Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Hashimoto Kingoro (1890–1957)

Japanese army officer and nationalist. Born in Okayama City on 19 February 1890, Hashimoto Kingoro joined the army in 1911 and graduated from the Army Staff College in 1920. He then served in Manchuria with the Guandong (Kwantung) Army from 1922 to 1925. Hashimoto believed that Japan's future demanded territorial expansion, and he was attracted to nationalist organizations that promoted this cause. While in Manchuria, Hashimoto helped to plan the Mukden Incident, in which elements of the Japanese military staged an attack on their own interests and used it as an excuse to seize most of Manchuria. This led to the establishment by Japan of the puppet state of Manzhoudiguo (Manzhouguo, Manchukuo).

Hashimoto held various regimental assignments in Japan between 1931 and 1935. During this time, he continued his extremist nationalist activities. In 1930, Hashimoto and Captain Isamu Cho founded the Sakurakai, or Cherry Blossom Society, to promote Japanese imperialism. Hashimoto also published widely; his most famous essay is "The Need For Immigration and Expansion." His writings became the philosophical basis for most Japanese extreme nationalists. Hashimoto attracted many followers, especially among mid-level army officers. He was cashiered from the Japanese army for his involvement in the attempted coup on 26 February 1936 against the Japanese government.

When war with China began in July 1937, Hashimoto was recalled to active duty. Promoted to colonel, he received command of the 13th Heavy Field Artillery Regiment. Hashimoto was implicated in atrocities committed in Nanjing (Nanking) in December 1937. He also ordered his troops to fire on the British gunboat Ladybird and on the U.S. Navy gunboat Panay. Despite western protests, Hashimoto retained his command until 1939.

On his retirement from the army, Hashimoto dedicated himself to political activities. He organized and led the Dai Nippon Seinen-to (Great Japan Youth Party), later known as the Dai Nippon Sekisei-kai (Great Japan Sincerity Association). Hashimoto also became executive director of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association in 1940. He was elected to the Diet in 1944.

After World War II, Hashimoto was tried as a war criminal for his part in atrocities in China and in promoting aggressive war. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he was paroled in 1954. Hashimoto died in Tokyo on 29 June 1957.

Tim J. Watts


Further Reading
Hayashi, Saburo. Kogun: The Japanese Army in the Pacific War. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1959.; Koginos, Manny T. The Panay Incident: Prelude to War. Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Studies, 1967.; Toland, John. Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936–1945. New York: Random House, 1970.
 

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