- Prince Kan'in Kotohito
Infobox Military Person
name= Prince Kanin Kotohito
10 November 1865– 21 May 1945
caption= Prince Kan'in Kotohito
Empire of Japan
First Sino-Japanese War Russo-Japanese War
Order of Merit
Order of the Golden Kite(2nd Class)
Order of the Chrysanthemum.
nihongo|Prince Kan'in (Kotohito) |閑院宮載仁親王| Kan'in-no-miya Kotohito Shinnō OM|extra=
10 November 1865- 21 May 1945), was the 6th head of a cadet branch the Japanese imperial family, and a career army officer who served as Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Stafffrom 1931 to 1940.
Prince Kotohito was born in
Kyotoon 10 November 1865as the sixteenth son of Prince Fushimi Kuniye(1802 - 1875). His father was twentieth head of the Fushimi-no-miya, one of the four shinnōke, branches of the Imperial Family which were eligible to succeed to the throne if the main line should die out. Since the infant mortalityrate in the main imperial household was quite high, Emperor Kōmei, the father of Emperor Meiji, adopted Prince Kotohito as a potential heir. Prince Kotohito was thus the adopted brother of Emperor Meijiand a great uncle to both Emperor Shōwa and his consort, Empress Kōjun.
Prince Kotohito was initially sent to Sambo-in imperial temple at the age of three to be raised as a
Buddhist monk, but was selected in 1872 to revive the Kan'in-no-miya, another of the shinnōkehouseholds, which had gone extinct upon the death of the fifth head, Prince Naruhito.
Marriage & family
19 December 1891, Prince Kotohiko married Sanjo Chieko ( 30 January 1872- 19 March 1947), a daughter of Prince Sanjo Sanetomi. The couple had seven children: five daughters and two sons:
# HIH Princess Kan'in Yukiko (b. 13 May 1896)
# HIH Princess Kan'in Shigeko (b. 29 May 1897)
# HIH Princess Kan'in Sueko (b. 2 November 1898 - 17 July 1914)
# HIH Prince Kan'in Haruhito (b. 3 August 1902)
# HIH Princess Kan'in Hiroko (21 February 1906 – 1 September 1923)
# HIH Princess Kan'in Hanako (b. 30 June 1909)
# HIH Prince Kan'in Atsuhito (b. unknown but died in infancy)
Prince Kan'in entered the
Imperial Japanese Army Academyin 1877 and graduated in 1881. Emperor Meiji sent him as a military attacheto Francein 1882 to study military tactics and technology. He graduated from the Army Staff College in 1894, specializing in cavalry.
Kan'in was a veteran of both the
First Sino-Japanese War(1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War(1904-05). He rose to the rank of lieutenant generalin 1905 and became the commander of the IJA 1st Divisionin 1906, and the Imperial Guard Division in 1911. He was promoted to the rank of full generaland became a Supreme War Councilor in 1912. He was further promoted to become the youngest field marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army in 1919. [Ammenthorp, The generals of World War II]
In 1921, Prince Kan'in accompanied then-Crown Prince
Hirohitoon his tour of Europe. He became Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staffon 1 December 1931, replacing General Kanaya Hanzo.
During his mandate, the
Imperial Japanese Armyhas been accused of committing many exactions against Chinese civilians including the Nanking massacreand the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons. Kan'in transmitted to the Army the first emperor Showa's directive ("rinsanmei") authorizing the use of chemical weapons on 28 July 1937. He transmitted a second order on 11 Septemberauthorizing the deployment of special chemical warfare units to Shanghai. [ Herbert Bix, "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan", 2001, p.361] On 11 April 1938, he issued Directive Number 11 authorizing further use of poison gas in Inner Mongolia. [ Yoshiaki Yoshimiand S. Matsuno, "Dokugasusen Kankei shiryo II, Kaisetsu", Jugonen senso gokuhi shiryoshu 1997, p.27-29 ]
Kan'in, among others within the army, opposed Prime Minister
Yonai Mitsumasa's efforts to improve relations with the United Statesand the United Kingdom. He forced the resignation of War Minister General Hata Shunroku(1879-1962), thus bringing down the Yonai cabinet in July 1940. The Prince was a participant in the liaison conferences between the military chiefs of staff and the second cabinet of Prince Konoe Fumimaro(June 1940 - July 1941). Both he and Lieutenant General Tojo Hideki, the newly appointed War Minister, supported the Tripartite Pactbetween Japan, Nazi Germany, and Fascist Italy.
Kan'in retired as Chief of the General Staff on
3 October 1940and was succeeded by Sugiyama Hajime. He remained a member of the Supreme War Council and a senior advisor to the emperor on army matters. Field Marshal Prince Kan'in died in Tokyo, possibly due to an infection due to inflamed hemorrhoidson 21 May 1945and was accorded a state funeral.
The Prince was a strong supporter of
State Shinto. With Kiichiro Hiranumahe set up the " Shintoist Rites Research Council" to research all ancient Shinto rites and practices. Other associates were Kuniaki Koiso, Heisuke Yanagawa, who directed the Taisei Yokusankaiand Chikao Fujisawa, member of the Diet of Japan, who proposed a law that Shinto should be reaffirmed as Japan's state religion.
His only son, Prince Kan'in Haruhito, succeeded him as the seventh and last head of the Kan'in-no-miya household.
His decorations included the Grand
Order of Merit, Order of the Golden Kite(1st Class), and the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.
last = Dupuy
first = Trevor N.
year = 1992
title = The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography
publisher = HarperCollins Publishers Inc
location = New York
id = ISBN 0-7858-0437-4
last = Fujitani
first = T
coauthors = Cox, Alvin D
year = 1998
title = Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan
publisher = University of California Press.
id = ISBN 0520213718
last = Ammenthorp
first = Steen
url = http://www.generals.dk/general/Kanin/Kotohito_Prince/Japan.html
title = Field Marshal Kanin Kotohito
work = The Generals of World War II
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