Prime Minister 1939
Cabinet list Hiranuma cabinet
Tenure as Prime Minster: 238 days.
Born in Okayama

The son of a low-ranking samurai retainer of the Tsuyama domain (Okayama Prefecture), Hiranuma graduated in 1888 from Tokyo University with a degree in English law. He entered the Ministry of Justice after graduation. In 1909 he secured the convictions of 25 current and former members of the Diet for receiving bribes from the Japan Sugar Company. In 1915 he forced Oura Kanetake, home minister in the Okuma Shigenobu cabinet, to retire because of suspected bribery. Hiranuma's attacks on political party “venality” and “immorality” persisted. He objected to the “internationalist” tendencies of Japan's party governments, opposing liberalism, democracy, and socialism as “foreign ideologies.” Hiranuma served as justice minister from September 1923 to January 1924 and was then appointed to the Privy Council. In 1924 he created the Kokuhonsha, a nationalist society. He also promoted the development of Japan's “thought police” to combat the spread of liberal and left-wing ideas.
In April 1926 he became vice-president of the Privy Council, a position he held for the next 10 years. He led opposition to the Wakatsuki Reijiro cabinet's plan for rescuing the Bank of Taiwan in 1927, spearheaded opposition to ratification of the London Naval Conference Treaty in 1930, mobilized support for the occupation of Manchuria (1931) and the creation of Manchukuo, and directed from behind the scenes the prosecution of the Banchokai in the Teijin Incident of 1934. In 1936 Hiranuma became president of the Privy Council. In 1939 he became prime minister for eight months. Under his leadership the cabinet debated at length whether to form a military alliance with Nazi Germany in order to neutralize the Soviet Union. It was feared that Japan would be committed to supporting Germany against the Anglo-American powers as well. Upon the conclusion of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact in August 1939, the futility of the cabinet's European policy was exposed, and Hiranuma resigned. He was appointed to the Konoe Fumimaro cabinet in December 1940, but withdrew from the government with Konoe's resignation in October 1941.
He served during World War II as one of the jushin, unofficial senior advisers to the emperor. In April 1945 he was reappointed president of the Privy Council. After the war he was arrested as a class A war criminal by the Occupation authorities and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died a prisoner.



Hiranuma Kiichiro, 1867-1952

平沼騏一郎