, was a field marshal
in the Imperial Japanese Army
during World War II
. He was the last surviving Japanese military officer with a marshal's rank.
Hata was a native of Fukushima prefecture
, where his father was an ex-samurai
of the Aizu
domain. At the age of 12, the family relocated to Hakodate, Hokkaido
, but at the age of 14, he was accepted into the prestigious First Tokyo Middle School
. However, his father died the same year, and unable to afford the tuitions, he enrolled in the Army Cadet School instead, going on to graduate of the 12th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy
, in 1901 as a second lieutenant in the artillery. Hata served in the Russo-Japanese War
. He graduated from the 22nd class of the Army Staff College
with top rankings in November 1910.
Sent as a military attaché to Germany in March 1912, Hata stayed in Europe throughout World War I as a military observer. He was promoted to major in September 1914 and to lieutenant colonel in July 1918, while still in Europe, and he stayed on as a member of the Japanese delegation to the Versailles Peace Treaty negotiations in February 1919.
On his return to Japan, Hata was given command of the IJA 16th Field Artillery Regiment in July 1921, and was promoted to major general and commander of the IJA 4th Heavy Field Artillery Brigade in March 1926.
Hata was subsequently assigned to the strategic planning division of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, serving as chief of the Fourth Bureau in July 1927 and Chief of the First Bureau in August 1928.
Hata was promoted to lieutenant general in August 1931 and became Inspector General of Artillery Training. He was then given a field command, that of the IJA 14th Division in August 1933. After serving as head of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service from December 1935, he became commander of the Taiwan Army of Japan in 1936.
Second Sino-Japanese War
His rise after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War
was then very rapid: Military Councilor
, Inspector General of Military Training
and promotion rank of general
all in late 1937. He was appointed as commanding general of the Central China Expeditionary Army
in February 1938, to replace General Matsui Iwane
, who had been recalled to Japan over the Nanjing Incident
. Hata became Senior Aide-de-Camp
to Emperor Showa
in May 1939 followed by a stint as Minister of War
from August 1939 to July 1940 during the terms of Prime Minister Nobuyuki Abe
and Mitsumasa Yonai
Hata returned to China as commander-in-chief of the China Expeditionary Army in March 1941. He was the main commander at the time of Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign, during which around 250 000 Chinese civilians were killed, and the Changjiao Massacre.
He was requested to take command of the Second General Army, based in Hiroshima from 1944 to 1945 in preparation for the anticipated Allied invasion of the Japanese home islands. He was awarded the rank of field marshal on 2 June 1944.
Hata received "Ultimatum to surrender" from Soviet general Georgii Shelakhov in Harbin on August 18, 1945. He was one of the senior generals who agreed with the decision to surrender, but asked that he be stripped of his title of Field Marshal in atonement for the Army’s failures in the war.
Hata was arrested by the American occupation authorities
after the end of the war, and charged with war crimes
. In 1948, as a result of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East
, he sentenced to life imprisonment
under the charges of: “Conspiracy, waging aggressive war, disregarding his duty to prevent atrocities”. He was paroled in 1955, and died in 1962.
Hata's brother, Eitaro Hata (1872-1930), was also a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, and commanding officer of the Kwangtung Army.
- Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-7858-0437-4.
- Fuller, Richard (1992). Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN: 1-85409-151-4.
- Hayashi, Saburo; Cox, Alvin D (1959). Kogun: The Japanese Army in the Pacific War. Quantico, VA: The Marine Corps Association..
- Maga, Timothy P. (2001). Judgment at Tokyo: The Japanese War Crimes Trials. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2177-9.