Dai Nippon Teikoku/Empire of Great Japan




Tokyo (from 1868)

Head of State

His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor Hirohito (from 1926)

Ruling Party

Taisei Yokusankai (from 1940)

Head of Government

Prince Konoe Fumimaro (1940-1956), Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko (1956-1960), Nobusuke Kishi (1960-1970), Mishima Yukio (from 1970)


Japanese political system transformed into modern single-party state in 1940 by Prime Minister Prince Konoe with inauguration of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. At the head of this system was, nominally the Emperor, but with real power in the hands of the Supreme War Council, consisting of the 'Big Six' cabinet positions (the Prime Minister, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, War and the Navy and the Army and Navy Chiefs of Staff), This Council balanced Civilian politicians with representatives of the Armed Forces and, usually, a member of the Imperial Family. By the end of the war, Japan was in control of a vast territory, stretching from Siberia in the north, to Uyghurstan in the west and to Tonkin in the south, unified as the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

Much of the former Soviet Union's eastern seaboard, the Maritime Province or Maritime Territory, was annexed directly to the Empire of Japan. In place of the great empires of Nationalist China and Soviet Russia, Japan was surrounded by weak pliant satellite states: Manchuria, Mongolia, East Turkistan, Tibet, Viet Nam (later extended to include virtually all of French Indochina, including Annam and Cambodia as the unified Empire of Indochina) and Tuva. Korea, Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands had already been annexed before the war. China and Russia, greatly diminished, and Thailand, greatly expanded, were also part of Japan's sphere. Japanese influence extended after the war over all of French Indochina by 1979, while British India and Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies were all threatened.

Prince Konoe was replaced as Prime Minister by Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni, a member of the Imperial family. The premiership then passed to Nobusuke Kishi. He was in turn ousted in 1970 by Yukio Mishima, an artist turned politician and protege of Hayashi Fusao.

Government Edit

Established after the Meiji Restoration, the Supreme War Council is effectively the inner cabinet of the government ofJapan. Originally consisting of the 'Big Six' cabinet positions, the Greater East Asia and Finance Ministries were later attached to the Supreme War Council.

For twenty years the Council was dominated by Prince Konoe, the founder and leader of the Taisei Yokusankai (the Imperial Rule Association, Japan's ruling party), and architect of the joint Axis war on the Soviet Union. He stacked his cabinets with supporters of a crusade against BolshevikRussia, ousting the influential General Tojo and his anti-American 'Strike South' faction. This proved especially important after relations between Japan and the European Axis Powers (GermanyandItaly) began to sour in the late 1940s, while relations between Japan and theUnited States of Americawarmed slightly. Konoe also worked toward transforming theGreater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphereinto more than a propaganda tool.

Nobusuke Kishi dominated the post-war political scene, until he was usurped in 1970 by Mishima Yukio. Mishima deepened the Imperial Restoration, inviting several members of the Imperial Family to join his cabinet. A less effective administrator than his predecessors, Mishima was forced to adopt a more consensual approach to governing, relying far more on his ministers and advisors.

Composition of the Supreme War Council Edit

  • Emperor: Hirohito, Emperor Showa (from 1926)
  • Prime Minister: Nobuyuki Abi (1939-1940), Mitsumasa Yonai (1940), Prince Konoe Fumimaro (1940-1956, architect of war against USSR), Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko (1956-1960, first member of Imperial Household to serve as premier), Nobusuke Kishi (1960-1970, known as 'Showa Era Monster'), Mishima Yukio (from 1970) 
  • Foreign Minister: Yosuke Matsuoka (1940-1946, aggressive expansionist, architect of Axis cooperation in invading USSR), Shigemetsu Mamoru (1946-1956, pan-Asiatic enthusiast), Nobusuke Kishi (1956-1960, later premier), Shintaro Abe (1960-1971, son-in-law of Nobusuke Kishi), Shintaro Ishihara (from 1971, Mishima ally)
  • Greater East Asia Minister: Kyoshi Akita (1940-1941), Tejiro Toyoda (1941-1942, opposed the war, last Colonial Minister), Shingori Togo (1942-1950, also known as Park Moo-Duk, first Great East Asia Minister), Shigemetsu Mamoru (1950-1952, held Great East Asian and Foreign portfolios concurrently), Shumei Okawa (1952-1956, pan-Asian enthusiast and scholar, former envoy to East Turkistan), Kazuo Aoki (1956-1970, former envoy to China), Satoshi Akao (from 1970, opposed the war and preached detente with the USA and autonomy for Korea)
  • Finance Minister: Kawada Yul (1940-1941), Okinori Kaya (1941-1952, enthusiast for anti-Communist crusade against USSR), Teiichi Suzuki (1952-1970, architect of war-time economic planning), Ryoichi Sasakawa (from 1970, architect of peaceful economic expansion and Japanese-Korean power-sharing)
  • War Minister: General Hideki Tojo (1940-1941, leader of Strike South faction), General Sadao Araki (1941-1964, leader of Strike North Faction), General Kenryo Sato (1964-1970), Prince Yasuhiko Asaka (1970-1981, member of Imperial Household and veteran of the China war), Yasuhiro Nakasone (from 1981)
  • Navy Minister: Admiral Zengo Yoshida (1939-1940, opposed Axis alliance), Admiral Okiwa Shiro (1940-1941), Admiral Shimada Shigetaro (1941-1970, Tojo ally, also Chief of Navy General Staff concurrent with Ministerial position), Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue (1970-1972, brother-in-law of former premier Nobuyuki Abe), Admiral Kosaku Aruga (from 1972)
  • Chief of the Army General Staff: Prince Kan'in Kotohito (1931-1940, member of Imperial Household), General Hajime Sugiyama (1940-1941, Tojo ally), General Shunroku Hata (1941-1962), General Hong Sa-ik (1962-1964, highest ranking Korean to serve in Japanese armed forces), Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda (from 1964)
  • Chief of the Navy General Staff: Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu (1932-1941, member of Imperial Household), Admiral Shigetori Shimada (1941-1944, Tojo ally), Admiral Koshiro Oikawa (1944-1956), Admiral Takazumi Oka (1956-1970), Prince Takamatsu Nobuhito (from 1970, member of Imperial Household)

Subdivisions of the Empire of Great JapanEdit

  • Kanto. Capital: Tokyo. Population: c.42,000,000. Capital region, eastern Honshu island.
  • Tohoku. Capital: Sendai. Population: c.9,000,000. Northern Honshu island.
  • Chubu. Capital: Nagoya. Population: c.21,000,000. East-Central Honshu island.
  • Kansai. Capital: Osaka. Population: c.22,000,000. West-Central Honshu island.
  • Chugoku. Capital: Hiroshima. Population: c.7,000,000. Western Honshu island.
  • Kyushu. Capital: Fukuoka. Population: c.14,000,000. Includes islands of Tsushima and Seishu (formerly claimed by Korea).
  • Hokkaido. Capital: Sapporo. Population: c.9,000,000. Includes the islands of Hokkaido and Sakhalin, the Chisima Islands, plus the annexed Maritime Territories of the former Soviet Russia (from Kamchatka to Urajio, the former Vladivostok).
  • Shikoku. Capital: Matsuyama. Population: c.4,000,000. Smallest and least populous of the major Home Islands.
  • Taiwan. Capital: Taihoku (Taipei). Population: c.30,000,000. Includes Taiwan itself, the Kingdom of the Ryukyu Islands, Hainan and surrounding islands and the Penghu Islands (the former Pescadores). Much of the territory of the Region was formerly claimed by China.
  • Korea. Capital: Keijo. Population: c.30,000,000. A semi-autonomous Kingdom within the Empire of Great Japan.