Akiyama Yoshifuru (秋山好古)

Yoshifuru AKIYAMA (Feburary 9, 1859 - November 4, 1930) was a military man belonging to the Imperial Japanese Army of Japan. He was an Army General decorated with the Jyunii Kun-Itto (Junior Second Rank, First order of merit) Ko-Nikyu. His childhood name was Sinzaburo. And Saneyuki AKIYAMA who invented the Crossing the T tactic and wiped out the Baltic Fleet while he was serving as the senior staff officer in Nihonkai Kaisen (Naval battle of Japan sea) was Yoshifuru's younger brother.

The French military official who visited the army cavalry school praised Yoshifuru by claiming that "the sole purpose of Yoshifuru AKIYOSHI's life was to defeat the world strogest cavalry in Machuria;" thus, he came to be known as the father of the Japanese cavalry.

Chronological list of the main events

He was born as the third oldest son of Hisataka AKIYAMA, a member of the Iyo Matsuyama clan, and Sada in Matsuyama-jo Castle town in Iyo Province (presently known as Hokomachi, Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture). The AKIYAMA family belonged to a lower-ranking samurai (a social status of foot guards) one rank above the foot soldier and their hereditary stipend was about ten-goku. Yoshifuru entered Meikyokan school, a hanko (a domain school), and studied there while supporting his family. He was earning one Tenpo coin (equivalent to 100 sen) by working at a Sento (a public bath) drawing water, stoking a boiler, and managing Bandai (a platform for the attendant (often the owner) to collect fees or watch over the dressing rooms, placed near the entrance).

He took an entrance test for Osaka Kyoiku University.

He graduated from the school of Osaka teacher training. He worked at the fifty-eigth elementary school in Kitagawachi, Osaka Prefecture (Horimizo, Neyagawa City) and the primary school associated with the Nagoya school for teacher training.

He entered the Army War College (Japan) (the third class under the old system) and was assigned to a position in the Chindai (the Army organizational unit) located in Tokyo Prefecture after graduation.

He graduated from the Army War College. He was promoted to second lieutenant in the army cavalry.

He was promoted to first lieutenant in the army cavalry. He entered the Army College (the inaugural class).

He was promoted to captain in the army cavalry.

He traveled to France as an assistant for Sadakoto HISAMATSU who studied at École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr and tried to master cavarly tactics.

He was promoted to lieutenant commander in the army cavalry.

He was promoted to major captain in the army cavalry. He married Tamiko SAKUMA.

He served in the Sino-Japanese War.

He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the army cavalry.

He was promoted to colonel in the army cavalry.

During the Russo-Japanese War, he served as brigadier general of the first legion of the cavalry (the Japanese military) and fought against the Russian military as the member of the second string (the Japanese military) in Saka-kaisen (recounter), Kokkodai-Kaisen, and Hoten-Kaisen using his full knowledge in cavalry tactics. Furthermore, an acive role taken by the Naganuma Teishintai (National Defense Volunteer Party) which was sent from the Akiyama Unit to attack the Russian Empire Force from behind became a famous story decribed in "Tekichu Odan Sanbyakuri." Later, he came to be known as the "father of the Japanese cavalry."

He was promoted to lieutenant general in the army.

He served as the captain of the Imperial Guard..

He was promoted to army general in the army.

He became one of the top executives in the Army after being assigned as the army educational commissioner.

He transferred to the reserve as an officer (he was recommended to the general of the army; however, he declined).

He became the principal of Hokuyo middle school (presently known as Ehime prefectural Matsuyama Kita high school). This transfer of positions was extremely unusual (demotion) for a retired Army General; however, it was said that the transfer was Yoshifuru's strong wish.

He resigned as the principal. He died as a result of a cardiac infarction caused by diabetes at the army medical school in Tokyo. His age at death was 71 years old. He was burried at Uguisudani cemetary in Matsuyama City.

His personality

His nickname was "Hanashin" because of his characteristic nose, and his tall stature, white complexion and large eyes caused him to be mistakenly identified as a European by his instructor, Klemens Wilhelm Jacob MECKEL, while he was a student in the army college.

His stand-out beauty was praised by many people since he was young and admired by many women in his hometown of Matsuyama, and also in France where he studied. However, he did not flaunt his beauty because his was grounded in the belief that "a man should not be bothered by neither his beauty nor ugliness."

Hyakken UCHIDA, a writer, described AKIYOSHI as "a man with a mean face" when UCHIDA was an instructor at the military academy. He was a heavy drinker and carried around a water bottle filled with liquor. His own water bottle of liquor was not enough, so his soldiers filled their own water bottles with liquor for him. He suffered severe diabetes due to the excess drinking in his later years.

He extremely disliked to bath, so he bathed only twice during Russo-Japanese War. He wore the same, unwashed uniform that was infested with lice and emitted an awful odor throughout the war. When his subordinates asked him to take a bath, his excuse was "military soldiers had to be prepared every minute for the enemy in the battlefield," "soldiers could not be ready to fight if something happened during bathing," and "we did not come all way here to the battlefield to take a bath."

He tried to hide his accomplishments from the war in his later years. While a principal, he was asked to "tell stories of his experiences as a decorated general of the Russo-Japanese War" and to "show off his uniform"; however, he refused all requests and never bragged about his accomplishments.

The original writing of the inscription on the stone monument of the portrait bust of Hajime FUJITANI, a mayor of Gunchu Town located at the port of Iyo (the prot of Gunchu) in Iyo city, Ehime Prefecture, was written by AKIYOSHI.


Saneyuki AKIYAMA, his younger brother, was almost sent to a temple because of the family's struggle with poverty; however, Yoshifuru asked his parents, 'Do not send my brother to a temple, because one day I am going to earn money as thick as Tofu.'

He suffered from typhoid fever when he was studying in France. He refused to see a doctor and treated himself which might have caused him to lose all of his hair.

He disliked luxury and lived a very simple life. For example, Yoshifuru and Saneyuki used the same dish when Saneyuki lived off Yoshifuru. Yoshifuru did not allow Saneyuki to wear a tabi (split-toe socks). He did not allow Saneyuki to wear a crepe obi (a sash) given to them by their older brothers. He told Saneyuki to walk in bare feet if he had a time to waste fixing a strap of geta (a Japanese wooden sandal).

He was known as a person without desire. After returning home from war, his only possession was a briefcase that contained catalogues and bills because he gave his subordinates his salary and other possessions.

He attended the second world peace conference. While committee members were speaching at the conference, Yoshifuru fell asleep and snored loudly.
When he was warned by Keiroku TSUZUKI, Yoshifuru said 'I understood the point of each speech.'

While he was studying in France, Aritomo YAMAGATA, who was the highest ranking official in the army at the time, asked Yoshifuru to run errands to a high ranking military official in the French army. However, Yoshifune was so intoxicated that he fell asleep on the train and was robbed along the way.

His literary work

"Tactical theory for the Cavalry in Japan"