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Korechika Anami
Japanese General Anami Korechika
Native name 阿南 惟幾
Born (1887-02-21)February 21, 1887
Died August 15, 1945(1945-08-15) (aged 58)
Place of birth Taketa, Ōita, Japan
Place of death Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance  Empire of Japan
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1906–1945
Rank General
Commands held 109th Division, Eleventh Army, Second Area Army
Battles/wars Second Sino-Japanese War, Pacific War
Other work War Minister

Korechika Anami (阿南 惟幾 Anami Korechika?, 21 February 1887 – 15 August 1945) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, and was War Minister at the surrender of Japan.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early career[edit | edit source]

Anami was born in Taketa city in Ōita Prefecture. He attended the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry in December 1906.

In November 1918, Anami graduated from the Army War College with the rank of captain. He was assigned to the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from April 1919 and was promoted to major in February 1922. From August 1923 to May 1925 he was assigned to the Sakhalin Expeditionary Army. Anami was promoted to lieutenant colonel in August 1925.

From August–December 1925, Anami was sent as a military attaché to France. On his return to Japan, he was assigned to the 45th Infantry Regiment, and became unit commander in August 1928.

From August 1929-August 1930, Anami served as Aide-de-camp to Emperor Hirohito. He was then promoted to colonel.

From August 1933-August 1934, Anami served as regimental commander of the 2nd Guard Regiment of the Imperial Guards. He was subsequently Commandant of the Tokyo Military Preparatory School, and promoted to major general in March 1935.

War-time career[edit | edit source]

From August 1936, Anami served as Chief of the Military Administration Bureau of the War Ministry. He became Chief of the Personnel Bureau in March 1937 and was promoted to lieutenant general in March the following year.

With the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Anami was given a combat command, as Commander of the IJA 109th Division in China from November 1938. He was recalled to Japan in October 1939 to assume the role of Vice-Minister of War. However, in April 1941, Anami returned to China as Commander in Chief of the IJA 11th Army, covering operations in central China. He was transferred to the Japanese Second Area Army in Manchukuo in July 1942.[1]

In May 1943, Anami was promoted to full general. As the war conditions in the Pacific deteriorated for the Japanese, Anami was reassigned to the Southern Theater from November 1943, where he directed operations in western New Guinea and Halmahera.

Anami was recalled to Japan December 1944, becoming Inspector General of Army Aviation and Chief of the Army Aeronautical Department, while concurrently serving on the Supreme War Council (Japan). In April 1945, he was appointed War Minister.

Political career[edit | edit source]

I am convinced that the Americans had only one bomb, after all.

—Korechika Anami, immediately after the drop of Little Boy over Hiroshima[2]

As War Minister, an ultranationalistic Anami was outspoken against the idea of surrender, despite Japan's losses on the battlefield and the destruction of Japan's cities and industrial capability by American bombing. Even after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Anami opposed talk of surrender, and proposed instead that a large-scale battle be fought on the Japanese mainland causing such massive Allied casualties that Japan would somehow be able to evade surrender and perhaps even keep some of what it had conquered.[3]

Eventually, his arguments were overcome when Emperor Hirohito directly requested an end to the war himself; Anami's supporters suggested that he either vote against surrender or resign from the Cabinet. Instead, he ordered his officers to concede, later saying to his brother-in-law, "As a Japanese soldier, I must obey my Emperor."[4] He informed the officers of the War Ministry of the decision, and that as it was an Imperial command, they must obey.[5]

On 14 August 1945, Anami signed the surrender document with the rest of the cabinet, then attempted to commit suicide by seppuku early the next morning. Failing to conduct the ritual properly he had to be dispatched by his brother-in-law.[6] His suicide note read: "I—with my death—humbly apologize to the Emperor for the great crime."[7] This "cryptic" note is open to multiple interpretations.[8] It is possibly a reference to his part in the aborted coup against Emperor Hirohito in the hours following Japan's decision to surrender at the end of World War II, the decision to surrender itself, or the Imperial Army's involvement with the war itself.[9]

Anami's grave is at Tama Cemetery, in Fuchū, Tokyo. His sword and blood-splattered dress uniform and suicide note are on display at the Yūshūkan Museum next to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Anami's son Anami Koreshige served as Japan's ambassador to China from 2001–2006.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Ammentorp, The Generals of World War II
  2. DOOMSDAYS, Time magazine, August 7, 1995
  3. Brooks, Behind Japan's Surrender
  4. Toland, The Rising Sun
  5. John Toland, The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936–1945 p 814–5 Random House New York 1970
  6. Max Hastings (2008) Nemesis, The Battle for Japan, 1944–45, Harper Perennial p557
  7. Pacific War Research Society, Japan's Longest Day, pg88-89
  8. Frank, Downfall pp 319–20
  9. Id.

References[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • Brooks, Lester (1968). Behind Japan's Surrender: The Secret Struggle That Ended an Empire. McGraw-Hill. ASIN: B000GRIF3G. 
  • Butow, Robert (1978). Japan's Decision to Surrender. Stanford University Press. ASIN: B000W0G7CS. 
  • Toland, John (2003). The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945. Modern Library. ISBN 0-8129-6858-1. 
  • Pacific War Research Society (2002). Japan's Longest Day. Kodansha International. ISBN 4-7700-2887-3. 
  • Kurzman, Dan (1986). Day of the Bomb. McGraw-Hill. ASIN: B000J0IOEA. 
  • Frank, Richard (1999). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-100146-1. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Political offices
Preceded by
Hajime Sugiyama
Army Minister
April 1945–August 1945
Succeeded by
Higashikuni Naruhiko
Military offices
Preceded by
Waichiro Sonobe
Commander IJA 11th Army
April 1941–July 1942
Succeeded by
Osamu Tsukada
Preceded by
Commander IJA 2nd Area Army
July 1942–December 1944
Succeeded by
Jo Iimura

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