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Oikawa Koshiro (1883-1958)


Photograph of Japanese admiral and Navy minister Oikawa Koshiro

Wikipedia Commons

Oikawa Koshiro was a member of the Navy General Staff who pushed ratification of the London Naval Treaty in the 1930s, putting him firmly in the Treaty Faction.

By 1936, Oikawa commanded Japan’s 3 Fleet. When a Japanese pharmacist was murdered in Shanghai that year, he sent a strong note of protest to the Chinese that unfortunately helped escalate the incident into a pitched battle for the city. Oikawa became a full admiral in 1939 and served as navy minister in 1940. Though a strong proponent of Japanese southern expansion, and skeptical that the United States would actually go to war, he was opposed to the October 1941 deadline for a diplomatic settlement, and instructed the naval attaché to the United States to work hard with the Japanese ambassador, Nomura, to prevent a war. He also opposed war with Russia in early 1941. He was dropped from the cabinet when Tojo came to power on 18 October 1941.

Oikawa established Maritime Escort Fleet in November 1943, when the American submarine threat began to be serious. He became chief of the Navy General Staff in late 1944, but resigned in May 1945 in protest over the Emperor's refusal to entertain peace proposals, and he testified at the Tokyo war crimes trials.

Oikawa was handsome and erudite, in sharp contrast with his close colleague Nagano. He was an able officer whose bland smile concealed his real thoughts. Though considered a Chinese scholar and gentleman, the impression of American observers was that he was a “Prussian son of a b----.” He seems to have been somewhat pro-German, which softened his opposition to war. A man who offered opinions rather than stating convictions, he tried to please everyone, which meant he stood up to no one. He put up little resistance to Onishi Takijiro's plans to begin using suicide tactics, asking only that the pilots involved be volunteers.

Service record

1883-2-8
born
1903-12-14      
Midshipman Graduates from Naval Academy, standing 76th in a class of 173. Assigned to CL Itsukushima
1904-1-4
CL Idzumo
1904-3-5
CL Chiyoda
1904-9-10 Ensign
1905-8-5 Lieutenant junior grade
Torpedo Boat Division 20
1906-8-7
AP Anegawa
1906-11-26
Torpedo Training Center
1908-1-15
BB Katori
1908-9-25 Lieutenant
1909-5-25
Naval College B-Course
1909-11-24
Torpedo School Advanced Course
1910-5-23
BB Mikasa
1910-12-1
Commander, Torpedo Boat Division 16
1911-4-28
Commander, DD Asashio
1912-12-1
Commander, DD Yugiri
1913-12-1
Naval College A-Course
1914-12-1 Lieutenant commander      

1915-12-13
Aide-de-campe to Crown Prince
1919-12-1 Commander
1922-12-1
Commander, Destroyer Division 15
1923-12-1 Captain Commander, CL Kinu
1924-1-10
Commander, CL Tama
1924-12-1
Chief, S1, N1, Navy General Staff
1926-12-1
Chief Instructor, Naval Academy
1928-12-10 Rear admiral
Chief of staff, 2 Naval District
1930-6-18
Chief, N1, Navy General Staff
1932-11-15
Commander, Submarine Squadron 1
1933-10-3
Director, Naval Academy
1933-11-15 Vice admiral

1935-12-2
Commander, 3 Fleet
1936-12-1
Director, Naval Air Command
1938-4-25
Commander, China Area Fleet
1939-11-15 Admiral
1940-5-1
Commander, 1 Naval District
1940-9-5
Navy Minister
1941-10-18
Supreme War Council
1943-11-15
Commander, Maritime Escort Fleet
1944-8-2
Chief of the Navy General Staff
1945-5-29
Supreme War Council
1945-9-5
Retires
1958-5-9
Dies

References

Fuller (1992)

Hotta (2013)

Materials of IJN (accessed 2008-6-18)

Prados (1995)

Prange (1981)

Stern (2010)



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