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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 III: Procurement of Officers

1. COMMISSIONED OFFICERS. a. General. (1) There are two general classifications of officer personnel in the Japanese Army: Regular Army officers and reserve officers. There are three distinct types of officers, depending upon their background and education.

(a) Those who have graduated through the full course at the Japanese Military Academy.

(b) Those who have obtained commissions either through the reserve officer candidate courses after serving in the ranks or direct from technical institutions.

(c) Former warrant and noncommissioned officers who have risen from the ranks.

(2) All candidates for commission serve as probational officers with their assigned units for a period of 2 to 6 months after completion of training.

b. Regular Army officers. These may be further classified according to their training as follows:

(1) Graduates of the Military Academy and the Air Academy as officers of the line branch.

(2) Graduates of technical and scientific institutions and of the Intendance School as officers of the services. Most of these are selected while still in school and are educated at government expense in specified universities and colleges which offer stipulated curricula. University graduates receive their commissions as first lieutenant.

(3) Selected warrant and noncommissioned officers in the active service under 38 years of age who became candidates for commission (Shōi Kōhosha) and received 1-year courses at the Military Academy, the Air Academy, the Military Police school, or other Army schools. In peacetime they do not usually advance beyond the grade of captain because of retirement for age.

c. Reserve officers. (1) These are made up chiefly of Class A reserve officer candidates (Kōshu Kambu Kōhosei) who have passed the necessary course. They are drawn from regular conscripts who have certain educational qualifications (formerly the equivalent of 2 years at high school, now lower). After 3 months of training in their unit, they become candidates, and after a further 3 months they are classified by examination into "A" candidates, those suitable for officers, and "B" candidates, those suitable for noncommissioned officers. The "A" candidates then are sent to one of the regular courses for reserve officer candidates. (Sec. IV, par. 3). Upon receiving a commission, in time of peace, they usually pass into the reserve from which they may be called to active duty in time of war. These reserve officers recalled to active duty (Shōshu Shōkō) comprise a large proportion of Japanese officers in the present war.

(2) There are recent announcements of a new system for training special reserve officer candidates by which boys between 15 and 20 years of age, with educations equivalent to the third year of middle school, may become noncommissioned officers at the end of 1 1/2 years' training. Then they become eligible for selection for training to become reserve officers or, by special examination, Regular Army officers. The branches open to the candidates are air, shipping troops, signal troops, technicians, and air technicians.

d. Special volunteer officers (Tokubetsu Shigan Shōkō). Until recently these were taken from field and company officers in the reserve who were allowed to volunteer for active service for a period of 2 years, and for additional periods of 1 year until they attained specified age limits. According to recent information, this designation appears now to be given regularly to young reserve officer candidates after they have served a probationary period with troops. Special volunteer officers may qualify by examination for a 1-year course at the Military Academy, after which they become special volunteer regular officers and may rise to be majors.

2. WARRANT AND NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICERS. Warrant officers (Junshikan) are usually selected by the promotion of noncommissioned officers and are treated as officers. There are only three ranks of noncommissioned officer (Kashikan): sergeant major; sergeant; and corporal. In addition to those obtained by regular promotion and those who are recalled to duty from the reserve, noncommissioned officers are recruited mainly from the following sources:

a. Noncommissioned officer schools. Conscripts who after about 3 months' active service in the Army volunteer to become noncommissioned officers and after 9 additional months in special training with troops are selected to become noncommissioned officer candidates (Kashikan Kōhosha). They are then given a period of training, formerly 1 year but now shortened, at one of the noncommissioned officer schools (Kyōdō Gakkō) or at one of the Army branch schools or service schools.

b. Class "B" reserve officer candidates.

c. Apprentices. Apprentices in the various units open to Army Youth Soldiers (Rikugun Shōnenhei)—see section IV, par. 1.

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