Imperial Japanese Army

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Imperial Japanese Army
大日本帝國陸軍
Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg
The ensign of the Imperial Japanese Army
Active 1868–1945
Country  Empire of Japan
Allegiance Emperor of Japan
Type Army
Role Military ground force
Size 6,095,000 men at peak
Nickname(s) "IJA"
Engagements
Commanders
Ceremonial chief Emperor of Japan
Emperor Meiji
Emperor Taishō
Emperor Shōwa
Notable
commanders
Yamagata Aritomo
Ōyama Iwao
Prince Kan'in Kotohito
Hajime Sugiyama
Hideki Tojo
Yasuji Okamura
Shunroku Hata
Tadamichi Kuribayashi
Tomoyuki Yamashita
Masaharu Homma

The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA; 大日本帝國陸軍 Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun; "Army of the Greater Japanese Empire") was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of War, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ), an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of War, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, and the Inspector General of Military Training.

Origins (1868-1871)[edit]

In the mid-19th century, Japan had no unified national army and the country was made up of feudal domains (han) with the Tokugawa shogunate (bakufu) in overall control, which had ruled Japan since 1603. The bakufu army, although large force, was only one among others, and bakufu efforts to control the nation depended upon the cooperation of its vassals' armies.[1] The opening of the country after two centuries of seclusion led subsequently led to the Meiji Restoration and the Boshin War in 1868. The domains of Satsuma and Chōshū came to dominate the coalition against the shogunate.

Boshin war[edit]

Ukiyoe, depicting the retreat of shogunate forces in front of the Imperial Army (Kangun). Yodo Castle is shown in the background.

On 27 January 1868, tensions between shogunate and the imperial side came to a head when Tokugawa Yoshinobu marched on Kyoto, accompanied by a 15,000 strong force containing troops which had been trained by French military advisers. They were opposed by 5,000 troops from the Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa domains at the two road junctions of Toba and Fushimi just south of Kyoto, with the two forces clashing. On the second day, an Imperial banner was given to the defending troops and a relative of the Emperor, Ninnajinomiya Yoshiaki, was named nominal commander in chief in effect making the pro-imperial forces officially an Imperial army (官軍, kangun).[2] The bafuku forces eventually retreated to Osaka with the remaining forces ordered to retreat Edo, Yoshinobu and his closest advisors left for Edo by ship.[3] The encounter at Toba-Fushimi between the imperial and shogunate forces marked the beginning of the conflict. With the court in Kyoto firmly behind the Satsuma-Chōshū-Tosa coalition, other domains which were sympathetic to the cause such as Tottori (Inaba), Aki (Hiroshima) and Hizen (Saga) emerged to take a more active role in military operations.[4] Western domains that had either supported the shogunate or remained neutral also quickly announced their support of the restoration movement.[4]

The nascent Meiji state required a new military command for its operations against the shogunate during the conflict. Although, in 1868, the "Imperial Army" was just a loose amalgam of domain armies, the government created four military divisions: the Tōkaidō, Tōsandō, San'indō, and Hokurikudō, each of which was named for a major highway.[5] Overseeing these four armies was a new high command, the Eastern Expeditionary High Command (Tōsei daisō tokufu). The nominal head of the high command was prince Arisugawa-no-miya and the two senior staff officers were court nobles.[5] This connected the assembly of domain forces with the imperial court, which was the only national institution in a still unformed nation-state.[5] The army continually emphasized its link with the imperial court, firstly to legitimize its cause; secondly to brand enemies of the imperial government as enemies of the court and traitors and lastly to gain popular support.[6] For food, weapons and supplies for the campaign, the imperial government established logistical relay stations along the three major highways. These small depots stockpiled material supplied by local pro-government domains or those confiscated from the bakufu and those opposing the imperial government. Local villagers were routinely impressed as porters to move and deliver supplies between the depots and frontline units.[6]

Struggles to form a centralized army[edit]

Initially the units in the new army fought under makeshift arrangements with unclear channels of command and control and no reliable recruiting base.[6] Although fighting for the imperial cause, many of the units were loyal to their domains rather than the imperial court. In March 1869, the imperial government created various administrative offices including a military branch and in the following month organized an Imperial bodyguard of 400 to 500 which composed of Satsuma and Choshu troops strengthened by veterans of the encounter at Toba-Fushimi, yeoman and masterless samurai from various domains.[6] The imperial court also notified the domains to restrict the size of their local armies and to contribute to funding a national officers' training school in Kyoto.[6] However, within a few months the government disbanded both the military branch and the imperial bodyguard, the former was ineffective while the latter lacked modern weaponry and equipment. To replace them two new organizations were created one was the military affairs directorate which was composed of two bureaus, one for the army and one for the navy, while the directorate also drafted an army from troop contributions from each domain proportional to its respective annual rice production (koku). This conscript army (chōheigun) integrated samurai and commoners from various domains into its ranks.[6] As the war continued the military affairs directorate had expected to raise troops from the wealthier domains and in June the organization of the army was fixed, where each domain was required to send ten men for each 10,000 koku of rice that the domain produced. However, the policy put the imperial government in direct competition with the domains in recruiting, something which was not rectified until April 1868 when the government banned the domains from enlisting troops. Consequently the quota system never fully worked as intended and it was abolished the following year.[6]

Foundation of a national army (1871-1873)[edit]

Aritomo Yamagata, a field marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army and twice Prime Minister of Japan. He was one of the main architects of the military foundations of early modern Japan.

After the defeat of the Tokugawa shogunate and operations in Northeastern Honshu and Hokkaido a true national army did not exist, Many in the restoration coalition had recognized the need for centralized authority and although the imperial side was victorious against the bakufu, the early Meiji government was weak and the leaders had to maintain their standing with their domains whose military forces was essential for whatever the government needed to achieve.[7]

The military leaders of the restoration were divided over the army's future organization. Ōmura Masujirō who had sought a strong central government at the expense of the domains, advocated for the creation of a standing national army along European lines under the control of the government, the introduction of conscription for commoners and the abolition of the samurai class.[8] Ōkubo Toshimichi preferred a small volunteer force consisting of former samurai.[8][9] Ōmura views for modernizing Japan's military led to his assassination in 1869 and his ideas were largely implemented after his death by Yamagata Aritomo, Kido Takayoshi, and Yamada Akiyoshi.[10] Yamada Akiyoshi was the strongest leader out of the four and was mainly responsibly for establishing Japan's modern military using Ōmura's ideas, such as by establishing military academies and barracks. Yamagata Aritomo and Saigō Tsugumichi also had Ōmura's ideas in mind when passing legislation imposing universal military conscription in 1873. Yamagata Aritomo studied European techniques that could be adapted in Japan. As Ōmura had hoped for, the French military mission returned in 1872 to help equip and train the new army. Although Ōmura died before seeing the realization of many of his radical ideas, the lasting impression that he left on his followers led to his policies and ideas shaping the Meiji military years later.

Establishment of the Imperial guard[edit]

Nozu Michitsura, a field marshal in the early Imperial Japanese Army. He was appointed as chief of staff of the Imperial Guards Brigade in 1874.

In March 1871, the War Ministry announced the creation of an Imperial Guard (Goshinpei) of six thousand men,[11] consisting of nine infantry battalions, two artillery batteries and two cavalry squadrons.[12] The emperor donated 100,000 ryō to underwrite the new unit, which was subordinate to the court.[13] It was composed of members of the Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa domains, who had led the restoration. Satsuma provided four battalions of infantry and four artillery batteries; Chōshū provided three battalions of infantry; Tosa two battalions of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry, and two artillery batteries.[11] For the first time, the Meiji government was able to organize a large body of soldiers under a consistent rank and pay scheme with uniforms, which were loyal to the government rather than the domains.[11] The Imperial Guard's principal mission was to protect the throne by suppressing domestic samurai revolts, peasant uprisings and anti-government demonstrations.[14] The possession of this military force was a factor in the government's abolition of the han system.

Conscription[edit]

The conscription law enacted in 1873, made universal military service compulsory for all male subjects in the country. The law called for a total of seven years of military service: three years in the regular army (jōbigun), two years in the reserve (dai'ichi kōbigun), and an additional two years in the second reserve (daini kōbigun).[15] All able-bodied males between the ages of 17 and 40 were considered members of the national guard (kokumingun), which would only see service in a severe national crisis, such as an attack or invasion of Japan. The conscription examination decided which group recruits would enter the army, those who failed the exam were excused from all examination except the national guard. Recruits who passed entered the draft lottery, where some were selected for active duty. A smaller group would be selected for replacement duty (hojū-eki) should anything happen to any of the active duty soldiers, the rest were dismissed.[15] One of the primary differences between the samurai and the peasant class was the right to bear arms; this ancient privilege was suddenly extended to every male in the nation.[16]

By 1873, the central government had 12,000 soldiers, drawn from only four domains. That is, the newly formed army was basically a collection of warriors, most of whom were loyal to their former lords. This conscription program slowly built up the numbers. Public unrest began in 1874, reaching the apex in the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, which used the slogans, "oppose conscription", "oppose elementary schools", and "fight Korea". It took a year for the new army to crush the uprising, but the victories proved critical in creating and stabilizing the Imperial government and to realize sweeping social, economic and political reforms that enable Japan to become a modern state in comparison to France, Germany and the other European powers. From 1878 to the outbreak of war with China in 1894, the central mission of Ōmura and his team was to professionalize the Army, following the European models.[17]

History (1873-1945)[edit]

Foreign assistance[edit]

The early Imperial Japanese Army was developed with the assistance of advisors from France,[18] through the second French military mission to Japan (1872–80), and the third French military mission to Japan (1884–89). However, after France's defeat in 1871 the Japanese government switched to the victorious Germans as a model. From 1886 to April 1890, it hired German military advisors (Major Jakob Meckel, replaced in 1888 by von Wildenbrück and Captain von Blankenbourg) to assist in the training of the Japanese General Staff. In 1878, the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office, based on the German General Staff, was established directly under the Emperor and was given broad powers for military planning and strategy.

Other known foreign military consultants were Major Pompeo Grillo from the Kingdom of Italy, who worked at the Osaka foundry from 1884 to 1888, followed by Major Quaratezi from 1889 to 1890; and Captain Schermbeck from the Netherlands, who worked on improving coastal defenses from 1883 to 1886. Japan did not use foreign military advisors between 1890 and 1918, until the French military mission to Japan (1918–19), headed by Commandant Jacques-Paul Faure, was requested to assist in the development of the Japanese air services.[19]

Taiwan Expedition[edit]

Japanese artillery unit, at the Koishikawa arsenal, Tokyo, in 1882. Photographed by Hugues Krafft.

The Japanese invasion of Taiwan under Qing rule in 1874 was a punitive expedition by Japanese military forces in response to the Mudan Incident of December 1871. The Paiwan people, who are indigenous peoples of Taiwan, murdered 54 crewmembers of a wrecked merchant vessel from the Ryukyu Kingdom on the southwestern tip of Taiwan. 12 men were rescued by the local Chinese-speaking community and were transferred to Miyako-jima in the Ryukyu Islands. The Empire of Japan used this as an excuse to both assert sovereignty over the Ryukyu Kingdom, which was a tributary state of both Japan and Qing China at the time, and to attempt the same with Taiwan, a Qing territory. It marked the first overseas deployment of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy.[20]

An Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors of 1882 called for unquestioning loyalty to the Emperor by the new armed forces and asserted that commands from superior officers were equivalent to commands from the Emperor himself. Thenceforth, the military existed in an intimate and privileged relationship with the imperial institution.

Top-ranking military leaders were given direct access to the Emperor and the authority to transmit his pronouncements directly to the troops. The sympathetic relationship between conscripts and officers, particularly junior officers who were drawn mostly from the peasantry, tended to draw the military closer to the people. In time, most people came to look more for guidance in national matters more to military than to political leaders.

Nogi Maresuke, a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and the third governor of Taiwan.

By the 1890s, the Imperial Japanese Army had grown to become the most modern army in Asia: well-trained, well-equipped, and with good morale. However, it was basically an infantry force deficient in cavalry and artillery when compared with its European contemporaries. Artillery pieces, which were purchased from America and a variety of European nations, presented two problems: they were scarce, and the relatively small number that were available were of several different calibers, causing problems with ammunition supply.

First Sino-Japanese War[edit]

The First Sino-Japanese War (1 August 1894 – 17 April 1895) was a war fought between Qing China and Meiji Japan over control of the Kingdom of Korea, which had been under de facto Japanese control since the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876. The Sino-Japanese War would come to symbolize the weakness of the military of the Qing dynasty, with the Japanese securing victory after victory over the Qing forces. This was the result by Japan's 120,000-strong western-style conscript army of two armies and five divisions, which was well-equipped and well-trained when compared with their Qing counterparts. The Treaty of Shimonoseki made the Qing defeat official, with a resulting shift in regional dominance in Asia from China to Japan, and dealing a fatal blow to the power and prestige of the Qing Dynasty.

Boxer Rebellion[edit]

Soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army in 1900

In 1899–1900, Boxer attacks against foreigners in China intensified eventually resulting in the siege of the diplomatic legations in Beijing. An international force consisting of British, French, Russian, German, Italian, Austro-Hungarian, American, and Japanese troops was assembled to relieve the legations. The Japanese provided the largest contingent of troops, 20,840, as well as 18 warships. Of the total number, 20,300 were Imperial Japanese Army troops of the 5th Infantry Division under Lt. General Yamaguchi Motoomi; the remainder were 540 naval rikusentai from the Imperial Japanese Navy. The rebels used traditional Chinese martial arts, as opposed to modern military weapons and tactics. This led to them being called "Boxers" by Westerners, as that is how they perceived martial arts at the time. While she officially condemned the movement, the Boxers had the unofficial support of the Empress Dowager Cixi. In the end, the Boxer leaders were captured and executed, and the Empress Dowager was forced to flee the palace as the foreign armies entered the Forbidden City.

Russo-Japanese War[edit]

Japanese riflemen in the Russo-Japanese War
Kodama Gentarō, a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, and government minister during Meiji-period Japan. He was instrumental in establishing the modern Imperial Japanese military.

The Russo–Japanese War (1904–1905) was the result of tensions between Russia and Japan, grown largely out of rival imperialist ambitions toward Manchuria and Korea. The Japanese army inflicted severe losses against the Russians; however, they were not able to deal a decisive blow to the Russian armies. Over-reliance on infantry led to large casualties among Japanese forces, especially during the siege of Port Arthur.[citation needed]

World War I[edit]

The Empire of Japan entered the war on the Entente side. Although tentative plans were made to send an expeditionary force of between 100,000 and 500,000 men to France,[21] ultimately the only action in which the Imperial Japanese Army was involved was the careful and well executed attack on the German concession of Qingdao in 1914.[22]

Inter-war years[edit]

During 1917–18, Japan continued to extend its influence and privileges in China via the Nishihara Loans. During the Siberian Intervention, following the collapse of the Russian Empire after the Bolshevik Revolution, the Imperial Japanese Army initially planned to send more than 70,000 troops to occupy Siberia as far west as Lake Baikal. The army general staff came to view the Tsarist collapse as an opportunity to free Japan from any future threat from Russia by detaching Siberia and forming an independent buffer state.[23] The plan was scaled back considerably due to opposition from the United States.

In July 1918, the U.S. President, Woodrow Wilson, asked the Japanese government to supply 7,000 troops as part of an international coalition of 24,000 troops to support the American Expeditionary Force Siberia.[24] After a heated debate in the Diet, the government of Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake agreed to send 12,000 troops, but under the command of Japan, rather than as part of an international coalition. Japan and the United States sent forces to Siberia to bolster the armies of the White movement leader Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak against the Bolshevik Red Army.

Once the political decision had been reached, the Imperial Japanese Army took over full control under Chief of Staff General Yui Mitsue; and by November 1918, more than 70,000[24] Japanese troops had occupied all ports and major towns in the Russian Maritime Provinces and eastern Siberia.

In June 1920, the United States and its allied coalition partners withdrew from Vladivostok, after the capture and execution of the White Army leader, Admiral Kolchak, by the Red Army. However, the Japanese decided to stay, primarily due to fears of the spread of communism so close to Japan and Japanese-controlled Korea and Manchuria. The Japanese Army provided military support to the Japanese-backed Provisional Priamurye Government, based in Vladivostok, against the Moscow-backed Far Eastern Republic.

The continued Japanese presence concerned the United States, which suspected that Japan had territorial designs on Siberia and the Russian Far East. Subjected to intense diplomatic pressure by the United States and Great Britain, and facing increasing domestic opposition due to the economic and human cost, the administration of Prime Minister Katō Tomosaburō withdrew the Japanese forces in October 1922.[25]

Rise of militarism in Shōwa era[edit]

In the 1920s the Imperial Japanese Army expanded rapidly and by 1927 had a force of 300,000 men. Unlike western countries, the Army enjoyed a great deal of independence from government. Under the provisions of the Meiji Constitution, the War Minister was held accountable only to the Emperor (Hirohito) himself, and not to the elected civilian government. In fact, Japanese civilian administrations needed the support of the Army in order to survive. The Army controlled the appointment of the War Minister, and in 1936 a law was passed that stipulated that only an active duty general or lieutenant-general could hold the post.[26] As a result, military spending as a proportion of the national budget rose disproportionately in the 1920s and 1930s, and various factions within the military exerted disproportionate influence on Japanese foreign policy.

The Imperial Japanese Army was originally known simply as the Army (rikugun) but after 1928, as part of the Army's turn toward romantic nationalism and also in the service of its political ambitions, it retitled itself the Imperial Army (kōgun).

Conflict with China[edit]

In 1931, the Imperial Japanese Army had an overall strength of 198,880 officers and men, organized into 17 divisions.[27] The Manchurian incident, as it became known in Japan, was a pretended sabotage of a local Japanese-owned railway, an attack staged by Japan but blamed on Chinese dissidents. Action by the military, largely independent of the civilian leadership, led to the invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and, later, to the Second Sino-Japanese War, in 1937. As war approached, the Imperial Army's influence with the Emperor waned and the influence of the Imperial Japanese Navy increased.[28] Nevertheless, by 1938 the Army had been expanded to 34 divisions.[29]

Conflict with the Soviet Union[edit]

From 1932–1945 the Empire of Japan and the Soviet Union had a series of conflicts. Japan had set its military sights on Soviet territory as a result of the Hokushin-ron doctrine, and the Japanese establishment of a puppet state in Manchuria brought the two countries into conflict. The war lasted on and off with the last battles of the 1930s (the Battle of Lake Khasan and the Battles of Khalkhin Gol) ending in a decisive victory for the Soviets. The conflicts stopped with the signing of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact on April 13, 1941.[30] However, later, at the Yalta Conference, Stalin agreed to declare war on Japan; and on August 5, 1945, the Soviet Union voided their neutrality agreement with Japan.[31]

World War II[edit]

In 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army had 51 divisions[29] and various special-purpose artillery, cavalry, anti-aircraft, and armored units with a total of 1,700,000 men. At the beginning of the Second World War, most of the Japanese Army (27 divisions) was stationed in China. A further 13 divisions defended the Mongolian border, due to concerns about a possible attack by the Soviet Union.[29] From 1942, soldiers were sent to Hong Kong (23rd Army), the Philippines (14th Army), Thailand (15th Army), Burma (15th Army), Dutch East Indies (16th Army), and Malaya (25th Army).[32] By 1945, there were 5.5 million men in the Imperial Japanese Army.

From 1943, Japanese troops suffered from a shortage of supplies, especially food, medicine, munitions, and armaments, largely due to submarine interdiction of supplies, and losses to Japanese shipping, which was worsened by a longstanding rivalry with the Imperial Japanese Navy. The lack of supplies caused large numbers of fighter aircraft to become unserviceable for lack of spare parts,[33] and "as many as two-thirds of Japan's total military deaths [to result] from illness or starvation".[34]

Fanaticism and war crimes[edit]

Throughout the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army had gained a reputation both for its fanaticism and for its brutality against prisoners of war and civilians alike – with the Nanking Massacre being the most well known example.[35] After Japan surrendered in the summer of 1945, many Imperial Japanese Army officers and enlisted men were tried and punished for committing numerous atrocities and war crimes. In 1949, the trials ceased, with a total of 5,700 cases having been heard.[36]

Major General Tomitarō Horii did issue a "Guide to Soldiers in the South Seas", in late 1941, which ordered troops not to loot or kill civilians. This order was intended to prevent a repeat of atrocities that the Army committed in China; however, the order only affected men under his command.[37]

Several reasons are given for the especially brutal and merciless behavior exhibited by many members of the IJA towards their adversaries or non-Japanese civilians. One is probably the brutal behavior that they themselves experienced. The IJA was known for its extremely harsh treatment of enlisted soldiers from the start of training,[38] including beatings, unnecessarily strenuous duty tasks, lack of adequate food, and other violent or harsh disciplinary tactics. This was contrary to the Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors of 1882, which instructed officers to treat subordinates respectfully.[39] Not until 1943 did the senior command realize this brutality had an effect on morale and ordered an end to it, an order which was routinely circumvented or ignored in the field.[40]

During the Pacific War, the Imperial Army's reputation for refusing to surrender was established by the few Japanese survivors of numerous battles throughout the Pacific campaign: 921 captured out of a garrison strength of 31,000 in the Battle of Saipan, 17 out of 3000 in the Battle of Tarawa, 7,400–10,755 out of 117,000 in the Battle of Okinawa, with a high number of battlefield suicides sanctioned by the Imperial Army. The spirit of gyokusai ("glorious death") saw commanders order suicidal attacks with bayonets, when supplies of hand grenades and ammunition were still available.[41] In the South West Pacific Area (SWPA), just over 1,000 surrendered in each of 1942 and 1943, around 5,100 in 1944, and over 12,000 in 1945,[42] and might have been greater except for disease.[43] Propaganda through leaflet drops by the Americans accounted for about 20% of surrenders,[44] equating to about one POW for every 6,000 leaflets dropped;[45] while the Japanese objected to the "unscrupulous" leaflets,[46] which contained some truth with regard to the willingness of American forces to accept surrenders from the Japanese.[47] This was in contrast to Imperial Japanese Army's practice of depicting American troops as cruel and merciless, referring to them as 鬼畜米英 (Kichiku Beiei, "Demonic Beast American and English") and informing their own troops that Americans would rape all captured women and torture the men, leading directly to brutal Japanese treatment of POWs in incidents such as the Bataan Death March and the mass suicide of Japanese soldiers and civilians during the battles of Saipan and Okinawa.

Imperial General Headquarters and the power of the Emperor in the Shōwa era[edit]

During the first part of the Shōwa era, according to the Meiji Constitution, the Emperor had the "supreme command of the Army and the Navy" (Article 11). Hirohito was thus legally supreme commander of the Imperial General Headquarters, founded in 1937 and wherein the military decisions were made.

Primary sources such as the "Sugiyama memo", and the diaries of Fumimaro Konoe and Kōichi Kido, describe in detail the many informal meetings the Emperor had with his chiefs of staff and ministers. These documents show the Emperor was kept informed of all military operations and frequently questioned his senior staff and asked for changes.

According to historians Yoshiaki Yoshimi and Seiya Matsuno, Hirohito authorized, by specific orders transmitted by the Chief of staff of the Army such as Prince Kan'in or Hajime Sugiyama, the use of chemical weapons against Chinese civilians and soldiers. For example, Hirohito authorized the use of toxic gas on 375 separate occasions during the invasion of Wuhan in 1938.[48] Such weapons were also authorized during the invasion of Changde.

According to historians Akira Fujiwara and Akira Yamada, Hirohito even intervened in planning some military operations. For example, Hirohito pressed Field Marshal Hajime Sugiyama, four times during January and February 1942, to increase troop strength and launch an attack on Bataan.[49] In August 1943, he scolded Sugiyama for being unable to stop the American advance on the Solomon Islands and asked the general to consider other places to attack.[50]

Only in rare moments of special importance were decisions made in Imperial council. The Imperial government used this special institution to sanction the invasion of China, the Greater East Asia War, and Japan's surrender. In 1945, executing a decision approved in Imperial council, Emperor Shōwa, as commander-in-chief, ordered, for the only time directly via recorded radio broadcast to all of Japan, the surrender to United States forces.

Post World War II[edit]

Ground Self Defense Force[edit]

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution renounced the right to use force as a means of resolving disputes.[51] This was enacted by the Japanese in order to prevent militarism, which had led to conflict. However, in 1947 the Public Security Force was formed; later in 1954, in the early stages of the Cold War, the Public Security Force formed the basis of the newly created Ground Self Defense Force.[52] Although significantly smaller than the former Imperial Japanese Army and nominally for defensive purposes only, this force constitutes the modern army of Japan.

Continued resistance[edit]

Separately, some soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army continued to fight on isolated Pacific islands until at least the 1970s, with the last known Japanese soldier surrendering in 1974. Intelligence officer Hiroo Onoda, who surrendered on Lubang Island in the Philippines in March 1974, and Teruo Nakamura, who surrendered on the Indonesian island of Morotai in December 1974, appear to have been the last holdouts.[53][54][55][56][55][56]

Growth and organization of the IJA[edit]

Disposition of Japanese Army Ground Forces in Japan at the time of capitulation, 18 August 1945.
  • 1870: consisted of 12,000 men.
  • 1873: Seven divisions of c. 36,000 men (c. 46,250 including reserves)
  • 1885: consisted of seven divisions including the Imperial Guard Division.
  • In the early 1900s, the IJA consisted of 12 divisions, the Imperial Guard Division, and numerous other units. These contained the following:
    • 380,000 active duty and 1st Reserve personnel: former Class A and B(1) conscripts after two-year active tour with 17 and 1/2 year commitment
    • 50,000 Second line Reserve: Same as above but former Class B(2) conscripts
    • 220,000 National Army
      • 1st National Army: 37- to 40-year-old men from end of 1st Reserve to 40 years old.
      • 2nd National Army: untrained 20-year-olds and over-40-year-old trained reserves.
    • 4,250,000 men available for service and mobilization.
  • 1922: 21 divisions and 308,000 men
  • 1924: Post-WWI reductions to 16 divisions and 250,800 men
  • 1925: Reduction to 12 divisions
  • 1934: army increased to 17 divisions
  • 1936: 250,000 active.
  • 1940: 376,000 active with 2 million reserves in 31 divisions
    • 2 divisions in Japan (Imperial Guard plus one other)
    • 2 divisions in Korea
    • 27 divisions in China and Manchuria
  • In late 1941: 460,000 active in 41 divisions
    • 2 divisions in Japan and Korea
    • 12 divisions in Manchuria
    • 27 divisions in China
    • plus 59 brigade equivalents.
      • Independent brigades, Independent Mixed Brigades, Cavalry Brigades, Amphibious Brigades, Independent Mixed regiments, Independent Regiments.
  • 1945: 5 million active in 145 divisions (includes three Imperial Guard), plus numerous individual units, with a large Volunteer Fighting Corps.
    • includes 650,000 Imperial Japanese Army Air Service.
    • Japan Defense Army in 1945 had 55 divisions (53 Infantry and two armor and 32 brigades (25 infantry and seven armor) with 2.35 million men.
    • 2,25 million Army Labour Troops
    • 1.3 million Navy Labour Troops
    • 250,000 Special Garrison Force
    • 20,000 Kempetai[57]

Total military in August 1945 was 6,095,000 including 676,863 Army Air Service. [58]

Casualties[edit]

Over the course of the Imperial Japanese Army's existence, millions of its soldiers were either killed, wounded or listed as missing in action.

  • Taiwan Expedition of 1874: 543 (12 killed in battle and 531 by disease)
  • First Sino-Japanese War: The IJA suffered 1,132 dead and 3,758 wounded
  • Russo-Japanese War: The number of total Japanese dead in combat is put at around 47,000, with around 80,000 if disease is included
  • World War I: 1,455 Japanese were killed, mostly at the Battle of Tsingtao
  • World War II:
    • Deaths
      • Between 2,120,000 and 2,190,000 Imperial Armed Forces dead including non-combat deaths (includes 1,760,955 killed in action),
      • KIA Breakdown by Theatre:
        • Army 1931–1945 [China: 435,600 KIA, Against U.S Forces: 659,650 KIA, Burma Campaign: 163,000 KIA, Australian Combat Zone: 199,511 KIA, French Indochina: 7,900 KIA, U.S.S.R/Manchuria: 45,900 KIA, Others/Japan: 58,100 KIA][59]
        • Navy: 473,800 KIA All Theatres.
      • 672,000 known civilian dead,
    • 810,000 missing in action and presumed dead.
    • 7,500 prisoners of war

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jansen 2002, p. 60.
  2. ^ Drea 2009, p. 8.
  3. ^ Jaundrill 2016, p. 86.
  4. ^ a b Jaundrill 2016, p. 87.
  5. ^ a b c Ravina 2004, p. 154.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Drea 2009, p. 10.
  7. ^ Jansen 2002, p. 343.
  8. ^ a b Drea 2009, p. 20.
  9. ^ Jaundrill 2016, p. 96.
  10. ^ E. Herbert Norman, "Soldier and Peasant in Japan: The Origins of Conscription." Pacific Affairs 16#1 (1943), pp. 47–64.
  11. ^ a b c Jaundrill 2016, p. 95.
  12. ^ Drea 2003, p. 76.
  13. ^ Drea 2009, p. 23.
  14. ^ Drea 2009, p. 24.
  15. ^ a b Jaundrill 2016, p. 107.
  16. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, pp. 22-29.
  17. ^ Crowley, "Japan's Military Foreign Policies" pp. 6–7.
  18. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, pp. 20-24.
  19. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, p. 363.
  20. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, p. 28.
  21. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, p. 109.
  22. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, pp. 110–111.
  23. ^ Humphreys 1996, p. 25.
  24. ^ a b Harries & Harries 1994, p. 123.
  25. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, p. 124.
  26. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, p. 193.
  27. ^ Kelman, p.41
  28. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, p. 197.
  29. ^ a b c Jowett 2002, p. 7.
  30. ^ Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact April 13, 1941. (Avalon Project at Yale University)
  31. ^ "Battlefield – Manchuria – The Forgotten Victory", Battlefield (documentary series), 2001, 98 minutes.
  32. ^ Jowett 2002, pp. 15–16, 21.
  33. ^ Bergerund, Eric. Fire in the Sky (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000).
  34. ^ Gilmore, p.150.
  35. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, pp. 475–476.
  36. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, p. 463.
  37. ^ Chen, World War II Database Archived 2009-04-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  38. ^ Gilmore, p.87.
  39. ^ Gilmore, p.45.
  40. ^ Gilmore, p.89.
  41. ^ Gilmore, pp.97–8.
  42. ^ This is quite substantially more than the 2,000 who surrendered in the Russo-Japanese War. Gilmore, p.155.
  43. ^ Dower, John W., Prof. War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon, 1986).
  44. ^ Gilmore, p.155.
  45. ^ Gilmore, p.154.
  46. ^ Quoted in Gilmore, p.163.
  47. ^ Gilmore, pp.63, 68. & 101.
  48. ^ Yoshimi and Matsuno, Dokugasusen Kankei Shiryo II, Kaisetsu, 1997, pp. 25–29.
  49. ^ Fujiwara, Shōwa tenno no ju-go nen senso, 1991, pp. 135–138; Yamada, Daigensui Shōwa tennō, 1994, pp. 180, 181, and 185.
  50. ^ Bix, Herbert. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2000), p. 466, citing the Sugiyama memo, p. 24.
  51. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, p. 471.
  52. ^ Harries & Harries 1994, p. 487.
  53. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. "Shoichi Yokoi, 82, Is Dead; Japan Soldier Hid 27 Years", The New York Times. September 26, 1997.
  54. ^ "The Last PCS for Lieutenant Onoda", Pacific Stars and Stripes, March 13, 1974, p6
  55. ^ a b "Onoda Home; 'It Was 30 Years on Duty'", Pacific Stars and Stripes, March 14, 1974, p7
  56. ^ a b "The Last Last Soldier?", Time, January 13, 1975
  57. ^ The Japanese Army 1931–1945 (2) Osprey Men-at- Arms 369 Page 3 by Phillip Jowett Copyright 2002/03/04/05 ISBN 1 84176 354 3
  58. ^ pg 217–218, "The Army", Japan Year Book 1938–1939, Kenkyusha Press, Foreign Association of Japan, Tokyo
  59. ^ "Dispositions and deaths". Australia–Japan Research Project. 1964. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Barker, A.J. (1979) Japanese Army Handbook, 1939-1945 (London: Ian Allan, 1979)
  • Best, Antony. (2002) British intelligence and the Japanese challenge in Asia, 1914-1941 (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2002).
  • Chen, Peter. "Horii, Tomitaro". World War II Database. 
  • Bix, Herbert (2000). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers. 
  • Denfeld, D. Colt. (1997) Hold the Marianas: The Japanese Defense of the Mariana Islands (White Mane Publishing Company, 1997).
  • Coox, A.D. (1985) Nomonhan: Japan against Russia, 1939 (Stanford UP, 1985)
  • Coox, A.D. (1988) "The Effectiveness of the Japanese Military Establishment in the Second World War", in A.R. Millett and W. Murray, eds, Military Effectiveness, Volume III: the Second World War (Allen & Unwin, 1988), pp.1-44
  • Drea, Edward J. (1998). In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1708-0. 
  • Ford, Douglas. (2008) "'The best equipped army in Asia'?: US military intelligence and the Imperial Japanese Army before the Pacific War, 1919–1941." International journal of intelligence and counterintelligence 21.1 (2008): 86-121.
  • Ford, Douglas. (2009) "Dismantling the ‘Lesser Men’and ‘Supermen’ myths: US intelligence on the imperial Japanese army after the fall of the Philippines, winter 1942 to spring 1943." Intelligence and National Security 24.4 (2009): 542-573. online
  • Frühstück, Sabine. (2007) Uneasy warriors: Gender, memory, and popular culture in the Japanese army (Univ of California Press, 2007).
  • Gilmore, Allison B. (1998). You Can't Fight Tanks with Bayonets: Psychological Warfare against the Japanese Army in the South West Pacific. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. 
  • Gruhl, Werner. (2010) Imperial Japan's World War Two: 1931-1945 (Transaction Publishers).
  • Hayashi, Saburo; Alvin D. Coox (1959). Kogun: The Japanese Army in the Pacific War. Quantico, VA: The Marine Corps Association. 
  • Kelman, Richard; Leo J. Daugherty (2002). Fighting Techniques of a Japanese Infantryman in World War II: Training, Techniques and Weapons. Zenith Imprint. ISBN 0-7603-1145-5. 
  • Kublin, Hyman. "The 'Modern' Army of Early Meiji Japan". The Far Eastern Quarterly, 9#1 (1949), pp. 20–41.
  • Kuehn, John T. (2014) A Military History of Japan: From the Age of the Samurai to the 21st Century (ABC-CLIO, 2014).
  • Norman, E. Herbert. "Soldier and Peasant in Japan: The Origins of Conscription." Pacific Affairs 16#1 (1943), pp. 47–64.
  • Rottman, Gordon L. (2013) Japanese Army in World War II: Conquest of the Pacific 1941-42 (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013).
  • Rottman, Gordon L. (2012) Japanese Infantryman 1937–45: Sword of the Empire (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012).
  • Sisemore, Major James D. (2015) The Russo-Japanese War, Lessons Not Learned (Pickle Partners Publishing, 2015).
  • Wood, James B. (2007) Japanese Military Strategy in the Pacific War: Was Defeat Inevitable? (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007).
  • Yenne, Bill. (2014) The Imperial Japanese Army: The Invincible Years 1941–42 (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014).

Primary sources[edit]

  • United States War Department. TM 30-480 Handbook On Japanese Military Forces, 1942 (1942) online; 384pp; highly detailed description of wartime IJA by U.S. Army Intelligence.

External links[edit]