6th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

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6th Division
IJA 23rd Infantry Regiment 2nd Battalion 1940.jpg
IJA 23rd Infantry Regiment 2nd Battalion seizing Shāshì city, 8 June 1940
Active 1888–1945
Country Empire of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Garrison/HQ Kumamoto City, Japan
Nickname(s) "Bright Division"
Engagements First Sino-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War

The 6th Division (第6師団 Dairoku shidan?) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Bright Division (明兵団 Akari-heidan?).


The 6th Division was formed in Kumamoto City on 12 May 1888, as one of the new divisions to be created after the reorganization of the Imperial Japanese Army away from six regional commands and into a divisional command structure, as per the recommendations of the Prussian military advisor Jakob Meckel to the Japanese government. Its troops were drawn primarily from the southern prefectures of Kyūshū.

It participated in combat during the First Sino-Japanese War at the Battle of Weihaiwei, and in Russo-Japanese War at the Battle of Shaho and the Battle of Mukden. In 1923, it was assigned to garrison duty in Manchuria, and from Manchuria sent detachments to participate in the Second Shandong Incident.

During the Manchurian Incident, the 6th Division was in Operation Nekka, to secure the western flank of Manchuria north of the Great Wall.

With the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the 6th Division participated in the Battle of Nanjing, Battle of Xuzhou and Battle of Wuhan before being withdrawn to Japan. It was then reassigned to the Japanese Seventeenth Army at Bougainville Island in the Solomon Islands, and was annihilated at Battle of Bougainville in 1945.

Some of the more noteworthy commanders in the history of the 6th Division include: Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa, Kuroki Tamemoto, Ōkubo Haruno, Akashi Motojiro, and Sadao Araki.


Its Order of Battle included:

See also[edit]

Reference and further reading[edit]

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