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Ōshima Ken'ichi (大島 健一, 19 June 1858 – 24 March 1947) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and Minister of War during World War I. His son, Hiroshi Ōshima was also a lieutenant general in the Army, and served as Japanese ambassador to Nazi Germany.

Ōshima Ken'ichi
Ōshima Ken'ichi in 1917.jpg
Ōshima Ken'ichi in 1917
Native name
大島 健一
Born(1858-06-19)19 June 1858
Gifu Prefecture, Japan
Died24 March 1947(1947-03-24) (aged 88)
AllegianceEmpire of Japan
Service/branchWar flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service1881–1916
RankLieutenant General
Other workMinister of War



Ōshima was born in Iwamura domain, Mino Province (currently part of Ena City in Gifu Prefecture). He graduated from the 4th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1881, where he specialized in artillery. He was sent overseas as a military attaché and for studies to France and Prussia from 1891–1893.

Ōshima served on the staff of General Yamagata Aritomo during the Japanese First Army in First Sino-Japanese War. During the Russo-Japanese War, he served on the Imperial General Headquarters, and after the war held various administrative and staff positions within the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff. He was promoted to major general in 1907 and to lieutenant general in 1913.

From 30 April 1916 to 29 September 1918, Ōshima was Minister of War under Prime Ministers Ōkuma Shigenobu and Terauchi Masatake.[1] He entered the reserves in 1919 and served as a member of the House of Peers in the Diet of Japan from 1920. From 1940-1946, he was a member of the Privy Council.

Ōshima (center) with Giichi Tanaka (left) and Uehara Yūsaku in 1918



  • Harries, Meirion (1994). Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army. Random House. ISBN 0-679-75303-6.

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Wendel, Axis History Factbook
Political offices
Preceded by
Oka Ichinosuke
War Minister
Mar 1916 – Sep 1918
Succeeded by
Tanaka Giichi