Chosu Clan

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The Chosu Clan, centered in the southwest corner of the Japanese main island of Honshu, which played a major role in Japanese military politics. Along with the Satsuma Clan, it gave only qualified loyalty in the Tokugawa Shogunate, dominated the military reformation under the Meiji Restoration, but became a minority faction in the military politics of the 1930s and 1930s. Its leading family was the Mori.

In the Edo Period, they differed with the shogun, and supported Emperor Komei, in wanting interaction with the world outside Japan. Before, during and afterwards, they also fought the Satsumas, yet had an uneasy alliance with them against the Tokugawa clan. For 250 years, a group of Chosu elders would ritually visit their leader on the first day of the year, and ask "Has the time begin to begin the subjugation of the Tokugawa?"[1]

During the Meiji Restoration, Chosus were the key allies of reforming general Aritomo Yamagata, himself the leader of the clan. Beginning in 1921, the Three Crows and their allies worked to decrease their power in the Army. They lost much influence in 1924, when the current clan leader, Giichi Tanaka, joined with some Constitutional Government Party (Seiyūkai) civilians to try to purge the growing Satsuma influence in the army. They were able to get an Army reorganization and to oust the Kiyoura Cabinet.

The Kato government referred to the Army reorganization as a routine economy measure, and focused on other policies. Separately, War Minister Kazushige Ugaki, in an ostensible demilitarization of the Army, managed to retain more Satsuma officers than had been promised.[2]

Later, they tended to be associated with the Strike-North Faction. While they dominated the Army, the opposing Satsumas still had significant influence in the Imperial Japanese Navy.


  1. Merion and Susie Harris (1991), Soldiers of the Sun: the Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army, Random House, p. 6
  2. David Bergamini (1971), Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, Morrow, pp. 340-341