Higashikuni, Naruhiko

Higashikuni, Naruhiko, 1887–1990, Japanese military officer and political leader, b. Kyoto. A prince of the imperial family and an uncle of Hirohito, he received military training in Japan and France, becoming a career officer in the Japanese imperial army. When Japan went to war with China in 1937 (see Sino-Japanese War, Second) he was made head of military aviation; in 1939 he became a full general. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Higashikuni was made commander of home defense (1941–44). Appointed prime minister by Hirohito after the Japanese surrender in Aug., 1945, he resigned (Oct., 1945) because of a dispute with the U.S. occupation forces over the repeal of the Public Security Preservation Law of 1925. Higashikuni was the only member of the imperial family ever to head a cabinet. In 1947 he was stripped of his title and became a commoner.

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