Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Project Tags

view all


  • Saitō Makoto (1858 - 1936)
    Viscount Saitō Makoto, GCB was a Japanese naval officer and politician. Upon distinguishing himself during his command of two cruisers in the First Sino-Japanese War, Saitō rose rapidly to the rank of ...
  • Tomoyuki Yamashita (1885 - 1946)
    Tomoyuki Yamashita (山下 奉文 Yamashita Tomoyuki , November 8, 1885 – February 23, 1946; also called Yamashita Tomobumi) was an Imperial Japanese Army general during World War II. At the forefront of the i...
  • Shigenori Kuroda (1887 - 1952)
    Shigenori Kuroda (黒田 重徳 Kuroda Shigenori , 5 October 1887 – 30 April 1952) was a Japanese general of the Japanese Imperial Army and the Japanese Governor-General of the Philippines during World War II....
  • Shizuichi Tanaka (1887 - 1945)
    Shizuichi Tanaka (田中 静壱 Tanaka Shizuichi , 1 October 1887 – 24 August 1945) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, who, at the end of World War II, was commander of the Eastern District Army, whi...
  • Masaharu Homma (1887 - 1946)
    Masaharu Homma (本間 雅晴 Homma Masaharu , November 27, 1887 – April 3, 1946) was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Homma commanded the Japanese 14th Army which invade...

This project will discuss Japanese Imperialism, and subsequent militarism, 1894-1945.

The First Sino-Japanese War (1 August 1894 – 17 April 1895) was fought between Qing dynasty China and Meiji Japan, primarily over control of Korea. After more than six months of unbroken successes by the Japanese land and naval forces, as well as the loss of the Chinese port of Weihai, the Qing leadership sued for peace in February 1895.

The war clearly demonstrated the failure of the Qing dynasty's attempts to modernize its military and fend off threats to its sovereignty, especially compared with Japan's successful post-Meiji Restoration[1] For the first time, regional dominance in East Asia shifted from China to Japan; the prestige of the Qing Dynasty, along with the classical tradition in China, suffered a major blow. The humiliating loss of Korea as a vassal state sparked an unprecedented public outcry. Within China, the defeat was a catalyst for a series of political upheavals led by Sun Yat-Sen and Kang Youwei, culminating in the 1911 Revolution.

The war is commonly known in China as the War of Jiawu (simplified Chinese: 甲午战争; traditional Chinese: 甲午戰爭; pinyin: Jiǎwǔ Zhànzhēng), referring to the year (1894) as named under the traditional sexagenary system of years. In Japan, it is called the Japan–Qing War (Nisshin sensō (日清戦争?)); and in Korea, where much of the war took place, it is called the Qing-Japan War.

The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihetuan Movement was an anti-imperialist uprising which took place in China towards the end of the Qing dynasty between 1899 and 1901. It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yihetuan), known in English as the "Boxers," and was motivated by proto-nationalist sentiments and opposition to foreign imperialism and associated Christian missionary activity. The Great Powers intervened and defeated Chinese forces.

The uprising took place against a background of severe drought, and the disruption caused by the growth of foreign spheres of influence. After several months of growing violence against the foreign and Christian presence in Shandong and the North China plain, in June 1900 Boxer fighters, convinced they were invulnerable to foreign weapons, converged on Beijing with the slogan "Support Qing government and exterminate the foreigners." Foreigners and Chinese Christians sought refuge in the Legation Quarter. In response to reports of an armed invasion to lift the siege, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi supported the Boxers and on June 21 declared war on foreign powers. Diplomats, foreign civilians and soldiers as well as Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were placed under siege by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers for 55 days. Chinese officialdom was split between those supporting the Boxers and those favoring conciliation, led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, the Manchu General Ronglu (Junglu), later claimed that he acted to protect the besieged foreigners. The Eight-Nation Alliance, after being initially turned back, brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, and captured Beijing on August 14, lifting the siege of the Legations. Uncontrolled plunder of the capital and the surrounding countryside ensued, along with the summary execution of those suspected of being Boxers.

The Boxer Protocol of September 7, 1901 provided for the execution of government officials who had supported the Boxers, provisions for foreign troops to be stationed in Beijing, and 450 million taels of silver (€”more than the government's annual tax revenue) to be paid as indemnity over the course of the next thirty-nine years to the eight nations involved.

The Russo-Japanese War (8 February 1904 -€“ 5 September 1905) was "the first great war of the 20th century."[4] It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan over Manchuria and Korea. The major theatres of operations were Southern Manchuria, specifically the area around the Liaodong Peninsula and Mukden; and the seas around Korea, Japan, and the Yellow Sea.

Russia sought a warm water port[5] on the Pacific Ocean, for their navy as well as for maritime trade. Vladivostok was only operational during the summer season, but Port Arthur was operational all year. From the end of the First Sino-Japanese War in 1903, negotiations between Russia and Japan had proved impractical. Russia had demonstrated an expansionist policy in Manchuria dating back to the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century.[6] Japan offered to recognize Russian dominance in Manchuria in exchange for recognition of Korea as in the Japanese sphere of influence. Russia refused this, and demanded that Korea north of the 39th parallel be a neutral buffer zone between Russia and Japan. The Japanese government perceived a Russian threat to its strategic interests and chose to go to war. After negotiations broke down in 1904, the Japanese Navy opened hostilities by attacking the Russian Eastern Fleet at Port Arthur, a naval base in Liaotung Province leased to Russia by China, in a surprise attack.

The resulting campaigns, in which the Japanese military attained complete victory over the Russian forces arrayed against them, were unexpected by world observers. Over time, the consequences of these battles transformed the balance of power in East Asia, resulting in a reassessment of Japan's recent entry onto the world stage. Scholars today debate the historical significance of the Russo-Japanese War.

Russia suffered numerous defeats at the hands of Japan and remained engaged in the war due in part to the will of the tsar, Nicholas II. After faring poorly early in the war, Nicholas II, convinced that Russia would ultimately obtain victory in the war, chose to remain engaged in the war; at first, to await the outcomes of certain naval battles, and later on, upon realizing imminent defeat, it has been debated, to preserve the dignity of Russia by averting a "humiliating peace". The Russo-Japanese War concluded with the Treaty of Portsmouth, mediated by U.S President Theodore Roosevelt at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey's Island, Kittery, Maine, while the delegates stayed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The Siberian Intervention (シベリア出兵 Shiberia Shuppei?), or the Siberian Expedition, of 1918–1922 was the dispatch of troops of the Entente powers to the Russian Maritime Provinces as part of a larger effort by the western powers and Japan to support White Russian forces against the Bolshevik Red Army during the Russian Civil War. The Imperial Japanese Army continued to occupy Siberia even after other Allied forces had withdrawn in 1920.

Growth of military adventurism

Japan had been involved in the Asian continent continuously from the First Sino-Japanese War, Boxer Rebellion, Russo-Japanese War, World War I and the Siberian Intervention. During the term of Prime Minister Tanaka Giichi from 1927 to 1929, Japan sent troops three times to China to obstruct Chiang Kai-shek's unification campaign. In June 1928, adventurist officers of the Kwantung Army embarked on unauthorized initiatives to protect Japanese interests in Manchuria, including the assassination of a former ally, warlord Zhang Zuolin, in hopes of sparking a general conflict.

The Manchurian Incident of September 1931 did not fail, and it set the stage for the Japanese military takeover of all of Manchuria. Kwangtung Army conspirators blew up a few meters of South Manchurian Railway Company track near Mukden, blamed it on Chinese saboteurs, and used the event as an excuse to invade and seize the vast territory.

In Tokyo one month later, in the Imperial Colors Incident, military figures failed in an attempt to establish a military dictatorship, but again the news was suppressed and the military perpetrators were not punished.

In January 1932, Japanese forces attacked Shanghai in the First Shanghai Incident, waging a three-month undeclared war there before a truce was reached. The civilian government in Tokyo was powerless to prevent these military adventures, and instead of being condemned, the Kwangtung Army's actions enjoyed considerable popular support.

Inukai's successors, military men chosen by Saionji Kinmochi, the last surviving genrō, recognized Manchukuo and generally approved the army's actions in securing Manchuria as an industrial base, an area for Japanese emigration, and a potential staging ground for war with the Soviet Union. Various army factions contended for power amid increasing suppression of dissent and more assassinations. In the February 26 Incident of 1936, the Army's elite First Infantry Division staged an attempted coup d'état in yet another effort to overthrow civilian rule. The revolt was put down by other military units, and its leaders were executed after secret trials. Despite public dismay over these events and the discredit they brought to numerous military figures, Japan's civilian leadership capitulated to the army's demands in the hope of ending domestic violence. Increases were seen in defense budgets, naval construction (Japan announced it would no longer accede to disarmament treaties), and patriotic indoctrination as Japan moved toward a wartime footing.[3]

In November 1936, the Anti-Comintern Pact, an agreement to exchange information and collaborate in preventing communist activities, was signed by Japan and Germany (Italy joined a year later). War was launched against China with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of July 7, 1937 in which a clash near Beijing between Chinese and Japanese troops quickly escalated into the full-scale warfare of the Second Sino-Japanese War, followed by the Soviet-Japanese Border Wars and the Pacific War.

Despite the military's long tradition of independence from civilian control, its efforts at staging a coup d'état to overthrow the civilian government, and its forcing Japan into war through insubordination and military adventurism, the military was ultimately unable to force a military dictatorship on Japan.

Under Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro, the Japanese government was streamlined to meet war-time conditions and under the National Mobilization Law was given absolute power over the nation's assets. In 1940, all political parties were ordered to dissolve into the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, forming a single party state based on totalitarian values. Even so, there was much entrenched opposition from the government bureaucrats, and in the 1942 general election for the Japanese Diet, the military was still unable to do away with the last vestiges of party politics. This was partly due to the fact that the military itself was not a monolithic structure, but was rent internally with its own political factions. Even Japan's wartime Prime Minister, Hideki Tōjō, had difficulty controlling portions of his own military.

Japan's overseas possessions, greatly extended as a result of early successes in the Pacific War were organized into a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, which was to have integrated Asia politically and economically—under Japanese leadership—against Western domination.

The Second Sino-Japanese War (July 7, 1937 -€“ September 9, 1945), so named due to the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-€“95, was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1941. China fought Japan, with some economic help from Germany (see Sino-German cooperation until 1941), the Soviet Union (see Soviet Volunteer Group) and the United States (see American Volunteer Group). After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the war merged into the greater conflict of World War II as a major front of what is broadly known as the Pacific War. The Second Sino-Japanese War was the largest Asian war in the 20th century.[9] It also made up more than 50% of the casualties in the Pacific War if the 1937â€-1941 period is taken into account.


1931: Hamaguchi dies and Wakatsuki Reijirō becomes prime minister (April 14). The Sino-Japanese War starts with the Mukden Incident (September 18). Inukai Tsuyoshi becomes prime minister (December 13) and increases funding for the military in China.

1932: After an attack on Japanese monks in Shanghai (January 18), Japanese forces shell the city (January 29). Manchukuo is established with Henry Pu Yi as emperor (February 29). Inukai is assassinated during a coup attempt and Saitō Makoto becomes prime minister (May 15). Japan is censured by the League of Nations (December 7).

1933: Japan leaves the League of Nations (March 27).

1934: Keisuke Okada becomes prime minister (July 8). Japan withdraws from the Washington Naval Treaty (December 29).

1936: Coup attempt, the February 26 Incident, crushed by Hirohito. Kōki Hirota becomes prime minister (March 9). Japan signs its first pact with Germany (November 25) and occupies Tsingtao (December 3). Mengchiang established in Inner Mongolia.

1937: Senjūrō Hayashi becomes prime minister (February 2). Prince Konoe Fumimaro becomes prime minister (June 4). Battle of Lugou Bridge (July 7). Japan captures Beijing (July 31). Japanese troops occupy Nanjing (December 13), beginning the Nanjing massacre.

1938: Battle of Taierzhuang (March 24). Canton falls to Japanese forces (October 21).

1939: Hiranuma Kiichirō becomes prime minister (January 5). Abe Nobuyuki becomes prime minister (August 30).

1940: Mitsumasa Yonai becomes prime minister (January 16). Konoe becomes prime minister for a second term (July 22). Hundred Regiments Offensive (August-€“September). Japan occupies French Indochina in the wake of the fall of Paris to the Germans, and signs the Tripartite Pact (September 27).

1941: General Hideki Tōjō becomes prime minister (October 18). Japanese naval forces attack Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (December 7) (see Attack on Pearl Harbor), prompting the United States to declare war on Japan (December 8). Japan conquers Hong Kong (December 25).

1942: Singapore surrenders to Japan (February 15). Japan bombs Australia (February 19). Indian Ocean raid (March 31-April 10). Doolittle Raid on Tokyo (April 18). Battle of the Coral Sea (May 4 – 8). Sanko sakusen implemented in North China. American forces in the Philippines surrender (May 8). Japan defeated at the Battle of Midway (June 6).

1943: U.S. victory in Battle of Guadalcanal (February 9). Japan defeated at Battle of Tarawa (November 23).

1944: Tojo resigns and Kuniaki Koiso becomes prime minister (July 22).

1945: U.S. bombers begin firebombing of major Japanese cities. Japan defeated at Battle of Iwo Jima (March 26). Admiral Kantarō Suzuki becomes prime minister (April 7). Manila massacre. Japan defeated at Battle of Okinawa (June 21). U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9) Japan surrenders (September 2): Allied occupation begins.

  • The Eagle and the Rising Sun by Alan Schom