Kenji Hatanaka

Major Kenji Hatanaka (畑中 健二, Hatanaka Kenji) (28 March 1912 – 15 August 1945) was a Japanese military officer and one of the chief conspirators in the Kyūjō incident, a plot to seize the Imperial Palace and to prevent the broadcast of Emperor Hirohito's surrender speech to mark the end of World War II.[1]

Kenji Hatanaka
Major Kenji Hatanaka.jpg
Major Kenji Hatanaka
Born28 March 1912
Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Died15 August 1945(1945-08-15) (aged 33)
Tokyo, Japan
AllegianceEmpire of Japan
Service/branchWar flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Battles/warsWorld War II

Military careerEdit

Hatanaka served in the Military Affairs Section of the Japanese Ministry of War at the end of World War II. As one of the leaders of a group of Japanese officers determined to prevent the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration and therefore the surrender of Japan, Hatanaka attempted a coup d'état on 14–15 August 1945. Failing to obtain the support of the War Minister, General Korechika Anami,[2] Hatanaka organised a number of other officers and succeeded in occupying the Imperial Palace and Imperial Household Ministry.

Still needing high-level support for his cause, he tried to enlist Lieutenant General Takeshi Mori, commander of the 1st Imperial Guard Division. Mori was non-committal and a frustrated Hatanaka shot and killed him.[3] Hatanaka and his men then spent several hours searching for the recording that had been made of the Emperor's speech announcing the surrender of Japan, and which was meant for public broadcast. When he failed to locate the recordings, he occupied the NHK Building in an attempt to prevent the speech from being broadcast. However, still without high level support and the recordings, Hatanaka abandoned his coup after receiving direct orders to do so from Eastern District Army Headquarters.[4]

Following the failure of the coup, Hatanaka traveled to the plaza fronting the Imperial Palace. Along with his fellow conspirator, Lieutenant Colonel Jirō Shiizaki, he shot himself. In Hatanaka's pocket was found his death poem:[5]

Japanese text Romanized Japanese English translation[5]
ima wa tada
omoinokosu koto
an'un sarishi
mi-yo to narinaba
I have nothing to regret
now that the dark clouds have disappeared
from the reign of the Emperor.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hoyt, 1986, pp. 409
  2. ^ Toland, 1970, pp. 1023–1024
  3. ^ Toland, 1970, pp. 1043
  4. ^ Toland, 1970, pp. 1051
  5. ^ a b Toland, 1970, p. 1052