|Native name||山地 元治|
September 10, 1841|
Tosa Domain, Japan
|Died||October 3, 1897
Hōfu, Yamaguchi, Japan
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Service/branch||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Years of service||1871 - 1897|
|Commands held||Imperial Japanese Army|
Yamaji was born in Tosa Domain as the eldest son of an upper-ranking samurai in the service of the Yamauchi clan. At the age of 13, he lost sight in one of his eyes, but notwithstanding his disability, he was appointed a company commander during in the Boshin War of the Meiji Restoration participating in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, and in subsequent campaigns in northern Japan. During the course of the conflict, he was promoted to brigade commander, and awarded a stipend of 150 koku.
After the war, Yamaji went to Tokyo, and was appointed an army lieutenant colonel in the fledgling Imperial Japanese Army. During the Seikanron debate, he supported his fellow Tosa clansmen Itagaki Taisuke and Goto Shojiro, at one point resigning his commission and returning to Tosa to participate in the Freedom and People's Rights Movement, but eventually had a falling out with Itagaki and returned to military service.
During the Satsuma Rebellion he commanded the IJA 4th Infantry Regiment from March – October 1877, served as chief of staff of the IJA 3rd Infantry Brigade and subsequently commanded the IJA 3rd Infantry Regiment and IJA 12th Infantry Regiments. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in February 1881, and commander of the Kumamoto Garrison.
Yamaji subsequently served as commander of the Osaka Garrison, IJA 2nd Infantry Brigade, Kumamoto Garrison (second term), and was promoted to major general in December 1886. In May 1887, he was elevated to the title of baron (danshaku) in the kazoku peerage system by Emperor Meiji.
In May 1888, with the reorganization of the Imperial Japanese Army into divisions per the advice of Prussian military advisor Jakob Meckel, Yamaji was made commander of the new IJA 6th Division, and later of the IJA 1st Division. He saw combat at Jinzhou and later at Lüshunkou. In August 1895, his title was elevated to viscount (shishaku).
He died in what is now the city of Hōfu, Yamaguchi.
- Dupuy, Encyclopedia of Military Biography
- Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). Encyclopedia of Military Biography. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85043-569-3.
- Beach, Frederick Converse (1912). The Americana: a universal reference library. Scientific American.
- Paine, S.C.M (2002). The Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895: Perceptions, Power, and Primacy. London: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81714-5.