Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Higuchi Kiichiro (1888–1970)

Japanese army general. Born in Mihara County, Hyogo Prefecture, on 20 August 1888, Higuchi Kiichiro was the son of Hisahachi Okusawa but was adopted by Higuchi Yuuji. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1909 and from the War College in 1918. Following service on the General Staff, Higuchi undertook duties as staff officer in the Korean army (Japanese forces in Korea), military attaché to Poland, and chief of staff of the 3rd Division. In 1937, Higuchi was assigned as a major general with the Guandong (Kwantung) army headquarters in Manzhoudiguo (Manchoutikuo), the Japanese puppet state in Manchuria, and as chief of the secret military agency in Harbin.

As a consequence of anti-Semitic activities undertaken in Europe, chiefly by Germany, Jews living in the Far East organized a conference in Harbin, Manzhoudiguo (Manzhouguo or Manchukuo). The Japanese military supported this effort. Higuchi not only participated in the conference, but also made a speech when it began supporting the Jewish people. Although it delighted Jews, his speech angered the German government, which registered a formal protest. Higuchi was not disciplined, however.

In 1938, Higuchi was assigned as chief of the 2nd Bureau of the General Staff, and the next year he was promoted to lieutenant general. He then commanded in succession the 9th Division, the Northern District Army, and the Northern Army. In 1943, Higuchi was assigned as commander of the Fifth Army (the upgraded Northern Army), and later that year he commanded the operation evacuating Kiska Island in the Aleutian chain. After the war, Higuchi retired from public life and wrote his memoirs; he remained in seclusion after 1947. He died at Tokyo on 11 October 1970.

Masaaki Shiraishi


Further Reading
Higuchi Kiichiro. Rikugun Chujo Higuchi Kiichiro Kaisouroku [Memoirs of General Higuchi Kiichiro]. Tokyo: Fuyosyobo, 1999.
 

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