Korechika Anami

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Korechika Anami
阿南 惟幾
Anami c. 1934
Minister of War
Empire of Japan
In office
7 April 1945 – 14 August 1945
Prime MinisterKantarō Suzuki
Preceded byHajime Sugiyama
Succeeded byPrince Naruhiko Higashikuni
Personal details
Born(1887-02-21)February 21, 1887
Taketa, Ōita, Empire of Japan
DiedAugust 15, 1945(1945-08-15) (aged 58)
Chiyoda, Tokyo, Empire of Japan
Military service
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Branch/service Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service1906–1945
Rank General
Commands109th Division, Eleventh Army, Second Area Army
Battles/warsSecond Sino-Japanese War, Pacific War
Cause of deathCommitted Seppuku to avoid capture

Korechika Anami (阿南 惟幾, Anami Korechika, 21 February 1887 – 15 August 1945) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II who was War Minister during the surrender of Japan.

Early life and career[edit]

Anami was born in Taketa city in Ōita Prefecture, where his father was a senior bureaucrat in the Home Ministry and grew up in Tokyo and in Tokushima Prefecture. He attended the 18th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry in December 1906.

In November 1918, Anami graduated from the 30th class of the Army Staff College with the rank of captain. He was assigned to the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from April 1919 and was promoted to major in February 1922. From August 1923 to May 1925, he was assigned to the staff of the Sakhalin Expeditionary Army, which was responsible for the occupation of northern Sakhalin island during the Japanese intervention in Siberia. Anami was promoted to lieutenant colonel in August 1925.

From August to December 1925, Anami was sent as a military attaché to France. On his return to Japan, he was assigned to the 45th Infantry Regiment, and became unit commander in August 1928.

From August 1929 to August 1930, Anami served as Aide-de-camp to Emperor Hirohito. He was then promoted to colonel.

From August 1933 to August 1934, Anami served as regimental commander of the 2nd Guard Regiment of the Imperial Guards.[1] He was subsequently Commandant of the Tokyo Military Preparatory School,[1] and promoted to major general in March 1935.[1]

Wartime military career[edit]

Anami as army infantry colonel when he was an aide-de-camp. He wears a silver aide-de-armor cord.

From August 1936, Anami served as Chief of the Military Administration Bureau of the War Ministry. He became Chief of the Personnel Bureau in March 1937 and was promoted to lieutenant general in March the following year.[1]

With the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Anami was given a combat command, as commanding officer of the 109th Division in China from November 1938. He was recalled to Japan in October 1939 to assume the role of Vice-Minister of War in the cabinet of Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe. Anami belonged to the clique which supported the rise of Hideki Tojo to power in October 1941.

However, in April 1941, Anami returned to China as Commander in Chief of the 11th Army, covering ongoing operations in central China. He was transferred to the Japanese Second Area Army in Manchukuo in July 1942.[2]

In May 1943, Anami was promoted to full general. As the war conditions in the Pacific deteriorated for the Japanese, the Second Area Army was reassigned to the Southern Theater from November 1943, where Anami directed operations in western New Guinea and Halmahera.

Anami was recalled to Japan December 1944 and became Inspector General of Army Aviation and Chief of the Army Aeronautical Department and concurrently served on the Supreme War Council. In April 1945, he was appointed War Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Kantarō Suzuki.

Political career[edit]

I am convinced that the Americans had only one bomb, after all.

— Korechika Anami, immediately after the drop of Little Boy over Hiroshima[3]

As War Minister, Anami was outspoken against the idea of surrender, despite his awareness that Japan's losses on the battlefield and the destruction of Japan's cities and industrial capability by American bombing meant that Japan had lost the war militarily.[4] Even after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Anami opposed acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration and proposed instead for a large-scale battle to be fought on the Japanese mainland that would cause such massive Allied casualties that Japan would somehow be able to evade surrender and perhaps even keep some of what it had conquered.[5]

Eventually, his arguments against what he perceived to be the dishonor of surrender were overcome when Emperor Hirohito ordered an end to the war. Anami's supporters suggested that he should vote against surrender or resign from the Cabinet. Instead, he ordered his officers to concede and later said to his brother-in-law, "As a Japanese soldier, I must obey my Emperor."[6]

He informed the officers of the War Ministry of the decision and that as it was an imperial command, they must obey.[6] His refusal to support any action against the imperial decision was a key point in the failure of the Kyūjō incident, an attempted military coup d'état by junior officers to prevent the surrender announcement from being broadcast.[4]

On 14 August, Anami signed the surrender document with the rest of the cabinet and committed seppuku early the next morning.[7] His suicide note read, "I—with my death—humbly apologize [to the Emperor] for the great crime" (一死以て大罪を謝し奉る).[8] The cryptic note is open to multiple interpretations.[7]

Anami's grave is at Tama Cemetery, in Fuchū, Tokyo. His sword, blood-splattered dress uniform, and suicide note are on display at the Yūshūkan Museum, next to Yasukuni Shrine, in Tokyo.


Anami's son Anami Koreshige served as Japan's ambassador to China from 2001 to 2006.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Tucker, Spencer C. (2001). Who's Who in Twentieth-century Warfare. London and New York: Routledge. p. 7. ISBN 0415234972.
  2. ^ Ammentorp, The Generals of World War II
  3. ^ DOOMSDAYS, Time, August 7, 1995
  4. ^ a b Axelrood, Encyclopedia of World War II, p. 55.
  5. ^ Brooks, Behind Japan's Surrender
  6. ^ a b John Toland, The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936–1945 p 814–815 Random House New York 1970
  7. ^ a b Frank, Downfall pp 319–320
  8. ^ Pacific War Research Society, Japan's Longest Day, p 88–89


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Army Minister
April–August 1945
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by Commander IJA 11th Army
April 1941 – July 1942
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Commander IJA 2nd Area Army
July 1942 – December 1944
Succeeded by