Shunroku Hata

Shunroku Hata (俊六 Hata Shunroku, July 26, 1879 – May 10, 1962) was a Field Marshal (Gensui) in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. He was the last surviving Japanese military officer with a marshal's rank. Hata was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment following the war.

Shunroku Hata
Hata Syunroku3
Field Marshal Shunroku Hata serving at Second General Army.
Minister of War of the Japanese Empire
In office
30 August 1939 – 22 July 1940
Prime Minister
Preceded bySeishirō Itagaki
Succeeded byHideki Tōjō
Personal details
BornJuly 26, 1879
Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
DiedMay 10, 1962 (aged 82)
Tokyo, Japan
RelationsEitaro Hata
AwardsOrder of the Rising Sun, Order of the Golden Kite
Military service
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Branch/service Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service1901–1945
RankField Marshal (Gensui)
UnitThird Army (Japan)
Commands14th Division
Taiwan Army of Japan
China Expeditionary Army
Second General Army (Japan)
Battles/warsRusso-Japanese War
World War I
Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II


Early years

Hata was a native of Fukushima prefecture, where his father was a 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. Unable to afford the tuition, Hata enrolled in the Army Cadet School instead, going on to graduate in 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 Brother
Hata (on the left) with his brother before the 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 16th Field Artillery Regiment in July 1921, and was promoted to major general and commander of the 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 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 and World War II

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 his 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 (Gensui) on June 2, 1944 following Japanese victory at Operation Ichi-Go.

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 and took command of the city following the explosion. 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 his trial

Hata was arrested by the American occupation authorities after the end of the war, and charged with war crimes. He was the only surviving Japanese Field Marshal who faced criminal charges along with other defendants. 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 1954,[5] and headed a charitable foundation for the welfare of former soldiers from 1958. He died in 1962, while attending a ceremony honouring 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, until he died of acute nephritis.


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



  • Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). 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, Virginia: 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
  5. ^ "The Tokyo War Crimes Trial:Field Marshal Shunroku Hata".
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
Battle of Changsha (1944)

The Battle of Changsha (1944) (also known as the Battle of Hengyang or Campaign of Changsha-Hengyang) was an invasion of the Chinese province of Hunan by Japanese troops near the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War. As such, it encompasses three separate conflicts: an invasion of the city of Changsha and two invasions of Hengyang.

The Japanese military transferred the bulk of their troops from the Japanese homeland and Manchuria as part of Operation "Ichi-Go" or "Tairiku Datsu Sakusen" which roughly translates as 'Operation to Break through the Continent'. This was an attempt to establish a land and rail corridor from the Japanese occupied territories of Manchuria, Northern and Central China and Korea and those in South East Asia.

In June 1944, the Japanese deployed 360,000 troops to attack Changsha for the fourth time (the first being in 1939). The operation involved more Japanese troops than any other campaign in the Second Sino-Japanese war.

Battle of Wuhan

The Battle of Wuhan, popularly known to the Chinese as the Defense of Wuhan, and to the Japanese as the Capture of Wuhan, was a large-scale battle of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Engagements took place across vast areas of Anhui, Henan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Hubei provinces over a period of four and a half months. This battle was the longest, largest and arguably the most significant battle in the early stages of the Second Sino-Japanese War. More than one million National Revolutionary Army troops from the Fifth and Ninth War Zone were put under the direct command of Chiang Kai-shek, defending Wuhan from the Central China Area Army of the Imperial Japanese Army led by Shunroku Hata. Chinese forces were also supported by the Soviet Volunteer Group, a group of volunteer pilots from the Soviet Air Forces.Although the battle ended with the eventual capture of Wuhan by the Japanese forces, it resulted in heavy casualties on both sides, as high as 1.2 million combined by some estimates.

Battle of Xuzhou

The Battle of Xuzhou was a military conflict between the Empire of Japan and the Republic of China forces in May 1938 during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Central China Expeditionary Army

Central China Expeditionary Army (Japanese: 中支那派遣軍) was a field army of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

On November 7, 1937 Japanese Central China Area Army (CCAA) was organized as a reinforcement expeditionary army by combining the Shanghai Expeditionary Army (SEF) and the IJA Tenth Army. General Iwane Matsui was appointed as its commander-in-chief, concurrent with his assignment as commander-in-chief of the SEF. Matsui reported directly to Imperial General Headquarters. After the Battle of Nanjing, the CCAA was disbanded on February 14, 1938 and its component units were reassigned to the Central China Expeditionary Army.

On September 12, 1939 by Army Order 362, the China Expeditionary Army was formed with the merger of the Central China Expeditionary Army with the Northern China Area Army.

Changjiao massacre

The Changjiao massacre (Chinese: 厂窖惨案) was a massacre of Chinese civilians by the Japanese China Expeditionary Army in Changjiao, Hunan. Gen. Shunroku Hata was the commander of the Japanese forces. For four days, from March 9-12, 1943, more than 30,000 civilians were killed.

China Expeditionary Army

The China Expeditionary Army (支那派遣軍, Shina haken gun) was an army group of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. It was responsible for all military operations in China, and at its peak had over 1 million soldiers under its command. In military literature, it is often referred to by the initials CEA.

Hata (surname)

Hata (written: 畑, 秦, 羽田 or 波田) is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Aki Hata (born 1966), Japanese musician and lyricist

Ikuhiko Hata (born 1932), Japanese historian

Kenjiro Hata (born 1975), Japanese manga author

Masanori Hata (born 1935), Japanese zoologist, essayist, and filmmaker

Motohiro Hata (born 1980), Japanese singer-songwriter

Prateep Ungsongtham Hata (born 1952), Thai senator

Sahachiro Hata (1873–1938), co-discoverer of Salvarsan in 1908 with Paul Ehrlich

Shunroku Hata (1879–1962), Japanese field marshal during World War II

Toyosuke Hata (1872–1933), Japanese politician and cabinet minister in the Empire of Japan

Tsutomu Hata (1935–2017), 51st Prime Minister of Japan

Yawara Hata

Yoku Hata or Akira Hada (born 1975), Japanese stand up comedian

Yuichiro Hata (born 1967), Japanese politician

Imperial General Headquarters

The Imperial General Headquarters (大本営, Daihon'ei) was part of the Supreme War Council and was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime. In terms of function, it was approximately equivalent to the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff and the British Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Inspectorate General of Military Training

The Inspectorate General of Military Training (教育総監部, Kyoiku sokanbu) was responsible for all non-military aviation training of the Imperial Japanese Army. It was headed by an Inspector general who was responsible for overseeing technical and tactical training, and who reported directly to the Emperor of Japan via the Imperial General Headquarters rather than to the Army Minister or the Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office. The position of Inspector-General of Military Training was thus the third most powerful position within the Japanese Army.

Japanese military attachés in foreign service

List of Japanese military attachés in foreign service


Kaikosha (偕行社, Kaikōsha) is a Japanese organization of retired military servicemen whose membership is open to former commissioned officers of the JASDF and JGSDF as well as commissioned officers, warrant officers, officer cadets, and high-ranking civil servants who served in the Imperial Japanese Army. Since 1 February 2011 Kaikosha has been a non-profit organization described under Japanese law as a public interest foundation (公益財団法人).

The original Kaikosha was founded before World War II as an organization exclusively of active-duty commissioned officers and warrant officers in the Imperial Japanese Army for mutual aid, friendship, and academic research, but was re-founded after the war to represent formerly high-ranking army officials.

The organization’s name means “let’s go together” or “we shall fight this war side by side,” and derives from a line in an old Chinese poem recorded in the Book of Odes.

List of graduates of the Japanese Imperial Military Academies

This is a select list of graduates from the Japanese Imperial Military Academies (1891–1934). It is not complete.

Ministry of the Army

The Army Ministry (陸軍省, Rikugun-shō), also known as the Ministry of War, was the cabinet-level ministry in the Empire of Japan charged with the administrative affairs of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). It existed from 1872 to 1945.

Second General Army (Japan)

The Second General Army (第2総軍 (日本軍), Dai-ni Sōgun) was an army group of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for the defense of western Honshū, Kyūshū and Shikoku during the final stage of the Pacific War.

Taiwan Army of Japan

The Taiwan Army of Japan (台湾軍, Taiwan gun) was an army of the Imperial Japanese Army recruited from, and stationed on, the island of Taiwan as a garrison force.

Toshizō Nishio

Toshizō Nishio (西尾 寿造, Nishio Toshizō, 31 October 1881 – 26 October 1960) was a Japanese general, considered to be one of the Imperial Japanese Army's most successful and ablest strategists during the Second Sino-Japanese War, who commanded the Japanese Second Army during the first years after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident.

Zhejiang-Jiangxi campaign

The Zhejiang-Jiangxi campaign (Japanese: 浙贛作戦, simplified Chinese: 浙赣战役; traditional Chinese: 浙赣戰役; pinyin: Zhè-Gàn Zhànyì), also known as Operation Sei-go, refers to a campaign by the China Expeditionary Army of the Imperial Japanese Army under Shunroku Hata and Chinese 3rd War Area forces under Gu Zhutong in the Chinese provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangxi from mid May to early September 1942.

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