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Tatsumi Naofumi
Tatsumi Naofumi in his later years
Born (1845-08-21)August 21, 1845
Died March 6, 1907(1907-03-06) (aged 61)
Place of birth Kuwana, Japan
Place of death Tokyo, Japan
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Rank General
Commands held Shinsenryodan, Army War College, 8th Infantry Division
Battles/wars Boshin War
*Battle of Kaminarizuka
Satsuma Rebellion
First Sino-Japanese War
*Battle of Pyongyang
Russo-Japanese War
*Battle of Sandepu
*Battle of Mukden

Baron Tatsumi Naofumi (立見 尚文?, 21 August 1845 – 6 March 1907) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Meiji period.[1]

Early life

Also known as Tatsumi Kanzaburō (立見鑑三郎?) in his youth, Tatsumi was born in the Kuwana domain's (Ise Province, present-day Mie Prefecture) Edo residence, to Kuwana retainer Machida Dendayu, and was later adopted by his uncle, Tatsumi Johei. At age five, the young Tatsumi went to Kuwana with his adoptive father, and at age 8 entered the domain school, Rikkyokan, studying literature and martial arts, and receiving a commendation for academic excellence at age 15. Soon after, Matsudaira Sadaaki became daimyo of Kuwana, and Tatsumi became his page, with a 180 koku stipend. Together with Matsudaira Sadaaki, he left for Edo in 1861, where was permitted to attend the elite Shogunate school at Shoheiko, and where he was hailed as a prodigy.

Soldier in the Boshin War

When Matsudaira Sadaaki was appointed as Kyoto Shoshidai, Tatsumi followed him to Kyoto, where he served as a liaison with other domains. It was in this role that he met many of the men who would later become famous in the Meiji period, including Katsura Kogoro, Ōkubo Toshimichi, and Saigō Takamori. Before long, though, he was transferred back to Edo and entered the Tokugawa bakufu's French-trained infantry. His French military instructors were said to have remarked, "Tatsumi is a genius of a soldier." He later served in the Bakufu's 3rd Infantry Regiment.

During the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, he was in Edo. When Matsudaira Sadaaki returned, Tatsumi advocated continued military opposition to the Imperial army. He followed his lord, and the Kuwana retainers remaining in Edo, and to Echigo Province by sea, where they hoped to establish themselves in the former Shogunal territory of Kashiwazaki. Tatsumi organized the remaining Kuwana retainers into three units—the Raijintai, the Jinputai, and the Chinintai. Elections were held to determine the commanders of each unit, and Tatsumi became commander of the Raijintai, and his elder brother Machida Ronoshin became commander of the Jinputai. Through well-coordinated guerilla tactics, Tatsumi managed to fight his way to Kashiwazaki. Joining up with Matsudaira Sadaaki in Kashiwazaki, he continued to fight against the new government's army, first independently, and then in concert with the Nagaoka domain. However, when Nagaoka was defeated, the Kuwana forces went further north, to Aizu, the domain of Matsudaira Sadaaki's birth brother, Matsudaira Katamori. Tatsumi fought in the Aizu campaign, and led the Kuwana forces north on Matsudaira Sadaaki's orders, surrendering in the Shonai domain some time later.

Under the Meiji government

Following the end of the Boshin War, Tatsumi was placed in confinement, and changed his given name to Naofumi. Pardoned by the new government, Tatsumi joined the Imperial Japanese Army with the rank of major in June 1877. He served as chief-of-staff of the Shinsenryodan, a unit composed of former Kuwana retainers and members of the Shinsengumi, in the Satsuma Rebellion. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in February 1884 and to colonel in November 1887.

Promoted to major general in June 1894, he served in the First Sino-Japanese War, distinguished by his role in the 1894 Battle of Pyongyang.[1] He was promoted to lieutenant general in October 1898.

During the Russo-Japanese War, he was commander of the 8th Infantry Division. Two of the principal battles of his military career were at Sandepu and Mukden in 1905.[1] He was promoted to full general in May of the following year.

He later served as head of the Army War College and as head of Japanese forces in Taiwan. He was ennobled with the rank of danshaku (baron) under the kazoku peerage system in August 1895.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dupuy, Trevor N. et al. (1992). The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography, p. 732.


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