Imperial Japanese Army

Imperial Japanese Army

Overview
For Ministry of the Military (Ritsuryō)
Ministry of the Military (Ritsuryō)
The , also known as Ministry of War and sometimes called Tsuwamono no Tsukasa, was a division of the eighth century Japanese government of the Imperial Court in Kyoto, instituted in the Asuka period and formalized during the Heian period...

 (701–1871), please see that article.

The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) (Kyūjitai
Kyujitai
Kyūjitai, literally "old character forms" , are the traditional forms of kanji, Chinese written characters used in Japanese. Their simplified counterparts are shinjitai, "new character forms". Some of the simplified characters arose centuries ago and were in everyday use in both China and Japan,...

: 大日本帝國陸軍, Shinjitai
Shinjitai
Shinjitai are the forms of kanji used in Japan since the promulgation of the Tōyō Kanji List in 1946. Some of the new forms found in shinjitai are also found in simplified Chinese, but shinjitai is generally not as extensive in the scope of its modification...

: , Romaji: Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun), or literally Army of the Empire of Greater Japan was the official ground based armed force of Imperial Japan from 1871 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of War
Ministry of War of Japan
The , more popularly known as the Ministry of War of Japan, was cabinet-level ministry in the Empire of Japan charged with the administrative affairs of the Imperial Japanese Army...

, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

 as supreme commander
Supreme Commander
Supreme Commander may refer to:* Commander-in-chief, a military rank**Supreme Allied Commander, title held by the most senior commander within certain multinational military alliances...

 of the army and the navy.
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For Ministry of the Military (Ritsuryō)
Ministry of the Military (Ritsuryō)
The , also known as Ministry of War and sometimes called Tsuwamono no Tsukasa, was a division of the eighth century Japanese government of the Imperial Court in Kyoto, instituted in the Asuka period and formalized during the Heian period...

 (701–1871), please see that article.

The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) (Kyūjitai
Kyujitai
Kyūjitai, literally "old character forms" , are the traditional forms of kanji, Chinese written characters used in Japanese. Their simplified counterparts are shinjitai, "new character forms". Some of the simplified characters arose centuries ago and were in everyday use in both China and Japan,...

: 大日本帝國陸軍, Shinjitai
Shinjitai
Shinjitai are the forms of kanji used in Japan since the promulgation of the Tōyō Kanji List in 1946. Some of the new forms found in shinjitai are also found in simplified Chinese, but shinjitai is generally not as extensive in the scope of its modification...

: , Romaji: Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun), or literally Army of the Empire of Greater Japan was the official ground based armed force of Imperial Japan from 1871 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of War
Ministry of War of Japan
The , more popularly known as the Ministry of War of Japan, was cabinet-level ministry in the Empire of Japan charged with the administrative affairs of the Imperial Japanese Army...

, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

 as supreme commander
Supreme Commander
Supreme Commander may refer to:* Commander-in-chief, a military rank**Supreme Allied Commander, title held by the most senior commander within certain multinational military alliances...

 of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General
Inspector General
An Inspector General is an investigative official in a civil or military organization. The plural of the term is Inspectors General.-Bangladesh:...

 of Military (Army) Aviation, became the third agency with oversight over the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ)
Imperial General Headquarters
The as part of the Supreme War Council was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime...

, 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 military aviation, and the inspector general of military training.

Foundation



During the Meiji Restoration
Meiji Restoration
The , also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, Reform or Renewal, was a chain of events that restored imperial rule to Japan in 1868...

, the military forces loyal to the Emperor
Emperor Meiji
The or was the 122nd emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 3 February 1867 until his death...

 were samurai
Samurai
is the term for the military nobility of pre-industrial Japan. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany a person in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau...

drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains
Daimyo
is a generic term referring to the powerful territorial lords in pre-modern Japan who ruled most of the country from their vast, hereditary land holdings...

 of Satsuma and Chōshū. After the successful overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate
Tokugawa shogunate
The Tokugawa shogunate, also known as the and the , was a feudal regime of Japan established by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family. This period is known as the Edo period and gets its name from the capital city, Edo, which is now called Tokyo, after the name was...

 (bakufu) and establishment of the new Meiji government modeled on European lines, a more formal military, loyal to the central government rather than individual domains, became recognized by the general populace as a necessity to preserve Japan’s independence from western imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

.

This central army, the "Imperial Japanese Army" (IJA), became even more essential after the abolition of the feudal domains
Abolition of the han system
The was an act, in 1871, of the new Meiji government of the Empire of Japan to replace the traditional feudal domain system and to introduce centralized government authority . This process marked the culmination of the Meiji Restoration in that all daimyo were required to return their authority...

 in 1871. To reform the military, the government instituted nationwide conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 in 1873, mandating that every male between the age of 17 and 40 undertake three years active service, followed by a further two years in the first reserve (active) and another two in the second reserve (standby). One of the primary differences between the samurai and peasant class was the right to bear arms; this ancient privilege was suddenly extended to every male in the nation.

Foreign assistance



The early Imperial Japanese Army was essentially developed with the assistance of French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 advisors, through the second French military mission to Japan (1872–1880), and the third French military mission to Japan (1884–1889). However, due to the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 victory in the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

, the Japanese government also relied on Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 as a model for their army, and hired two German military advisors (Major Jakob Meckel
Jakob Meckel
Klemens Wilhelm Jacob Meckel was a general in the Prussian army and foreign advisor to the government of Meiji period Japan.-Biography:...

, replaced in 1888 by von Wildenbrück and Captain von Blankenbourg) for the training of the Japanese General Staff from 1886 to April 1890: the Imperial Army General Staff Office, based on the Prussian Generalstab, was established directly under the Emperor in 1878 and was given broad powers for military planning and strategy.


Other known foreign military consultants were the Italian Major Pompeo Grillo, who worked at the Osaka
Osaka
is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin area, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe...

 foundry from 1884 to 1888, followed by Major Quaratezi from 1889 to 1890, and the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 Captain Schermbeck
Schermbeck
Schermbeck is a municipality in the district of Wesel, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.-Geography:Schermbeck is situated near the river Lippe, approx. 20 km east of Wesel, and 8 km north-west of Dorsten. Its maximum dilatation from north to south is about 12,90 km, from west to...

, who worked on improving coastal defenses from 1883 to 1886. Japan did not use foreign military advisors between 1890 and 1918, until again a French military mission to Japan (1918–1919), headed by Commandant Jacques-Paul Faure, was requested to assist in the development of the Japanese air services.

Taiwan Expedition



The Taiwan Expedition of 1874 was a punitive expedition
Punitive expedition
A punitive expedition is a military journey undertaken to punish a state or any group of persons outside the borders of the punishing state. It is usually undertaken in response to perceived disobedient or morally wrong behavior, but may be also be a covered revenge...

 by Japanese military forces in response to the murder of 54 crewmembers of a wrecked Ryukyuan merchant vessel by Paiwan
Paiwan
The Paiwan are an aboriginal tribe of Taiwan. They speak the Paiwan language. In the year 2000 the Paiwan numbered 70,331. This was approximately 17.7% of Taiwan's total indigenous population, making them the third-largest tribal group....

 aborigines on the southwestern tip of Taiwan in December 1871. It marked the first overseas deployment of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy.

Satsuma rebellion


Not surprisingly, the new order led to a series of riots from disgruntled samurai. One of the major riots was led by Saigō Takamori
Saigo Takamori
was one of the most influential samurai in Japanese history, living during the late Edo Period and early Meiji Era. He has been dubbed the last true samurai.-Early life:...

, the Satsuma rebellion
Satsuma Rebellion
The was a revolt of Satsuma ex-samurai against the Meiji government from January 29 to September 24, 1877, 9 years into the Meiji Era. It was the last, and the most serious, of a series of armed uprisings against the new government.-Background:...

, which eventually turned into a civil war. This rebellion was put down swiftly by conscripts in the newly-formed Imperial Army, using Western tactics and weapons, even though the core of the new army was actually the Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

 Police force, consisting mostly of former samurai.


An Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors of 1882
Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors
The was issued by Emperor Meiji of Japan on 4 January 1882.It was the most important document in the development of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy.-Details:...

 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 to military than to political leaders.



By the 1890s, the Imperial Japanese Army had grown to become the most modern
Modernization
In the social sciences, modernization or modernisation refers to a model of an evolutionary transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. The teleology of modernization is described in social evolutionism theories, existing as a template that has been generally followed by...

 army in Asia, well-trained, well-equipped with good morale. However, it was basically an infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 force deficient in cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 and artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 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 in several different caliber
Caliber
In guns including firearms, caliber or calibre is the approximate internal diameter of the barrel in relation to the diameter of the projectile used in it....

s, causing problems with their ammunition supply.

First Sino Japanese War



The First Sino-Japanese War was a war fought between Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Japanese Meiji government
Meiji period
The , also known as the Meiji era, is a Japanese era which extended from September 1868 through July 1912. This period represents the first half of the Empire of Japan.- Meiji Restoration and the emperor :...

 over the control of Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

. The Sino-Japanese War would come to symbolize the weakness of the Qing military, with Japanese securing victory after victory over the Chinese forces. This was the result by Japan's new western-style conscript army which was well equipped and well trained when compared with their Chinese counterpart. The principal results were a shift in regional dominance in Asia from China to Japan and a fatal blow to the Qing Dynasty. Japan fielded a force of 120,000 in two armies and five divisions.

Boxer Rebellion




In 1899–1900, Boxer attacks against foreigners in China intensified and later accumulated in the siege of the diplomatic legations
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

 in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

. An international force
Eight-Nation Alliance
The Eight-Nation Alliance was an alliance of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States whose military forces intervened in China to suppress the anti-foreign Boxers and relieve the siege of the diplomatic legations in Beijing .- Events :The...

 consisting of British
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, French, Russian, German, Italian
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

, Austro-Hungarian, American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 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
5th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)
The was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call-sign was the .-History:The 5th Division was formed in Hiroshima in January 1871 as the , one of six regional commands created in the fledgling Imperial Japanese Army. The Hiroshima Garrison had responsibility for western region...

 under Lt. General Yamaguchi Motoomi, the remainder were 540 naval rikusentai from the Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

. 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 officially condemning the movement, the Boxers had the unofficial support of the Empress Dowager Cixi
Cixi
Cixi may refer to:*Empress Dowager Cixi , empress of the Qing Dynasty*Cixi City, in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China...

. In the end the Boxer leaders were captured and executed. The Empress Dowager, was forced to flee the palace as the foreign armies entered the Forbidden City
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

.

Russo-Japanese War



The Russo–Japanese War was the result of tensions between Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

, largely out of the rival imperialist ambitions over Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 and Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

. The Japanese inflicted severe losses on the Russians; however, they were not able to inflict 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
Siege of Port Arthur
The Siege of Port Arthur , 1 August 1904 – 2 January 1905, the deep-water port and Russian naval base at the tip of the Liaotung Peninsula in Manchuria, was the longest and most violent land battle of the Russo-Japanese War....

.

World War I




The Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 entered the war on the Entente side
Triple Entente
The Triple Entente was the name given to the alliance among Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907....

. Although tentative plans were made to send an expeditionary force of between 100,000–500,000 men to France, ultimately the only action in which the Imperial Japanese Army was involved in was the careful and well executed attack on the German concession of Tsingtao
Qingdao
' also known in the West by its postal map spelling Tsingtao, is a major city with a population of over 8.715 million in eastern Shandong province, Eastern China. Its built up area, made of 7 urban districts plus Jimo city, is home to about 4,346,000 inhabitants in 2010.It borders Yantai to the...

 in 1914.

Inter-war years



During 1917–18, Japan continued to extend its influence and privileges in China via the Nishihara Loans
Nishihara Loans
The ' were a series of loans made by the Japanese government under the administration of Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake to the Anhui clique warlord Duan Qirui from January 1917 to September 1918, in exchange for territorial concessions and rights in northern China.In January 1917, Prime Minister...

.
Following the collapse of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in the Bolshevik Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, during the Siberian Intervention
Siberian Intervention
The ', or the Siberian Expedition, of 1918–1922 was the dispatch of troops of the Entente powers to the Russian Maritime Provinces as part of a larger effort by the western powers and Japan to support White Russian forces against the Bolshevik Red Army during the Russian Civil War...

, the Imperial Japanese Army initially planned to send more than 70,000 troops to occupy Siberia as far west as Lake Baykal. 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.
The plan was scaled back considerably due to opposition from the United States.

In July 1918, President Wilson asked the Japanese government to supply 7,000 troops as part of an international coalition of 24,000 troops planned to support the American Expeditionary Force Siberia
American Expeditionary Force Siberia
The American Expeditionary Force Siberia was a United States Army force that was involved in the Russian Civil War in Vladivostok, Russian Empire, during the tail end of World War I after the October Revolution, from 1918 to 1920....

. After heated debate in the Diet
Diet of Japan
The is Japan's bicameral legislature. It is composed of a lower house, called the House of Representatives, and an upper house, called the House of Councillors. Both houses of the Diet are directly elected under a parallel voting system. In addition to passing laws, the Diet is formally...

, the government of Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Japan
The is the head of government of Japan. He is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet from among its members, and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office...

 Terauchi Masatake
Terauchi Masatake
, GCB was a Japanese military officer and politician. He was a Field Marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army and the 18th Prime Minister of Japan from 9 October 1916 to 29 September 1918.-Early period:...

 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
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 to bolster the armies of the White Movement
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 leader Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak
Aleksandr Kolchak
Aleksandr Vasiliyevich Kolchak was a Russian naval commander, polar explorer and later - Supreme ruler . Supreme ruler of Russia , was recognized in this position by all the heads of the White movement, "De jure" - Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, "De facto" - Entente States...

 against the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

.

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 Japanese troops had occupied all ports and major towns in the Russian Maritime Provinces
Primorsky Krai
Primorsky Krai , informally known as Primorye , is a federal subject of Russia . Primorsky means "maritime" in Russian, hence the region is sometimes referred to as Maritime Province or Maritime Territory. Its administrative center is in the city of Vladivostok...

 and eastern Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

.

In June 1920, America and its allied coalition partners withdrew from Vladivostok
Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

 after the capture and execution of White Army leader Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak by the Red Army. However, the Japanese decided to stay, primarily due to fears of the spread of communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 so close to Japan, and Japanese controlled Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 and Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

. The Japanese army provided military support to the Japanese-backed Provisional Priamur Government based in Vladivostok against the Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

-backed Far Eastern Republic
Far Eastern Republic
The Far Eastern Republic , sometimes called the Chita Republic, was a nominally independent state that existed from April 1920 to November 1922 in the easternmost part of the Russian Far East...

.

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 Kato Tomosaburo
Kato Tomosaburo
Viscount was a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy, cabinet minister, and Prime Minister of Japan from 12 June 1922 to 24 August 1923.-Biography:...

 withdrew the Japanese forces in October 1922.


Rise of militarism in Shōwa era


In the 1920s the Imperial Japanese Army expanded rapidly and by 1937 had a force of 300,000 men. Unlike western countries it enjoyed a great deal of independence from government. Under the provisions of the Meiji Constitution
Meiji Constitution
The ', known informally as the ', was the organic law of the Japanese empire, in force from November 29, 1890 until May 2, 1947.-Outline:...

, the War Minister
Ministry of War of Japan
The , more popularly known as the Ministry of War of Japan, was cabinet-level ministry in the Empire of Japan charged with the administrative affairs of the Imperial Japanese Army...

 was held accountable only to the Emperor Hirohito
Hirohito
, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to...

 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. As a result, the 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
Romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of those it governs...

 and also in the service of its political ambitions, it retitled itself the Imperial Army (kōgun).

Conflict with China



In 1931, the Imperial Japanese Army had an overall strength of 198,880 officers and men, organized into 17 divisions.
The Manchurian Incident, as it became known in Japan, was the alleged attack on the Japanese-owned railway by Chinese bandits. Action by the military, largely independent of the civilian leadership, led to the invasion of Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 in 1931 and later the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 in 1937. As war approached, the Imperial Army's influence with the Emperor waned and the influence of the Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

 increased. Nevertheless, by 1938 the Army had been expanded to 34 divisions.

World War II



In 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army had 51 divisions 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
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 most of the Japanese Army was stationed in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, where 27 divisions were stationed. A further 13 divisions were tasked with defending the Mongolian border, due to concerns about a possible attack by the Soviet Union. However, from 1942 soldiers were sent to Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 (23rd Army), the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 (14th Army), Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 (15th Army), Burma (15th Army), Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

 (16th Army) and Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 (25th Army). 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
Allied submarines in the Pacific War
Allied submarines were used extensively during the Pacific War and were a key contributor to the defeat of the Empire of Japan. During the war, submarines of the United States Navy were responsible for 55% of Japan's merchant marine losses; other Allied navies added to the toll. The war against...

 interdiction of supplies and losses to Japanese shipping, which was worsened by a long-standing and severe rivalry with the Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

. The lack of supplies caused large numbers of fighter aircraft to become unserviceable for lack of spare parts and "as many as two-thirds of Japan's total military deaths resulted from illness or starvation."


Fanaticism and war crimes


Throughout the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 and World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army had gained a reputation both for its fanaticism
Fanaticism
Fanaticism is a belief or behavior involving uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby...

 and for its brutality against prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 and civilian
Civilian
A civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces or other militia. Civilians are distinct from combatants. They are afforded a degree of legal protection from the effects of war and military occupation...

s alike - with the Nanking Massacre
Nanking Massacre
The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was a mass murder, genocide and war rape that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanjing , the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937 during the Second...

 being one such example. 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
Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

. In 1949, the trials were ceased, with a total of 5,700 cases having been heard.

Major General Tomitarō Horii
Tomitaro Horii
was a major general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.-Biography:Born in Hyōgo Prefecture, Horii became an infantry officer following his graduation from the 23rd class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1911....

 did issue a "Guide to Soldiers in the South Seas" in late 1941, which ordered troops not to loot or kill civilians. This was intended to prevent a repeat of atrocities that the Army committed in China, however this only applied to men under his command.

Several reasons are theorized 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 the extremely harsh treatment of its enlisted soldiers from the start of training, 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. Not until 1943 did the senior command realize this brutality had effects on morale and ordered an end to it, an order which was routinely circumvented or ignored. The spirit of gyokusai ("glorious death") saw them order suicidal attacks with bayonets, when supplies of hand grenade
Hand grenade
A hand grenade is any small bomb that can be thrown by hand. Hand grenades are classified into three categories, explosive grenades, chemical and gas grenades. Explosive grenades are the most commonly used in modern warfare, and are designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time...

s and ammunition were still available.

The reputation of Imperial Army troops during the Pacific War of refusing to surrender was established by the low number of Japanese survivors in numerous battles throughout the Pacific Campaign; 921 captured out of a garrison strength of 31,000 in the Battle of Saipan
Battle of Saipan
The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June-9 July 1944. The Allied invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on 5 June 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was...

, 17 out of 3000 in the Battle of Tarawa
Battle of Tarawa
The Battle of Tarawa, code named Operation Galvanic, was a battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, largely fought from November 20 to November 23, 1943. It was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region....

, 7,400–10,755 out of 117,000 in the Battle of Okinawa
Battle of Okinawa
The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945...

, with a high number of battlefield suicides sanctioned by the Imperial Army. In the South West Pacific Area
South West Pacific theatre of World War II
The South West Pacific Theatre, technically the South West Pacific Area, between 1942 and 1945, was one of two designated area commands and war theatres enumerated by the Combined Chiefs of Staff of World War II in the Pacific region....

 (SWPA) just over 1,000 surrendered in each of 1942 and 1943, around 5,100 in 1944, and over 12,000 in 1945, and might have been greater except for disease. Propaganda through leaflet drops by the Americans accounted for about 20% of surrenders; equating to about one POW for every 6,000 leaflets dropped; while the Japanese objected to the "unscrupulous" leaflets, which contained some truth with regard to the willingness of American to accept surrenders from the Japanese. This was in contrast to Imperial Japanese Army practice of depicting American troops as cruel and merciless, referring to them as 鬼畜米英 (Kichiku Beihei, lit. 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 treatment of POWs in incidents such as the Bataan Death March
Bataan Death March
The Bataan Death March was the forcible transfer, by the Imperial Japanese Army, of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of prisoners.The march was characterized by...

 and mass suicide of Japanese soldiers and civilians during the Battle of Saipan
Battle of Saipan
The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June-9 July 1944. The Allied invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on 5 June 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was...

 and Battle of Okinawa
Battle of Okinawa
The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945...

.

Imperial General Headquarters and the power of the Emperor in the Shōwa era


During the first part of the Showa era, according to the Meiji Constitution
Meiji Constitution
The ', known informally as the ', was the organic law of the Japanese empire, in force from November 29, 1890 until May 2, 1947.-Outline:...

, 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
Imperial General Headquarters
The as part of the Supreme War Council was established in 1893 to coordinate efforts between the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during wartime...

, founded in 1937 and by which the military decisions were made.

The primary sources such as the "Sugiyama memo", and the diaries of Fumimaro Konoe
Fumimaro Konoe
Prince was a politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Taisei Yokusankai.- Early life :...

 and Koichi Kido
Koichi Kido
Marquis served as Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal from 1940 to 1945, and was the closest advisor to Emperor Showa throughout World War II.Kido was the grandson of Kido Takayoshi, one of the leaders of the Meiji Restoration...

, describe in detail the many informal meetings the Emperor had with his chiefs of staff and ministers. These documents show he was kept informed of all military operations and frequently questioned his senior staff and asked for changes.

According to historians Yoshiaki Yoshimi
Yoshiaki Yoshimi
is a professor of Japanese modern history at Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan. Yoshimi is a founder member of the Center for Research and Documentation on Japan's war responsibility...

 and Seiya Matsuno, Hirohito
Hirohito
, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to...

 authorized by specific orders, transmitted by the Chief of staff of the Army such as Prince Kan'in
Prince Kan'in Kotohito
, wasthe sixth head of a cadet branch the Japanese imperial family, and a career army officer who served as Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from 1931 to 1940.-Early years:...

 or Hajime Sugiyama, the use of chemical weapons
Chemical warfare
Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from Nuclear warfare and Biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical...

 against Chinese civilians and soldiers. For example, he authorized the use of toxic gas on 375 separate occasions during the invasion of Wuhan
Battle of Wuhan
The Battle of Wuhan, popularly known to the Chinese as the Defence of Wuhan, and to the Japanese as the Capture of Wuhan, was a large-scale battle of the Second Sino-Japanese War...

 in 1938. Such weapons were also authorized during the invasion of Changde.

According to historians Akira Fujiwara and Akira Yamada, Hirohito even made major interventions in some military operations. For example, he pressed Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

 Hajime Sugiyama four times during January and February 1942 to increase troop strength and launch attack on Bataan
Bataan
Bataan is a province of the Philippines occupying the whole of the Bataan Peninsula on Luzon. The province is part of the Central Luzon region. The capital of Bataan is Balanga City and it is bordered by the provinces of Zambales and Pampanga to the north...

. In August 1943, he scolded Sugiyama for being unable to stop the American advance on the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

 and asked the general to consider other places to attack.

Only in rare moments of special importance, decisions were made in Imperial council. The Imperial government used this special institution to sanction the invasion of China, the Greater East Asia War and to end the war
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

. In 1945, executing the decision approved in Imperial conference, Emperor Shōwa for the only time directly ordered via recorded radio broadcast to all of Japan, as his last role as commander-in-chief, the surrender to United States forces.

Ground Self Defense Force



Article 9 of the Japanese constitution renounced the right to use force as a means of resolving disputes. This was enacted by the Japanese in order to prevent militarism, which had led to conflict. However, in 1947 the Public Security Force formed; later in 1954, with the early stages of the Cold War, the Public Security Force formed the basis of the newly created Ground Self Defense Force. 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



Separately, some soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army continued to fight on isolated Pacific islands
Japanese holdout
Japanese holdouts or stragglers were Japanese soldiers in the Pacific Theatre who, after the August 1945 surrender of Japan that marked the end of World War II, either adamantly doubted the veracity of the formal surrender due to strong dogmatic or militaristic principles, or were not aware of it...

 until at least the 1970s, with the last known Japanese soldier surrendering in 1974.
Intelligence officer Hiroo Onoda
Hiroo Onoda
is a former Japanese army intelligence officer who fought in World War II and did not surrender until 1974, having spent almost 30 years holding out in the Philippines. He held the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Imperial Japanese Army.-Early life:...

, who surrendered on Lubang Island
Lubang Island
Lubang Island is the largest island in the Lubang Group of Islands, an archipelago which lies to the northwest of the northern end of Mindoro in the Philippines. The Lubang Islands are about southwest of Manila. There are seven islands in the group, The island is divided into two municipalities. ...

 in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 in March 1974, and Teruo Nakamura
Teruo Nakamura
Private was a Taiwan-born soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army who fought for Japan in World War II and did not surrender until 1974.His name in his native language appears to have been Attun Palalin...

, who surrendered on the Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

n island of Morotai
Morotai
Morotai Island Regency is a regency of North Maluku province, Indonesia, located on Morotai Island. The population was 54,876 in 2007.-History:...

 in December 1974, appear to have been the last confirmed holdouts.

Ideology


Japanese nationalism
Japanese nationalism
encompasses a broad range of ideas and sentiments harbored by the Japanese people over the last two centuries regarding their native country, its cultural nature, political form and historical destiny...

 meant that the military was built around a concept of the time period: a Rich Country has a Strong Military. Nationalists asserted that Japan as a land was sacred, and its people were special due to a combination of Zen
Zen
Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism founded by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma. The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chán , which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "meditation" or "meditative state."Zen...

-Chan and various forms of Japanese Buddhism with Shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

. Service in the Japanese military was seen as service to the Emperor
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is, according to the 1947 Constitution of Japan, "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people." He is a ceremonial figurehead under a form of constitutional monarchy and is head of the Japanese Imperial Family with functions as head of state. He is also the highest...

. Each soldier in theory believed it was a great honor to die for the Emperor as the samurai concept "to serve" was deeply ingrained in all the soldiers' culture.

The concept of Yamato-damashii
Yamato-damashii
is a historically and culturally loaded word in the Japanese language. The phrase was apparently coined in the Heian period to describe the indigenous Japanese 'spirit' or cultural values as opposed to the cultural values imported into the country through contact with Tang dynasty China. Later, a...

equipped each soldier with a strict code: never be captured, never break down, and never surrender. To be a coward or to be captured was a disgrace to one's family, community, and country. Each soldier was trained to fight to the death and was expected to die before suffering dishonor. Often, imperial soldiers would shout "Banzai
Ten thousand years
The use of the phrase "ten thousand years" in various East Asian languages originated in ancient China as an expression used to wish long life to the Emperor, and is typically translated as "long live" in English...

" before charging into battle, believing that the exuberant cheer would indicate their willingness to die with honor.

Every soldier accepted that they were expected to serve stoically as part of their bushido
Bushido
, meaning "Way of the Warrior-Knight", is a Japanese word which is used to describe a uniquely Japanese code of conduct and a way of the samurai life, loosely analogous to the concept of chivalry. It originates from the samurai moral code and stresses frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and...

, represented in the idea of "death before dishonor". Sadao Araki
Sadao Araki
Baron was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army before World War II. A charismatic leader and one of the principal nationalist right-wing political theorists in the late Japanese Empire, he was regarded as the leader of the radical faction within the politicized Japanese Army and served as...

, an Army theorist, devised the contemporary adaptation to bushido code as a Seishin Kyoiku (spiritual training) doctrine for the army. As such, each soldier would leave everything behind when going into the service, needing nothing but honor. Indeed, honor as represented by name and face meant everything to the soldiers. Yamato-damashii
Yamato-damashii
is a historically and culturally loaded word in the Japanese language. The phrase was apparently coined in the Heian period to describe the indigenous Japanese 'spirit' or cultural values as opposed to the cultural values imported into the country through contact with Tang dynasty China. Later, a...

is an old Japanese spirit of self-pride and persistence in the face of grave danger, a sort of courage
Courage
Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation...

.

Tied in with this concept of Bushido was immense, religious respect for the Emperor. Although during Meiji and Taishō
Taisho period
The , or Taishō era, is a period in the history of Japan dating from July 30, 1912 to December 25, 1926, coinciding with the reign of the Taishō Emperor. The health of the new emperor was weak, which prompted the shift in political power from the old oligarchic group of elder statesmen to the Diet...

 eras, the Emperor was practically a figurehead, with the real power being held by the bureaucrats underneath him, he was still considered a divine figure. In theory the commander in chief, the Emperor usually went along with whatever the government "asked" him to do. The Emperor wore the commander-in-chief's uniform, and was saluted by the Imperial Forces, at all ceremonial functions involving the IJA forces.

At the time, the Imperial government could only mobilize the military if the cabinet ministers came to a unanimous consensus on the order. The role of the Emperor lay in giving his blessing to execute and bind such orders. Since the Emperor was required to be present at all Imperial government meetings for their decision to be binding, The Emperor silently observed all the official arguments made by the ministers. Presuming his blessing was given, after an agreement of the ministers, these requests became the orders of the Emperor, enforceable upon the people of Japan.

Growth of the IJA


  • 1870: consisted of 12,000 men.
  • 1885: consisted of seven divisions including the Imperial Guard
    Imperial Guard of Japan
    The Japanese is an organization which is dedicated to protection of the Emperor of Japan and his family, palaces and other imperial properties. Following the end of World War II the traditional Guard, which also served as a unit in the Imperial Japanese Army, was dissolved and in 1947 a civil...

     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.
  • 1934: army increased to 17 divisions
  • 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
      Manchuria
      Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

    • 27 divisions in China
      China
      Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    • 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 Imperial Japanese Army Air Service
      Imperial Japanese Army Air Service
      The , was the land-based aviation force of the Imperial Japanese Army. As with the IJA itself, the IJAAF was developed along the lines of Imperial German Army Aviation so its primary mission was to provide tactical close air support for ground troops while maintaining a limited air interdiction...

      .
  • Japan Defense Army in 1945 had 55 divisions with 2 million men.

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

Arsenals


The Imperial Japanese Army managed various Arsenal
Arsenal
An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, issued to authorized users, or any combination of those...

s:
  • Japanese Army Sagami Arsenal
    Sagami General Depot
    Sagami General Depot is a United States Army post located in the city of Sagamihara, in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, about southwest of Tokyo.-The Depot:Sagami General Depot is located in the city of Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Honshu, Japan...

    : with Mitsubishi
    Mitsubishi
    The Mitsubishi Group , Mitsubishi Group of Companies, or Mitsubishi Companies is a Japanese multinational conglomerate company that consists of a range of autonomous businesses which share the Mitsubishi brand, trademark and legacy...

    , developed and manufactured tanks
  • Japanese Army Osaka Arsenal
    Osaka Castle Park
    is a public urban park and historical site situated at Osaka-Jō in Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan. It lies on the south of the Ōkawa and occupies a large area in the center of the city of Osaka. This park is second largest park in the city....

    : with Mitsubishi and Hitachi manufactured tanks and artillery
  • Japanese Army Sasebo
    Sasebo, Nagasaki
    is a city located in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. As of 2011, the city has an estimated population of 259,800 and the density of 609 persons per km². The total area is 426.47 km². The locality is famed for its scenic beauty. The city includes a part of Saikai National Park...

     Arsenal: with Mitsubishi, manufactured tanks
  • Japanese Army Heijo
    Pyongyang
    Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

     Arsenal: with Nambu
    Kijiro Nambu
    was a career officer in the Imperial Japanese Army and the founder of Nambu Arms Manufacturing Company, manufacturer of many of the firearms the Japanese military would use in World War II. A prolific small arms designer, he was sometimes called the "John Browning of Japan"...

    , manufactured hand and long infantry
    Infantry
    Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

     weapons
  • Japanese Army Mukden
    Shenyang
    Shenyang , or Mukden , is the capital and largest city of Liaoning Province in Northeast China. Currently holding sub-provincial administrative status, the city was once known as Shengjing or Fengtianfu...

     Arsenal: with Nambu, manufactured infantry weapons
  • Japanese Army Kokura
    Kokura
    is an ancient castle town and the center of Kitakyūshū, Japan, guarding, via its suburb Moji, the Straits of Shimonoseki between Honshū and Kyūshū. Kokura is also the name of the penultimate station on the southbound Sanyo Shinkansen line, which is owned by JR Kyūshū and an important part of the...

     Arsenal: with Nambu, manufactured small arms and Machine Guns
  • Japanese Army Tokyo Arsenal: the Army administrative and testing center related with light and heavy weapons production
  • Japanese Army Tachikawa Arsenal
    Tachikawa Airfield
    is an airfield in the city of Tachikawa, the western part of Tokyo, Japan. Currently under the administration of the Ministry of Defense, it has also served as the civil aviation with Japan's first scheduled air service.-Operations:...

    : dedicated to develop and manufacture aircraft
    Aircraft
    An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

     for the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service
    Imperial Japanese Army Air Service
    The , was the land-based aviation force of the Imperial Japanese Army. As with the IJA itself, the IJAAF was developed along the lines of Imperial German Army Aviation so its primary mission was to provide tactical close air support for ground troops while maintaining a limited air interdiction...

  • Japanese Army Koishikawa Arsenal (Tokyo)

Organization of the Imperial Japanese Army


Casualties


Over the course of the Imperial Japanese Army's existence, millions of its soldiers were either killed
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

, wound
Wound
A wound is a type of injury in which skin is torn, cut or punctured , or where blunt force trauma causes a contusion . In pathology, it specifically refers to a sharp injury which damages the dermis of the skin.-Open:...

ed or went missing in action
Missing in action
Missing in action is a casualty Category assigned under the Status of Missing to armed services personnel who are reported missing during active service. They may have been killed, wounded, become a prisoner of war, or deserted. If deceased, neither their remains nor grave can be positively...

.
  • Taiwan Expedition of 1874
    Taiwan Expedition of 1874
    The , usually referred to in Taiwan and mainland China as the Mudan incident , was a punitive expedition launched by the Japanese in retaliation for the murder of 54 Ryukyuan sailors by Paiwan aborigines near the southwestern tip of Taiwan in December 1871...

    : 543 (12 killed in battle and 531 by disease)
  • First Sino-Japanese War: The IJA suffered 13,823 dead and 3,973 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
    Battle of Tsingtao
    The Siege of Tsingtao was the attack on the German-controlled port of Tsingtao in China during World War I by Imperial Japan and the United Kingdom....

  • World War II:
    • Deaths
      • 2,566,000 Imperial Armed Forces dead including non-combat deaths (includes 1,506,000 killed in action),
      • 672,000 known civilian dead,
    • 810,000 missing in action
      Missing in action
      Missing in action is a casualty Category assigned under the Status of Missing to armed services personnel who are reported missing during active service. They may have been killed, wounded, become a prisoner of war, or deserted. If deceased, neither their remains nor grave can be positively...

       and presumed dead.
    • 7,500 prisoners of war
      Prisoner of war
      A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...


See also

  • Artillery of Japan
    Artillery of Japan
    Artillery in Japan was first used during the Sengoku period in the 16th century; and and its use has continued to develop.-13th to 17th century:...

  • Double Leaf Society
    Double Leaf Society
    The was a Japanese military secret society of the 1920s.The Futabakai was one of many ultranationalist secret societies which had arisen within the Japanese military, from the Meiji period through World War II...

  • Ethnic Taiwanese Imperial Japan Serviceman
    Ethnic Taiwanese Imperial Japan Serviceman
    A Taiwanese Imperial Japan Serviceman is a person, Taiwanese by identity, who served in the Imperial Japanese Army or Navy during World War II whether as a soldier, a sailor, or in another non-combat capacity...

  • Imperial Japanese Army Uniforms
    Imperial Japanese Army Uniforms
    Imperial Japanese Army Uniforms tended to reflect the uniforms of those countries who were the principal advisors to the Imperial Japanese Army at the time.-1867 Blue uniform:...

  • Imperial Japanese rations
    Imperial Japanese rations
    Imperial Japanese rations were the field rations issued by Imperial Japan in World War II, and which reflected the culture of the Japanese military. Rations had to be stout, durable, simple, sturdy and had to survive without refrigeration for long periods of time...

  • Imperial Way Faction
    Imperial Way Faction
    The was a political faction in the Imperial Japanese Army, active in the 1920s and 1930s and largely supported by junior officers aiming to establish a military government, that promoted totalitarian, militarist, and expansionist ideals...

     or Kodô-Ha
  • Japanese Army and Navy Strategies for South Seas areas (1942)
    Japanese Army and Navy Strategies for South Seas areas (1942)
    Immediately after the fall of Singapore in 1942 certain Army circles argued that Japan should exploit her advantage and seek peace with Great Britain...

  • Japanese Army Railways and Shipping Section
    Japanese Army Railways and Shipping Section
    The Imperial Japanese Army Railway and Shipping Section was the logistics unit of the Imperial Japanese Army charged with shipping personnel, materiel and equipment from metropolitan Japan to the combat front overseas.-Railway:...

  • Japanese holdout
    Japanese holdout
    Japanese holdouts or stragglers were Japanese soldiers in the Pacific Theatre who, after the August 1945 surrender of Japan that marked the end of World War II, either adamantly doubted the veracity of the formal surrender due to strong dogmatic or militaristic principles, or were not aware of it...

    s ("stragglers") who surrendered after 1945
  • Japanese military ranks
    • Army ranks of the Japanese Empire during World War II
      Army ranks of the Japanese Empire during World War II
      The following tables present the rank insignia of the Japanese military before and during World War II. These designs were worn on shoulders as passants between the years 1911 and 1938, then on collars afterwards until 1945, when the Imperial Japanese Army was dissolved.- Officer ranks :- Enlisted...

    • Marshal (Japan)
  • Japanese war crimes
    Japanese war crimes
    Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

  • Kokuryu-kai—The Black Dragon Society
  • List of Bombs in use by Imperial Japanese Army
  • List of Japanese Army military engineer vehicles of World War II
  • List of Japanese government and military commanders of World War II
  • List of Japanese military equipment of World War II
  • List of Radars in use by Imperial Japanese Army
  • Military Medals of Honor (Japan)
    Military Medals of Honor (Japan)
    was a military decoration for meritorious service to the Empire of Japan, formerly awarded to all military personnel who participated in battles in a war...

  • Naval ranks of the Japanese Empire during World War II
    Naval ranks of the Japanese Empire during World War II
    The following graphs present the rank insignia of the Japanese navy during World War II. These designs had been used from 1931-1945, but were discontinued after World War II, when the Imperial Japanese Navy had been dissolved....

  • Rikugun Shikan Gakko
    Rikugun Shikan Gakko
    The was the principal officer's training school for the Imperial Japanese Army. The program consisted of a junior course for graduates of local army cadet schools and for those who had completed four years of middle school, and a senior course for officer candidates.-History and...

  • Strike North Group
  • "Strike South" Group
  • Tosei-Ha
  • Mudan Incident of 1871
    Mudan Incident of 1871
    Mudan Incident of 1871 was the massacre of fifty-four Ryukyuan sailors in Taiwan who wandered into the central part of Taiwan after their ship was shipwrecked. 12 men were rescued by Han Chinese and were transferred to Miyako...


External links