Japanese Admiral Zengo Yoshida
|Native name||吉田 善吾|
February 14, 1885|
Saga Prefecture, Japan
|Died||November 14, 1966
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Service/branch||Imperial Japanese Navy|
|Years of service||1904-1945|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Other work||Navy Minister
Supreme War Council (Japan)
Yoshida was born into an impoverished farming family in Saga prefecture in 1885, and was adopted into the family of a local rice merchant. He was a graduate of the 32nd class of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy in 1904, ranking 12th out of 190 cadets. As a midshipman, he served on the submarine tender Karasaki, and the cruiser Kasuga. He was commissioned as an ensign too late for active service in the Russo-Japanese War.
As a lieutenant from 1909, he specialized in torpedo warfare, and graduated from the Naval Staff College in 1913. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in 1915, and commander in 1919, serving in a variety of administrative positions, primarily concerned with training. After his promotion to captain in 1923, he was given his first command in 1924; the cruiser Hirado. He served as chief of staff of the Maizuru Naval District from 1924-1925. In December 1927, he assumed command of the battleship Kongō, and from December 1928, battleship Mutsu.
Yoshida was promoted to rear admiral on 30 November 1929. He served in numerous staff positions until his promotion to vice admiral on 15 November 1934. Yoshida was commander-in-chief of the IJN 2nd Fleet from 1936–1937, and commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet from 1937-1939.
On 30 August 1939, Yoshida became Navy Minister under the cabinets of Prime Minister Abe Nobuyuki, Yonai Mitsumasa and Konoe Fumimaro. As Navy Minister, Yoshida was vehement in his opposition to signing of the Tripartite Pact between Japan, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. He also strongly opposed the idea of war against the United States. He was forced to resign due to illness, and the treaty went ahead despite his strong misgivings.
Yoshida was promoted to full admiral on 15 November 1940. After the start of World War II, Yoshida was assigned a combat command, and took control of the China Area Fleet from November 1942–December 1943. He then served as a member of the Supreme War Council until his retirement on 1 June 1945.
In popular culture
In the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!, Yoshida was portrayed by Japanese actor Junya Usami.
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|Commander of the Combined Fleet
Dec 1937 - Aug 1939
|Minister of the Navy
Aug 1939–Sep 1940