Katsura Tarō

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Prince Katsura Tarō (桂 太郎?, 4 January 1848 - 10 October 1913), was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, politician and three-time Prime Minister of Japan.


Early life

Katsura was born into a samurai family from Hagi, Chōshū domain (present day Yamaguchi Prefecture). As a youth, he joined the movement against the Tokugawa shogunate and participated in some of the major battles of the Boshin War that led to the Meiji Restoration.

Army career

The new Meiji government considered that Katsura displayed great talent, and sent him to Germany to study military science. He served as military attaché at the Japanese embassy in Germany from 1875-1878 and again from 1884-1885. On his return to Japan, he was promoted to major general. He served in several key army positions, and in 1886 was appointed Vice-Minister of War.

During the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) he commanded the IJA 3rd Division under his mentor, Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo. During the war, his division made a memorable march in the depth of winter from the north-east shore of the Yellow Sea to Haicheng, finally occupying Niuchwang, and effecting a junction with the IJA 2nd Army which had moved up the Liaotung peninsula.

After the war, he was elevated with the title of shishaku (viscount) under the kazoku peerage system. He was appointed 2nd Governor-General of Taiwan from 2 June 1896 to October 1896.

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