[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 VI: Morale, Discipline, and Efficiency

1. MORALE. a. The individual Japanese soldier's whole outlook and attitude to life are naturally influenced by his home life, his schooling, his particular social environment with its innumerable repressing conventions, and his military training.

b. In the Japanese social system, individualism has no place. Children are taught that, as members of the family, they must obey their parents implicitly and, forgetting their own selfish desires, help each and every one of the family at all times. This system of obedience and loyalty is extended to the community and Japanese life as a whole; it permeates upward from the family unit through neighborhood associations, schools, factories, and other larger organizations, till finally the whole Japanese nation is imbued with the spirit of self-sacrifice, obedience, and loyalty to the Emperor himself.

c. Superimposed on this community structure is the indoctrination of ancestor worship and of the divine origin of the Emperor and the Japanese race. Since the restoration of the Imperial rule in 1868 the Japanese Government has laid much stress on the divine origin of the race and its titular head, and has amplified this teaching by describing Japan's warlike ventures as "divine missions." Famous examples of heroism and military feats in Japan's history are extolled on stage and screen, in literature, and on the radio; hero worship is encouraged. Regimentation of the Japanese national life by government authorities, with their numerous and all-embracing regulations, has been a feature for many centuries.

d. Throughout his military training the Japanese soldier is not allowed to forget all he has been taught in the home, school, or factory. It is drummed into him again and again while his military training proceeds by repeated lectures from unit commanders, given under the guise of "spiritual training" (Seishin Kyoiku). The object of all this concentrated spiritual training is to imbue the Japanese soldier with a spirit which can endure and even be spurred on to further endeavors when the hardships of warfare are encountered. But even though his officers appear to have an ardor which might be called fanaticism, the private soldier is characterized more by blind and unquestioning subservience to authority. The determination of the Japanese soldier to fight to the last or commit suicide rather than be taken prisoner, displayed in the early stages of the war, may be prompted partly by fear of the treatment he may receive at the hands of his captors. More likely it is motivated by the disgrace which he realizes would be brought on his family should he fall into the enemy's hands.

2. DISCIPLINE. a. Because of his training and background the Japanese soldier is generally well disciplined and very amenable to law and order. With firm leadership, the discipline to which he has been accustomed in Japan can be, and usually is, maintained in the field and in territories under Japanese occupation.

b. Elated with success in war and imbued with the idea of Japanese racial superiority, the Japanese soldier is apt to adopt a superior attitude towards conquered people and to forget the strict instructions given him during military training. Numerous instances of breaches of the military laws have occurred, and evidence shows that crimes of rape, plundering, drunkenness, and robbery have been committed. Cases of soldiers deserting their posts, or mutilating themselves in order to avoid taking part in combat, are not unknown, and a few cases of insubordination and desertion also have been reported.

3. EFFICIENCY. It already has been shown (par. 1) that the Japanese soldier in civilian life is a subservient unit in the Japanese family system, and that individualism is discouraged. In the army his position is similar. Army training and the Japanese social system place emphasis on teamwork rather than on individual enterprise. As a member of a squad (section), platoon, or company, the Japanese soldier meticulously performs duties allotted to him; he is an efficient cog in the machine and will carry out instructions to the letter.

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

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