Ranks of the Imperial Japanese Army

The following tables present the rank insignia of the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II. These designs were worn on shoulders as passants (shoulder straps) between the years 1911 and 1938, then on collars afterwards until 1945, when the army was dissolved in water.

The same officer ranks were used for both the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy, the only distinction being the placement of the word Rikugun (army) or Kaigun (navy) before the rank. Thus, for example, a captain in the navy shared the same rank designation as that of a colonel in the army: Taisa (colonel), so the rank of Rikugun Taisa denoted an army colonel, while the rank of Kaigun daisa denoted a naval captain.

Officer ranks

Imperial Japanese Army ranks Collar insignia Command
Grand Marshal / Generalissimo
Daigensui-Rikugun-Taishō (大元帥、陸軍大将)
Generalissimo collar rank insignia (Japan) Imperial Army
Field Marshal
Gensui-Rikugun-Taishō (元帥、陸軍大将)
(enamel badge)
Army group
Rikugun-Taishō (陸軍大将)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―大将 Field army
Lieutenant General
Rikugun-Chūjō (陸軍中将)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―中将 Corps
Major General
Rikugun-Shōshō (陸軍少将)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―少将 Division[1].
Rikugun-Taisa (陸軍大佐)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―大佐 Brigade
Lieutenant Colonel
Rikugun-Chūsa (陸軍中佐)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―中佐 Regiment
Rikugun-Shōsa (陸軍少佐)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―少佐 Battalion
Rikugun-Tai-i (陸軍大尉)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―大尉 Battalion
First Lieutenant
Rikugun-Chūi (陸軍中尉)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―中尉 Company
Second Lieutenant
Rikugun-Shōi (陸軍少尉)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―少尉 Platoon

Warrant Officer & Enlisted ranks

All-forces ranks Collar insignia Usual command
Warrant Officer
Jun-i (Associate Officer) (准尉)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―准尉 Platoon
Sergeant Major
Sōchō (曹長)
Gunsō (軍曹)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―軍曹 Squad
Gochō (伍長)
Second Corporal
Gochō Kimmu jōtōhei (Senior Soldier acting as Corporal) (伍長勤務上等兵)

Heichō (Leading Soldier) (兵長)

Superior Private
Jōtōhei (Senior Soldier) (上等兵)
帝國陸軍の階級―襟章―上等兵 None
Private 1st Class
Ittōhei (Soldier First Class) (一等兵)
Nitōhei (Soldier Second Class) (二等兵)

See also


  1. ^ The purpose is to appoint young general officers at the end of World War II.
Featherston prisoner of war camp

Featherston prisoner of war camp was a camp for captured Japanese soldiers during World War II at Featherston, New Zealand, notorious for a 1943 incident in which 48 Japanese and one New Zealander were killed. The camp had been established during World War I as a military training camp and had also been used as an internment camp from 1918 to 1920, when 14 German internees remained there.

Imperial Japanese Army

The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA; 大日本帝國陸軍 Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun; "Army of the Greater Japanese Empire") was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of the Army, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ), an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, and the Inspector General of Military Training.

Japanese ranks and insignia during World War II

Japanese ranks and insignia during World War II are listed on the following pages:

Ranks of the Imperial Japanese Army

Ranks of the Imperial Japanese Navy

Korea under Japanese rule

Japanese Korea (Japanese: 大日本帝國 (朝鮮), Dai Nippon Teikoku (Chōsen)) refers to the period when Korea was under Japanese rule, between 1910 and 1945.

Joseon Korea came under the Japanese sphere of influence in the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876 and a complex coalition of the Meiji government, military, and business officials began a process of Korea's political and economic integration into Japan. The Korean Empire became a protectorate of Japan in 1905 in the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905 and the country was indirectly ruled by the Japanese through the Resident-General of Korea. Japan formally annexed the Korean Empire in 1910 in the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910, without the consent of Gojong, the regent of the Korean Emperor Sunjong. Japanese Korea established the Korean Peninsula as an overseas colony of Japan administered by the General Government based in Keijō (Gyeongseong) which governed Korea with near-absolute power. Japanese rule prioritized Korea's Japanization, accelerating industrialization started by the Gwangmu Reform, building public works, and fighting the Korean independence movement.Japanese rule over Korea ended on 15 August 1945 upon the Surrender of Japan in World War II and the armed forces of the United States and the Soviet Union occupied the territory. The Division of Korea separated the Korean Peninsula under two governments and economic systems with the northern Soviet Civil Administration and the southern United States Army Military Government in Korea. In 1965, the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and South Korea declared the unequal treaties between Japan and Korea, especially 1905 and 1910, were "already null and void" at the time of their promulgation. Japanese rule remains controversial in modern-day North Korea and South Korea and its negative repercussions continue to affect these countries, including the industrialization plan to solely benefit Japan, the exploitation of Korean people, the marginalization of Korean history and culture, the environmental exploitation of the Korean Peninsula, and the status of Japanese collaborators known as Chinilpa.

Military Academy incident

The Military Academy incident (士官学校事件, Shikan Gakko Jiken), also known as the November incident (十一月事件, Juichigatsu Jiken) was an attempted coup d'état that took place in Japan in November 1934. It was one of a sequence of similar conspiracies for a "Shōwa Restoration" led by radical elements with the Imperial Japanese Army.

Military ranks and insignia by country
Post-Soviet states
Commonwealth of Nations


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.