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Baron Dewa Shigetō
Portrait of Admiral Dewa Shigetō from National Diet Library, Tokyo,
Born (1856-12-10)December 10, 1856
Died January 27, 1930(1930-01-27) (aged 73)
Place of birth Aizu domain, Japan
Place of death Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance  Empire of Japan
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Navy
Years of service 1872 - 1925
Rank Admiral
Commands held Tokiwa
3rd Squadron of IJN 1st Fleet
IJN 3rd Fleet, Director of the Naval Education Bureau, IJN 2nd Fleet, Sasebo Naval District, IJN 1st Fleet.
Battles/wars Boshin War
oBattle of Aizu
First Sino-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
oBattle of Port Arthur
oBattle of the Yellow Sea
oBattle of Tsushima
Awards Order of the Rising Sun, 1st Class

Baron Dewa Shigetō (出羽 重遠?, 10 December 1856 – 27 January 1930) was an admiral in the early days of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Dewa was born as the son of a samurai of the Aizu domain (present day Fukushima prefecture). As a youth, he enlisted in the Byakkotai, a reserve unit of the Aizu domain's official military. The Byakkotai was called into action,[1] and Dewa served at the Battle of Aizu in the Boshin War.

Dewa attended the 5th class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, graduating 6th out of 43 cadets. He served as a junior officer on several vessels of the early Japanese Navy, including the corvette Tsukuba, ironclad warship Fusō, gunboat Hosho, ironclad warship Ryūjō, corvette Amagi, and cruisers Asama, Naniwa and Takachiho. From 1886-1890, he was executive officer on the cruiser Takao. From 1893-1893, he was captain of the gunboats Akagi, and Tatsuta and was promoted in rank to captain in 1894.[2]

During First Sino-Japanese War (1894–95), Dewa served as a staff officer of "Western Seas Fleet", a defensive force patrolling home waters. In 1893, he became Director of the Personnel Section in the Navy Ministry. He later captained the cruiser Tokiwa in 1898.

Promoted to rear admiral on 20 May 1900, and vice admiral on 6 June 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War he was a commander of the 3rd Cruiser Squadron of the IJN 1st Fleet and took part in the naval Battle of Port Arthur, Battle of the Yellow Sea, (where he commanded from the cruiser Yakumo), and he led the Third Squadron during the decisive Battle of Tsushima from his flagship, the cruiser Kasagi.

In December 1905, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the IJN 3rd Fleet, and from November 1906 was Director of the Naval Education Bureau.

On 3 December 1907, Dewa was elevated to the peerage with the title of danshaku (baron) under the kazoku system.

Later, he was successively Commander-in-Chief of the IJN 2nd Fleet, Sasebo Naval District, and the IJN 1st Fleet. On 9 July 1912, he was promoted to full admiral. Dewa Shigeto was the first non-Satsuma person (and the first Aizu person) to attain the rank of full admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy. The first person of Aizu background to attain the rank of admiral was Hidematsu Tsunoda,[3] and Matsudaira Morio the son of the former Aizu lord Matsudaira Katamori as a rear admiral.

On the occasion of the Siemens-Vickers Navy Armament Scandal, as Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry he concentrated his efforts on the cleanup of corruption from the Navy. This eventually led to the fall of Admiral Yamamoto Gonnohyōe's cabinet in March 1914. Dewa retired from active service in 1925.

In his later years, Dewa was involved with the construction of memorials to the casualties of the Battle of Aizu.[4] His grave is at the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.

Honors[edit | edit source]

From the article in the Japanese Wikipedia

  • Order of the Sacred Treasure, 4th Class
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (1 April 1906)
  • Order of the Golden Kite, 2nd Class (1 April 1906)
  • Baron (21 September 1907)
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers (27 January 1930; posthumous)
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Plum Blossoms of the Korean Empire

References[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • Andidora, Ronald (2000). Iron Admirals: Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-31266-4. 
  • Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). Encyclopedia of Military Biography. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85043-569-3. 
  • Schencking, J. Charles (2005). Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4977-9. 
  • Warner, Denis; Warner, Peggy (1974). The Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo-Japanese War', 1904-1905. Charterhouse. ASIN B000OLLNGA. 
  • Yamakawa, Kenjirō (1933). Aizu Boshin Senshi. Tokyo: Aizu Boshin Senshi Hensankai. 
  • Yamakawa, Kenjirō; Munekawa Toraji (1926). Hoshū Aizu Byakkotai jūkyūshi-den. Wakamatsu: Aizu Chōrei Gikai. 
  • Matsuno, Yoshitora; Oohashi Kazuhiro (1992). Umi ha hakuhatsu naredo. Tokyo: Hakubunkan Shinsya. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Yamakawa, Aizu Boshin Senshi, p. 521
  2. Dupuy, Encyclopedia of Military Biography
  3. Matsuno, "Umi ha hakuhatsu naredo, pp.16-25,
  4. Yamakawa, Hoshū Aizu Byakkotai Jūkyūshi-den, p. 64.

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