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Hata Shunroku
Field Marshal Hata Shunroku
Born (1879-07-26)July 26, 1879
Died May 10, 1962(1962-05-10) (aged 82)
Place of birth Fukushima Prefecture
Place of death Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1901-1945
Rank Field Marshal
Commands held 14th Division
Taiwan Army of Japan
China Expeditionary Army
Battles/wars Russo-Japanese War
World War II
Awards Order of the Rising Sun, Order of the Golden Kite

Field Marshal Shunroku Hata (畑 俊六 Hata Shunroku?, 26 July 1879 – 10 May 1962), was a field marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. He was the last surviving Japanese military officer with a marshal's rank.


Early years[]

Hata was a native of Fukushima prefecture, where his father was an ex-samurai of the Aizu domain. At the age of 12, the family relocated to Hakodate, Hokkaidō, but at the age of 14, he was accepted into the prestigious First Tokyo Middle School. However, his father died the same year, and unable to afford the tuitions, he enrolled in the Army Cadet School instead, going on to graduate of the 12th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, in 1901 as a second lieutenant in the artillery. Hata served in the Russo-Japanese War. He graduated from the 22nd class of the Army Staff College with top rankings in November 1910.

Hata (on the left) with his brother before Russo-Japanese War

Sent as a military attaché to Germany in March 1912, Hata stayed in Europe throughout World War I as a military observer. He was promoted to major in September 1914 and to lieutenant colonel in July 1918, while still in Europe, and he stayed on as a member of the Japanese delegation to the Versailles Peace Treaty negotiations in February 1919.

On his return to Japan, Hata was given command of the IJA 16th Field Artillery Regiment in July 1921, and was promoted to major general and commander of the IJA 4th Heavy Field Artillery Brigade in March 1926.

Hata was subsequently assigned to the strategic planning division of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, serving as chief of the Fourth Bureau in July 1927 and Chief of the First Bureau in August 1928.

Hata was promoted to lieutenant general in August 1931 and became Inspector General of Artillery Training. He was then given a field command, that of the IJA 14th Division in August 1933. After serving as head of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service from December 1935, he became commander of the Taiwan Army of Japan in 1936.[1]

Second Sino-Japanese War[]

Field Marshal Terauchi Hisaichi in Xuzhou With Hata

His rise after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War was then very rapid: Military Councilor, Inspector General of Military Training and promotion rank of general all in late 1937. He was appointed as commanding general of the Central China Expeditionary Army in February 1938, to replace General Matsui Iwane, who had been recalled to Japan over the Nanjing Incident. Hata became Senior Aide-de-Camp to Emperor Shōwa in May 1939 followed by a stint as Minister of War from August 1939 to July 1940 during the terms of Prime Minister Nobuyuki Abe and Mitsumasa Yonai. In July 1940, Hata had a pivotal role in bringing down the Yonai cabinet by resigning post as Minister of War.[2] Hata returned to China as commander-in-chief of the China Expeditionary Army in March 1941. He was the main Japanese commander at the time of Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign, during which Chinese sources claim that over 250,000 civilians were killed. Hata was promoted to the rank of field marshal on 2 June 1944. Hata was requested to take command of the Second General Army, based in Hiroshima from 1944 to 1945 in preparation for the anticipated Allied invasion of the Japanese home islands. He was thus in Hiroshima at the time of the atomic bombing. Hata was one of the senior generals who agreed with the decision to surrender, but asked that he be stripped of his title of Field Marshal in atonement for the Army’s failures in the war.[3]


Hata during the trial

Hata was arrested by the American occupation authorities after the end of the war, and charged with war crimes. In 1948, as a result of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, he was sentenced to life imprisonment under the charges of: “Conspiracy, waging aggressive war, disregarding his duty to prevent atrocities”.[4] Hata was paroled in 1955, and headed a charitable foundation for the welfare of former soldiers from 1958. He died in 1962, while attending a ceremony honoring the war dead.

Hata's brother, Eitaro Hata (1872–1930), was also a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, and commander-in-chief of the Kwangtung Army.


  • Second Lieutenant: June 1901
  • Lieutenant: November 1903
  • Captain: June 1905
  • Major: April 1914
  • Lieutenant Colonel: July 1918
  • Colonel: 20 July 1921
  • Major General: 2 March 1926
  • Lieutenant General: 1 August 1931
  • General: 1 November 1937
  • Marshal: 2 June 1944



  • Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-7858-0437-4. 
  • Fuller, Richard (1992). Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN 1-85409-151-4. 
  • Hayashi, Saburo; Cox, Alvin D (1959). Kogun: The Japanese Army in the Pacific War. Quantico, VA: The Marine Corps Association.. 
  • Maga, Timothy P. (2001). Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2177-9. 

External links[]


  1. Ammenthorp, The Generals of World War II
  2. "Japan: Imitation of Naziism?" Time, Jul. 22, 1940
  3. Budge, Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
  4. Maga, Judgement at Tokyo
Political offices
Preceded by
Seishirō Itagaki
Army Minister
Aug 1939- Jul 1940
Succeeded by
Hideki Tōjō
Military offices
Preceded by
Commander-in-Chief, IJA 2nd General Army
Apr 1945 – Oct 1945
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Toshizō Nishio
Commander-in-Chief, China Expeditionary Army
Mar 1941- Nov 1944
Succeeded by
Yasuji Okamura
Preceded by
Commander, Central China Expeditionary Army
Feb 1938 – Dec 1938
Succeeded by
Otozō Yamada
Preceded by
Hisaichi Terauchi
Inspector-General of Military Training
Feb 1937 – Aug 1937
Succeeded by
Rikichi Andō
Preceded by
Heisuke Yanagawa
Commander, IJA Taiwan Army
Aug 1936 – Aug 1937
Succeeded by
Mikio Tsutsumi

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