Nobuyuki Abe

General Nobuyuki Abe[1] (阿部 信行, Abe Nobuyuki, November 24, 1875 – 7 September 1953) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, Governor-General of Korea, and Prime Minister of Japan.

Nobuyuki Abe
阿部 信行
Nobuyuki Abe formal.jpg
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
30 August 1939 – 16 January 1940
Preceded byKiichirō Hiranuma
Succeeded byMitsumasa Yonai
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Empire of Japan
In office
January 1939 – August 1939
Preceded byHachirō Arita
Succeeded byKichisaburō Nomura
Governor General of Korea
Empire of Japan
In office
22 July 1944 – 12 September 1945
Preceded byKuniaki Koiso
Succeeded byKim Il-Sung
(as Premier of North Korea)
Syngman Rhee
(as President of South Korea)
Personal details
Born(1875-11-24)24 November 1875
Kanazawa, Japan
Died7 September 1953(1953-09-07) (aged 77)
Political partyTaisei Yokusankai (1940–1945)
Other political
Independent (Before 1940)
Alma materImperial Japanese Army Academy
Army War College

Early life and military careerEdit

Abe was born into an ex-samurai family in Kanazawa city, Ishikawa Prefecture. His brother-in-law was Imperial Japanese Navy admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue.

Abe attended Tokyo No.1 Middle School (Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya High School) followed by No.4 High School. While still a student, he volunteered for military service during the First Sino-Japanese War.

After the war, Abe graduated from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in November 1897. Commissioned a second lieutenant the following 27 June, he was promoted to lieutenant in November 1900 and attended the Army Artillery School, graduating in December 1901. Promoted to captain in November 1903, he enrolled in the 19th class of the Army War College, graduating in November 1907. Ultranationalist General Araki Sadao was one of his classmates. He was promoted to major in December 1908, becoming an instructor at the Army War College in September 1909. In November 1910, he was posted to the German Empire as a military attache' at the Japanese embassy, and became a supplementary attaché at the embassy in Vienna in February 1913.

Abe was promoted to lieutenant colonel in February 1915, and to colonel on 24 July 1918. He served as the commander of the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment from 1918–1921. In August 1918, his regiment was sent to Siberia during Japan's Siberian Intervention, but never saw combat. He became secretary of the Army War College on 3 June 1921, and was promoted to major general on 15 August 1922. Appointed Director of the General Affairs Division of the Imperial General Staff on 6 August 1923, following the devastating earthquake of 1 September, he was placed in charge of overseeing martial law for the Kanto region on 3 September.

He was appointed director of military service affairs in the Army Ministry on 28 July 1926, and was promoted to lieutenant general on 5 March 1927. He later served as chief of the Military Affairs Bureau and as Vice Minister of the Army, which he had been appointed as on 10 August 1928. He commanded the 4th Infantry Division from 22 December 1930.

In January 1932, Abe was appointed to command the Japanese Taiwan Army, and he was promoted to full general on 19 June 1933. After serving on the Supreme War Council, he was placed on the reserve list on 10 March 1936.

As Prime MinisterEdit

Nobuyuki Abe Cabinet (30 August 1939)

Abe Nobuyuki was not the obvious first choice as Prime Minister after the collapse of the Hiranuma Kiichirō cabinet. From the civilian side, Konoe Fumimaro or Hirota Kōki were regarded as front-runners; however the Army and the ultranationalists strongly supported General Ugaki Kazushige. After genrō Saionji Kinmochi declared his lack of enthusiasm for any of those candidates, the Army was poised to have its way. However, Ugaki fell ill and was hospitalized. The interim War Minister General Abe was a compromise choice. He had the advantage of belonging to neither the Tōseiha nor the Kodoha political factions within the Army and was also supported as a relative political moderate by the Imperial Japanese Navy; on the other hand he was despised by many senior Army officers for his total lack of any combat experience.

Abe became Prime Minister on 30 August 1939.[2] He concurrently held the portfolio of Foreign Minister. During a reign which lasted only four months, Abe sought to end as quickly as possible the Second Sino-Japanese War, and to maintain Japan's neutrality in the growing European conflict. He was also opposed to efforts by elements within the Army to form a political-military alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Increasingly lacking in support from either the military or the political parties, Abe was replaced by Mitsumasa Yonai in January 1940.

Subsequent careerEdit

Abe as the Japanese ambassador signing the Japan-Machukuo-China joint declaration with Wang Jingwei and Zang Shiyi, 30 November 1940 in Nanjing

Three months later after his replacement as Prime Minister, Abe was sent by the army as a special envoy to China to advise the Japanese-supported regime of Wang Jingwei in Nanjing, and to negotiate a treaty ensuring Japanese economic and military rights in northern China. However, he did have some sympathy for Wang Jingwei's pro-Japanese "reorganized national government" of China. He remained as the Japanese ambassador to China in Nanjing until December 1940.[3] After his return to Japan, Abe joined the House of Peers in 1942, and accepted the largely ceremonial position as president of the Imperial Rule Assistance Political Association. He was appointed the 10th (and last) Governor-General of Korea in 1944 and 1945.

Following World War II, Abe was purged from public office, and arrested by the American occupation government. However, he was not charged with any war crimes and was soon released. His second son was Nobuhiro Abe.


  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure (November 1930)
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (April 1934)



  • Barnhart, Michael (1988). Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security, 1919–1941. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-9529-6.
  • Bix, Herbert P. (2001). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-093130-2.
  • Coox, Alvin D. (1990). Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1835-0.
  • Baudot, Marcel (1988). The Historical Encyclopedia or World War II. Facts on File Inc. ISBN 0-87196-401-5.

External linksEdit


  1. ^ The script Noboyuki is also found
  2. ^ Baudot, Marcel (1980). The Historical Encyclopedia or World War II. Facts on File Inc. pp. 1. ISBN 0-87196-401-5.
  3. ^ Times, Hugh Byas Wireless To the New York (1940-12-08). "TOKYO PICKS HONDA AS NANKING ENVOY; Former Ambassador to Berlin, Bitter Foe of Conciliation, Named by Matsuoka IS AGGRESSIVELY PRO-AXIS Advocate of Anti-U.S. Stand Is Expected to Promote East Asia Policy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2020-09-03. Retrieved 2020-09-03. Kumataro Honda, former Ambassador to Germany, was appointed Ambassador to Nanking today, succeeding former Premier Nobuyuki Abe.
Political offices
Preceded by
Hachirō Arita
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Kichisaburō Nomura
Preceded by
Kiichirō Hiranuma
Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Mitsumasa Yonai
Preceded by
Kuniaki Koiso
Governor General of Korea
Position abolished