Osami Nagano file photo [897]

Osami Nagano

Given NameOsami
Born15 Jun 1880
Died5 Jan 1947


ww2dbaseOsami Nagano was born in 1880. As a naval officer, he established a strong record in administration. He studied in the United States during the 1910s and was naval attaché to the US between 1920 and 1923. In Dec 1935, he represented Japan as the chief delegate at the Second London Naval Conference. Between May 1936 and Jun 1937 he was the Navy Minister under Prime Minister Koki Hirota. In Dec 1937, he was named commander in chief of the First Fleet and the Combined Fleet. From Apr 1941 to Feb 1944, he was chief of the Navy General Staff. Although he was a proponent of a southward expansion, he was against a war against the United States; he deduced that if even Japan was to take over British and Dutch colonies in Asia, the isolationist United States still would not enter the war against Japan, leaving Japan to establish her empire without the interference from the industrial giant. However, like he had done so a number of times before, he entrusted too much of strategic planning to Isoroku Yamamoto and his staff officers, essentially giving away control of the entire navy to the Combined Fleet. Yamamoto, although not a supporter of a war against the United States either, dutifully accepted his orders and led the Japanese Navy into the great attack at Pearl Harbor that brought the US into war. Nagano essentially lost real control of the navy after Pearl Harbor; Yamamoto had, in effect, gone as far as to tell Nagano "not to interfere too much and thus set a bad precedent in the navy." From Feb 1944 to the end of the war, he was Emperor Showa's personal naval advisor.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, Nagano was among the highest ranked officers interrogated by United States naval officers. He was described as "thoroughly cooperative", "keenly alert", "intelligent", and "anxious to develop American friendship". He was subsequently tried as a war criminal, but died in 1947 before the trial ended.

ww2dbaseSources: Interrogation of Japanese Officials, Nihon Kaigun, Shattered Sword.

Last Major Revision: Feb 2007

Osami Nagano Interactive Map


Rear Admiral Osami Nagano at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier, Arlington, Virginia, United States, circa 1927; note Captain Isoroku Yamamoto at far rightNagano, Nimitz, and other officers of various countries at Admiral Heihachiro TogoPortrait of Osami Nagano, date unknownKondo at a luncheon at the Tokyo Naval Club on 6 May 1940, front 3rd (Nagano, front center)
See all 8 photographs of Osami Nagano

Osami Nagano Timeline

2 Feb 1937 Osami Nagano was named the commander-in-chief of the Japanese Navy Combined Fleet.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. John F. Smith says:
22 Aug 2021 08:28:50 AM

My father was part of the 92'nd evacuation hospital during WW2. When the war had ended, I understand he was in Nagano Japan to help set up a hospital to help the Japanese that had been so affected during the bombings of Nagano. I am presently writing a grant which will allow me the opportunity to visit the places my father was during the war. I would love it if someone could fill me in on this part of my dad's history and inform me of any relevant sites to this part of my dad's story. I want to learn about the people, the place, which will allow me to teach my own children and grandchildren about my father's turbulent WW2 history. I believe being at the places dad was will help me better understand his stories of that time. thanks anyone who can assist.

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More on Osami Nagano
Event(s) Participated:
» Third London Naval Conference
» Tokyo Trial and Other Trials Against Japan

» Interrogation Nav 80, Fleet Admiral Osami Nagano

Osami Nagano Photo Gallery
Rear Admiral Osami Nagano at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier, Arlington, Virginia, United States, circa 1927; note Captain Isoroku Yamamoto at far right
See all 8 photographs of Osami Nagano

Famous WW2 Quote
"I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944

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