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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 I: Recruitment and Training

Section V: Promotion, Pay and Awards

1. PROMOTION. a. A recruit entering the Army is given the rank of 2nd-class private and, as a rule, is automatically promoted to 1st-class private after 6 months. According to regulations, the minimum time in which promotion may be made from 1st-class private to superior private is one year, and from superior private to lance corporal 6 months; nevertheless, qualified 1st-class privates have been promoted to the superior grade within 6 months.

b. Enlisted men can be promoted to the various ranks of noncommissioned and warrant officers without taking the course at a noncommissioned officers' school, provided they have the necessary qualifications. Minimum time limits within which promotion can be made to a higher rank, after assumption of the preceding lower rank, have been laid down, by Imperial Ordinance as follows:

To corporal, after 1 year as lance corporal (leading private).

To sergeant, after 1 year as corporal.

To sergeant major, after 2 years as sergeant.

To warrant officer, after 4 years as sergeant major.

c. All noncommissioned officer promotions are subject to recommendation and selection, and in time of war the process of promotion is considerably accelerated in accordance with the demands of the situation. Men who have taken courses at noncommissioned officers' schools may gain promotion more rapidly than those who have not done so.

d. Minimum periods of service in any one rank before promotion can be attained have also been laid down for officers. However, according to an Imperial Ordinance promulgated in March 1941, both officers and enlisted men can be advanced by as much as two grades at a time for particularly meritorious service in the field, distinguished service in military affairs, retirement from service because of wounds or illness, or, posthumously, if killed in battle. As a rule company officers must serve 3 years with troops before promotion to field officers, and field officers 2 years before promotion to general officers, but in wartime exceptions to this rule are made. General officers are appointed by the Emperor from lists of eligible officers submitted by the Minister of War. Other officers are appointed by the Minister of War with the Emperor's approval. Commanders of independent units, in appropriate cases, may be especially entrusted with the power to determine promotion.

2. PAY. a. The basic rates of pay of Japanese officers and men would be considered low, judged by American and European standards. Japanese standards of living are lower, but in recognition of rising living costs in Japan and the resultant need to safeguard the livelihood of the soldier's dependents, additional pay is now allowed to all ranks. These payments range from 80 percent to a little more than 100 percent of basic pay, according to the country or area in which the soldier is called upon to serve. Overseas pay was also formerly given for service in Formosa, Manchuria, and Korea, but the rates of pay listed below are believed to represent those now in force.

b. Extra pay is also granted to technicians and bandsmen; warrant and noncommissioned officers in the Military police; and personnel employed as interpreters. Pay to both officers and enlisted personnel varies according to the length of service within each grade. Officers are usually paid in the last 10 days of each month, and other ranks every 10 days. Before going into the field 10 days' pay or more may be advanced. Japanese Army pay books, which have thin khaki covers, are usually carried on the person; in them the owner's name and the name or code number of his unit will normally be found.

c. The following table shows the basic rates of pay in the Japanese Army (figures in Japanese Yen per month).

General     550.00
Lieutenant general483.33
Major general418.66
Colonel310.00-370.00     (Three pay classes.)
Lieutenant colonel220.00-310.00(Four pay classes.)
Majors170.00-220.00(Four pay classes.)
Captain122.00-155.00(Three pay classes.)
First lieutenant  85.00-  94.16(Two pay classes.)
Second lieutenant  70.83
Probational officer  25.00-  40.00
Warrant officer  80.00-110.00(Four pay classes.)
Sergeant major  32.00-  75.00(Four pay classes.)
Sergeant  23.00-  30.00(Three pay classes.)
Corporal  20.00
Lance corporal (leading private)  13.50
Superior private  10.50
First-class private    9.00
Second-class private    6.00-    9.00(For grades B and A respectively.)
Prior to 7 December 1941, one yen was approximately equivalent to 23 cents (U.S.) and 1s/2d (British).

3. DECORATIONS AND AWARDS. The granting of medals, decorations, and citations for valor, distinguished and meritorious service, good conduct, and long service figures prominently in the Japanese military system. In peace, decorations are awarded by boards assembled at the War Ministry or important military stations, on the recommendation of divisional commanders. In the field, Army commanders may award up to and including the fifth class of the Order of the Golden Kite. All awards are finally approved by the War Ministry Boards, and decorations are issued, with a certificate from the Emperor, to the commanders of units concerned. They are distributed to officers by the divisional commander and to enlisted men by the unit commander. Decorations are returned to the War Ministry on the death of the recipient. All soldiers who have served with good conduct in a campaign receive a decoration or medal of some kind. A list of the principal decorations awarded in the Japanese Army will be found under Chapter XI.

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