Katō Tomosaburō

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Katō Tomosaburō
加藤 友三郎
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
12 June 1922 – 24 August 1923
Preceded byTakahashi Korekiyo
Succeeded byUchida Kosai (Acting)
Minister of the Navy
In office
10 August 1915 – 15 May 1923
Preceded byYashiro Rokuro
Succeeded byTakeshi Takarabe
Personal details
Born(1861-02-22)22 February 1861
Hiroshima Domain, Aki Province, Japan
Died24 August 1923(1923-08-24) (aged 62)
Tokyo, Japan
Cause of deathColon cancer
Resting placeAoyama Cemetery, Tokyo
Political partyIndependent
SpouseKatō Kiyoko (1874–1940)
Alma materImperial Japanese Naval Academy
AwardsOrder of the Chrysanthemum (Grand Cordon)
Military service
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Branch/service Imperial Japanese Navy
Years of service1873–1923
Rank Marshal Admiral
CommandsTsukushi, Naval Affairs Bureau, Kure Naval District, 1st Fleet
Battles/warsFirst Sino-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
Battle of Tsushima

Marshal-Admiral Viscount Katō Tomosaburō (加藤 友三郎, 22 February 1861 – 24 August 1923[1]) was a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy, cabinet minister, and Prime Minister of Japan from 1922 to 1923.


Katō Tomosaburō wears a formal uniform

Born in Hiroshima, Aki Province (modern Hiroshima Prefecture) to a samurai family, Katō enrolled in the 7th class Imperial Japanese Naval Academy and graduated second out of a class of 30 cadets. He specialized in both naval artillery and in navigation.

Naval career[edit]

From left to right, Kijūrō Shidehara, Katō and Iesato Tokugawa on November 3, 1921, to attend the Washington Naval Conference.

After his commissioning as lieutenant, Katō served on the corvette Tsukuba in 1887, followed by the cruiser Takachiho. During the First Sino-Japanese War, he served in a combat position as gunnery officer on the cruiser Yoshino. After the end of the war, he served in numerous staff positions before promotion to commander. He was executive officer on the battleship Yashima, and captain of the Tsukushi. He was promoted to rear admiral on 1 September 1904.

During the Russo-Japanese War, Katō served as chief of staff to Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō on the battleship Mikasa, assisting in Japan's victory at the Battle of Tsushima. During this time, he suffered from a very weak stomach, and was vomiting as he issued orders throughout the battle, despite having taken large amounts of medication.

Katō became Vice Minister of the Navy in 1906, and was promoted to vice admiral on 28 August 1908. In 1909, he was appointed commander of the Kure Naval District, and in 1913 became Commander in Chief of the Combined Fleet.

Katō became Minister of the Navy in August 1915, days before his promotion to full admiral on 28 August 1915. He served in this post in the cabinets of Ōkuma Shigenobu, Terauchi Masatake, Hara Takashi, and Takahashi Korekiyo. Under Hara and Takahashi, Katō was Japan's chief commissioner plenipotentiary to the Washington Naval Conference, and worked with Ambassador Shidehara Kijurō in the negotiations that led to the Five-Power Treaty.

As Prime Minister[edit]

Following his return to Japan, Katō was appointed 21st Prime Minister of Japan in recognition of his performance at the Washington Naval Conference. His cabinet consisted mainly of bureaucrats and members of the House of Peers, which proved unpopular with the Imperial Japanese Army. During his tenure as prime minister, Katō implemented the provisions of the Washington Naval Agreement, withdrew Japanese forces from Shandong in China and ended Japanese participation in the Siberian Intervention. Katō succumbed to late-stage colon cancer and died a little over a year into his term.

Katō was given the honorary rank of Marshal Admiral the day before his death, and posthumously awarded the Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum and his title raised to shishaku (viscount).

His death came only a week before the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923, and therefore Japan was without a prime minister during that disaster.

Katō's grave is at Aoyama Cemetery, Tokyo.


From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia



  • Agawa, Hiroyuki (2000). The Reluctant Admiral: Yamamoto and the Imperial. Kodansha International. ISBN 978-4-7700-2539-5.
  • Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). Encyclopedia of Military Biography. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85043-569-3.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Nishida, Imperial Japanese Navy
Military offices
Fleet created 2nd Fleet

28 December 1903 - 12 January 1905
Succeeded by
Preceded by Combined Fleet & 1st Fleet

12 January 1905 - 20 December 1905
Combined Fleet
Fleet dissolved; post next held by:

Yamashita Gentarō
1st Fleet
Kōichi Fujii
Political offices
Preceded by Vice-Minister of the Navy
8 January 1906 – 1 December 1909
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by Kure Naval District

1 December 1909 - 1 December 1913
Succeeded by
Preceded by 1st Fleet

1 December 1913 – 10 August 1915
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of the Navy
8 October 1915 – 15 May 1923
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister
16 June 1922 – 24 August 1923
Succeeded by