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Baron Hidaka Sōnojō
Japanese Admiral Baron Hidaka Sōnojō
Born April 26, 1848
Died July 24, 1932(1932-07-24) (aged 84)[1]
Place of birth Kagoshima, Satsuma Domain, Japan
Place of death Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Navy
Years of service 1870 - 1909
Rank Admiral
Battles/wars First Sino-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War

Baron Hidaka Sōnojō (日高 壮之丞?, 26 April 1848 – 24 July 1932) was an admiral of the early modern Imperial Japanese Navy, known primarily for his role in the First Sino-Japanese War.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Hidaka was the second son of a samurai in the service of the Shimazu clan of Satsuma Domain, and was born in Kagoshima. In 1870, he enrolled in the 2nd class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy and as a cadet was part of the team which brought the corvette Tsukuba from its shipyards in England back to Japan in 1871. Over the next 20 years, he rose steadily through the ranks, serving on the paddle steamer warship Kasuga (1876), corvette Nisshin (1876), Fusō (1878), Kenko (1879), Ryūjō (1880), and Asama (1881). In 1882, he was assigned to the Shipbuilding Bureau of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff, but continued to simultaneously serve on Fusō (1884) and Amagi (1884) and Seiki (1885).

Hidaka returned to the Navy General Staff in 1886, and was sent to Europe in 1887-1888. He returned to sea as captain of the corvette Kongō, his first command, in 1890. He was captain of Musashi in 1891 and Fusō in 1892. After a year as commandant of the Naval Artillery School from 1893–1894, he was appointed captain of the cruiser Hashidate during the First Sino-Japanese War, participating in the Battle of the Yalu. He was then assigned to command Matsushima in 1895, a post he held simultaneously with that of commandant of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, since Matsushima was under repairs for damages suffered during the war for most of this time. Hidaka was promoted to rear admiral in 1896 and became commander in chief of the Readiness Fleet in 1898. He was promoted to vice admiral in 1900, and became commander of the Takeshiki Guard District. He returned to command the Readiness Fleet again from 1902–1903, and was then appointed commander of the Maizuru Naval District.

With the start of the Russo-Japanese War, Hidaka was in line for promotion to command the Combined Fleet against the Imperial Russian Navy. However, Minister of the Navy Yamamoto Gonnohyōe selected Tōgō Heihachirō instead. When questioned about his decision by Emperor Meiji, Yamamoto replied that it was because “Togo was lucky”.[2] Hidaka was ennobled with the title of baron (danshaku) under the kazoku peerage system in 1907, and was promoted to full admiral in 1908. He retired from active service in 1909, and from the reserves in 1918. He died in 1932.

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

In the semi-historical television adaption of Ryōtarō Shiba’s Saka no ue no kumo role of Hidaka was played by veteran actor Akira Nakao

References[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). Encyclopedia of Military Biography. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85043-569-3. 
  • Evans, David (1979). Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-192-7. 
  • 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. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy
  2. Kaigun, page 82

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