Japanese Seventeenth Area Army

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Japanese Seventeenth Area Army
Withdrawal of Japanese troops from Korea.JPG
Withdrawal of Japanese troops from Korea
Active January 22, 1945 - August 15, 1945
Country Empire of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Role Field Army
Garrison/HQ Keijō
Nickname(s) 築 (chiku = "construct")
Engagements Soviet invasion of Manchuria

The Japanese Seventeenth Area Army (第 17方面軍, Dai-jūnana hōmen gun) was a field army of the Imperial Japanese Army during the final stages of World War II.


The Japanese 17th Area Army was formed on January 22, 1945 under the Imperial General Headquarters as the successor to the Chosen Army of Japan as part of the last desperate defense effort by the Empire of Japan to deter possible landings of Allied forces on the Korean peninsula during Operation Downfall (or Operation Ketsugō (決号作戦, Ketsugō sakusen) in Japanese terminology). It was headquartered in Keijō. However, the actual administrative structure of the former Chosen Army remained in place, and thus the leadership of the 17th Area Army concurrently held the equivalent posts within the Chosen Army, which was also called the Korean District Army.[1]

As with the field armies raised on the Japanese home islands it consisted mostly of poorly trained reservists, conscripted students and home guard militia, as most of the veteran, trained troops of the Chosen Army had already been transferred to other fronts in the Pacific War. In addition, the Japanese had organized the Patriotic Citizens Fighting Corps — which included all healthy men aged 15–60 and women 17–40 — to perform combat support, and ultimately combat jobs. Weapons, training, and uniforms were generally lacking: some men were armed with nothing better than muzzle-loading muskets, longbows, or bamboo spears; nevertheless, they were expected to make do with what they had.[2]

On August 10, 1945, the 17th Area Army was transferred to the control of the Kwantung Army and ordered north to oppose the Soviet Red Army forces advancing southward in Manchukuo. However, the war came to an end before the 17th Area Army could cross the Yalu River.

The 17th Area Army was thus demobilized without having seen combat, and units remained armed and in their garrisons until United States Army forces arrived in Korea.

List of Commanders[edit]

Commanding officer[edit]

Name From To
1 General Seishirō Itagaki 1 February 1945 20 April 1945
2 Lieutenant General Yoshio Kozuki 20 April 1945 15 August 1945

Chief of Staff[edit]

Name From To
1 Lieutenant General Juntaro Iihara 1 February 1945 15 August 1945


  1. ^ Madej, Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945
  2. ^ Frank, Downfall, p. 188–9. Bauer and Coox, OLYMPIC VS KETSU-GO.


  • Drea, Edward J. (1998). "Japanese Preparations for the Defense of the Homeland & Intelligence Forecasting for the Invasion of Japan". In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1708-0. 
  • Frank, Richard B (1999). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-41424-X. 
  • Jowett, Bernard (1999). The Japanese Army 1931-45 (Volume 2, 1942-45). Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-354-3. 
  • Madej, Victor (1981). Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945. Game Publishing Company. ASIN: B000L4CYWW. 
  • Marston, Daniel (2005). The Pacific War Companion: From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-882-0. 
  • Skates, John Ray (1994). The Invasion of Japan: Alternative to the Bomb Downfall. New York: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-972-3. 

External links[edit]