Japan's Army during Meiji and Taisho Eras : 1868 - 1926
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Japan’s Army during the Meiji and Taisho Eras

Ministry of War and Army Ministry  Army Ministry extra-ministerial bureaus, etc.   General Staff Office, etc.
Educational Institutions   Colonial Administrative and Military Organizations  Wartime Organizations
Imperial Guards Bureau and Army Garrison  Division  Capital Defense Organizations



Bibliography  Materials publicly released by JACAR  Materials publicly released by other organizations


The year 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of national armed forces by the Meiji Government. In 1871, the Meiji Government first created armed forces under the government control by unifying armed groups which had previously been organized by feudal domains. The Meiji Government also divided the country into several regions and established army garrisons for each region. In 1871, the Meiji Government also created the departments of Army and Navy within the Ministry of War.

On this occasion, we compiled a collection of terms related to the Imperial Army of Japan by focusing on the Meiji and Taisho periods. It covers the formation of Japan’s modern military, the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, and the Siberian Intervention. It is our hope that this new collection of JACAR Glossary will help you better understand the history of the Japanese army. Please note that this new collection does not cover the Showa era.  

Japan Center for Asian Historical Records, National Archives of Japan
June 2021

The terms fall into following nine categories : (1) Central government organizations charged with military affairs ; (2)Extra-ministerial bureaus and organizations established within the Army Ministry; (3)General Staff Office,etc. ; (4)Educational institutions; (5)Government administration and military organizations in colonial Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan; (6) Military organizations created during the war years; (7)Battle orders as partitioned by designated district throughout the country (by garrison) ; (8) Battle orders as partitioned by designated district throughout the country (by army corps) ; and (9) Organizations tabbed to defend the capital (Teito).

Military Terminology
Kusho 区処: An instruction given by government agencies or military commanders without regular command position to perform particular mission upon the delegation of authority by relevant superior agency or commander.

Eiju 衛戍: To station army troops at a particular place permanently.

Reika 隷下: To indicate an intrinsically subordinate relationship. In contrast, shikika 指揮下 indicates being under command in a more general sense.

Reference Codes
Reference codes are appended to each item. Please use these codes when you wish to search for and view records in the database related to those items.

With respect to those organizations (e.g., Non-Commissioned Officers Training Unit, the military police in Korea) for which records are lacking to present the organizational structure or historical background to the item in question, the reference code search will yield one record that at least contains mention of the item in question as an example.

This bibliography covers texts and articles that were consulted in drafting the Glossary. It also includes other literature which helps you understand the history of Japan’s army during the Meiji and Taisho periods.

Senshi sōsho [War History Series] can be read at the website of Japan's National Institute for Defense Studies. Certain of the texts (e.g., Rikugun gun'i gakkō 50-nenshi, Rikugun keiri gakkō enkaku ryakushi, etc.) can be viewed through the digital collection of Japan's National Diet Library.