Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Hitoshi Imamura was a chief of Army General Staff operations section during 1931-32 and after that a liason to 9th Division in Shanghai Incident, fighting early 1932. He was made then for regimental commander, promoted to Major-General and made for brigade commander in 1935. He became a deputy chief-of-staff, Kwantung Army, Manchuria 1936 and a Commandant of Infantry School in 1937. Soon promoted to rank of Lt-General, Imamura was given a command of 5th Division in China and held that command in years 1938-40.
He was Inspector General of Military Education during 1940-1941. This was an extremely powerful position in the Army hierarchy because this office approved all officer postings, up to and including choice of Army Minister.
Imamura became a Commander 16th Army in November 1941, and led that Army in Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942 and personally landed on Java Island.
After that he assumed command of new 8th Area Army (responsible for 17th Army in Solomon Islands and 18th Army in New Guinea) in November 1942. He was promoted to full general in 1943. From Sep 1943 he was largely fighting a series of defensive campaigns, by orders from Tokyo, in attempt to delay the imminent American advances.
After the war, he was tried for war crimes and was imprisoned at Sugamo between 1946 and 1954.
Source: The Pacific Campaign, Wikipedia.
Hitoshi Imamura Timeline
|2 Dec 1942||General Hitoshi Imamura arrived in Rabaul, New Britain to take command of the Japanese South Pacific Area and the Seventeenth Army.|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939