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Esprit de Corps, Unit strengths, and Unit naming conventions

Article about: This is actually three questions. All of which pertain to the Russo Japanese war though I suppose they may cover further times. The first is that in reading Tadayoshi Sakurai's "Human B

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    Default Esprit de Corps, Unit strengths, and Unit naming conventions

    This is actually three questions. All of which pertain to the Russo Japanese war though I suppose they may cover further times. The first is that in reading Tadayoshi Sakurai's "Human Bullets", a soldier identifies himself as a soldier of the "Kochi regiment". I see this practice at times in the Observations from British Observers where certain units such as brigades or regiments are referred to by what I assume to be the names of their commanding officers. Was this a common practice? (Would soldiers identify themselves with the regimental number or their regimental commander's name?)

    The second question if a soldier was to introduce himself to another person, where in the unit hierarchy would they identify with? (Would they say perhaps as the soldier above did, "I am of the Kochi regiment", or would they reference their division or brigade instead?).

    The third question is if anyone has info on the structure of Japanese army divisions (i.e. Regiments, Battalions, Companies) and their strengths. I am finding some information from Western sources but it is rather brief and imprecise.

    Thank you,

    Chris

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    Kochi Regiment meant the 44th Infantry Regiment. "Kochi" was not the name of the commander, but the name of the geographical location where the regiment was headquartered, in this case, Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku Island.

    In the early part of WW2, they used their commander's name instead of unit numbers for security reasons, but as far back as in the Russo-Japanese War, the soldiers basically identified themselves by regional affiliation.

    I know you had seen the drama "Saka no Ue no Kumo (clouds above the hill)", but probably have not read the original novel by Ryotaro Shiba. Reading the English translation of that novel would give you a good working knowledge of the vocabulary, etc. Shiba himself was an army tank officer during WW2. Here is info on the English translations.. The novel is much more factual and historical and has no romantic elements as in the drama.

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    While the timeframe might be later than you are looking for, Rikugun (vol.1) by Leland Ness has fantastic information on the IJA and its breakdown from 1937-45.


    Tom

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    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    In the early part of WW2, they used their commander's name instead of unit numbers for security reasons, but as far back as in the Russo-Japanese War, the soldiers basically identified themselves by regional affiliation.
    When you say that soldiers basically identified themselves by regional affiliation, are the volunteer regiments of the American civil war a fair comparison in this regard?

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    Quote by DoubleCanister View Post
    When you say that soldiers basically identified themselves by regional affiliation, are the volunteer regiments of the American civil war a fair comparison in this regard?
    I would think pre-1945 Japan was similar to the antebellum (pre-1861) period in the USA: both were rural and not much travel amongst the general population (but it happened). Therefore, men joined up with the local army regiment.

    An example I can speak directly about concerns my late swordsmanship teacher, Nakamura Taizaburo, who was born and raised in Kamiyama City, Yamagata. After leaving school in 1927 he moved to Yokohama to continue Youth School. After graduating, he remained in Yokohama, yet joined the 32nd Yamagata Infantry Regiment in 1933. He went to China, then returned to Yokohama to work, he became the "drill instructor" (kendo, jukendo, sumo) at a Yokohama Youth School. Still in Yokohama in 1941, he joined the 18th Northern Yamagata Infantry Regiment (formerly the 32nd IR).

    I have no idea why he joined the Yamagata regiment from Yokohama unless it was:

    [a] Unit/regional unity
    [b] Required since his "koseki" [family register] listed Yamagata as his official residence.
    [c] Maybe a & b
    [d] Maybe none of the above. (^__^)


    I look forward to Nick's explanation.

    Image: Memorial stone dedicated to the Imperial 32nd Infantry Regiment which fought in the Russo-Japanese War, Russian Civil War, Second Sino-Japanese War, and the Second World War.


    --Guy
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Esprit de Corps, Unit strengths, and Unit naming conventions  

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    In more recent reading, I have managed to find the tables of organization from company up, which is weird because I thought the companies were further divided into sections but the text I am reading: "Reports of Military Observers Attached to the Armies in Manchuria During the Russo-Japanese War Volume 5" (American) makes no mention of them.

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    The Japanese Army recruitment system was based on the German system, in which Japan was divided into military districts, what the Germans called a Wehrkreis, and each district was linked to a certain regiment. So men from sizeable towns generally got assigned together to their hometown regiment.

    Men from the same region thus were kept together and fought together, so their military affiliation was most often expressed by the name of the district, which was more meaningful than just regimental numbers, as it said where in Japan you came from, what dialect you spoke, etc. Districts with large populations can be associated with more than one regiment, in which case you would mention the district name followed by the Regiment number or the name of the cities within the districts where the regiment was located.

    Regiments held open-house festivals every year to celebrate the day they were conferred their regimental banner by the Emperor, a day of great entertainment the entire town looked forward to. So men were familiar with their hometown regiments from childhood. Even if you moved to another area of Japan as an adult, because of your job, conscription took place at the place of your birth, as they drafted based on one's permanent domicile.

    The Japanese, to this day, mostly have two addresses; one being the address you currently live at, and a permanent domicile, which indicates where your family records, going back to your ancestors, are kept. Drafting occurs at that permanent address.

    The regional affiliation described above only applied to enlisted ranks, not to officers, who could get assigned Japan-wide.

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    Does a list exist online of regiments and their parent districts circa 1904-1905?

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    Here's the army's full order of battle for the Russo-Japanese War
    The reserve units and independent brigades are all here
    All the army Japanese generals in the war
    The navy's order of battle
    Navy generals of the war
    Evolution of Japan's military districts over the years
    Evolution of Regiment districts

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