Military Intervention in Pre-War Japanese Politics: Admiral Kato Kanji and the 'Washington System'

Military Intervention in Pre-War Japanese Politics: Admiral Kato Kanji and the 'Washington System'

Military Intervention in Pre-War Japanese Politics: Admiral Kato Kanji and the 'Washington System'

Military Intervention in Pre-War Japanese Politics: Admiral Kato Kanji and the 'Washington System'

Synopsis

This is a study of the impact of inter-war naval arms control policy-making on the domestic politics of Japan, especially the areas of civil-military, inter-military (Army/Navy) and especially intra-military (Navy) relations and on the professional and political career of one leading naval figure, Admiral Kato Kanji (1873-1939). In this re-appraisal of Kato's career, the author challenges the conventional and negative interpretation of both Kato's role in the naval politics and factions within the Imperial Navy, utilizing Kato's involvement in the domestic political debate as a focal device for studying two key areas of Japanese civil-military relations: civilian control and the phenomenon of massive, overt naval intervention in domestic politics.

Excerpt

Admiral Katō (Hiroharu) Kanji (1871-1939) was a key figure in the development of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). His naval career spanned the formation, growth and maturation of that remarkable organization prior to the Pacific War. His roles and influence within the IJN, in terms of naval development, in the areas of education, technology, naval engagements, institutional change and internal naval politics and naval diplomacy alone merit him worthy of serious attention.

Katō Kanji occupied all the major educational and 'command' posts in the prewar Japanese Navy. He emerged from his naval training as a classic member of the toppubatsu ('top of the class clique'). This marked him out as destined for high rank at a time when ascriptive hanbatsu ('feudal domain origins') criteria were being replaced by achievement criteria (performance at the Naval Academy and Naval War College). He went on to serve as Chief of the Gunnery School, Commandant of the Naval Academy Etajima and President of the Naval War College. He occupied all the major 'command' posts in the navy including Vice-Chief of the Naval General Staff, C-in C Combined Fleet and Chief of the Naval General Staff. He had a distinguished war record, serving in all the major wars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He also witnessed key naval-diplomatic events; for example, he directly observed, as a junior naval officer, the American accession of Hawaii in the 1890s. He participated directly as a middle-ranking officer in complex renegotiations over the renewal of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Later, he served as naval attaché to Britain prior to World War One, commanded a squadron in joint operations with the Royal Navy and on escort duties for Anzac Forces during World War One and commanded the Japanese squadron at Vladivostok that landed the first troops during the Siberian Expedition in 1919. During the 1920s he occupied all the leading command positions ashore and afloat culminating in his

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