Kodama Gentaro

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Kodama Gentarô was a prominent military officer of the Meiji Period, serving as the fourth Governor-General of Taiwan, as well as Minister of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Imperial Japanese Army.

Originally born into the Tokuyama samurai family of Chôshû, Kodama served in Imperial forces in the Battle of Hakodate in 1868, and in suppressing the Saga Rebellion and Shinpûren Incident, two shizoku rebellions which took place in 1874-1876.

Kodama then went on to serve as commander of the 2nd Sakura Infantry Regiment from 1880 to 1885, based in Sakura, Chiba prefecture. While there, he was promoted from lieutenant colonel (中佐) to colonel (大佐). The home in which he lived at that time survives today on Kaburaki-kôji in Sakura, a small street which is also home to several Edo period samurai homes; Kodama's former residence is identified by wooden plaques, but unlike the samurai homes, it remains a private residence and is not open to the public.

In 1898, after serving as head of the Army War College and Vice Minister of War, Kodama was appointed Governor-General of Taiwan; a bronze statue of him was erected in Taipei sometime later by collaborator Gu Xianrong. He served as Minister of War, and Minister of Home Affairs around the same time.

Kodama played a prominent role for the Japanese military in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905, not only in determining strategy and commanding troops, but also in negotiations (with the Americans as intermediaries); he also played some role in spurring the Russian Revolution of 1905. He was named Army Chief of Staff in 1906, but died later that year.


  • Plaques at Kodama home in Sakura, Chiba.
  • "Kodama, Gentaro," Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures, National Diet Library, Japan, 2013.