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Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff

Imperial Japanese Navy HQ, 1930s

The Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff (軍令部, Gunreibu) was the highest organ within the Imperial Japanese Navy. In charge of planning and operations, it was headed by an Admiral headquartered in Tokyo.


Created in 1893, the Navy General Staff took over operational (as opposed to administrative) authority over the Imperial Japanese Navy from the Navy Ministry. It was responsible for the planning and execution of national defense strategy. Through the Imperial General Headquarters it reported directly to the Emperor, not to the Prime Minister, Diet of Japan or even the Navy Ministry. It was always headed by an admiral on active duty, and was based in Tokyo.

"The ministry was responsible for the naval budget, ship construction, weapons procurement, personnel, relations with the Diet and the cabinet and broad matters of naval policy. The General Staff directed the operations of the fleet and the preparation of war plans".[1]

After the Washington Naval Conference of 1921-22, where Japan agreed to keep the size of its fleet smaller than that of the United Kingdom and the United States, the Imperial Japanese Navy became divided into the mutually hostile Fleet Faction and Treaty Faction political cliques. The Navy Ministry tended to be pro-Treaty Faction and was anxious to maintain the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. However the Navy General Staff came to be dominated by the Fleet faction, and gradually gained ascendancy in the 1930s with increasing Japanese militarism.The Navy General Staff pushed through the attack on Pearl Harbor against the wishes of the more diplomatic Navy Ministry.

After 1937, both the Navy Minister and the Chief of the Navy General Staff were members of the Imperial General Headquarters.

With the defeat of the Empire of Japan in World War II, the Navy General Staff was abolished together with the Imperial Japanese Navy by the American occupation authorities in November 1945 and was not revived by the post-war Constitution of Japan.


The General Staff was organized as follows:

  • 1st Section: Operations Bureau
  • 2nd Section: Weapons and Mobilization Bureau
  • 3rd Section: Intelligence Bureau
  • 4th Section: Communications Bureau

Chiefs of the General StaffEdit

No. Chief of the General Staff Took office Left office Time in office
1Toshiyoshi, ItōRear Admiral
Baron Itō Toshiyoshi
8 March 188917 May 188970 days
2Shinanojō, ArichiRear Admiral
Baron Arichi Shinanojō
17 May 188917 June 18912 years, 31 days
3Yoshika, InoueRear Admiral
Viscount Inoue Yoshika
17 June 189112 December 18921 year, 178 days
4Kuranosuke, NakamutaVice Admiral
Viscount Nakamuta Kuranosuke
12 December 189218 July 18941 year, 218 days
5Sukenori, KabayamaAdmiral
Count Kabayama Sukenori
18 July 189411 May 1895297 days
6Sukeyuki, ItōMarshal Admiral
Count Itō Sukeyuki
11 May 189520 December 190510 years, 223 days
7Heihachirō, TōgōAdmiral
Marquis Tōgō Heihachirō
20 December 19051 December 19093 years, 346 days
8Gorō, IjuinAdmiral
Baron Ijuin Gorō
1 December 190922 April 19144 years, 142 days
9Hayao, ShimamuraAdmiral
Baron Shimamura Hayao
22 April 19141 December 19206 years, 223 days
10Gentarō, YamashitaAdmiral
Baron Yamashita Gentarō
1 December 192015 April 19254 years, 135 days
11Suzuki, KantarōAdmiral
Baron Kantarō Suzuki
15 April 192522 January 19293 years, 282 days
12Kato, KanjiAdmiral
Kanji Kato
22 January 192911 June 19301 year, 140 days
13Naomi, TaniguchiVice Admiral
Taniguchi Naomi [ja]
11 June 19302 February 19321 year, 236 days
14Hiroyasu, FushimiMarshal Admiral
Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu
2 February 19329 April 19419 years, 66 days
15Osami, NaganoMarshal Admiral
Nagano Osami
9 April 194121 February 19442 years, 318 days
16Shigetarō, ShimadaAdmiral
Shimada Shigetarō
21 February 19442 August 1944163 days
17Koshirō, OikawaAdmiral
Oikawa Koshirō
2 August 194429 May 1945300 days
18Soemu, ToyodaAdmiral
Toyoda Soemu
29 May 194515 October 1945139 days

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Spector



  • Asada, Sadao (2006). From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-042-8.
  • Schencking, J. Charles (2005). Making Waves: Politics, Propaganda, And The Emergence Of The Imperial Japanese Navy, 1868-1922. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4977-9.
  • Spector, Ronald (1985). Eagle Against the Sun. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-394-74101-3.

External linksEdit