Arichi Shinanojo

Arichi Shinanojo

Baron was an admiral in the early Imperial Japanese Navy, and served as Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff in the late 19th century.


Arichi was born in Chōshū domain (now Yamaguchi prefecture. His younger brother was Admiral Nashiba Tokioki. As a samurai youth, he fought in the Boshin War to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate, participating in combat in the northern Tohoku campaign. He was then dispatched by the domain to Europe for studies, observing military operations in the Franco-Prussian War first-hand. On his return to Japan, he was commissioned as a major in the new Imperial Japanese Army in 1871. Under the new Meiji government, he served in the Minister of the Military, and transferred to the fledgling Imperial Japanese Navy in 1873 with the rank of lieutenant commander. He was thus was of the few men from the Chōshū domain to choose the Navy over the Army as a career. It is not certain why he made this choice, but some historians theorize it was part of a strategy by the Chōshū clan leaders to ensure that the navy did not become a Satsuma monopoly.

Arichi was captain of the frigate Fujisan in 1878 and corvette Nisshin in 1881. After his promotion to the rank of captain in 1882, he was assigned as commanding officer to the corvette Hiei, followed by the Tsukuba. In 1884, while captain of Tsukuba, the ship suffered from an outbreak of beriberi in which 23 crewmen died. Subsequently, Tsukuba was used as the basis of a successful experiment by Naval doctor Takaki Kanehiro into the sailors diet, which later eliminated beriberi as an issue within the Japanese navy.

Arichi was promoted to rear admiral on 15 June 1886 and became commandant of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy from 1887-1889. He was Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff from 1889-1891.

From 1891-1892, Arichi served as commander in chief of the Readiness Fleet. He was promoted to vice admiral in 1892, and was commander in chief of the Kure Naval District during the First Sino-Japanese War. He was commander in chief of the Combined Fleet from May-October 1895, but was forced to resign over an incident involving the sinking of British MV Thales by the Japanese cruiser Yaeyama off of Taiwan.

On 5 June 1896, he was ennobled with the title of baron (danshaku) under the kazoku peerage system.

Arichi entered the reserves from 1895, and served in the House of Peers from 1897-1904. He retired in 1911, but continued to serve as a member of the Privy Council (Japan) from 1914 until his death in 1919. His grave is at Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.



  • Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). Encyclopedia of Military Biography. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85043-569-3.
  • Cobbing, Andrew (1998). The Japanese Discovery of Victorian Britain: Early Travel Encounters in the Far West. RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 1873410816.
  • Hoare, J.E. (1999). Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. III. RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 1873410891.
  • 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.

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