Kantarō Suzuki

Kantarō Suzuki

Infobox_Prime Minister
name=Baron Kantarō Suzuki|nationality=Japan

order=42nd Prime Minister of Japan
term_start=7 April 1945
term_end=17 August 1945
predecessor=Kuniaki Koiso
successor=Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko
monarch = Emperor Showa
office2=Chairman of the Privy Council
term_start2=7 August, 1944
term_end2=7 June, 1945
predecessor2=Hara Yoshimichi
successor2=Hiranuma Kiichiro
office3=Grand Chamberlain of Japan
predecessor3=Chinda Sutemi
successor3=Hyakutake Saburo
office4=Chief of Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff
term_start4=15 April, 1925
term_end4=22 January, 1929
predecessor4=Yamashita Gentarō
successor4=Kato Hiroharu
birth_date=birth date|1868|1|18
birth_place=Izumi Province, Japan
death_date=death date and age|1948|4|17|1868|1|18 [Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy]
death_place=Noda, Chiba, Japan

allegiance=Empire of Japan
branch= navy|Empire of Japan
serviceyears=1884ndash 1929
commands="Akashi", "Soya", "Shikishima", "Tsukuba"
Maizuru Naval District, IJN 2nd fleet, IJN 3rd fleet, Kure Naval District, Combined Fleet
battles=First Sino-Japanese War
*Battle of Weihaiwei
Russo-Japanese War
*Battle of Port Arthur
*Battle of Tsushima
World War I
World War II
awards=Order of the Golden Kite (3rd class)

nihongo|Kantarō Suzuki, 1st Baron |鈴木 貫太郎|Suzuki Kantarō|extra=18 January 1868 - 17 April 1948 was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy and 42nd Prime Minister of Japan from 7 April 1945 to 17 August 1945.

Suzuki was a key voice in favor of Japan's acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration and full surrender to the Allied Powers, thus ending World War II.


Early life

Suzuki was born in Kuze village, Izumi Province (modern Sakai, Osaka Prefecture to a "samurai" magistrate of the Sekiyado Domain. He grew up in the city of Noda, Kazusa Province (present day Chiba Prefecture).

Naval career

Suzuki entered the 14th class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1884, graduating 13th of 45 cadets in 1888. Suzuki served on the corvette "Tsukuba", corvette "Tenryu" and cruiser "Takachiho" as a midshipman. On being commissioned as ensign, he served on the gunboat "Amagi", corvette "Takao", corvette "Jingei", ironclad warship "Kongō" , and gunboat "Maya". After his promotion to lieutenant in 1892, he served as chief navigator on the corvette "Kaimon", "Hiei", and Kongō.

Suzuki served in the First Sino-Japanese War, commanding a torpedo boat and participated in night torpedo assault in the Battle of Weihaiwei. Afterwards, he was assigned to a number of staff positions including that of naval attaché to Germany from 1901-1903. On his return, he was promoted to commander and made executive officer of the "Kasuga".

During the Russo-Japanese War, Suzuki commanded the 2nd Destroyer Division in 1904, and the 4th Destroyer Division in 1905, which picked up survivors of the Port Arthur Blockade Squadron. He was appointed executive officer of the cruiser "Kasuga" on 26 February 1904, aboard which he participated in the pivotal naval Battle of Tsushima.

After the war, he commanded the destroyer "Akashi" (1908), followed by the cruiser "Soya" (1909), battleship "Shikishima" (1911) and cruiser "Tsukuba" (1912). Promoted to rear admiral on 23 May 1913 and assigned to command the Maizuru Naval District. Suzuki became Vice Minister of the Navy from 1914 -1917, during World War I.

Promoted to vice admiral on 1 June 1917, in early 1918 he brought the cruisers "Asama" and "Iwate" to San Francisco with 1000 cadets, and was received by USN Rear Admiral William Fullam. The Japanese cruisers then proceeded to South America.

After stints as Commandant of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, Commander of the IJN 2nd fleet, then the IJN 3rd fleet, then Kure Naval District, he became a full admiral on 3 August 1923. Suzuki became Commander in Chief of Combined Fleet in 1924. After serving as Chief of Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff from 1925 to 1929, he retired and accepted the position as Grand Chamberlain and Privy Councillor.

Suzuki narrowly escaped assassination in the February 26 Incident in 1936; the would-be assassin's bullet remained inside Suzuki for the rest of his life, and was only revealed upon his cremation. Suzuki was opposed to Japan's war with the United States, before and throughout World War II.

Prime Minister

On 7 April 1945, following the Battle of Okinawa, Prime Minister Kuniaki Koiso resigned and Suzuki was appointed to take his place at the age of seventy-seven. (United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt died less than a week later.)

Prime Minister Suzuki contributed to the final peace negotiations with the Allied Powers in World War II. He was involved in calling two unprecedented imperial conferences which helped resolve a split with in the Japanese Imperial Cabinet over the Potsdam Declaration. He outlined the terms to Emperor Hirohito who had already agreed to accept unconditional surrender. This went strongly against the military faction of the cabinet, who desired to continue the war in hopes of negotiating a more favorable peace agreement. Part of this faction attempted to assassinate Suzuki twice in Kyūjō Incident on the morning of 15 August 1945.

After the surrender became public, Suzuki resigned and Prince Higashikuni became next prime minister.

Suzuki died of natural causes. His grave is in his home town of Noda, Chiba. One of his two sons became director of Japan's immigration service, while the other was a successful lawyer.



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

*cite book
last = Gilbert
first = Martin
coauthors =
year = 2004
title = The Second World War: A Complete History
publisher = Holt
location = ISBN 0805076239
id =

*cite book
last = Keegan
first = John
coauthors =
year = 2005
title = The Second World War
publisher = Penguin
location = ISBN 0143035738
id =

External links

* [http://alsos.wlu.edu/qsearch.aspx?browse=people/Suzuki,+Kantaro Annotated bibliography for Kantaro Suzuki from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues]
*cite web
last = Nishida
first = Hiroshi
url = http://homepage2.nifty.com/nishidah/e/px14.htm#a001
title = Imperial Japanese Navy
accessdate = 2007-08-25

* [http://www.geocities.jp/torikai007/war/1945/suzuki.html Kantaro Suzuki and Pcific War at 1945] ja



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