判の根拠『田中上奏文』 中国側 『偽物』認める見解] , Tokyo Shimbun, January 1, 2008] . On the other side of the view, a memorial published in the mid-1950s by one of the principals in the revealation of the "Plan", a Japanese-born Taiwanese and businessman Tsai Chih-Kan, accounted that Tsai personally copied the "Plan" from the Imperial Library in the night of June 20, 1928, during a covert action which was assisted by several of Japan's leading pre-war politicians and officers who were opposed by Tanaka. With this account, many Chinese history textbooks consider the document as authentic.
* Gluck, Carol. "Japan's Modern Myths". Princeton University Press (1987). ISBN 0-691-00812-4
*Hane, Mikiso. "Modern Japan: A Historical Survey". Westview Press (2001). ISBN 0-8133-3756-9
*Harries, Meirion. "Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army". Random House; Reprint edition (1994). ISBN 0-679-75303-6
* Morton, William Finch. "Tanaka Giichi and Japan's China Policy." New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1980.
* [http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0847768.html Biography at infoplease.com]
* [http://www.bartleby.com/65/ta/Tanaka-G.html Columbia Encyclopedia entry at bartleby.com]
* [http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/cabinet/26_e.html Official lifespan at kantei.go.jp]
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