Hideki Tōjō

Prime Minister of Japan and Minister of War executed in 1948
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Hideki Tōjō (December 30, 1884December 23, 1948) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, a nationalist thinker, and the 40th Prime Minister of Japan.



  • If one of you should detect any dissatisfaction or unsettled feeling within your (the governors’) jurisdiction, you should take immediate and concrete steps for the complete removal of these elements … Now the people of our nation must endure our little punk of an emperor and their inconveniences and overcome painful hardships in order to win this war.
  • The moment the first American soldier sets foot on the Japanese mainland, all prisoners of war will be shot.
    • Note signed by Tojo (June 1945), left at a camp during the Bataan Death March. Possible forgery since Tojo was no longer in power for over a year at the time of the discovery. Also, the Japanese homeland was not threatened with invasion at the time and it was common sense that the Philippines would be attacked before.
  • It is natural that I should bear entire responsibility for the war in general, and, needless to say, I am prepared to do so. Consequently, now that the war has been lost, it is presumably necessary that I be judged so that the circumstances of the time can be clarified and the future peace of the world be assured. Therefore, with respect to my trial, it is my intention to speak frankly, according to my recollection, even though when the vanquished stands before the victor, who has over him the power of life and death, he may be apt to toady and flatter. I mean to pay considerable attention to this in my actions, and say to the end that what is true is true and what is false is false. To shade one's words in flattery to the point of untruthfulness would falsify the trial and do incalculable harm to the nation, and great care must be taken to avoid this.
  • When reflecting upon it today, that the Pearl Harbor attack should have succeeded in achieving surprise seems a blessing from Heaven. It was clear that a great American fleet had been concentrated in Pearl Harbor, and we supposed that the state of alert would be very high.
    • Written in his prison diary
  • Despite Japan's desires and efforts, unfortunate differences in the ways that Japan, England, the United States, and China understood circumstances, together with misunderstandings of attitudes, made it impossible for the parties to agree. Up until the very end, these were important reasons for the outbreak of war, and from Japan's point of view, this is a matter of great regret.
    • Prison journal

Quotes about TōjōEdit

  • There was little public sympathy for Tōjō in Japan in the post-war period. His responsibility for the war, his oppressive regime, and his failure to commit suicide turned him into a notorious figure. Later revelations about his personal integrity, impeccable family life, devotion to duty, and loyalty to the emperor somewhat improved his image.
    • Professor Ben-Ami Shillony, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in The Oxford Companion to World War II (1995)
  • I had an uneasy feeling he might plead his own cause against indictment as a war criminal. There had been considerable outcry from some of the Allies, notably the Russians and the British, to include him in this category. Indeed, the initial list of those proposed by them was headed by the Emperor's name. Realizing the tragic consequences that would follow such an unjust action, I had stoutly resisted such efforts. When Washington seemed to be veering toward the British point of view, I had advised that I would need at least one million reinforcements should such action be taken. I believed that if the Emperor were indicted, and perhaps hanged, as a war criminal, military government would have to be instituted throughout all Japan, and guerrilla warfare would probably break out. He played a major role in the spiritual regeneration of Japan, and his loyal co-operation and influence had much to do with the success of the occupation.


  • Japan Forms Alliance With White Supremacists in Well-Thought-Out Scheme: From the East Asian Correspondent, Sept 1, 1939. — In a course of action praised by many as "far-sighted" and "tactically brilliant," the Japanese government has sworn its allegiance to the Axis powers led by white-supremacist Nazi Germany. In a formal statement, Japanese leaders declared, "We wish to be counted among the loyal allies of this back-stabbing, racist hate nation." Following the announcement, Japanese General and military leader Hideki Tojo told reporters, "We are pleased to enter into an alliance with the paranoid, xenophobic government of Nazi Germany. We anticipate a deeply enriching exchange of our military aid with their deep-seated hatred of our non-white heritage."

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