|Prime Minister of Japan|
7 April 1945 – 17 August 1945
|Preceded by||Kuniaki Koiso|
|Succeeded by||Naruhiko Higashikuni|
|Born||18 January 1868|
Kuze, Izumi, Japan
|Died||17 April 1948 (aged 80)|
Noda, Chiba, Japan
|Political party||Taisei Yokusankai (1940–1945)|
|Independent (Before 1940)|
|Alma mater||Imperial Japanese Naval Academy|
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Service/branch||Imperial Japanese Navy|
|Years of service||1884–1929|
|Commands||Akashi, Soya, Shikishima, Tsukuba |
Maizuru Naval District, IJN 2nd Fleet, IJN 3rd Fleet, Kure Naval District, Combined Fleet
|Battles/wars||First Sino-Japanese War |
Battle of Weihaiwei
Battle of Port Arthur
Battle of Tsushima
World War I
World War II
|Awards||Order of the Golden Kite (3rd class)|
Baron Suzuki Kantarō (鈴木 貫太郎, 18 January 1868 – 17 April 1948) was an admiral in the Imperial Japanese Navy, member and final leader of the Taisei Yokusankai and 42nd Prime Minister of Japan from 7 April-17 August 1945.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Early life[edit | edit source]
Suzuki was born in Kuze village, Izumi Province (modern Sakai, Osaka Prefecture) to a samurai magistrate of the Sekiyado Domain. He grew up in the city of Noda, Kazusa Province (present day Chiba Prefecture).
[edit | edit source]
Suzuki entered the 14th class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1884, graduating 13th of 45 cadets in 1888. Suzuki served on the corvettes Tsukuba, Tenryu and cruiser Takachiho as a midshipman. On being commissioned as ensign, he served on the corvette Amagi, corvette Takao, corvette Jingei, ironclad Kongō, and gunboat Maya. After his promotion to lieutenant on 21 December 1892, he served as chief navigator on the corvettes Kaimon, Hiei, and Kongō.
Suzuki served in the First Sino-Japanese War, commanding a torpedo boat and participated in night torpedo assault in the Battle of Weihaiwei. Afterwards, he was promoted to lieutenant commander on 28 June 1898 and assigned to a number of staff positions including that of naval attaché to Germany from 1901-1903. On his return, he was promoted to commander on 26 September 1903.
During the Russo-Japanese War, Suzuki commanded Destroyer Division 2 (DesDiv 2) in 1904, and the 4th Destroyer Division in 1905, which picked up survivors of the Port Arthur Blockade Squadron during the Battle of Port Arthur. He was appointed executive officer of the cruiser Kasuga on 26 February 1904, aboard which he participated in the pivotal naval Battle of Tsushima.
After the war, he was promoted to captain on 28 September 1907 and commanded the destroyer Akashi (1908), followed by the cruiser Soya (1909), battleship Shikishima (1911) and cruiser Tsukuba (1912). Promoted to rear admiral on 23 May 1913 and assigned to command the Maizuru Naval District. Suzuki became Vice Minister of the Navy from 1914–1917, during World War I.
Promoted to vice admiral on 1 June 1917, he brought the cruisers Asama and Iwate to San Francisco in early 1918 with 1,000 cadets, and was received by U.S. Navy Rear Admiral William Fullam. The Japanese cruisers then proceeded to South America.
After stints as Commandant of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, Commander of the IJN 2nd Fleet, then the IJN 3rd Fleet, then Kure Naval District, he became a full admiral on 3 August 1923. Suzuki became Commander in Chief of Combined Fleet in 1924.
Suzuki narrowly escaped assassination in the February 26 Incident in 1936; the would-be assassin's bullet remained inside Suzuki for the rest of his life, and was only revealed upon his cremation. Suzuki was opposed to Japan's war with the United States, before and throughout World War II.
Prime Minister[edit | edit source]
On 7 April 1945, following the Battle of Okinawa, Prime Minister Kuniaki Koiso resigned and Suzuki was appointed to take his place at the age of seventy-seven. He simultaneously held the portfolios for Minister for Foreign Affairs and for Greater East Asia.
Prime Minister Suzuki contributed to the final peace negotiations with the Allied Powers in World War II. He was involved in calling two unprecedented imperial conferences which helped resolve the split within the Japanese Imperial Cabinet over the Potsdam Declaration. He outlined the terms to Emperor Hirohito who had already agreed to accept unconditional surrender. This went strongly against the military faction of the cabinet, who desired to continue the war in hopes of negotiating a more favorable peace agreement. Part of this faction attempted to assassinate Suzuki twice in the Kyūjō Incident on the morning of 15 August 1945.
Suzuki died of natural causes. His grave is in his home town of Noda, Chiba. One of his two sons became director of Japan's immigration service, while the other was a successful lawyer.
Honors[edit | edit source]
From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia
- Order of the Golden Kite, 3rd class, April 1, 1906
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, April 1, 1916
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, April 29, 1934
- Baron, November 20, 1936
- Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Military Division
Notes[edit | edit source]
- NishidaKCB, Imperial Japanese Navy
References[edit | edit source]
- Frank, Richard (2001). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. ISBN 0-14-100146-1: Penguin.
- Gilbert, Martin (2004). The Second World War: A Complete History. ISBN 0-8050-7623-9: Holt.
- Keegan, John (2005). The Second World War. ISBN 0-14-303573-8: Penguin.
[edit | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kantaro Suzuki.|
- Annotated bibliography for Suzuki Kantarō from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
- Nishida, Hiroshi. "Imperial Japanese Navy". http://homepage2.nifty.com/nishidah/e/px14.htm#a001. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- Suzuki Kantarō and Pacific War at 1945(Japanese)
|Chief of Navy General Staff
|Chair of the Privy Council
|Prime Minister of Japan
|Minister of Foreign Affairs
|Minister of Greater East Asia
|This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).|