Shigenori Kuroda

Shigenori Kuroda (黒田 重徳, Kuroda Shigenori, October 25, 1887 – April 30, 1952) was a Japanese lieutenant general of the Japanese Imperial Army and the Japanese Governor-General of the Philippines during World War II.

Shigenori Kuroda
黒田 重徳
Japanese Military Governor of the Philippines
In office
May 28, 1943  September 26, 1944
MonarchEmperor Hirohito
Preceded byShizuichi Tanaka
Succeeded byTomoyuki Yamashita
Personal details
Born(1887-10-25)October 25, 1887
Yanagawa, Fukuoka, Japan
DiedApril 30, 1952(1952-04-30) (aged 64)
Tokyo, Japan
Military service
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Branch/service Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service1909–1945
Rank Lieutenant General
Battles/warsSecond Sino-Japanese War
World War II


Kuroda was born in Yanagawa, Fukuoka and graduated from the 21st class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1909 and the 29th class of the Army Staff College in 1916. His classmates included Tomoyuki Yamashita and Shizuichi Tanaka. From 1917 to 1918, he was with Japanese forces assigned to the Siberian intervention, during which time he was promoted to captain. In 1922, Kuroda served as military attaché in England and was promoted to major. From 1935-1937, he served as military attaché in British India. In 1937, he was promoted to major general and given command of the IJA 26th Division.

Battle of Wuyuan

Kuroda commanded the IJA 26th Division in the Battle of Wuyuan in the Second Sino-Japanese War. The battle, which was part of the Japanese counterattack in response to the Chinese 1939-40 Winter Offensive, resulted to a Chinese victory and Japanese retreat.[1][2] The Japanese call it 第2次後套作戦 (English:The second battle of Wuyuan). Despite the loss in the said battle, the Japanese had a strategic victory for making the Chinese fail their primary objectives.[3]

Pacific War

In 1941, with the start of the Pacific War, Kuroda was appointed Deputy Inspector General for Military Training,[4] which was then under General Otozō Yamada.[5] From July 1, 1942 to May 19, 1943, he was Chief of Staff of the Japanese Southern Expeditionary Army Group.[6]


Jose P. Laurel with Kuroda during the inaugural session of the Second Philippine Republic's National Assembly, October 14, 1943

From May 28, 1943 to September 26, 1944, Kuroda was made military governor of the Philippines, succeeding Shizuichi Tanaka in the said post. He later became the first Commander in Chief of the Japanese Fourteenth Area Army, which were the merged elements of the Japanese 14th Army, 35th Army and 41st Army, in the Philippines from July 28 to September 26, 1944.[7]

During his rule in the Philippines, a constitution was formed by the Preparatory Commission for Independence, consisting of 20 members from the KALIBAPI.[8] The Preparatory Commission, led by José P. Laurel,[9] presented its draft Constitution on September 4, 1943 and three days later, the KALIBAPI general assembly ratified the draft Constitution.

By September 20, 1943, the KALIBAPI's representative groups in the country's provinces and cities elected from among themselves fifty-four members of the Philippine National Assembly, the legislature of the country, with fifty-four governors and city mayors as ex officio members.[8]

Three days after establishing the National Assembly, the Second Philippine Republic's inaugural session was held at the pre-war Legislative Building and it elected by majority Benigno S. Aquino as its first Speaker and José P. Laurel as President of the Republic of the Philippines, who was inaugurated on October 14, 1943 at the foundation of the Republic.[8]

American return and postwar life

By early 1944, the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff anticipated the return of American forces to the Philippines.The weight for preparing against an American landing fell to Kuroda. Kuroda planned to concentrate the bulk of the Japanese forces in Luzon, but his plan was never considered by the Imperial Army General Staff. The staff instead devoted only five of his ten divisions in Luzon, which was said to have no experience in any of the past Japanese campaigns.[10] After being denied of his ideas for the defense of the Philippines, he was accused to have been lax in his duties and was replaced by Tomoyuki Yamashita, his former schoolmate in the Army War College, who was touted as a "superb and excellent tactician",[10] after the fall of his patron Hideki Tojo from power. Kuroda returned to Japan in disgrace in October 1944 and entered the reserves in December of the same year.

Masaharu Homma (left) and Shigenori Kuroda (center) in U.S custody

After the surrender of Japan, Kuroda was arrested by American occupation authorities in 1946 and held in Yokohama Prison. In October 1947, he was extradited to the Republic of the Philippines during the Manila Trials was and condemned to life imprisonment as a Class B war criminal due to command responsibility for the actions of his troops in the Philippines.[11] His lawyer at the time was Lieutenant Colonel Jose Lukban. He disguised Kuroda by putting a mole on his face, and removing that at the end of the trial to discredit the witnesses thrown at the Japanese general.[12] He was pardoned in 1952 by Philippine president Elpidio Quirino and repatriated to Japan, where he died the same year.

Kuroda's chief defense counsel was Pedro A. Serran, Col. USAFFE who was named the "Liberator of Zarraga, Iloilo in Panay Island". Ironically Col. Serran, as a commissioned officer and practicing Lawyer, fought the Japanese in combat as a Captain. Leading attacks against the Japanese garrisons and collecting intelligence for the US military's return. A professional lawyer believing in democracy and due process, he became the chief attorney who represented Kuroda in his defense. Col. Serran was anti-corruption and became a US citizen after the war, he died at age 86 in the San Francisco bay area.[13][14][15]

See also


  1. George Barry O'Toole, Jên-yü Tsʻai, ed. (1941). The China monthly, Volumes 3-5. The China monthly incorporated. Retrieved 2010-06-28.(Original from the University of Michigan)
  2. Aleksandr I͡Akovlevich Kali͡agin (1983). Along alien roads (illustrated ed.). East Asian Institute, Columbia University. p. 261; 294. ISBN 978-0-913418-03-1. Retrieved 2010-06-28.(Original from the University of Michigan)
  3. "(抗日战争)冬季攻势述评". Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-11-29. (article about the Winter Offensive)
  4. "Kuroda Shigenori". Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  5. Edgerton, Robert B. (1999). Warriors of the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Military. Westview Press. ISBN 978-0-8133-3600-8.
  6. "Southern Army". Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  7. "14. Area Army". Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  8. "Jose P". Angelfire. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
  9. "The Philippine Presidency Project". Manuel L. Quezon III, et al. Archived from the original on 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
  10. Cannon, M. Hamlin. "Leyte: The Return to the Philippines". Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  11. "Kuroda Shigenori, Lieutenant-General". Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  12. "JOSE G. LUKBAN". Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  13. Book was published by Cambridge University Press by Yuma Totani from the University of Hawaii on page 213 and other pages of "Justice in Asia and the Pacific Region 1945-1952 Allied War Crimes Prosecutions". The book stated that Kuroda was too ill and could not speak who wrote for 31 weeks of court trials. Kuroda's court trials were the longest trial out of the Japanese army leader trials, Honma and Yamashita lasted only 8 to 9 weeks before a verdict and other Japanese officers even shorter time verdict.
  14. Justice in Asia and the Pacific Region, 1945–1952 Allied War Crimes Prosecutions Yuma Totani, University of Hawaii, Hilo
  15. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. Online publication date: February 2015. Print publication year:2015 Online ISBN 9781316104118, DOI:
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