Kuniaki Koiso

Kuniaki Koiso

Infobox Politician
name =Kuniaki Koiso

width =150px
height =150px
caption =Prime Minister of Japan
birth_date =birth date|1880|3|22|df=y
birth_place =Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan
residence =
death_date = death date and age|1950|11|3|1880|3|22
death_place =Tokyo, Japan
office =41st Prime Minister of Japan
salary =
term_start =22 July 1944
term_end = 7 April 1945
monarch = Emperor Showa
predecessor =Hideki Tojo
successor =Kantaro Suzuki
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party =none
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nihongo|Kuniaki Koiso |小磯 國昭| Koiso Kuniaki|extra= 22 March 18803 November 1950 was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, Governor-General of Korea and 41st Prime Minister of Japan from 22 July 1944 to 7 April 1945.

Koiso was born in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture as the son of an ex-"samurai" family. His father was a policeman.

Military career

A career soldier, Koiso graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1900 and went on to attend the Army War College. Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 30th Infantry Regiment in June 1901, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in 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 Army in September 1912, Koiso was promoted to Major and Battalion Commander of the 2d Infantry Regiment in August 1914. He returned to the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Headquarters in June 1915, was promoted to lieutenant colonel in July 1918, and seconded to the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service in July 1921. After his promoted to colonel in February 1922, he was sent as a military attaché to Europe in June 1922, returning to assume command of the IJA 51st Division in August 1923. Returning to the Army General Staff in May 1925, he was promoted to major general in December 1926 and lieutenant general in 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 Tojo as 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 Army in Korea from December 1935. Promoted to full general in November 1937, he joined the Army General Staff in July 1938.

Political career

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.

Koiso was Governor-General of Korea from 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 conscription of Koreans into the Japanese military. [Pratt, Everlasting Flower]

In July 1944, Koiso was chosen to serve as Prime Minister of Japan after 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 Koichi and Konoe Fumimaro also did not favor Koiso, due to Koiso's previous involvement with the ultranationalist "Sakura Kai" and its attempted coup d'état against 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 Army and United States Navy. Also during his tenure, on 10 November 1944 Wang Jingwei died of pneumonia in 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 Okinawa and his demands to be included in military decisions were rejected. [Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire ]

Later career

Koiso was an ardent supporter of State Shintoism along 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 East for war crimes. Upon conviction as a Class-A war criminal on 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 Prison in 1950.



*cite book
last = Frank
first = Richard B
coauthors =
year = 2001
title = Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire
publisher = Penguin
location =
id = ISBN: 0141001461

*cite book
last = Maga
first = Timothy P.
authorlink =
coauthors =
year = 2001
chapter =
title = Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials
publisher = University Press of Kentucky
location =
id = ISBN 0-8131-2177-9

*cite book
last = Pratt
first = Keith
coauthors =
year = 2007
title = Everlasting Flower: A History of Korea
publisher = Reaktion Books
location =
id = ISBN: 1861893353

*cite book
last = Tolland
first = John
coauthors =
year = 2003
title = The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945
publisher = Modern Library
location =
id = ISBN: 0-8129-6858-1

External links

*cite web
last = Chen
first = Peter
url = http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=255
title = Kuniaki Koiso
work = WW2 Database

*cite web
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

*cite web
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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