8th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

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8th Division
Active 1898- 1945
Country Empire of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Garrison/HQ Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan
Nickname(s) Cedar Division (杉兵団 Sugi-heidan?)
Engagements Russo-Japanese War
Manchurian Incident
Pacific War
Tatsumi Naofumi
Jinzaburō Mazaki
Toshinari Maeda

The 8th Division (第8師団 Dai-hachi Shidan?) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. It was formed 1 October 1898 in Hirosaki, Aomori, as one of the six new reserve divisions created after the First Sino-Japanese War and was annihilated at Rodriguez, Rizal in 1945. Notably, Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese holdout, from the 8th Division has continued fighting until been relieved from duty 9 March 1974. The 8th division has consisted of troops from the Tōhoku region of Japan, primarily Aomori Prefecture, Akita Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture. Its first commander was General Tatsumi Naofumi, formerly commander of the Sendai Garrison.


As the tensions with Russia grew after the First Sino-Japanese War and Triple Intervention, the 8th Division has engaged in intensive cold-climate training, setting the stage for the infamous Hakkōda Mountains incident in January 1902, where 199 of 210 members of the 5th Infantry Regiment froze to death in Hakkōda Mountains.

After the Russo-Japanese War has started, the 8th division was mobilized in June 1904, but remained in reserve until reinforcing Japanese forces in Battle of Sandepu in January 1905. It acted with distinction, repelling Russian onslaught together with the 5th division. In February 1905, the division have participated in Battle of Mukden. From 1910, it was assigned to garrison duties in Korea, and it also participated in the Siberian Intervention starting in 1921. During Siberian Intervention, the 8th division was assigned to garrison the Khabarovsk Krai and Amur Oblast.

The 8th division (initially only 4th Brigade has participated in the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in the aftermath of the Mukden Incident in September 1931, there it participated in the Pacification of Manchukuo from November 1931. From 1937, the 8th division was subordinated to the Kwantung Army. 13 January 1938, the division was assigned to 3rd army while staying in Suiyang County. In 1939, its 32nd Infantry Regiment was transferred to the newly formed 24th Division, thus converting 8th division to triangular format.

19 September 1941, the 8th division was subordinated to the 20th army to perform a defense duties at Soviet Union border, together with 25th division. In February 1944, a three detachments were formed (infantry battalion, artillery battalion and engineers company). These were combined into 11th independent mixed regiment, and sent to Poluwat in June 1944. Because of the lack of food and large number of wounded due American air raids, two of free battalions were moved to Chuuk Lagoon in September 1944.

In July 1944, the 8th Division was reassigned from Mudanjiang to the Philippines under the command of General Yamashita Tomoyuki's 14th Area Army. Sea transfer of headquarters and someto Luzon has started 10 August 1944 and was complete 22 September 1944.[1] The 5th infantry regiment of 8th division was transferred to Leyte in late July 1944, and by late December 1944 was nearly completely annihilated during the course of the Battle of Leyte. The division parts still in Luzon were assigned to the 41st army 1 January 1945 and suffered heavy losses during Battle of Manila in January 1945.

The 8th division ceased fighting 2 September 1945 in Rodriguez, Rizal due surrender of Japan. Dissolution of the division was complete in December 1947.

See also[edit]


  • Madej, W. Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945 [2 vols]. Allentown, PA: 1981
  • This article incorporates material from the Japanese Wikipedia page 第8師団 (日本軍)