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Dohihara Kenji (1883-1948)


Photograph of Dohihara Kenji

Wikipedia Commons

Dohihara Kenji (also rendered Doihara) was born in Okayama prefecture and graduated from the Military Academy in 1904. During his time at the Academy, he became a language expert, learning Chinese, Russian, and English. He held a number of posts in China and Japan. Between 1918 and 1928 he served as a military advisor to various Chinese warlords, including the Manchurian warlord, Chang Tso-lin, and advised the national Chinese government between March 1928 and March 1929. He commanded "special agencies" in Manchuria and north China during the 30’s, and was a strong advocate of increased Japanese intervention in Manchurian affairs. For this the Western press dubbed him "Lawrence of Manchuria." Among his exploits was the abduction of "Henry" Pu-yi, the last Chinese emperor, who later became the puppet emperor of Manchukuo. Dohihara was deeply involved in Japanese Army drug trafficking while serving with Kwantung Army, 1938-40. At one point he dubbed himself mayor of Mukden.

The British ambassador to Japan, Sir Robert Craigie, said of Dohihara that (Deacon 1983):

What history will clearly establish is that it was the settled policy of the Japanese Army to provoke incidents [in China] and to exploit provocations ... In all these intrigues, blandishments and threats, one little figure was ceaselessly active on the Japanese side — that of Colonel Doihara ... His diminutive, though wordy and well-advertised presence in any locality was invariably the precursor of trouble ... Certainly his methods were skilful and he was usually successful in creating dissension in the Chinese ranks and so smoothing the path of the aggressor.

Dohihara had been shuttled aside as Inspector General of Army Aviation when war broke out, but was given command of Eastern District Army on Honshu in May 1943. He commanded 7 Area Army in Malaya from March 1944 to April 1945 before being recalled to Japan to command part of the troops mustered against the anticipated Allied invasion. He was given command of 12 Area Army just as the war ended.

The American occupation authorities initially permitted Dohihara to accept command of 1 General Army for demobilization. However, he was arrested as a Class A war criminal on 21 September 1945, found guilty of crimes against the peace (for his activities in China) and of mistreatment of prisoners of war (while he commanded 12 Area Army), and hanged on 23 December 1948.

Dohihara was a short, stocky man who came across as mild in manner. However, he was a master of intrigue.

Service record

1883-8    

Born in Okayama prefecture
1904 Second lieutenant    
Graduates first in his class from the Military Academy
1926
Colonel
Attached to 2 Regiment
1927

Attached to 3 Regiment
1927

1 Division
1928-3

Military advisor, Kuomintang
1929

Commander, 30 Regiment
1931

Head, Houten Special Agency, Kwantung Army
1932

Head, Halpin Special Agency, Kwantung Army
1932
Major general
Commander, 9 Brigade
1933

Head, Houten Special Agency, Kwantung Army
1934

Attached to 12 Division
1936
Lieutenant general    
Commander, 1 Depot Division
1937

Commander, 14 Division, North China
1938

Head, Doihara Special Agency
1939

Commander, 5 Army, China
1940

Supreme War Council
1940-10

Commandant, Military Academy
1941-4

Inspector-general of military aviation
1941-10     
General

1943-5

Commander, Eastern Army District
1944

Governor, Johor State, Malaya
1944-3

Commander, 7 Area Army, Singapore
1945-4

Inspector-general of military training
1945

Commander, Eastern Army District
1945

Commander, 12 Area Army
1945

Commander, 1 General Army
1945

Retires
1948-12-23     

Hanged for war crimes

References

Boatner (1996)

Deacon (1983)

Dupuy et.al. (1992)

Fuller (1992)

Generals.dk (accessed 2008-2-16)

Hayashi and Cox (1959)

Russell (1958)



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