38 Facts About Tomoyuki Yamashita


Tomoyuki Yamashita was a Japanese officer and convicted war criminal, who was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.


Tomoyuki Yamashita was assigned to defend the Philippines from the advancing Allied forces later in the war, and while unable to prevent the Allied advance, he was able to hold on to part of Luzon until after the formal Surrender of Japan in August 1945.


Tomoyuki Yamashita denied ordering those war crimes and denied having knowledge that they even occurred.


Conflicting evidence was presented during the trial concerning whether Tomoyuki Yamashita had implicitly affirmed commission of these crimes in his orders and whether he knew of the crimes being committed.


Tomoyuki Yamashita was the second son of a local doctor in Osugi, a village in what is part of Otoyo, Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku.


In November 1905, Tomoyuki Yamashita graduated from the 18th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy.


Tomoyuki Yamashita attended the 28th class of the Army War College, graduating sixth in his class in 1916.


Tomoyuki Yamashita became an expert on Germany, serving as assistant military attache at Bern and Berlin from 1919 to 1922.


Tomoyuki Yamashita twice served in the Military Affairs Bureau of the War Ministry responsible for the Ugaki Army Reduction Program, aimed at reforming the Japanese army by streamlining its organisation despite facing fierce opposition from factions within the Army.


In 1922, upon his return to Japan, Major Tomoyuki Yamashita served in the Imperial Headquarters and the Staff College, receiving promotion to lieutenant-colonel in August 1925.


In 1927 Tomoyuki Yamashita was posted to Vienna, Austria, as a military attache until 1930.


Tomoyuki Yamashita was then promoted to the rank of colonel.


Tomoyuki Yamashita was given command of the elite 3rd Imperial Infantry Regiment.


Tomoyuki Yamashita was eventually relegated to a post in Korea, being given command of a brigade.


Tomoyuki Yamashita insisted that Japan should end the conflict with China and keep peaceful relations with the United States and Great Britain, but he was ignored and subsequently assigned to an unimportant post in the Kwantung Army.


In December 1940 Tomoyuki Yamashita was sent on a six-month clandestine military mission to Germany and Italy, where he met with Adolf Hitler on 16 June 1941 in Berlin as well as Benito Mussolini.


Tomoyuki Yamashita remarked that only a "driving charge" would ensure victory in Malaya.


Tomoyuki Yamashita's troops had fought in China, where it was customary to conduct massacres to subdue the population.


Tomoyuki Yamashita later apologized to the few survivors of the 650 bayoneted or shot, and allegedly some soldiers caught looting in the aftermath of the slaughter executed.


On 17 July 1942, Tomoyuki Yamashita was reassigned from Singapore to far-away Manchukuo again, having been given a post in commanding the First Area Army, and was effectively sidelined for a major part of the Pacific War.


Tomoyuki Yamashita was promoted to full general in February 1943.


On 26 September 1944, when the war situation was critical for Japan, Tomoyuki Yamashita was rescued from his enforced exile in China by the new Japanese government after the downfall of Hideki Tojo and his cabinet, and he assumed the command of the Fourteenth Area Army to defend the occupied Philippines on 10 October.


Tomoyuki Yamashita commanded approximately 262,000 troops in three defensive groups; the largest, the Shobu Group, under his personal command numbered 152,000 troops, defended northern Luzon.


Tomoyuki Yamashita tried to rebuild his army but was forced to retreat from Manila to the Sierra Madre mountains of northern Luzon, as well as the Cordillera Central mountains.


Tomoyuki Yamashita ordered all troops, except those given the task of ensuring security, out of the city.


Tomoyuki Yamashita did not declare Manila an open city like General Douglas MacArthur had done so in December 1941 before its capture.


Tomoyuki Yamashita continued to use delaying tactics to maintain his army in Kiangan, until 2 September 1945, several weeks after the surrender of Japan.


Tomoyuki Yamashita surrendered in the presence of Generals Jonathan Wainwright and Arthur Percival, both of whom had been prisoners of war in Manchuria.


Tomoyuki Yamashita was held responsible for numerous war crimes that the prosecution claimed was a systematic campaign to torture and kill Filipino civilians and Allied POWs as shown in the Palawan Massacre of 139 US POWs, wanton executions of guerrillas, soldiers, and civilians without due process like the execution of Philippine Army general Vicente Lim, and the massacre of 25,000 civilians in Batangas Province.


The principal accusation against Tomoyuki Yamashita was that he had failed in his duty as commander of Japanese forces in the Philippines to prevent them from committing atrocities.


However, some firsthand evidence was presented that Tomoyuki Yamashita ordered or agreed with proposed orders that trials be foregone for suspected guerrillas and punishments handled directly by military tribunal officers following cursory investigations.


Tomoyuki Yamashita then appealed to the Supreme Court of the Philippines and the Supreme Court of the United States, both of which declined to review the verdict.


Evidence that Tomoyuki Yamashita did not have ultimate command responsibility over all military units in the Philippines was not admitted in court.


Former war crimes prosecutor Allan A Ryan has argued that by order of General MacArthur and five other generals, and the Supreme Court of the United States, Yamashita was executed for what his soldiers did without his approval or even prior knowledge.


On 23 February 1946, Tomoyuki Yamashita was hanged at Los Banos, Laguna Prison Camp, 30 miles south of Manila.


Tomoyuki Yamashita was later buried first at the Japanese cemetery near the Los Banos Prison Camp.


Tomoyuki Yamashita's remains were moved to Tama Reien Cemetery, Fuchu, Tokyo.


The US Supreme Court's 1946 Tomoyuki Yamashita decision set a precedent, called command responsibility or the Tomoyuki Yamashita standard, in that a commander can be held accountable before the law for the crimes committed by his troops even if he did not order them, didn't stand by to allow them, or possibly even know about them or have the means to stop them.