Japanese Leaders

The Showa period in Japanese history is marked by imperialist expansion and nationalistic fervor. It would be the military leaders of this time that would be most memorable in print journalism and on the tongues of soldiers in the jungles. While the international community would want to deal with the Prime Minister and Japan’s members in the Diet it was the military that was truly in charge of Japan before and during the Second World War.

Emperor Hirohito

Emperor Hirohito spent more time focusing on quieting discontent at home. He was not explicitly
commanding where Japan’s military invaded but he always gave the final okay.

Prime Minister Koki Hirota

After the assassination of Prime Minister Osachi and the ousting of moderate Keisuke Okada, Koki Hirota was elected Prime
Minister. In his time in power he would give the military more
political autonomy and sign an alliance with Germany and Italy.

Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe

The trend of imperialistic Prime Ministers set in place by Koki would be continued by Fumimaro Konoe who would discredit the Chinese
government and put the
military in direct control of
Japanese civilian

Hideki Tojo in Military Uniform

Probably the most
memorable Prime Minister Hideki Tojo came into power in 1941. Tojo would enact nationalistic education
systems and eugenics at home while being directly
responsible for the first
major victories for Japan in WWII.

Prime Minister Kuniaki Koiso

One of Japan’s last military Prime Ministers, Kuniaki Koiso was a strong
proponent of State
Shintoism, which turned Japanese Nationalism
essentially into a religion.

Ambassador Hachiro Arita

Ambassador Hachiro Arita was believed to be one of the few opponents of Japan’s alliance with Germany and Italy.
Popular opinion forced Arita to make compromises.

Admiral Nomura

Kichisaburo Nomura was a top Admiral in Japan’s Supreme War Council in the lead up to the Second Sino-Japanese War. He would later become the
Japanese Ambassador to the US at the time of Pearl Harbor.

Baron Sadao Araki

Baron Sadao Araki was the Minister of Education in 1938 beginning the use of propaganda and Samurai Code in
national classrooms.

Colonel Kingoro Hashimoto

Military Career man Colonel Kingoro Hashimoto would give the orders to sink the USS Panay in 1937 continuing to sour US-Japanese relations.

Lt. Gen. Heisuke Yanagawa

After his involvement in the
Second Sino-Japanese War, Lt. Gen. Heisuke Yanagawa led
Japan’s Justice Department and Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department. Leading to wide range surveillance and arrests.