4th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

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4th Division
Type 92 Heavy Machine Gun2.jpg
A soldier of the IJA 4th Division firing type 92 heavy machine
gun during the 1st round of Chángshā operation.
Near Miluo river (汨水), Húnán Province, China.
Active 1888 - 1945
Country  Empire of Japan
Branch War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army.svg Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Garrison/HQ Osaka City, Japan
Nickname(s) Yodo Division
Engagements First Sino-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
Siberian Intervention
Shandong Incident
World War II
Disbanded 1945
Takashima Tomonosuke
Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa
Ichinohe Hyoe
Abe Nobuyuki
Terauchi Hisaichi
Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko
Tomoyuki Yamashita.
HQ of the 4th Division in Osaka, Japan.

The 4th Division (第4師団 Daiyon shidan?) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call-sign was Yodo Division (淀兵団 Yodo-heidan?) (from the Yodo River).


The 4th Division was formed in Osaka City in January 1871 as the Osaka Garrison (大阪鎮台 Osaka chindai?), one of six regional commands created in the fledgling Imperial Japanese Army. The Osaka Garrison had responsibility for central region of Honshū (Kansai district), ranging from Shiga Prefecture to Hyōgo Prefecture. The six regional commands were transformed into divisions under the army reorganization of 14 May 1888.

Early action[edit]

The 4th regional command have played a vital role in the defeat of the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877.

During the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, the 4th division has landed on Liaodong Peninsula and performed a security duties as part of army reserve, though its 7th Mixed Brigade was sent to northern Formosa in September 1895 during the Japanese invasion of Taiwan, and helped to pacify the Kapsulan (Yilan) district.[1]

During the Russo-Japanese War, the division, led by Lieutenant General Ogawa Mataji, participated in Battle of Nanshan, Battle of Liaoyang (where commander was wounded and replaced by by Lieutenant General Tsukamoto Katsuyoshi), Battle of Shaho and the Battle of Mukden.

The division later served in the Siberian Intervention and the Jinan Incident (1928).

Action in Second Sino-Japanese War and Pacific War[edit]

On 10 February 1937, the 4th Division came under the command of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria. It was transferred to the 11th Army on 1 July 1940. It participated in Central Hubei Operation, Battle of South Henan, and Jiangbei operation (attacking from northern Anlu). In September 1941, the division participated in Battle of Changsha (1941). From 11 June 1941, it has started reorganization to triangular division, giving 70th infantry regiment to 425th division and eventually transferred to the active reserve force in the Japanese home islands.

In March 1942, the reorganization was complete and 4th divsions was then reassigned to the 14th Army, arriving to Philippines to participate in the Battle of Bataan 3 April 1942 The 4th division also significantly contributed to Japanese efforts in the Battle of Corregidor 5 May 1942. After a Philippines Campaign (1941–42) ended 8 May 1942, the division was returned to home islands to perform a security duties.

It came under the control of the 25th Army in September 1943. It performed a garrison duties on Sumatra. Assigned to the 15th Army in 1945, its final headquarters was in Lampang, Thailand. It was disbanded at the end of World War II.

Memorial headquarters building[edit]

The original headquarters for the 4th Division was Osaka Castle. When the castle was reconstructed in 1931, a new headquarters building was erected within the castle grounds as short distance away by donations raised from the citizens of Osaka, so that the castle and its immediate surroundings could be made into a public park. In 1940, the headquarters moved again, this time to Hōkoku Shrine (Osaka) area.

The divisional arsenal in Osaka has detonated 14 August 1945 due Allied bombing, resulting in light damage to the headquarters buildings. By 2013, headquarters building remains as war memorial within the Osaka Castle Park.

Noted commanders in the history of the 4th Division have included Takashima Tomonosuke, Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa, Ichinohe Hyoe, Abe Nobuyuki, Terauchi Hisaichi, Prince Higashikuni Naruhiko and Tomoyuki Yamashita.

Orders of battle[edit]

Order of battle, 1937, square division[edit]

4th Division

  • 7th Infantry Brigade
    • 8th Infantry Regiment
    • 70th Infantry Regiment
  • 32nd Infantry Brigade
    • 37th Infantry Regiment
    • 61st Infantry Regiment
  • 4th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 4th Cavalry Regiment
  • 4th Engineer Regiment
  • 4th Transport Regiment

Order of battle, August 1941, triangular division[edit]

4th Division

  • 4th Infantry Brigade Group
    • 8th Infantry Regiment (Osaka)
    • 37th Infantry Regiment (Osaka)
    • 61st Infantry Regiment (Wakayama)
  • 4th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 4th Reconnaissance regiment
  • 4th Engineer Regiment
  • 4th Transport (logistics) Regiment
  • Signals company
  • Ordnance workshop
  • Sanitation company

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Davidson, The Island of Formosa, 353–4

Reference and further reading[edit]

  • Madej, W. Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945 [2 vols] Allentown, PA: 1981

External links[edit]