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Ministry of the Navy (Japan)

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Navy Ministry building, Tokyo, circa 1890

The Navy Ministry (海軍省, Kaigun-shō) was a cabinet-level ministry in the Empire of Japan charged with the administrative affairs of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). It existed from 1872 to 1945.

History[edit]

The Navy Ministry was created in April 1872, along with the Army Ministry, to replace the Ministry of War (兵部省, Hyōbushō) of the early Meiji government.

Initially, the Navy Ministry was in charge of both administration and operational command of the Imperial Japanese Navy. However, with the creation of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff in May 1893, it was left with only administrative functions.

"The ministry was responsible for the naval budget, ship construction, weapons procurement, personnel, relations with the Diet and the cabinet and broad matters of naval policy. The General Staff directed the operations of the fleet and the preparation of war plans".[1] The post of Navy Minister was politically powerful. Although a member of the Cabinet after the establishment of the cabinet system of government in 1885, the Navy Minister was answerable directly to the Emperor (the commander-in-chief of all Japanese armed forces under the Meiji Constitution) and not the Prime Minister.

Up until the 1920s, the Navy Ministry held the upper hand over the Navy General Staff in terms of political influence. However, the officers of the Navy General Staff found an opportunity at the Washington Naval Conference in 1921–22 to improve their situation. At this meeting, the United States and Britain wanted to establish a worldwide naval ratio, asking the Japanese to limit themselves to a smaller navy than the Western powers. The Naval Ministry was willing to agree to this, seeking to maintain the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, but the Navy General Staff refused. The Imperial Japanese Navy became divided into mutually hostile Fleet Faction and Treaty Faction political cliques. Ultimately, the treaty was signed by Japan, but terminated in 1934. Through the 1930s, with increasing Japanese militarism, the Fleet Faction gradually gained ascendancy over the Treaty Faction and came to dominate the Navy General Staff, which pushed through the attack on Pearl Harbor against the resistance of the Navy Ministry.

After 1937, both the Navy Minister and the Chief of the Navy General Staff were members of the Imperial General Headquarters.

With the defeat of the Empire of Japan in World War II, the Navy Ministry was abolished together with the Imperial Japanese Navy by the American occupation authorities in November 1945 and was not revived in the post-war Constitution of Japan.

Organization[edit]

Internally operating divisions[edit]

  • Military Affairs Bureau
  • Mobilization Bureau
  • Technical Bureau
  • Personnel Bureau
  • Training Bureau
  • Medical Bureau
  • Shipyard Bureau
  • Naval Construction Bureau
  • Legal Bureau
  • Administrative/Accounting Bureau

Externally operating divisions[edit]

  • Navy Aviation Bureau
  • Navy Academy
  • Naval War College (Japan)
  • Naval Accounting School
  • Navy Medical School
  • Naval Engineering School
  • Submarine Division
  • Canals and Waterways Division
  • Naval Technical Department
  • Naval Tribunal
  • Tokyo Naval Tribunal
  • Chemical Warfare Division
  • Radio and Radar Division
  • Supply and Transport Bureau
  • Naval Construction Division
  • Naval Maintenance & Repair Division
  • Special Attack Weapons Division
  • Emergency Reaction Division
  • Naval Aviation Training Division
  • Naval Intelligence Division

Ministers of the Navy of Japan[edit]

By law, Navy Ministers had to be appointed from active duty admirals or vice-admirals.

Naval Lords under the Ministry of War[edit]

Naval Ministers under the Meiji Constitution[edit]

No. Portrait Name Term of Office Cabinet
1 Tsugumichi Saigo 2.jpg Saigō Jūdō
西郷 従道
22 December
1885
17 May
1890
1st Itō
Kuroda
1st Yamagata
2 Kabayama Sukenori.jpg Kabayama Sukenori
樺山 資紀
17 May
1890
8 August
1892
1st Matsukata
3 Nire Kagenori.jpg Nire Kagenori
仁礼 景範
8 August
1892
11 March
1893
2nd Itō
4 Tsugumichi Saigo 2.jpg Saigō Jūdō
西郷 従道
11 March
1893
8 November
1898
2nd Matsukata
3rd Itō
1st Ōkuma
5 Yamamoto Gonnohyoe 2.jpg Yamamoto Gonnohyōe
山本 權兵衞
8 November
1898
7 January
1906
2nd Yamagata
4th Itō
1st Katsura
6 Saito Makoto.jpg Saitō Makoto
斎藤 実
7 January
1906
16 April
1914
1st Saionji
2nd Katsura
2nd Saionji
3rd Katsura
1st Yamamoto
7 Baron Yashiro Rokurō circa 1915.jpg Yashiro Rokurō
八代 六郎
16 April
1914
10 August
1915
2nd Ōkuma
8 Katō Tomosaburō.jpg Katō Tomosaburō
加藤 友三郎
10 August
1915
15 May
1923
Terauchi
Hara
Takahashi
Katō
9 Takeshi Takarabe.jpg Takarabe Takeshi
財部 彪
15 May
1923
7 January
1924
2nd Yamamoto
10 Murakami Kakuichi.jpg Murakami Kakuichi
村上 格一
7 January
1924
11 June
1924
Kiyoura
11 Takeshi Takarabe.jpg Takarabe Takeshi
財部 彪
11 June
1924
20 April
1927
Katō
1st Wakatsuki
12 Keisuke Okada 2.jpg Keisuke Okada
岡田 啓介
20 April
1927
2 July
1929
1st Tanaka
13 Takeshi Takarabe.jpg Takarabe Takeshi
財部 彪
2 July
1929
3 October
1930
Hamaguchi
14 Abo Kiyokazu.jpg Kiyokazu Abo
安保 清種
3 October
1930
13 December
1931
2nd Wakatsuki
15 Mineo Osumi.jpg Mineo Ōsumi
大角 岑生
13 December
1931
9 March
1936
Inukai
Saitō
Saitō
Okada
16 Osami Nagano.jpg Osami Nagano
永野 修身
9 March
1936
2 February
1937
Hirota
17 Yonai Mitsumasa.jpg Mitsumasa Yonai
米内 光政
2 February
1937
30 August
1939
Hayashi
1st Konoe
1st Hiranuma
18 Yoshida Zengo.jpg Zengo Yoshida
吉田 善吾
30 August
1939
5 September
1940
Abe
Yonai
2nd Konoe
19 Oikawa koshirō.JPG Koshirō Oikawa
及川 古志郎
5 September
1940
18 October
1941
3rd Konoe
20 Shimada Shigetarō.JPG Shigetarō Shimada
嶋田 繁太郎
18 October
1941
17 July
1944
Tojo
21 Nomura Naokuni.jpg Naokuni Nomura
野村 直邦
17 July
1944
22 July
1944
22 Yonai Mitsumasa.jpg Yonai Mitsumasa
米内 光政
22 July
1944
1 December
1945
Koiso
Suzuki
Higashikuni
Shidehara

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Spector

Books[edit]

  • Asada, Sadao (2006). From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-042-8.
  • Schencking, J. Charles (2005). Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868–1922. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4977-9.
  • Spector, Ronald (1985). Eagle Against the Sun. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-394-74101-3.

External links[edit]