Yonai, Mitsumasa

Yonai, Mitsumasa,

1880–1948, Japanese naval officer and political leader, b. Morioka. He attended the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy (grad. 1901) and the Naval War College, served in the Russo-Japanese WarRusso-Japanese War,
1904–5, imperialistic conflict that grew out of the rival designs of Russia and Japan on Manchuria and Korea. Russian failure to withdraw from Manchuria and Russian penetration into N Korea were countered by Japanese attempts to negotiate a division of
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, and was a naval attaché to Russia (1915–17 and Poland (1921–22). In 1928 he led a fleet in China and was promoted to vice admiral. Yonai commanded various fleets and naval districts (1932–36), then took command of the combined fleet and in 1937 was made a full admiral and navy minister. His efforts to promote peace with Great Britain and the United States made him the target of several assassination attempts. Appointed prime minister in Jan., 1940, with the backing of HirohitoHirohito
, 1901–89, emperor of Japan. He was made regent in 1921 and succeeded his father, Yoshihito (the Taishō emperor), in 1926. He married (1924) Princess Nagako Kuni (1903–2000); a son and heir, Prince Akihito, was born in 1933.
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, he was forced to resign in July of that year, largely due to the pro-Axis sympathies of the Japanese army. He continued to serve as navy minister while prime minister, and after the war oversaw the dissolution of the Japanese navy.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Yonai, Mitsumasa


Born 1880, in Iwate Prefecture; died 1948. Japanese admiral and statesman. Graduate of the Naval Academy.

Yonai was commander of the Japanese Navy in 1936, minister of the navy from 1937 to 1939, and prime minister from January to July 1940. He became deputy prime minister and minister of the navy in July 1944 and was minister of the navy from April to August 1945.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.