Prince Kotohito Kanin was an adopted son of Emperor Komei, Chief of Staff and Inspector-General of Military Education of the Imperial Japanese Army, and a participant in many Army and Palalce intrigues.
He received his military training in France. In 1916, he led an effort to assassinate Chang Tso-Lin and occupy Manchuria. On Prince Hirohito's 1921 trip to Europe, he showed him the battlefields of the continent. He and his proteges Yoshiki Tatekawa and Kuniaki Koiso worked with the Three Crows and Eleven Reliables in recruiting agents for the Emperor.
He was Chief of Staff (Imperial Japanese Army), (23 Dec 1931 - 3 Oct 1940), during the conquest of Manchuria, and into the Second Sino-Japanese War. In 1935, In 1935, Kanin and Prince Higashikuni forced Jinzaburo Mazaki to resign as Inspector General of Military Education, over his criticism of Palace decisionmaking.
After leaving the Army in 1940, he was a key adviser to Emperor Hirohito and close adviser until his death in May 1945.
- David Bergamini (1971), Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, Morrow, p. 1091