9th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)
9th Division HQ at Kanazawa, Japan
|Active||1 October 1898 - 1945|
|Country||Empire of Japan|
|Branch||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Garrison/HQ||Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan|
Japanese intervention in Siberia
Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II
The 9th Division was one of six infantry divisions newly raised by the Imperial Japanese Army after the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895). The division received its colors on 1 October 1898. Its troops were recruited primarily from communities in the Hokuriku region of Japan (Ishikawa, Toyama and Fukui, with its headquarters located within the grounds of Kanazawa Castle.
The first commander of the 9th Division was Lieutenant General Ōshima Hisanao, who commanded the division as part of General Nogi Maresuke's Japanese Third Army in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. At the Siege of Port Arthur the division took massive casualties making repeated direct frontal assaults on fortified Russian positions, and lost off of its regimental commanders. Survivors were further mauled at the subsequent Battle of Mukden, and even the commander of the division’s field artillery regiment was a casualty.
After the Russo-Japanese War, the division was assigned to garrison duty in Korea for two years, before being withdrawn to Japan. Its new divisional headquarters building within the moats of Kanazawa Castle was completed in April 1916.
Second Sino-Japanese War
In January 1932, the division participated in the first Shandong Intervention under the command of Lieutenant General Kenkichi Ueda, and from 1935 to 1937, the division was stationed as a garrison force in Manchuria. It was withdrawn back to Japan in February 1937.
The 9th Division was quickly redeployed to China immediately after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in September 1937 as part of the Shanghai Expeditionary Army and participated in the Second Battle of Shanghai, and the subsequent drive inland to the Battle of Nanking. Troops from the division were also implicated in the subsequent Nanjing Massacre. From February 1938, the division came under the command of the Central China Expeditionary Army and was in the Battle of Xuzhou. From 22 August 1938 the division was reassigned to the IJA 11th Army and fought at the Battle of Wuhan. In June 1939, the division was ordered back to Japan.
World War II
After the start of World War II, the 9th Division, under the command of Lieutenant General Kiichiro Higuchi, came under the control of the IJA 3rd Army and was assigned to Manchukuo as garrison force responsible for border security and internal police duties. However, as the situation in the Pacific War against the United States began rapidly deteriorating from 1943, and following the Battle of Saipan in July 1944, the 9th Division was reassigned to the IJA 32nd Army based in Okinawa. Under the direction of IJA 32nd Army strategist, Colonel Hiromichi Yahara, the division established its first defensive line at Shuri Castle, with its fall-back position at the village of Ōzato, in southern Okinawa Island. However, in December, the division was ordered to relocate to Taipei, as the Imperial General Headquarters decided that Taiwan was a more probable target for invasion than Okinawa. However, the Allies chose instead to bypass Taiwan, and invaded Okinawa in April 1945. The 9th Division thus escaped World War II intact, without having seen any combat at all.
- Madej, W. Victor, Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945 [2 vols], Allentown, PA: 1981
- Matsusaka, Yoshihisa Tak (2003). The Making of Japanese Manchuria, 1904-1932. Harvard University Asia Center. isbn = 0-674-01206-2.
- Stephen R. MacKinnon, includes photographs by Robert Capa, Wuhan, 1938: War, Refugees, and the Making of Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008).
- Kowner, Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War, p. 107.