Lieutenant-General Hisao Tani/谷寿夫 陸軍中将

Lieutenant-General Hisao Tani (December 23 , 1882 - April 26 , 1947) was born in Okayama, Japan in 1882. He graduated from the Japanese Army Academy in 1903, entering the artillery. At the rank of Sub-lieutenant, he saw action during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War with the 1st Guards Regiment. He graduated from the Army War College in Nov 1912. During WW1, between Apr 1915 and 1919, he served in Britain as a military attaché. Between Apr 1919 and 1927, he served as an instructor at the Army War College; his texts on the Russo-Japanese War was a required reading for students during this time. In Mar 1927, he was the commanding officer of 61st Regiment at the rank of colonel. In Aug 1928, he was made the chief of staff of 3rd Division. In May 1930, he was a military advisor to the Japanese delegation to the League of Nations. In Aug 1930, he was promoted to the rank of major general and was attached to the Army General Staff until 1932. In Aug 1932, he was made the Chairman of Military Investigation. In 1933, he was named the commanding officer of 2nd Guards Brigade. In 1934, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. In Aug 1934, he became the Commandant of the Tokyo Bay Naval Defense Command. In Dec 1935, he took command of the 6th Division. In this role, he first saw action in WW2 during the Beiping-Hankou Railway Operation. During the Second Battle of Shanghai, his troops landed at Hangzhou Bay in Nov 1937 to attack Chinese forces from the rear. During the Battle of Nanjing, 6th Division troops entered the Zhonghua Gate of the Chinese capital on 12 Dec 1937, participating in the escalation of Japanese brutality against Chinese civilians into the later named Rape of Nanjing. He returned to Japan in late Dec 1937. Between 1938 and 1939, he was the Commander-in-Chief of the Central Defense Army. In Aug 1939, he was relieved of all responsibilities in preparation for his retirement in the following month. He remained in reserve for the remainder of the war. In 1945, Lieutenant General Yoji Fujii of 59th Army was killed at Hiroshima, Japan by the atomic blast, and Tani was recalled to take over the 59th Army. After the war, he was arrested by the General Headquarters, the Allied occupation administration, in Feb 1946. In Aug 1946, he was extradited to China to stand trial for his role in the Rape of Nanjing. While in captivity in Shanghai, China, his subordinate Lieutenant Jiro Okada, his Korean aide Lee Jangmi, and brided Chinese official Bi Shangqing provided him a dose of non-lethal drugs to fake a suicide, but his subsequent attempt to escape from a hospital failed. While in captivity in Nanjing, another failed escape was made; Okada and Lee were killed by guards during the process. He was put on trial in Nanjing in Feb 1947. He initially denied that the Japanese troops of 6th Division did any wrong, blaming the atrocities on the ethnic Korean auxiliary troops. Although the trial process was criticized as rushed and poorly conducted, a reel of film showing him at a mass execute site in China ensured the guilty verdict which came down in Mar 1947. He attempted to appeal his death sentence, but the appeal was personally rejected by Chinese President Chiang Kaishek the day before the scheduled execution. He was executed by a firing squad at Mount Yuhuatai in Nanjing in Apr 1947. Early that morning, he clipped his fingernails and three strands of hair, placed them in a pouch made of his hankerchief to be brought back to Japan for burial, and wrote a poem.​

When the cherry blossoms bloom it is when I will die
Painfully parting with my wife who will lose her husband
Wishing as my body turns to mud China's hatred for Japan will cease.​


1925-03-18 Colonel
1930-08-01 Major-General
1934-08-01 Lieutenant-General


1922-11-24 – 1924-02-04 Attached to 6th Infantry Regiment
1924-02-04 – 1924-03-XX Instructor at the War College
1924-03-XX – 1927-03-05 Attached to the General Staff
1927-03-05 – 1928-05-10 Commanding Officer 6th Infantry Regiment
1928-05-10 – 1929-08-01 Chief of Staff, 3rd Depot Division
1929-08-01 – 1929-08-29 Chief of 9th Section (Military History), 4th Section, General Staff
1929-08-29 – 1930-03-06 Chief of 8th Section (Training), 4th Section, General Staff
1930-03-06 – 1930-08-01 Member of the Committee on an unified Air Force, General Staff
1930-08-01 – 1932-08-08 Attached to the General Staff
1932-08-08 – 1933-08-01 Chairman of Military Research Committee, Ministry of War
1933-08-01 – 1934-08-01 Commanding Officer 2nd Imperial Guards Brigade
1934-08-01 – 1935-06-20 Commandant of Tokyo Bay Fortress
1935-06-20 – 1935-12-01 General Officer Commanding 9th Depot Division
1935-12-02 – 1937-12-28 General Officer Commanding 6th Division [China]
1937-12-28 – 1939-08-01 Commander in Chief Central Defence Army
1939-08-01 – 1939-09-02 In reserve
1939-09-02 Retired
1945-08-12 Recalled
1945-08-12 – 1945-11-30 General Officer Commanding 59th Army
1945-08-12 – 1945-11-30 Commander in Chief Chugoku Army District
1947-04-22 Condemned to death and executed as war criminal

Lieutenant-General Hisao Tani 谷 寿夫 陸軍中将.jpg
Lieutenant-General  Hisao Tani 谷 寿夫 陸軍中将.jpg

Rare combination of awards.
British Royal Victorian Order and British Military Cross (in April 1915 he became a military attaché n London and since August 1917 served in the British army as military observer) + Romanian Commemorative Cross of the 1916–1918 War (awarded on July 24, 1930). He is also wearing breast star of Spanish Order of Military Merit (white decoration awarded for peace time merit).

Lieutenant-General Hisao Tani  谷 寿夫 陸軍中将 (2).jpg
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