Osami Nagano

Osami Nagano
Osami Nagano
Osami Nagano.jpg
Osami Nagano in Vice Admiral uniform
Born June 15, 1880
Kōchi, Kōchi Prefecture, Japan
Died January 5, 1947(1947-01-05) (aged 66)[1]
Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Navy
Years of service 1900 -1947
Rank Fleet Admiral,
General Staff
Commands held Hirado, Nisshin, Iwate,
3rd NGS Division Intelligence, 3rd Battleship Division, 1st China Expeditionary Fleet, Naval General Staff, Yokosuka Naval District, Navy Ministry, IJN 1st Fleet, Combined Fleet, Navy General Staff[2]

World War I

World War II
Awards Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure (1st class)
Order of the Golden Kite (3rd class)
Order of the Rising Sun (3rd class)[2]

Osami Nagano (永野 修身 Nagano Osami?, June 15, 1880 – January 5, 1947) was a Japanese career naval officer and fleet admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1934. More of an administrative officer than a sea commander, he was Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff for the majority of World War II, from April 1941 to February 1944.



Nagano was born in Kōchi to an ex-samurai family. He graduated from the 28th class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1900, ranked second of his class of 105 cadets. After midshipman service in the cruiser Hashidate and battleship Asahi, he was commissioned as an ensign and assigned to the cruiser Asama. He served in a number of staff positions during the Russo-Japanese War, the closest he came to combat was as commander of a land-based heavy naval gun unit during the siege of Port Arthur.

After his promotion to lieutenant in 1905, he served on the battleship Shikishima. He took coursework in naval artillery and navigation from 1905–1906, and later served as chief gunnery officer on the cruiser Itsukushima from 1906-1908. Nagano graduated from the Japanese Naval War College in 1909.

He was promoted to lieutenant commander in 1910 and he was assigned as chief gunnery officer on the battleship Katori. From January 1913 to April 1915, Nagano was a language officer in the United States, during which time he studied at Harvard Law School.

During World War I, Nagano served as executive officer on the cruisers Nisshin and cruiser Iwate. He was promoted to captain in 1918, and received his first (and only) ship command, the cruiser Hirado in 1919.

From December 1920, Nagano was assigned as a military attaché to the United States, in which capacity he attended the Washington Naval Conference. He returned home in November 1923, although he returned to the United States on official visits in 1927 and 1933. He was promoted to rear admiral the month following his return to Japan.

In February 1924, Nagano was Chief of the Third Section (Intelligence) of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff. He commanded the 3rd Battleship Division in December 1924, and the 1st China Expeditionary Fleet from April 1925. In December 1927, he was promoted to vice admiral. From 1928-1929, Nagano was commandant of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy and from 1930-1931 served as Vice Chief of the Navy General Staff, in which capacity he attended the Geneva Naval Conference. He also attended the London Naval Conference of 1930. From 1933-1934, he was commander in chief of the Yokosuka Naval District. Nagano achieved the rank of admiral on March 1, 1934, and was appointed to the Supreme War Council. Nagano subsequently served as the chief naval delegate to the London Naval Conference of 1935. Japan withdrew in protest from the 1935 London Conference after it was denied naval parity with the United States and Great Britain.

Nagano was appointed Navy Minister under Prime Minister Koki Hirota in 1936, and was appointed Commander in Chief of Combined Fleet in 1937.

In 1941, Nagano became Chief of the Imperial Japanese Naval General Staff, as was thus the most senior officer in the Japanese navy during most of World War II. However, he did not provide strong leadership and was influenced by hard-line subordinates, to whom he entrusted too much strategic planning.[3] Although he was a proponent of the Nanshin-ron, he was against war with the United States; he concluded that if Japan were able to take over British and Dutch colonies in Asia without directly attacking the United States, the isolationist factions with the American government would prevent the United States from declaring war against Japan. He was against Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's planned attack on Pearl Harbor, but reluctantly gave his approval only after Yamamoto threatened to resign as commander of the Combined Fleet.[4]

Nagano was promoted to fleet admiral in 1943. By 1944, however, Japan had suffered serious military setbacks and Nagano had lost the confidence of Emperor Hirohito.[5] With the emperor's approval, Prime Minister Hideki Tōjō and Navy Minister Shigetarō Shimada removed Nagano from his post and replaced him with Shimada. Nagano spent the remainder of the war as an advisor to the government. Arrested by the American Occupation forces in 1945, Nagano was charged with “Class A” war criminal charges before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. When interrogated by United States naval officers he was described as "thoroughly cooperative", "keenly alert", "intelligent", and "anxious to develop American friendship".[6] He died of a heart attack due to complications arising from pneumonia in Sugamo Prison in Tokyo before the conclusion of the trial in 1947.

Naval career

  • Midshipman - 13 December 1900
  • Ensign - 18 January 1902
  • Sublieutenant - 26 September 1903
  • Lieutenant - 12 January 1905
  • Lieutenant Commander - 1 December 1910
  • Commander - 1 December 1914
  • Captain - 1 December 1918
  • Rear Admiral - 1 December 1923
  • Vice Admiral - 1 December 1927
  • Admiral - 1 March 1934
  • Fleet Admiral - 21 June 1943



  • D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X. 
  • Dull, Paul S. (1978). A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1941-1945. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-097-1. 
  • Evans, David (1979). Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0870211927. 
  • Parshall, Johnathan (2005). Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. Potomac Books. ISBN 1574889230. 

External links


  1. ^ Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy
  2. ^ a b Nagano Osami at navalhistory.flixco.info
  3. ^ Parshall, Shattered Sword
  4. ^ Evans. Kaigun. page 528-529
  5. ^ D’Abas, Death of a Navy
  6. ^ USSBS, Interrogations of Japanese Officials
Military offices
Preceded by
Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu
Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff
Apr 1941 - Feb 1944
Succeeded by
Shigetarō Shimada
Preceded by
Mitsumasa Yonai
Commander of the Combined Fleet
Feb 1937 - Dec 1939
Succeeded by
Zengo Yoshida
Political offices
Preceded by
Osumi Mineo
Minister of the Navy
Mar 1936-Feb 1937
Succeeded by
Yonai Mitsumasa

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