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Naruhiko Higashikuni-no-miya Edit Profile


Naruhiko Higashikuni-no-miya was a showa period army general and military leader.


Naruhiko Higashikuni-no-miya was born on 3 December 1887 in Kyoto. He was a member of the imperial family, the ninth son of Imperial Prince Kuninomiya Asahiko. In 1906 he became the founder of a new family called Higashikuni-no-miya.


After graduating from the Military Academy and the Military Staff College, he spent the period from 1920 to 1927 in France. During this period, he studied at the French military academy and experienced a kind of freedom of life and movement such as he could never know in Japan.


After returning to Japan he served as a division commander and chief of the Army Aviation Headquarters. In 1938 he was sent to Nortli China as commander of the Second Army. In 1941, after the Konoe cabinet had resigned cn masse and relations between Japan and the United States had reached a critical stage, there was a movement to establish a cabinet headed by a member of the imperial family, and he was regarded as a likely candidate for the post of prime minister. These plans came to nothing, however, and he spent the war years as General Commander of Defense. When the war situation worsened, he aligned himself with the forces opposing Prime Minister Tojo and took part in moves to bring about peace.

In August of 1945, in an effort to guide the country through the confusion following upon the surrender, he replaced Suzuki Kantaro as prime minister, becoming the first, and so far the only member of the imperial family to hold that position. He formed a cabinet with Konoe Fumimaro as minister of state without portfolio and Ogata Taketora as chief secretary of the cabinet. He and his cabinet signed the instruments of surrender and carried out various measures demanded by the termination of the war such as the disbanding of the army and navy. But in October they received a blow to their effectiveness when the General Headquarters of the Occupation Forces ordered them to do away with the special police force and the laws pertaining to the maintenance of public order, and they resigned cn masse. Higashikuni was purged from public life, but was later depurged in 1952. In 1947 he removed himself from status in the imperial family, his surname thereby changing from Higashikuni-no-miya to Higashikuni.


His wife was the ninth daughter of Emperor Meiji.