Gensui (Imperial Japanese Army)

Rikugun-gensui (陸軍元帥, Field marshal), formal rank designations: Gensui-rikugun-taishō (元帥陸軍大将, Marshal-(army corps) general) was the highest title in the pre-war Imperial Japanese military.

Rikugun-gensui
陸軍元帥
元帥徽章.svg
Gensui Badge
Country Japanese Empire
Service branch Imperial Japanese Army
Formation19 July 1872
Abolished1945
Next higher rankDai-gensui
Next lower rankArmy general
Equivalent ranksGensui (Navy)

The title originated from the Chinese title yuanshuai (元帥).

The term gensui, which was used for both the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy, was at first a rank held by Saigō Takamori as the Commander of the Armies (陸軍元帥 Rikugun-gensui) in 1872. However, in May 1873 Saigō was "demoted" to general, with gensui thereafter no longer a rank as such, but a largely honorific title awarded for extremely meritorious service to the Emperor - thus similar in concept to the French title of Marshal of France. Equivalent to a five-star rank (OF-10), it is similar to Field Marshal in the British Army and General of the Army in the United States Army.

While gensui would retain their actual ranks of general or admiral, they were entitled to wear an additional enamelled breast badge, depicting paulownia leaves between crossed army colors and a naval ensign under the Imperial Seal of Japan. They were also entitled to wear a special samurai sword (katana) of a modern design on ceremonial occasions.

In the Meiji period, the title was awarded to five generals and three admirals. In the Taishō period it was awarded to six generals and six admirals, and in the Shōwa period it was awarded to six generals and four admirals. The higher title of dai-gensui was comparable to the title of generalissimo and was held only by the Emperor himself.

List of Rikugun-gensuiEdit

Note that several were promoted the same year they died; these were posthumous promotions.

Portrait Name Japanese name (Birth – Death) Promotion date From
Saigō Takamori 西郷 隆盛 1828–1877 July 20, 1872 - May 8, 1873 Kagoshima
Prince Komatsu Akihito 小松宮彰仁親王 1846–1903 January 20, 1898 Imperial Family
Prince Yamagata Aritomo 山県 有朋 1838–1922 January 20, 1898 Yamaguchi
Prince Ōyama Iwao 大山 厳 1842–1916 January 20, 1898 Kagoshima
Marquis Nozu Michitsura 野津 道貫 1841–1908 January 31, 1906 Kagoshima
Count Oku Yasukata 奥 保鞏 1847–1930 October 24, 1911 Fukuoka
Count Hasegawa Yoshimichi 長谷川 好道 1850–1924 January 9, 1913 Yamaguchi
Prince Fushimi Sadanaru 伏見宮貞愛親王 1858–1923 January 9, 1913 Imperial Family
Baron Kawamura Kageaki 川村 景明 1850–1926 January 9, 1913 Kagoshima
Count Terauchi Masatake 寺内 正毅 1852–1919 June 24, 1916 Yamaguchi
Prince Kan'in Kotohito 閑院宮載仁親王 1865–1945 December 12, 1919 Imperial Family
Baron Uehara Yūsaku 上原 勇作 1856–1933 April 27, 1921 Miyazaki
Prince Kuniyoshi Kuni 久邇宮邦彦王 1873–1929 January 27, 1929 (posthumous) Imperial Family
Prince Nashimoto Morimasa 梨本宮守正王 1874–1951 August 8, 1932 Imperial Family
Baron Nobuyoshi Mutō 武藤 信義 1868–1933 May 3, 1933 Saga
Count Hisaichi Terauchi 寺内 寿一 1879–1946 June 21, 1943 Tokyo
Hajime Sugiyama 杉山 元 1880–1945 June 21, 1943 Fukuoka
Shunroku Hata 畑 俊六 1879–1962 June 2, 1944 Fukushima

The title was also bestowed on King George V of the United Kingdom on October 29, 1918.[1]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jenzen-Jones, N.R. (20 October 2022). "The King George V Gensuitō: An Imperial Japanese rarity in the Royal Collection". Arms & Armour. doi:10.1080/17416124.2022.2126100. Retrieved 21 October 2022.