- Hiranuma Kiichirō
name = Hiranuma Kiichirō
caption =Prime Minister of Japan
birth_date =birth date|1867|9|28|df=y
Tsuyama, Okayama, Japan
death_date =death date and age|1952|8|22|1867|9|28
Prime Minister of Japan
5 January 1939
30 August 1939
nihongo|Hiranuma Kiichiro, 1st Baron Hiranuma|平沼 騏一郎|Hiranuma Kiichirō (
28 September 1867- 22 August 1952) was a prominent pre-World War II right-wing Japanese politicianand the 35th Prime Minister of Japanfrom 5 January 1939to 30 August 1939. The modern Japanese politician, Takeo Hiranuma, is his adopted son.
Hiranuma was born in what is now Tsuyama city
Okayama Prefecture, as the son of a low-ranking samuraifrom the Tsuyama Domainof Mimasaka Province. He graduated with a degree in English lawfrom Tokyo Imperial Universityin 1888. After graduation, he obtained a posting in the Ministry of Justice.
At the Ministry of Justice
Hiranuma established a reputation during his time at the Ministry of Justice as a strong opponent of government corruption, successfully handling a number of high profile cases. He serving as director of
Tokyo High Court, public prosecutorof the Supreme Court, and Director of the Civil and Criminal Affairs Bureau. In 1909, he secured the conviction of 25 former and serving members of the Diet of Japanfor accepting bribes from the Japan Sugar Company. He rose to become Vice Minister of Justice in 1911, and Public Prosecutor-general in 1912.
Hiranuma was highly outspoken against the corruption and immorality in Japan's
political parties, and this attitude soon expanded to include what he perceived to be threatening foreign influences, such as socialismand liberal democracy.With Sadao Araki, Hiranuma created the " Kokuhonsha" group, as well as participating in other nationalistgroups.
In 1921, Hiranuma became chief of the Supreme Court of Japan.
Hiranuma became Minister of Justice under the second Yamamoto administration from September 1923 to January 1924. While Minister, he promoted the creation of the Thought Police to combat
communism, socialism, and the spread of what he considered subversive ideologies. In 1924, he became chairman of the House of Peersand was also appointed to the Privy Council. In 1926, he was elevated to the title of "danshaku" ( baron) under the " kazoku" peerage system.
Hiranuma served on the Privy Council for over 10 years, exerting considerable behind-the-scenes influence. He was strongly opposed to Prime Minister
Wakatsuki Reijiro's efforts at economic reform. He was also strongly opposed to the ratification of the London Naval Treatyof 1930. In 1931, he rallied support within the government for the Imperial Japanese Armyafter the army seized control of Manchuriawithout prior authorization, and later helped in the creation of Manchukuo. He also pushed for Japan's withdrawal from the League of Nations. In 1934, he directed the prosecution during the Teijin Incident, bringing down the administration of Prime Minister Saito Makoto. In 1936, Hiranuma was appointed President of the Privy Council.
Hiranuma was appointed
Prime Minister of Japanfrom 5 January 1939to 30 August 1939. As Prime Minister, his administration was dominated by the debate on whether or not Japan should ally itself with Nazi Germanyin order to neutralize the threat posed to Japan by the Soviet Union. Hiranuma wanted an anti-communist pact, but feared that a military alliance would commit Japan to war against the United Statesand Great Britainat a time when the bulk of its armed forces were committed to the Second Sino-Japanese War. With the signing of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pactin August 1939, Hiranuma's cabinet resigned over this foreign policy issue and over the massive defeat of the Japanese Army in Mongoliaduring the Nomonhan Incidentagainst the Soviet Union.
Hiranuma returned to the government after his resignation as Prime Minister, accepting the post of Home Minister in the second
Konoe Fumimaroadministration from 21 December 1940to 18 July 1941.
As Home Minister, he was a staunch defender of
State Shintoism". Hiranuma declared: "We should research the ancient rites in detail and consider their application in administrative affairs in general and the common life of the nation".
He withdrew from the government on the resignation of Prime Minister Konoe in October 1941.
Hiranuma served as one the "
Jushin," or unofficial senior advisors to Emperor Hirohitoduring World War II. Hiranuma saw the "jushin" as the core of a new group of " genro" advisors, as the last surviving Meiji period"genrō" Prince Kimmochi Saionji, died in November 1940. The new group included former Prime Ministers Mitsumasa Yonai, Nobuyuki Abe, and Konoe Fumimaro, all of whom supported Japan's aggressive foreign policy and the right-socialistideals of Kingoro Hashimotoon creation of a Military Shogunatethat would manage the Imperial affairs directly.
In April 1945, Hiranuma was again appointed President of the Privy Council. After the war, he was arrested by the American Occupation Authorities and was convicted by
International Military Tribunal for the Far Eastas a Class A War Criminaland given a life sentence. However, he was paroled in early 1952, and died shortly afterwards. His grave is at Tama Cemetery, outside of Tokyo.
* Bix, Herbert B. "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan". Harper Perennial (2001). ISBN 0060931302
* Brendon, Piers. "The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s". Vintage; Reprint edition (2002). ISBN 0375708081
* Frank, Richard B. "Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire". Penguin (Non-Classics); Reissue edition (2001). ISBN 0141001461
* Sherman, Christine. "War Crimes: International Military Tribunal". Turner Publishing Company. (2001). ISBN 1563117282
* Wolferen, Karel van. "The Enigma of Japanese Power: People and Politics in a Stateless Nation". Vintage; Reprint edition (1990). ISBN 0679728023
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