He entered the very competitive Tokyo Cadet Academy, and upon completion of studies there he entered into the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, graduating in 1910.
He served with the 1st Imperial Guards Division, and then graduated from the 34th class of the Army War College in 1922. He was transferred to the Kwangtung Army in the early 1930s. In 1934, he was promoted to the rank of colonel. In 1936, he was given command of the 12th Infantry Regiment. In Jul 1937, he led troops in the Second Battle of Shanghai. In Sep 1937, he was injured by a mortar barrage, which permanently damaged his right leg. In 1938, he was promoted to the rank of major general and was given command of the 26th Infantry Brigade. He was well liked by his staff officers and troops for he was always willing to quarter where the ordinary soldiers lived and always welcomed comments. In Aug 1940, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and was given the command of the 37th Division. Between 1941 and 1942, he was the chief of staff of the North China Area Army. On 9 Nov 1942, he was appointed the commanding officer of the newly formed 18th Army, en route to Rabaul, New Britain, Solomon Islands to take his command, the transport convoy was attacked by Allied aircraft, resulting in the loss of eight transport ships (containing much of his men from the 51st Division), but he arrived safely.
As his troops were isolated by Allied forces during the island hopping campaign, he instituted some policies to grow crops for food, but his men still suffered from disease and malnutrition terribly. When the war ended in Sep 1945, he surrendered the 13,000 men under his command to the Australian 6th Division at Wewak, New Guinea, symbolically surrendering his sword to Major General Horace Robertson after signing the instrument of surrender. Under the custody of Australians, he was charged for war crimes committed by men under his command, and he accepted the responsibility for the atrocities his men committed. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but in the morning of 10 Sep 1947, he committed ritual suicide with a rusty paring knife at Rabaul.