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TM-E 30-480: Handbook on Japanese Military Forces
Technical Manual, U.S. War Department, October 1, 1944
[DISCLAIMER: The following text and illustrations are taken from a WWII U.S. War Department Technical Manual. As with all wartime manuals, the text may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the contents of the original technical manual. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]

Chapter II: Japanese Military System

Section II: Territorial Organizations, Including Depot Divisions

1. TERRITORIAL ORGANIZATIONS. a. Japan Defense Army. The territorial army organizations of Japan proper, Korea, and Formosa are under command of the General Defense Headquarters (Boei Soshireibu) which was created in 1941 and is responsible, through the Imperial General Headquarters, to the Emperor.

2. ARMY DISTRICTS. Japan proper is divided geographically into four army districts; Eastern, Central, Western, and Northern. (See fig. 7.)

[Figure 7. Conscription Districts of Japan. (Map)]
Figure 7. Conscription Districts of Japan.

3. DIVISIONAL AND REGIMENTAL DISTRICTS (Shikan, Rentaiku). The army districts are split into divisional districts. These, in turn, are divided into regimental districts which raise recruits for all arms and services. The geographical distribution of these districts is shown in the following table. Numbers following in brackets show the original division raised in the district and perhaps do not represent the division now stationed there.

Army        Headquarters        Divisional districts
Northern District Army.SapporoAsahigawa (7), Hirosaki (8).
Eastern District Army.TokyoTokyo (1) (Guards)*, Sendai (2), Kanazawa (9), Utsunomiya (14).
Central District Army.OsakaNagoya (3), Osaka (4), Himeji (10), Kyoto (16).
Western District Army.FukuokaHiroshima (5), Kumamoto (6), Zentsuji (11), Kurume (12).
*Guards Divisional District Headquarters is located in Tokyo, but recruits are drawn from all over Japan.

4. REGIMENTAL DISTRICTS. The infantry regiment districts are located as follows:

Army         Divisional district         Regimental districts and military affairs district
Northern District Army (headquarters Sapporo). Asahigawa (7th). Sapporo.
Toyohara (Karafuto).
  Hirosaki (8th). Aomori.
Eastern District Army (headquarters Tokyo). Tokyo (1st). (Tokyo).
  Utsunomiya (14th). Mito.
  Sendai (2d). Sendai.
  Kanazawa. (9th). Kanazawa.
Central District Army (headquarters Osaka). Nagoya (3d). Nagoya.
  Kyoto (16th). Kyoto.
  Osaka (4th). Osaka.
  Himeji (10th). Kobe.
Western District Army (headquarters Fukuoka). Hiroshima (5th). Hiroshima.
  Zentsuji (11th). Takamatsu.
  Kumamoto (6th). Kumamoto.
  Kurume (12th). Fukuoka.
Korea (Chosen) (headquarters Keijo). Ranan (19th) Ranan.
  Keijo (20th). Keijo.
Formosa (Taiwan) (headquarten Taihoku).   Taihoku.

5. DEPOT DIVISIONS. a. Functions. A depot division (Rusu Shidan) is primarily a training division. In peacetime, the depot division was engaged mainly in the training of the usual yearly class of conscripts, called up as described in paragraphs b and c, section II, chapter I. Its functions now include also:—

(1) Equipping and providing refresher training for recalled reservists. Small detachments of the depot division are assigned these duties.

(2) Organizing and equipping new divisional units.

(3) Providing loss replacements for divisions and other active units, furnished by the divisional district in which the depot division is stationed.

(4) (a) Other functions are: recruiting and training nondivisional units located in the divisional district; supervising men transferred to the reserve and military training in the district's schools; and arranging for the return to Japan of casualties and the ashes of the dead.

(6) In some cases, a field division, which originally was raised in one of the divisional districts, will return to that district to rest and refit, and may absorb or take over the functions of the depot division.

b. Strength. The strength of depot divisions probably varies from 10,000 to 20,000, depending upon the number of conscripts and reservists being trained. Since depot divisions generally are organized to engage in field exercise and other forms of combined training, it is believed that after a brief period of field preparation, the units should be capable of engaging in combat, especially in defense of their homes areas.

c. Recruiting districts. Japan proper has 14 divisional recruiting districts (Shikan) divided into regimental districts (Rentaiku). Korea has two divisional recruiting districts, Ranan and Keijo, divided into military affairs districts (Heijiku). Formosa possibly has one divisional recruiting district, likewise divided into military affairs districts. While the exact functions of these military affairs districts are not established, it is believed that their principal duty is the recruitment of resident Japanese and natives.

d. Dispatch of troops to field. In war each divisional district dispatches to theaters of operations, or other assignments, several divisions and other units, including, for example, independent mixed brigades. This is accomplished by one or two methods.

(1) The method used in an emergency is to send to the field the bulk of the depot division, raising it to full strength with first reservists (Yobihei) and conscript reservists (Hojuhei), and retaining in the divisional district a small cadre for each unit of the depot division. The division sent to the field retains the number of the depot division. The depot division then is rebuilt by calling other conscripts and reservists to the colors.

(2) A second method is to form the new division from a small nucleus of each unit of the depot division by adding to this cadre a large number of reservists. Under this method the new division usually is mobilized in billets or camps in the vicinity of depot divisions, but it does not actually occupy peacetime barracks. Such a division is given a new numerical designation. It is likely that both methods, as well as variations of these methods, have been employed.

e. Names of depot divisions. Depot divisions are designated by the names of their home stations, as well as numerically, such as Nagoya or 3rd Depot Division. All depot divisions have been triangularized to accord with the general triangularization of field divisions. The Infantry Regiments left over when the depot divisions were triangularized are under the control of the District Army under whose jurisdiction they fall. They probably are used for the activation of new infantry units and possibly for furnishing replacements. A depot division at present, therefore, will probably be organized as follows:

Depot Division Headquarters.
Division Staff.
Military Affairs Department (Heimubu).
3 Infantry Regiments (Replacement Units (Hojutai)).
1 Artillery Regiment (Replacement Unit).
1 Cavalry or Reconnaissance Regiment (Replacement Unit).
1 Engineer Regiment (Replacement Unit).
1 Transport Regiment (Replacement Unit).
1 Medical Unit (Replacement Unit).
1 Signal Unit (Replacement Unit).
1 Hospital.
1 Supply and Repair Depot.
1 Horse Training Center.

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