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Imamura Hitoshi (1886-1968)


Photograph of Imamura Hitoshi

Wikipedia Commons

Imamura Hitoshi was born in Miyagi prefecture. Commissioned in the Japanese Army in 1907, he graduated from the Army Staff College in 1915 and spent much of his early career in military attaché posts in England and India. He served in China in the 1930s, held important staff positions, and was promoted to lieutenant general and held command of 5 Division in China in 1938-1940.

Imamura was given command of 16 Army just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor16 Army had the assignment to take the Netherlands East Indies, particularly Java. Imamura's flag transport, the Ryujo Maru, was sunk (probably by friendly fire) at Banten Bay and he was forced to swim to shore.

Imamura adopted an unusually lenient policy towards the NEI, much to the dismay of Southern Army and Imperial General Headquarters. However, Imamura was one of the most respected figures in the army, and his policies won some support from the population and reduced the difficulties of the occupation. His career therefore survived his lenient policy: He was promoted to full general and command of all Army forces in the southeast Pacific (8 Area Army) in early 1943, establishing his headquarters at Rabaul. He remained at Rabaul until the end of the war, directing operations in the upper Solomons and New Guinea. While at Rabaul, Imamura tried unsuccessfully to persuade Yamamoto not to make the fateful flight in which the latter was intercepted and killed by U.S. Army pilots.

Imamura was convicted in 1946 of permitting the execution of prisoners of war and was imprisoned until 1954.

Service record

1886

Born in Miyagi prefecture
1907
Second lieutenant

1930     
Colonel
Chief, Recruiting Section, Military Affairs Bureau, Ministry of War
1931

Chief, 2 Section (Maneuvers), 1 Bureau, General Staff
1932

General Staff
1932

Commander, 57 Regiment
1933
Major general Commandant, Narashino Army School
1935

Commander, 40 Brigade
1936-3-23
Lieutenant general      Vice chief of staff, Kwantung Army
1937-3-1

Director, Toyama Army Infantry School
1938-1-27     

Head, Military Administration Bureau, Ministry of War
1938-11-21     

Commander, 5 Division
1940-3-9

Deputy inspector-general of military training
1941-6-26

Commander, 23 Army, China
1941-11-5

Commander, 16 Army
1942-11-9

Commander, 8 Area Army, New Guinea-Solomons
1946

Arrested as war criminal
1947

Sentenced to 10 years imprisonment
1954

Paroled
1968

Dies

References

Dupuy et.al. (1992)

Fuller (1992)

Generals.dk (accessed 2008-3-29)
Pettibone (2007)



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