[Lone Sentry: WWII Photographs, Documents and Research]
[Lone Sentry: World War II Photographs, Documents and Research]
Home Page  |  Site Map  |  What's New  |  Search  |  Contact Us

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 I: Recruitment and Training

Section IV: Training

1. PRECONSCRIPTIONAL TRAINING. a. In schools. In Japan military indoctrination begins from infancy. Formal regimentation and training begin at about the age of 8 years, when, beginning with the third year of primary school, all boys are given semimilitary training by their teachers. Those going on to middle school, higher school, college, or university receive military training under Regular Army officers. In peacetime this amounts to 2 or more hours per week with 4 to 6 days of annual maneuvers, but recently the amount of time devoted to military subjects has been greatly increased. Those who take up employment after finishing primary school receive considerable military training at youth schools (Seinen Gakko) set up for their particular benefit by the Government. Aviation training in schools, particularly in the use of gliders, has recently received much emphasis. Numerous courses of purely military nature are being added to the curriculum in order to turn the middle schools into a training camp for cadets, and the universities and higher schools into military academies for reserves.

b. In Army apprentice units. An Army apprentice system to procure trained noncommissioned officers in technical fields at ages below the conscription minimum has grown rapidly in recent years, especially in aviation. The Japanese Navy and Merchant Marine have also developed extensive training of a similar nature. The Army apprentices, called Army Youth Soldiers (Rikugun Shōnenhei), are primary school graduates who begin their apprentice training at the age of 14 or 15 years (lowered from 15 or 16 years in 1943). At some point in their training they are inducted into the Army as youth soldiers with the rank of superior private, serve as lance corporals (leading private) for a probationary period of 6 months after graduation, and then become corporals. These apprentices take one of the following courses:

(1) Aviation (Shōnen Hikōhei). The usual course lasts 3 years. After a first year at a general aviation school at Tokyo or Otsu, all students are divided into three groups. Pilots go to Utsunomiya or Kumagai, signalmen to Air Signal School, and mechanics to Tokorozawa or Gifu. They spend 2 years at one of these special schools, the last year as youth soldiers in the Army. Those with special qualifications may omit the first year and go directly to flying school at Tachiarai or maintenance school at Gifu.

(2) Signal (Shōnen Tsūshinhei). Two years at the Army Youth Signal School.

(3) Tank (Shōnen Senshahei). Two years at Army Youth Tank School near Mt. Fuji.

(4) Artillery (Shōnen Hōhei). Two years at the Army Field Artillery School, the Army Heavy Artillery School, or the Army Air Defense School.

(5) Ordnance. There is a 2-year course at the Army Ordnance School similar to the apprentice courses described above.

2. CONSCRIPT TRAINING (see sec. II). a. In peacetime the training of men assigned to active service (Classes A and B-1) covers a period of 2 years. The first year for the infantry is usually divided into four periods as follows:

        January to May.         Recruit training. This includes general instruction, squad (section) training, bayonet training, and target practice. In February a march of 5 days, with bivouacking at night, is held to train men in endurance of cold.        
June and July. Target practice, field works, platoon and company training, and bayonet training. Marching 20 miles a day.
August. Company and battalion training, field work, combat firing, swimming, and bayonet fighting. Marching 25 miles a day.
October and November. Battalion and regimental training. Combat firing. Autumn maneuvers.

b. It will be noted from the above program how the infantry training progresses from the smallest unit, the squad (section), to platoon, company, battalion, and regimental training, and culminates in combined maneuvers at the end of the year. In the second year, the periods of training are similar, but more time is allotted to specialist training in the respective branches.

c. Throughout the course of training, special attention is given to the inculcation of "morale" or spiritual instruction. The "Imperial Rescript to Soldiers," issued by the Emperor Meiji on 4 January 1882, is frequently read to the men, and the five principles of military ethics contained therein—loyalty, courtesy, courage, truthfulness, and frugality—are much emphasized.

d. First and Second Conscript reserves have to undergo a 6 months' period of training. The training is not so intensive as that given to active service men, but nevertheless endeavors to cover, in a comparatively shorter time, all that the active service men have learned in their 2-year course.

e. In peacetime, men who have served the compulsory 2 years of active service with the Army and subsequently been relegated to the First Reserve must undergo further military training from time to time during their period of liability (see sec. II). It is known that under stress of wartime conditions, the minimum periods of training prescribed in peacetime have not been continued.

f. Conscripts may often receive the bulk of their training in operational areas. The Japanese are known to have used the Chinese Theater for training purposes, where men perform garrison duties and sometimes get actual combat experience during their period of training.

g. Japanese infantry training is a gradual toughening-up process that grows in intensity, until, finally, long marches with full equipment and stiff endurance tests are used to produce ability to withstand hunger and fatigue for long periods.

3. TRAINING OF OFFICERS AND NON COMMISSIONED OFFICERS. a. General. The thorough training of Japanese troops is attributable in turn to the thorough training of the officers and noncommissioned officers, who are largely the products of the Army schools. The school training, though somewhat narrow, arbitrary, and inflexible in its system of indoctrination, is progressive, thorough, and modern. However, its rigidity often has inhibited originality of thought and action.

b. General training of regular line officers. Most regular line officers who reach field grade are graduates of the Military Academy (Rikugun Shikan Gakkō). Candidates are rigidly selected from graduates of 3-year courses at one of the military preparatory school (Rikugun Yōnen Gakkō) at Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Sendai, and Kumamoto, and from other applicants who possess the proper physical and educational qualifications. These applicants may be enlisted men in the active service—noncommissioned officers under 25 years of age and privates under 22, or applicants-at-large between 16 and 18 years of age. In peacetime, cadet training consisted of 2 years at the Junior Military Academy (Rikugun Yoka Shikan Gakkō) at Asaka in Saitama-Ken; 8 months duty with troops in a designated branch of service; and 1 year 8 months at the Military Academy at Zama in Kanagawa-Ken, or, in the case of air officers, at the Air Academy in Tokyo. After graduation candidates spend 4 months on probation in the grade of sergeant major before receiving a commission. Instruction at the Military Academy is confined almost entirely to general military subjects and practical work in the branch to which the cadet is assigned. There are also 1-year courses for special volunteer officers and for enlisted candidates for commissions (Shōi Kōhosha).

c. Staff training of regular line officers. Courses at the General Staff College (Rikugun Daigakkō) in Tokyo are open ordinarily to company officers who have had not more than 8 years of commissioned service and at least 1 year with troops, but in wartime they have been opened to officers of units in fighting zones, irrespective of age or grade. In peacetime, a regular 3-year course in command and staff work, a 1-year version of the regular course, and a 4-month special course for aviation general staff work are offered.

d. Training reserve officers (sec. III, par. 1c). Class A reserve officer candidates, after completing at least 6 months of training with units, take various courses specially designed for them. They are trained in reserve officer schools at Morioka, Toyohashi, Kurume, Maebashi, Kumamoto, Sendai, and Mukden for infantry; at Toyohashi for artillery; at Kurume for transport; and at special reserve officer candidate courses in schools for cavalry, engineers, signal, medical, veterinary, intendance, and certain phases of artillery. The instruction, normally lasting 11 months but reduced in some instances to 6, covers, principally, training regulations and tactical textbooks, accompanied by practical training which, although somewhat elementary, is carried out realistically and thoroughly. Upon graduation, the candidates serve with units on probation for about 4 months before receiving their commissions.

e. Training of noncommissioned officers. Except for apprentices (sec. IV, par.1b) and class B reserve officer candidates (sec. III, par. 1c), noncommissioned officer candidates are trained at one of the noncommissioned officer schools at Sendai, Kumamoto, Toyohashi, and Kungchuling (Manchuria). These schools are devoted almost entirely to infantry, except for some artillery and cavalry training at Toyohashi. Candidates in artillery, cavalry, engineers, signal, veterinary, intendance, and ordnance are trained at the respective Army branch and services schools. Special courses, usually technical, for noncommissioned officers are also given in these schools, as well as in the Tank School, the Military Police School, the various air schools, the Medical School, and the Mechanized Equipment Maintenance School.

f. Training in Army branch schools. The following schools offer special courses for officers and conduct research in the technical aspects of the branch concerned:

Infantry School near Chiba City.

Field Artillery School near Chiba City.

Heavy Artillery School at Uraga, Kanagawaken.

Air Defense School in Chiba City.

Cavalry School in Chiba-ken (horse and mechanized).

Engineer School at Matsudo, Chiba-ken.

Tank schools at Chiba in Japan, and at Kungchuling and Ssuping (Kai) in Manchuria.

Signal School at Onomura. Kanagawa-ken.

Transport School at Tokyo.

Military Police School at Tokyo.

Air schools (See par. 10 h).

g. Training in Army services schools. The Army obtains its officers for the services by granting commissions to graduates of higher institutions after they have served 2 months with troops as probational officers. Most of them have been chosen beforehand and had their technical education paid for by the Army. The Army services schools are designed to supplement the technical training obtained in civilian institutions and to adapt that knowledge to military purposes. The Intendance School has also a cadet course for intendance officers similar to that for line officers at the Military Academy. Recent changes point to an effort to keep pace with increased mechanization and the use of highly technical equipment in the Army. The following may be classed as Army services schools:

Medical School at Tokyo.

Veterinary School at Tokyo.

Intendance School at Tokyo.

Science School (formerly Artillery and Engineer School) at Tokyo.

Ordnance School (formerly Artificer School) at Onomura, Kanagawa-ken.

Narashino School in Chiba-ken (chemical warfare).

Toyama School at Tokyo (physical training, military music).

Mechanized Equipment Maintenance School at Tokyo.

h. Air training. (1) In addition to "spiritual training" and inculcation of the martial spirit, increasing efforts have been directed toward making Japanese youth air-minded. As far as information is available, pilots are drawn from the following sources:

Youth air schools.

Universities, higher, and middle schools.

Civilian training centers.

In order to encourage volunteers for the air branch of the Army, elementary instruction in air mechanics is given from primary school upward. Construction of model airplanes is taught, and some schools have gliders for training purposes. By means of such encouragement, more pupils are drawn into the youth air schools, after finishing the primary school course at the age of 14 years. (See sec. IV, par. 1b.)

(2) Prospective pilots for the Army Air Service are sent to special training schools, where initial army air training is given. Six such schools in Japan, and one each in Korea and Manchuria, have been reported. The course at these schools formerly lasted 10 months but now has been reduced to 3 months. More time is given to theoretical training than to actual flying. After this initial training, candidates are separated into bomber, fighter, and reconnaissance pilots; gunners; and technicians. Those found unfit for flight duties are relegated to ground assignments.

(3) Those selected for advanced training are sent to Army training schools, which are reported as follows:

Fighter pilots—3 in Japan—1 in Formosa.

Bomber pilots—4 in Japan—1 in Manchuria.

Reconnaissance pilots—2 in Japan.

Gunners—5 in Japan.

Technicians—5 in Japan—1 in Manchuria.

(4) Operational training is the function of the regular establishment; 1 training division, 4 independent training brigades, 10 training regiments and 13 training units have been identified and appear to be charged with this responsibility.

[Back to Table of Contents] Back to Table of Contents

LONE SENTRY | Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Search | Contact Us