was a scion of the Japanese imperial family
and was a career naval officer who served as chief of staff
of the Imperial Japanese Navy
from 1932 to 1941.
Prince Hiroyasu was born in Tokyo
as Prince Narukata, the eldest son of Prince Fushimi Sadanaru
(1858 - 1922) and Princess Arisugawa Toshiko (1858 - 1930), the daughter of Prince Arisugawa Taruhito
. The twenty-second head of the Fushimi-no-miya
, one of the four shinnoke
cadet branches of the imperial family entitled to succeed to the throne in default of a direct heir, Prince Fushimi a second cousin to both Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito)
and Empress Kōjun
, and nephew of Prince Kan'in Kotohito
He succeeded to title Kwacho-no-miya in 23 April 1883, upon which he changed his name from "Narukata" to "Hiroyasu," but returned to the house of Fushimi-no-miya on 16 January 1904.
Marriage & family
On 9 January 1896
, Prince Hiroyasu married Tokugawa Tsuneko
(1882-1939), the ninth daughter of Prince Tokugawa Yoshinobu
, Japan's last Shogun
, with whom he had six children:
- HIH Prince Fushimi Hiroyoshi (8 December 1897 – 19 October 1938)
- HIH Princess Fushimi Yasuko (b.14 November 1898)
- HIH Prince Fushimi Hirotada (26 January 1902 – 19 July 1924)
- Marquis Kwacho Hironobu (b.1905)
- HIH Princess Fushimi Tomoko (18 May 1907 – 30 June 1947)
- HIH Princess Fushimi Atsuko (b. 18 May 1907)
- Count Fushimi Hirohide (1912 – 26 August 1943)
Prince Hiroyasu dropped out of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy
, moved to Germany
in 1889, and graduated from the Naval Academy of the Kaiserliche Marine
in 1895. He spoke fluent German
. Prince Fushimi served as a lieutenant commander
in the Russo-Japanese War
(1904-05). He sustained wounds aboard the battleship Mikasa
in the Battle of the Yellow Sea
(August 1904). He later served as executive officer
on the cruiser Niitaka
, battleship Okinoshima
, and cruisers Naniwa
He studied in Great Britain from 1909-1910 and upon his return to Japan commanded the cruiser Takachiho (1910), and later the Asahi and the battlecruiser Ibuki. He rose to vice admiral on 1 December 1916 and full admiral on 1 December 1922. He was a member of the Supreme War Council from 1920 onward. He was a strong supporter of the Fleet Faction within the Navy, pushing for cancellation of the Washington Naval Agreement and the building of a more powerful navy.
Prince Hiroyasu succeeded his father as the twenty-third head of the house of Fushimi in 1923. Admiral Prince Fushimi became the chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff on 2 February 1932, replacing Admiral Abo Kiyokazu, and held the post to 9 April 1941.
Prince Fushimi received the largely honorary rank of fleet admiral on 27 May 1932.
While he was Chief of Staff of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service used strategic bombing against Chinese cities including Shanghai and Chongqing. The bombing of Nanjing and Guangzhou, which began on 22 and 23 September 1937, resulted in widespread international condemnation of Japan and a resolution against Japan by the Far Eastern Advisory Committee of the League of Nations.
As Chief of Staff, he supported the "southward advance" into northern French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies, but expressed reservations about the Tripartite Pact during the 19 September 1940 Imperial Conference.
He remained a member of the Supreme War Council throughout the Pacific War, but officially retired from the active list in 1945.
After the war, Prince Fushimi was the honorary president of the Imperial Life Boat Association, the Japan Seamen's Relief Association, the Cancer Research Society, the Naval Club, the Japan-German Society, and the Scientific and Chemical Research Institute.
Prince Fushimi died in Tokyo shortly after the end of World War II on 16 August 1946. Like all members of the imperial family, he was exonerated from criminal prosecutions before the Tokyo tribunal by Douglas MacArthur.
- Bix, Herbert B (2001). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-06-093130-2.
- Frank, Richard B. (2001). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. Penguin (Non-Classics). ISBN 0-14-100146-1.
- Spector, Ronald (1985). Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan. Vintage. ISBN 0-394-74101-3.