Naval officer. Born in Kagoshima, the son of a samurai of the Kagoshima Clan. In 1889, he went to Germany to learn gunnery and other subjects. After returning home, he served in the Sino-Japanese War as captain of the cruiser Kongo. He captured Weihaiwei and Penghu Islands. In 1903 when the Combined Fleet was formed, he became commander-in-chief of the Third Fleet. During the Russo-Japanese War he engaged in the cleanup and patrol operations of the Lushun Fleet with the cruiser Itsukushima as his flagship. At the Battle of Tsushima, as a detached force, his fleet made a pincer attack on the Russian Baltic Fleet along with the main fleet led by Heihachiro Togo. After the war, he was made a danshaku (baron) and promoted to commander-in-chief of the First Fleet. In 1910 he became an admiral.