Military history of Japan
The military history of Japan is characterized by a period of clan warfare that lasted until the 12th century AD. This was followed by feudal wars that culminated in military governments known as the "Shogunate". Feudal militarism transitioned to imperial militarism in the 19th century after the landings of Admiral Perry and the elevation of the Meiji Emperor; this led to rampant imperialism until Japan's defeat by the Allies in World War II. The Occupation of Japan marks the inception of modern Japanese military history, with the drafting of a new Constitution prohibiting the ability to wage war against other nations. Recent archaeological research has uncovered traces of wars as far back as the Jōmon period between the various tribes existing on the Japanese archipelago; some theorists believe that shortly after the Yayoi period horse riders from the Korean Peninsula invaded southern Kyūshū spread to northern Honshū. At this time, horse-riding and iron tools were first introduced to the islands.
Near the end of the Jōmon period and towns became surrounded by moats and wooden fences due to increasing violence within or between communities. Battles were fought with weapons like the sword, sling and bow and arrow; some human remains have been found with arrow wounds. Bronze goods and bronze-making techniques from the Asian mainland reached what is now Japan as early as the 3rd century BC, it is believed that bronze and iron implements and weapons were introduced to Japan near the end of this time. Archaeological findings suggest that bronze and iron weapons were not used for war until starting at the beginning of the Yamato period, as the metal weapons found with human remains do not show wear consistent with use as weapons; the transition from the Jōmon to Yayoi, to the Yamato period, is to have been characterized by violent struggle as the natives were soon displaced by the invaders and their vastly superior military technology. Historian John Kuehn believes that a possible "partial genocide" of Japan's aboriginal people occurred during this period.
Around this time, San Guo Zhi first referred to the nation of "Wa". According to this work, Wa was "divided into more than 100 tribes", for some 70 or 80 years there were many disturbances and wars. About 30 communities had been united by a sorceress-queen named Himiko, she sent an emissary named Nashime with a tribute of slaves and cloth to Daifang in China, establishing diplomatic relations with Cao Wei. By the end of the 4th century, the Yamato clan was well established on the Nara plain with considerable control over the surrounding areas; the Five kings of Wa sent envoys to China to recognize their dominion of the Japanese Islands. The Nihon Shoki states that the Yamato were strong enough to have sent an army against the powerful state of Goguryeo. Yamato Japan had close relations with the southwestern Korean kingdom of Baekje. In 663, supporting Baekje, was defeated by the allied forces of Tang China and Silla, at the Battle of Hakusonko in the Korean peninsula; as a result, the Japanese were banished from the peninsula.
To defend the Japanese archipelago, a military base was constructed in Fukuoka, on Kyushu. Ancient Japan had close ties with the Gaya confederacy in the Korean Peninsula, as well as with the Korean kingdom of Baekje. Gaya, where there was an abundance of occurring iron, exported abundant quantities of iron armor and weapons to Wa, there may have been a Japanese military post there with Gaya and Baekje cooperation. In 552, the ruler of Baekje appealed to Yamato for help against the neighboring Silla. Along with his emissaries to the Yamato court, the Baekje king sent bronze images of Buddha, some Buddhist scriptures, a letter praising Buddhism; these gifts triggered a powerful burst of interest in Buddhism. In 663, near the end of the Korean Three Kingdoms period, the Battle of Baekgang took place; the Nihon Shoki records that Yamato sent 32,000 troops and 1,000 ships to support Baekje against the Silla-Tang force. However, these ships were defeated by a Silla-Tang fleet. Baekje, without aid and surrounded by Tang forces on land, collapsed.
Silla, now viewing Wa Japan as a hostile rival, prevented Japan from having any further meaningful contact with the Korean Peninsula until a far time. The Japanese turned directly to China. In many ways, the Nara period was the beginning of Japanese culture, it was in this period that Buddhism, the Chinese writing system, a codified system of laws made their appearance. The country was unified and centralized, with basic features of the feudal system. Much of the discipline and armor of the samurai came to be during this period, as techniques of mounted archery and spear fighting were adopted and developed. Succession disputes were prevalent during this period, just as in most of the periods; the Nara period saw the appointment of Ōtomo no Otomaro. The Heian Period marks a crucial shift, away from a state, united in relative peace against outside threats to one that did not fear invasion and, focused on internal division and clashes between ruling factions of samurai clans, over political power and control of the line of succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
With the exception of the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, Japan did not face a considerable outside threat until the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century. Thus, pre-modern Japanese military history is defined not by wars with other states, but by internal conflicts; the tactics of the samurai of th
Hideki Tojo was a Japanese politician and general of the Imperial Japanese Army who concurrently served as the Imperial Rules Assistance Association's leader and 27th Prime Minister of Japan during much of World War II. He was among the most outspoken proponents for preventive war against the United States before the attack on Pearl Harbor and one of the leading perpetrators behind Japanese war crimes against prisoners of war and civilians during the Pacific conflict. After the end of the war, Tojo was arrested and sentenced to death by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, hanged on December 23, 1948. Hideki Tojo was born in the Kōjimachi district of Tokyo on December 30, 1884, as the third son of Hidenori Tojo, a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army. Under the bakufu, Japanese society was divided rigidly into four castes. After the Meiji Restoration, the caste system was abolished in 1871, but the former caste distinctions in many ways persisted afterwards, ensuring that those from the former samurai caste continued to enjoy their traditional prestige.
The Tojo family came from the samurai caste, though the Tojos were lowly warrior retainers for the great daimyōs that they had served for generations. Tojo's father was a samurai turned Army officer and his mother was the daughter of a Buddhist priest, making his family respectable, but poor. Hideki had an education typical of a Japanese youth in the Meiji era; the purpose of the Meiji educational system was to train the boys to be soldiers as adults, the message was relentlessly drilled into Japanese students that war was the most beautiful thing in the entire world, that the Emperor was a living god and that the greatest honor for a Japanese man was to die for the Emperor. Japanese girls were taught that the highest honor for a woman was to have as many sons as possible who could die for the Emperor in war; as a boy, Tojo was known for his stubbornness, lack of a sense of humor, for being an opinionated and combative youth fond of getting into fights with the other boys and for his tenacious way of pursuing what he wanted.
Japanese schools in the Meiji era were competitive, there was no tradition of sympathy for failure. Tojo was of average intelligence, but was known to compensate for his limited intelligence with a willingness to work hard. Tojo's boyhood hero was the 17th-century shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu who issued the injunction: "Avoid the things you like, turn your attention to unpleasant duties". Tojo liked to say: "I am just an ordinary man possessing no shining talents. Anything I have achieved I owe to my capacity for hard work and never giving up". In 1899, Hideki entered the Army Cadet School; when he graduated from the Japanese Military Academy in March 1905, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry of the IJA. In 1905, Tojo shared in the general outrage in Japan at the Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the war with Russia, which the Japanese people saw as a betrayal as the war did not end with Japan annexing Siberia as popular opinion had demanded; the Treaty of Portsmouth was so unpopular that it set off anti-American riots known as the Hibiya incendiary incident as many Japanese were enraged at the way the Americans had cheated Japan as the Japanese gains in the treaty were far less than what public opinion had expected.
Few Japanese at the time had understood that the war with Russia had pushed their nation to the verge of bankruptcy, most people in Japan believed that the American president Theodore Roosevelt who had mediated the Treaty of Portsmouth had cheated Japan out of its rightful gains. Tojo's anger at the Treaty of Portsmouth left him with an abiding dislike of Americans. In 1909, Hideki married Katsuko Ito, with whom he had four daughters. In 1918–19, Tojo served in Siberia as part of the Japanese expeditionary force sent to intervene in the Russian Civil War. Tojo served as Japanese military attache to Germany between 1919-1922; as the Imperial Japanese Army had been trained by a German military mission in the 19th century, the Japanese Army was always strongly influenced by intellectual developments in the German Army, Tojo was no exception. In the 1920s, the German military favored preparing for the next war by creating a totalitarian Wehrstaat, an idea, taken up by the Japanese military as the "national defense state".
In 1922, on his way home to Japan, Tojo took a train ride across the United States, his first and only visit to America, which left him with the impression that the Americans were a materialistic "soft" people devoted only to making money and to hedonistic pursuits like sex and drinking. Tojo boasted that his only hobby was his work, he customarily brought home his paperwork to work late into the night, he refused to have any part in raising his children, which he viewed both as a distraction from his work and a woman's work, having his wife do all the work of taking care of his children. A stern, humorless man, Tojo was known for his brusque manner, his obsession with etiquette, for his coldness. Like all Japanese officers at the time, Tojo slapped the faces of the men under his command when giving orders, saying that face-slapping was a "means of training" men who came from families that were not part of the samurai caste, for whom bushido was not second nature. In 1924, Tojo was offended by the Immigration Control Act passed by the American Congress b
Hajime Sugiyama was a Japanese field marshal who served intermittently as Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, minister of war between 1937 and 1945. As War Minister in 1937, he was one of the principal architects of the China Incident or Second Sino-Japanese War; as Army Chief of Staff in 1940 and 1941, he was a leading advocate of expansion into Southeast Asia and preventive war against the United States. Following the outbreak of hostilities in the Pacific on December 7, 1941, Sugiyama continued to oversee all army operations until being forced to resign by Prime Minister Hideki Tojo in February 1944. After Tojo's ouster, he again held the post of Minister of War in Kuniaki Koiso's cabinet until its dissolution in April 1945. Born to a former samurai family from Kokura, Fukuoka Prefecture, Sugiyama was commissioned as a lieutenant in the infantry in 1901 after graduation from the 12th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, served in the Russo-Japanese War. After graduating from the 22nd class of the Army Staff College in 1910 and serving on the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, Sugiyama was posted as military attaché to the Philippines and Singapore in 1912.
Promoted to major in 1913, he was posted again as military attaché to British India in 1915. During this time, he visited Germany, became acquainted with the use of aircraft in combat in World War I. On his return, Sugiyama was promoted to lieutenant colonel, commander of the 2nd Air Battalion in December 1918, he was a strong proponent of military aviation, after his promotion to colonel in 1921, became the first head of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service in 1922. In May 1925, Sugiyama became a major general and acting Vice War Minister in June 1930. In August, he became a lieutenant general, he returned to command the expanded Imperial Japanese Army Air Service in March 1933. Sugiyama was promoted to full general in November 1936. Although never elected to political office, Sugiyama is regarded as a nationalist politician, he started in the Tōseiha faction, led by Kazushige Ugaki, with Koiso Kuniaki, Yoshijirō Umezu, Tetsuzan Nagata, Hideki Tōjō. They opposed the radical Kodaha faction under Sadao Araki.
Both factions combined in the Imperial Way Faction movement, Sugiyama became one of its ideological leaders. Shortly after the February 26 Incident, Sugiyama became Minister of War. Under his tenure, the situation between Japanese forces in Manchukuo and China became more severe, cumulating with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and the invasion of Shanxi Province. Sugiyama accepted a field command as commanding general of North China Area Army and the Mongolia Garrison Army in December 1938. On his return to Japan, Sugiyama was appointed head of Yasukuni Shrine in 1939. On September 3, 1940, he succeeded elderly Prince Kan'in Kotohito as Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, he was one of the leading Army officers lobbying for war with the West. However, on September 5, 1941, on the verge of the war against the United States and Great Britain, he was berated by Emperor Hirohito for having earlier predicted in 1937 that Japanese invasion of China would be completed within three months, challenged over his confidence in a quick victory over the Western powers.
Sugiyama was awarded the honorary rank of field marshal in 1943. As the war fronts collapsed on all sides, Sugiyama was relieved of his post as Chief of the General Staff on February 21, 1944, by General Hideki Tōjō. Sugiyama was appointed to the Inspector-general of Military Training, still one of the most prestigious positions in the Army. After Tōjō's ouster in 1944, Sugiyama again became Minister of War. In July 1945, he was asked to take command of the First General Army, which directed defenses of Eastern half Japanese mainland against the anticipated Allied invasion. Ten days after the surrender of Japan, after finishing preparations for the final dissolution of the Imperial Japanese Army as dictated by the victorious Allied Powers, Sugiyama committed suicide by shooting himself four times in the chest with his revolver while seated at his desk in his office. At home, his wife killed herself, his grave is in Fuchū, Tokyo. Bix, Herbert P.. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. New York: Harper Perennial.
ISBN 0-06-093130-2. Dupuy, Trevor N.. Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. ISBN 0-7858-0437-4. Frank, Richard B.. Downfall: the End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. Penguin, non-classics. ISBN 0-14-100146-1. Fuller, Richard. Shokan: Hirohito's Samurai. London: Arms and Armor. ISBN 1-85409-151-4. Hayashi, Saburo. Quantico, Virginia: The Marine Corps Association. Ammenthorp, Steen. "Sugiyama Hajime". The Generals of World War II. Budge, Kent. "Sugiyama Gen". Pacific War Online Encyclopedia. Chen, Peter. "Sugiyama Hajima". WW2 Database
Kitsuju Ayabe was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Ayabe graduated from the 27th class of the Army Cavalry School in October 1917. On receiving his commission as Second lieutenant, he was posted to the 12th Cavalry Regiment, he served in the Siberian Intervention from August 1918 to July 1919. Ayabe attended the Army War College in 1924, was promoted to captain after graduation, he served in a number of staff positions, was sent to Poland and the Soviet Union from August 1928-November 1930 as a military attaché. After his return to Japan, he was promoted to major, in 1934 to lieutenant colonel. From 1935-1937, Ayabe served as Chief of the Maneuvers Section of the Kwantung Army, from 1937–1939, as Chief of 1st Section in the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, still based in Manchukuo at the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War. From 1939-1940, Ayabe was commander of the 25th Cavalry Regiment, based in China, was subsequently promoted to the position of Deputy Chief of Staff of the IJA 3rd Army in 1940.
From 1940-1941, he was sent on a military liaison mission to Berlin and Rome to coordinate efforts between Japan and the other Axis members of the Tripartite Alliance. Subsequently, from July 1941 – 1942, Ayabe was deputy Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army and became Chief of Staff of the Japanese First Area Army from July 1942. After his promotion to lieutenant general in October 1943, Ayabe was reassigned to the Southern Expeditionary Army Group as Deputy Chief of Staff and was based in Singapore; the Southern Army became the Japanese Seventh Area Army in 1944, Ayabe was appointed as Chief of Staff. However, he was badly injured in an airplane crash in February 1944, was assigned to staff duty in Tokyo through the remainder of the war. Ayabe retired from active military service with the dissolution of the Imperial Japanese Army at the end of World War II. From 1955 to 1970, he worked as an advisor for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Hayashi, Saburo. Kogun: The Japanese Army in the Pacific War.
ASIN: B000ID3YRK: The Marine Corps Association. Ammentorp, Steep. "Ayabe, Kitsuju". The Generals of World War II. Budge, Kent. "Ayabe, Kitsuju". The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
Kōji Sakai was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War A native of Aichi Prefecture, Sakai graduated from the 18th class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1905, was commissioned into the Imperial Guard's 4th Infantry Regiment. He graduated from the 24th class of the Army Staff College in 1912. After serving in a staff position within the personnel department of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff, Sakai was dispatched to France as a military attaché from 1915–1917, was thus able to observe the fighting in World War I firsthand as an official observer from the Japanese government. On his return to Japan, Sakai was again assigned to staff positions, but due to his fluency in French and European experience, was selected to participate in the Japanese delegation to the Versailles Peace Treaty negotiations, his rise through the ranks was steady and rapid thereafter: major in 1921, lieutenant colonel in 1925, colonel in 1929, major general in 1931.
From 1927-1929, Sakai served on Japan's delegation to League of Nations. On his return to Japan, he was given command of the IJA 22nd Infantry Regiment from 1929–1931 and served as an instructor at the Army War College from 1931-1934, he was Commandant of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy from 1934-1936. In 1936, Sakai was appointed commander of the IJA 24th Infantry Brigade, was assigned to China with tensions rising in the prelude to the Second Sino-Japanese War. From 1937-1938, he was commander of the IJA 1st Independent Mixed Brigade, which participated in Operation Chahar to seize Chahar Province from China. After the success of that operation, Sakai was transferred to rear echelon operations as commander of the IJA 7th Depot Division in 1938 and the IJA 109th Division in 1939, he retired from active service in 1940. During the final stages of the Pacific War, he was recalled to active duty, but served in a advisory capacity to the Army General Staff from 1943-1944. Jowett, Phillip S. Rays of The Rising Sun, Armed Forces of Japan’s Asian Allies 1931-45, Volume I: China & Manchuria, 2004.
Helion & Co. Ltd. 26 Willow Rd. Solihull, West Midlands, England. Ammenthorp, Steen. "Sakai, Koji". The Generals of World War II. Imperial Japanese Army Bio site