Eastern District Army (Japan)

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Eastern District Army
Active November 16, 1923 - November 30, 1945
Country Empire of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Role Field Army
Engagements Operation Downfall

The Eastern District Army (東部軍, Tōbugun) was a field army of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for the defense of the Kantō region and northern Honshū during the Pacific War. It was one of the regional commands in the Japanese home islands reporting to the General Defense Command.

History[edit]

The Eastern District Army was established on 16 November 1923 in the aftermath of the Great Kantō earthquake as the Tokyo Defense Headquarters (東京警備司令部, Tokyo Keibi Shireibu). It was essentially a home guard and garrison, responsible for recruitment and civil defense training to ensure the security of Tokyo, Yokohama, and the surrounding areas.

On 1 August 1935, the Tokyo Defense Headquarters was renamed the Eastern Defense Command. On 1 August 1940, it was renamed again as the Eastern Army, which became the Eastern District Army on 1 February 1945.

The Eastern District Army existed concurrently with the Japanese 12th Area Army, which was tasked with organizing the final defenses of Tokyo against the expected American invasion of the Japanese home islands.

The Eastern District Army played an especially significant role in combating the 15 August 1945 attempted coup d'etat of Major Kenji Hatanaka, who sought to prevent the Emperor's announcement of Japan's surrender from being broadcast. At the time, the commander of the Eastern District Army was Lieutenant General Shizuichi Tanaka.

Support of the Eastern District Army was essential to Hatanaka's plan to take over the Imperial Palace, and so Hatanaka exhorted General Tanaka to aid him. Tanaka refused, and later told his men to ignore Strategic Order 584, forged by Hatanaka and ordering the Eastern District Army to seize and defend the Imperial Palace; in short, to aid in the coup. Rather than send in his men to defeat the rebels by force, Tanaka traveled to the Imperial Palace and spoke to Hatanaka and the other rebel leaders personally, haranguing them, and putting an end to the rebellion.

The Eastern District Army remained active for several months after the surrender of Japan to help maintain public order until the arrival of the American occupation forces, and to oversee the final demobilization and dissolution of the Imperial Japanese Army.

Commanders[edit]

Commanding officer[edit]

Name From To
1 General Hanzo Yamanashi 16 November 1923 20 August 1924
2 General Shinnosuke Kikuchi 20 August 1924 2 March 1926
3 Field Marshal Nobuyoshi Muto 2 March 1926 28 July 1926
4 General Nen Isomura 28 July 1926 10 August 1928
5 General Shikitaro Kishimoto 10 August 1928 1 August 1929
6 Lieutenant General Naotoshi Hasegawa 1 August 1929 22 December 1930
7 Lieutenant General Yasakichi Hayashi 22 December 1930 29 February 1932
8 Lieutenant General Kiyoshi Kihara 29 February 1932 18 March 1933
9 Lieutenant General Noriyuki Hayashi 18 March 1933 5 March 1934
10 General Giichi Nishi 5 March 1934 2 December 1935
11 Lieutenant General Kohei Kashii 2 December 1935 2 April 1936
12 Lieutenant General Koichi Iwakoshi 2 April 1936 2 August 1937
13 General Kotaro Nakamura 2 August 1937 23 June 1938
14 Lieutenant General Bunzaburo Kawagishi 23 June 1938 1 December 1939
15 Lieutenant General Shiro Inaba 1 December 1939 15 October 1941
16 General Shizuichi Tanaka 15 October 1941 24 December 1941
17 General Kotaro Nakamura 24 December 1941 1 May 1943
18 General Kenji Doihara 1 May 1943 22 March 1944
19 General Keisuke Fujie 22 March 1944 9 March 1945
20 General Shizuichi Tanaka 9 March 1945 22 August 1945
21 General Kenji Doihara 22 August 1945 23 September 1945
22 General Kenzo Kitano 23 September 1945 30 November 1945

Chief of Staff[edit]

Name From To
1 Lieutenant General Shinji Hata 17 November 1923 2 March 1926
2 Lieutenant General Yataka Nakaoka 2 March 1926 20 May 1928
3 Lieutenant General Okiie Usami 30 May 1928 1 August 1929
4 Lieutenant General Toranosuke Hashimoto 1 August 1929 1 August 1931
5 Major General Shozo Shima 1 August 1931 18 March 1933
6 Lieutenant General Kamezo Odaka 18 March 1933 1 August 1935
7 Lieutenant General Touji Yasui 1 August 1935 2 August 1937
8 General Teiichi Yoshimoto 2 August 1937 20 June 1938
9 Lieutenant General Ryotaro Nakai 15 July 1938 9 March 1939
10 Lieutenant General Takuma Nishimura 9 March 1939 5 September 1940
11 Lieutenant General Haruki Isayama 5 September 1940 28 June 1941
12 Major General Suguru Kitajima 28 June 1941 29 September 1942
13 Lieutenant General Eiichi Tatsumi 30 September 1942 1 March 1945
14 Major General Tatsuhiko Takashima 1 March 1945 30 November 1945

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Brooks, Lester (1968). Behind Japan's Surrender: The Secret Struggle That Ended an Empire. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company. 
  • Drea, Edward J. (1998). "Japanese Preparations for the Defense of the Homeland & Intelligence Forecasting for the Invasion of Japan". In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1708-0. 
  • Frank, Richard B (1999). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-41424-X. 
  • Jowett, Bernard (1999). The Japanese Army 1931-45 (Volume 2, 1942-45). Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-354-3. 
  • Madej, Victor (1981). Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945. Game Publishing Company. ASIN: B000L4CYWW. 
  • Marston, Daniel (2005). The Pacific War Companion: From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-882-0. 
  • Skates, John Ray (1994). The Invasion of Japan: Alternative to the Bomb Downfall. New York: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-972-3. 

External links[edit]