Oyama, Iwao


Oyama, Iwao
(1842–1916)
   A Japanese soldier and hero of the Meiji period, Oyama was born into a samurai family and served in the Boshin War of 1868–1969, which overthrew the Tokugawa Shōgunate, and also in the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877. In the interim he attended the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr in France and witnessed France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War; he also studied foreign languages in Geneva and achieved fluency in Russian. After promotion to major general, Oyama was a key figure in the establishment of the Imperial Japanese Army that routed the Satsuma rebels. He commanded the Second Army in the Sino-Japanese War and captured Port Arthur and the fortress of Weihaiwei. Oyama was promoted to the rank of field marshal and, as chief of general staff in 1904, appealed successfully to the emperor for permission to go to war against Russia. As commander of the Manchurian army in the Russo-Japanese War, Oyama inflicted defeats on the Russian army at Liaoyang, Shaho, and Mukden.
   Oyama was elevated to the rank of koshaku, roughly the equivalent of a duke, and subsequently served as war minister and as lord keeper of the Privy Seal. He was awarded the Order of the Golden Kite and the Order of the Chrysanthemum. In 1906, he was also given the newly established Order of Merit of the British Commonwealth by King George VII. The town of Oyama in British Columbia is named after him.
   See also <>; <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Beasley, W. G. Japanese Imperialism, 1894–1945. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987;
    Matsusaka, Yoshihisa Tak. The Making of Japanese Manchuria, 1904–1932. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2001;
    Myers, Ramon H., and Mark R. Peattie, eds. The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895–1945. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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