- Kuniaki Koiso
name =Kuniaki Koiso
caption =Prime Minister of Japan
birth_date =birth date|1880|3|22|df=y
Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan
death_date = death date and age|1950|11|3|1880|3|22
Prime Minister of Japan
22 July 1944
7 April 1945
monarch = Emperor Showa
nihongo|Kuniaki Koiso |小磯 國昭| Koiso Kuniaki|extra=
22 March 1880– 3 November 1950was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, Governor-General of Koreaand 41st Prime Minister of Japanfrom 22 July 1944to 7 April 1945.
Koiso was born in
Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefectureas the son of an ex-" samurai" family. His father was a policeman.
A career soldier, Koiso graduated from the
Imperial Japanese Army Academyin 1900 and went on to attend the Army War College. Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenantin 30th Infantry Regiment in June 1901, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenantin November 1903. During the Russo-Japanese War, he served as Battalion Adjutant in September 1904, Company Commander in March 1905 and was promoted to captain in June 1905, all in the same Regiment.
In November 1910, Koiso graduated from the Army War College and returned to the Imperial Japanese Army Academy as an instructor in December 1910.
Reassigned to the
Kwantung Armyin September 1912, Koiso was promoted to Majorand Battalion Commander of the 2d Infantry Regiment in August 1914. He returned to the Imperial Japanese Army General StaffHeadquarters in June 1915, was promoted to lieutenant colonelin July 1918, and seconded to the Imperial Japanese Army Air Servicein July 1921. After his promoted to colonelin February 1922, he was sent as a military attachéto Europe in June 1922, returning to assume command of the IJA 51st Divisionin August 1923. Returning to the Army General Staff in May 1925, he was promoted to major generalin December 1926 and lieutenant generalin August 1931.
During 1920s period Koiso joined the relatively moderate "
Toseiha" (Control Faction) led by General Kazushige Ugaki, along with Gen Sugiyama, Yoshijiro Umezu, Tetsuzan Nagata, and Hideki Tojoas opposed to the more radical " Kodaha" (Action Faction) under Sadao Araki.
In February 1932, Koiso became Vice-Minister of War and in August 1932, concurrently Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army. In March 1934, he was transfer to command the
IJA 5th Division( Hiroshima). He then assumed command of the Chosen Armyin Koreafrom December 1935. Promoted to full generalin November 1937, he joined the Army General Staff in July 1938.
Koiso left active duty in July 1938. From April-August 1939, he served as Minister of the newly created cabinet post of the
Ministry of Greater East Asia (Japan), and again from January-July 1940.
Governor-General of Koreafrom May 1942 to 1944, during which time he gained the nickname "The Tiger of Korea" for his looks rather than his military prowess. [Toland, John: "The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945", page 529] His period of rule in Korea was marked by the highly unpopular imposition of universal military conscriptionof Koreans into the Japanese military. [Pratt, Everlasting Flower]
In July 1944, Koiso was chosen to serve as
Prime Minister of Japanafter the downfall of the Tojo cabinet. Koiso faced strong competition from more senior army officials for the post. The Army strongly favored General Terauchi Hisaichi; however, they could not afford to recall him to Japan from his role as commander-in-chief of all Japanese forces in Southeast Asia. The civilian government, especially Kido Koichiand Konoe Fumimaroalso did not favor Koiso, due to Koiso's previous involvement with the ultranationalist " Sakura Kai" and its attempted coup d'étatagainst the government in 1931 (The March Incident). These reservations were shared by the Emperor in his Privy Council meetings. Nevertheless, Koiso was selected, as no consensus could be reached on a more suitable alternative.
Koiso was almost a token Prime Minister as he was not allowed to participate in any military decisions. He was not popular with government ministers who favored making peace, nor with those who wished to prosecute the war until the bitter end.
During Koiso's term in office, Japanese forces faced multiple defeats on all fronts at the hands of the
United States Armyand United States Navy. Also during his tenure, on 10 November 1944 Wang Jingweidied of pneumoniain a Japanese hospital in Nagoya, which effectively was the end of the Nanjing regime in northern China. For a time, Koiso considered making peace, but he could not find a solution that would appease both the Japanese military and the Allies. Left with little choice but to continue the war effort, Koiso tried to extend his power over the army by attempting to assume the position of War Minister concurrently with Prime Minister, but was unable to legally do so as he was on the reserve list. Koiso resigned in April 1945 when American forces invaded Okinawaand his demands to be included in military decisions were rejected. [Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire ]
Koiso was an ardent supporter of
State Shintoismalong with Heisuke Yanagawa, who directed the Government Imperial Aid Association. He restored the ancient sacred rites in the Sukumo river, near Hakone, the " Preliminary Misogi Rite".
After the end of
World War II, Koiso was arrested by the Allied occupation powers and tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far Eastfor war crimes. Upon conviction as a Class-A war criminalon counts 1, 27, 29, 31, 32 and 55, he was given a sentence of life imprisonment. [Maga, Judgement at Tokyo] The Tribunal specifically cited Koiso's decisive role in starting the wars against China and the Allies. "Furthermore, despite the fact that Kuniaki Koiso was not directly responsible for the war crimes committed by the Japanese Army, he took no measures to prevent them or to punish the perpetrators when, as Prime Minister, it was within in his power to do so." [ Bedat, [http://www.trial-ch.org/en/trial-watch/profile/db/legal-procedures/kuniaki_koiso_596.html] ] Koiso died in Sugamo Prisonin 1950.
last = Frank
first = Richard B
year = 2001
title = Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
publisher = Penguin
id = ISBN: 0141001461
last = Maga
first = Timothy P.
year = 2001
title = Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials
publisher = University Press of Kentucky
id = ISBN 0-8131-2177-9
last = Pratt
first = Keith
year = 2007
title = Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea
publisher = Reaktion Books
id = ISBN: 1861893353
last = Tolland
first = John
year = 2003
title = The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945
publisher = Modern Library
id = ISBN: 0-8129-6858-1
last = Chen
first = Peter
url = http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=255
title = Kuniaki Koiso
work = WW2 Database
last = Bedat
first = J
url = http://www.trial-ch.org/en/trial-watch/profile/db/legal-procedures/kuniaki_koiso_596.html
title = Kuniaki Koiso
work = Trial Watch
last = Clancy
first = Patrick
url = http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/PTO/IMTFE/IMTFE-10.html
title = HyperWar:IMTFE Judgement
work = HyperWar Foundation
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