Created in 1893, the Navy General Staff took over operational (as opposed to administrative) authority over the Imperial Japanese Navy from the Navy Ministry. It was responsible for the planning and execution of national defense strategy. Through the Imperial General Headquarters it reported directly to the Emperor, not to the Prime Minister, Diet of Japan or even the Navy Ministry. It was always headed by an admiral on active duty, and was based in Tokyo.
"The ministry was responsible for the naval budget, ship construction, weapons procurement, personnel, relations with the Diet and the cabinet and broad matters of naval policy. The General Staff directed the operations of the fleet and the preparation of war plans".
After the Washington Naval Conference of 1921-22, where Japan agreed to keep the size of its fleet smaller than that of the United Kingdom and the United States, the Imperial Japanese Navy became divided into the mutually hostile Fleet Faction and Treaty Faction political cliques. The Navy Ministry tended to be pro-Treaty Faction and was anxious to maintain the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. However the Navy General Staff came to be dominated by the Fleet faction, and gradually gained ascendancy in the 1930s with increasing Japanese militarism.The Navy General Staff pushed through the attack on Pearl Harbor against the wishes of the more diplomatic Navy Ministry.
After 1937, both the Navy Minister and the Chief of the Navy General Staff were members of the Imperial General Headquarters.
With the defeat of the Empire of Japan in World War II, the Navy General Staff was abolished together with the Imperial Japanese Navy by the American occupation authorities in November 1945 and was not revived by the post-war Constitution of Japan.
The General Staff was organized as follows:
|No.||Chief of the General Staff||Took office||Left office||Time in office|
Baron It? Toshiyoshi
|8 March 1889||17 May 1889||70 days|
Baron Arichi Shinanoj?
|17 May 1889||17 June 1891||2 years, 31 days|
Viscount Inoue Yoshika
|17 June 1891||12 December 1892||1 year, 178 days|
Viscount Nakamuta Kuranosuke
|12 December 1892||18 July 1894||1 year, 218 days|
Count Kabayama Sukenori
|18 July 1894||11 May 1895||297 days|
Count It? Sukeyuki
|11 May 1895||20 December 1905||10 years, 223 days|
Marquis T?g? Heihachir?
|20 December 1905||1 December 1909||3 years, 346 days|
Baron Ijuin Gor?
|1 December 1909||22 April 1914||4 years, 142 days|
Baron Shimamura Hayao
|22 April 1914||1 December 1920||6 years, 223 days|
Baron Yamashita Gentar?
|1 December 1920||15 April 1925||4 years, 135 days|
Baron Kantar? Suzuki
|15 April 1925||22 January 1929||3 years, 282 days|
|22 January 1929||11 June 1930||1 year, 140 days|
|11 June 1930||2 February 1932||1 year, 236 days|
Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu
|2 February 1932||9 April 1941||9 years, 66 days|
|9 April 1941||21 February 1944||2 years, 318 days|
|21 February 1944||2 August 1944||163 days|
|2 August 1944||29 May 1945||300 days|
|29 May 1945||15 October 1945||139 days|