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Mineo Ōsumi
Japanese Admiral Baron Mineo Ōsumi (left)
Native name 大角 岑生
Born (1876-05-01)1 May 1876
Died 5 February 1941(1941-02-05) (aged 64)[1]
Place of birth Kōchi Prefecture, Japan
Place of death Guangzhou, Japanese-occupied China
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Navy
Years of service 1897-1941
Rank Admiral
Commands held
Other work Navy Minister

Baron Mineo Ōsumi (大角 岑生 Ōsumi Mineo?, 1 May 1876 – 5 February 1941) was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy and served twice as Minister of the Navy of Japan during the volatile 1930s.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Ōsumi was born in Kōchi Prefecture, but grew up in Aichi Prefecture. He was a graduate of the 24th class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, where he placed 3rd out of 18 cadets. He served as midshipman on the corvette Hiei, cruiser Itsukushima and battleship Yashima. After being commissioned as ensign, he was assigned to the cruiser Chiyoda and then the cruiser Azuma on its voyage to France in 1899.

Naval career[edit | edit source]

After his return, Ōsumi was promoted to lieutenant, and served as chief navigator on the cruisers Saien and Matsushima, and the patrol ship Manshu during the Russo-Japanese War. While on Matsushima, he participated in the Battle of Port Arthur and other combat engagements.

After the end of the war, Ōsumi returned to the Naval War College (Japan), emerging as a lieutenant commander on 29 September 1906. After serving in a number of staff positions, Ōsumi was assigned as naval attaché to Germany from 27 January 1909 – 1 December 1911.

On his return to Japan, Ōsumi was promoted to commander, and was assigned as aide-de-camp to Fleet Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō. He spent a year as executive officer on the battlecruiser Tsukuba from 1913–1914, returning to staff positions until 1 December 1917, when he received his first command: the battleship Asahi.

From 1 December 1918 – 1 July 1921, Ōsumi was appointed as military attaché to France. During that time, he was a participant in the Japanese delegation to the Versailles Peace Treaty negotiations. Also during this period, on 1 December 1920, he was promoted to rear admiral.

After his return to Japan, Ōsumi served as Director of the Bureau of Naval Affairs in 1922, and was promoted to vice admiral in 1924, Vice Minister of the Navy in 1925, commander-in-chief of the IJN 2nd Fleet in 1928, and Commander in Chief of the Yokosuka Naval District in 1929. He was promoted to full admiral on 1 April 1930. Ōsumi was a strong proponent of Japan's southward expansion, but refused to align himself with either the Treaty Faction or the Fleet Faction within the Navy.

Political career[edit | edit source]

Ōsumi served as Minister of the Navy from December 1931-May 1932, under the short-lived second cabinet of Prime Minister Wakatsuki Reijirō. His second term as Minister of the Navy was from January 1933-March 1936, during the cabinets of Prime Minister Saitō Makoto and Keisuke Okada. Ōsumi, despite his reputation as a liberal, supported the decision to withdraw from the League of Nations and also argued forcefully for higher naval appropriations budget and re-negotiation of the Washington Naval Treaty. In a "guns and butter" debate, Ōsumi told Japanese legislators that it was incumbent to expand Japan's navy, and that "the whole Japanese nation must make up its mind to cope with the situation, even if we are reduced to eating rice gruel.".[2]

On 26 December 1935, he was ennobled with the title of baron (danshaku) under the kazoku peerage system. He served as Naval Councilor from 1936 onwards.

Ōsumi was killed in action in the Second Sino-Japanese War on 5 February 1941, when his plane, a navy transport, was shot down by Chinese guerrillas soon after takeoff from Guangzhou on a flight towards Japanese-occupied Hainan.[3]

References[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • Bix, Herbert P. (2001). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-093130-2. 
  • Rose, Lisle A. (2006). Power at Sea:The Breaking Storm 1919-1945. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 0-8262-1702-8. 
  • Spector, Ronald (1985). Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan. Vintage. ISBN 0-394-74101-3. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy
  2. "Policy & Rice Gruel", TIME Magazine, February 11, 1935
  3. "End of Osumi", TIME Magazine, February 17, 1941
Political offices
Preceded by
Abo Kiyokazu
Minister of the Navy
Dec 1931 - May 1932
Succeeded by
Okada Keisuke
Preceded by
Okada Keisuke
Minister of the Navy
Jan 1933 - March 1936
Succeeded by
Nagano Osami

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