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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 I: General

1. ARMS AND SERVICES. The personnel of the Japanese Army is classified as follows:

a. Line branch (Heika). The various arms—Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Engineers, Air Service, and Transport—since 1940 have been grouped under the generic term of Line Branch. This change permits the easy shifting of personnel from one arm to another, but it has not changed the basic functions of the component arms. The personnel is listed without specific designation—that is, Army captain instead of Army Infantry captain.

b. Services (Kakubu). These include the Medical, Veterinary, Intendance, Technical, Judicial, and Military Band departments. Personnel is listed by service—for example, Army veterinary captain or Army technician corporal.

c. Military police branch (Kempei). Formerly listed with the arms, the Military Police branch continues to use a specific designation for personnel—for example, Army Military Police major.

d. Categories for assignment. The following table shows the official categories (Heishu) used for assignments in the Japanese Army. It will be noted that the categories differ slightly for officers and enlisted men—for example, privates are not assigned to chemical warfare, meteorological, and special motor transport, but are detached from other units for such service.

Officers          Warrant and noncommissioned officers          Privates
InfantryIn the Line Branch they are classifiedInfantry.
Chemical warfare    according to the type of unit inTank.
Mechanized (including cavalry)    which they serve.Cavalry.
Field and mountain (light) artillery Field (light) artillery.
  Mountain (light) artillery.
  Horse (light) artillery.
Medium artillery Medium artillery.
Heavy artillery Heavy artillery.
Antiaircraft defense Antiaircraft defense.
Balloon Balloon.
Engineers Engineers.
Air (Kōkū) Air (Hikō).
Railway Railway.
Signal (Denshin) Signal (Tsūshin).
Transport Transport.
Special motor transport.
Infantry mortar Infantry mortar.
Technical department:Technical department:Technical department:
    Technician    Technician    Technician
    Air technician    Air technician    Air technician
Intendance departmentIntendance department:
    Finance    Finance.
     Construction technician.
     Intendance technician.
Medical department:Medical department:Medical department:
    Sanitary    SanitarySanitary
    Dental    Ward master.
Veterinary department:Veterinary department:
    Veterinary duties    Veterinary duties.
Judicial department.
Military BandMilitary Band.

2. RANKS. Below is a tabulation of the various grades in the Japanese Army, their Japanese names, and their normal command. It should be noted that the Japanese have no brigadier-general rank. It also will be noted that one new grade has been added for enlisted men, a rank corresponding to lance corporal but listed among privates (Hei) rather than among noncommissioned officers (Kashikan). The rank of field marshal (Gensui) is not included in the list, since it is an honorary rank granted by the Emperor to generals.

Grade              Name              Normal command
GeneralTaishōArmy commander.
Lieutenant generalChūjoDivision commander.
Major generalShōshōInfantry group or brigade commander.
ColonelTaisa Regimental commander.
Lieutenant colonelChūsaSecond-in-command of regiment.
MajorShōsaBattalion commander.
CaptainTai-iCompany commander.
First lieutenantChū-iPlatoon commander.
Second lieutenantShō-iPlatoon commander.
Warrant officerJun-iCommand and administrative duties.
Sergeant majorSōchōFirst sergeant.
SergeantGunsōSquad (section) leader.
CorporalGochōSquad (section) leader.
Lance corporal (leading private)Heichō
Superior privateJōtōhei
First-class privateIttōhei
Second-class privateNitōhei

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