Hideki Tōjō (1884-1948) was the main military leader and Prime Minister of Japan from 1941 to 1944; he was executed for war crimes in 1948.
Commissioned into the army in 1905, he rose steadily in rank and acquired the nickname Kamisori (razor) for his sharp mind. Appointed head of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria, he participated in the 1937 invasion of China before being recalled to Japan the following year.
In 1940 he became Army Mnister and in October 1941 was appointed Prime Minister by Emperor Hirohito. As such, he bore responsibility for the attack on Pearl Harbor and the outbreak of the Pacific War. He resigned his positions and went into retirement in July 1944. Following the end of the war, as American troops moved in to arrest Tōjō, he made a failed attempt at suicide.
At the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, he was found guilty of waging unprovoked or aggressive war against China, the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands and France and for permitting the inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War and others. He was sentenced to death and executed by hanging on 23 December 1948.