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Uryū Sotokichi
Japanese Admiral Baron Uryū Sotokichi
Native name 瓜生 外吉
Born (1857-01-02)January 2, 1857
Died November 11, 1937(1937-11-11) (aged 80) [1]
Place of birth Kanazawa, Kaga domain, Japan
Place of death Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance  Empire of Japan
Service/branch  Imperial Japanese Navy
Years of service 1871-1927
Rank Admiral
Commands held

Baron Uryū Sotokichi (瓜生 外吉?, 2 January 1857 – 11 November 1937) was an early admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy, active in the Russo-Japanese War, most notably at the Battle of Chemulpo Bay and the Battle of Tsushima. His name is sometimes transliterated as "Uriu Sotokichi", or "Uriu Sotokitchi", but actually it's inaccurate transliteration for old kana spelling, which Japanese pronunciation is the same as modern Uryū (うりゅう?).

Biography[edit | edit source]

Born to a samurai family in the Kaga Domain (present day Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture), Uryū became one of the first cadets of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy but did not graduate; instead, he was then sent to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis on 9 June 1875, returning on 2 October 1881. Commissioned as a lieutenant, he served aboard various ships throughout the 1880s, including the corvette Kaimon, the ironclad Fusō, and the cruiser Nisshin. On 23 July 1891, he assumed his first command: the gunboat Akagi. Promoted to captain in 1891, he was then posted as naval attaché to France from 5 September 1892 – 31 August 1896.

After the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War, Uryū briefly commanded the new cruiser Akitsushima, followed by his old ship Fusō.

A brief spell in prison for three months from 5 April 1898 did not seem to hurt his career, as he was appointed captain of the cruiser Matsushima on 1 February 1898, and the battleship Yashima on 16 June 1898. He became a rear admiral and Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff on 21 May 1900.

Uryū was promoted to vice admiral on 6 June 1904. During the Russo-Japanese War, he commanded the Second Squadron at the Battle of Chemulpo Bay and sank the Russian cruiser Varyag and gunboat Korietz. For his war service, he was decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun (1st class) and the Order of the Golden Kite (2nd class) in 1906. He was made commander of the Sasebo Naval District on 22 November 1906, he was ennobled with the title of danshaku (baron) under the kazoku peerage system on 21 September 1907.

Appointed commander of the Yokosuka Naval District on 1 December 1909, Uryū was made a full admiral on 16 October 1912. He was the official representative from Japan at the opening ceremonies for the Panama Canal in 1912. From 1922-1925, he served on the House of Peers in the Diet of Japan. He entered the reserve list in 1927, and died in 1937. His grave is at Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo. He was a lifelong proponent of better ties with the United States.

References[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • Andidora, Ronald (2000). Iron Admirals: Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-31266-4. 
  • Dupuy, Trevor N (1992). Encyclopedia of Military Biography. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85043-569-3. 
  • Jukes, Geoffrey (2002). The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-446-7. 

External links[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy

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