Japanese First Area Army

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Japanese First Area Army
Active July 2, 1942 - August 15, 1945
Country Empire of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Role Field Army
Garrison/HQ Mukden
Nickname(s) 鋭 (Ei = “sharp”)
Engagements Soviet invasion of Manchuria

The Japanese First Area Army (第1方面軍?, Dai-ichi hōmen gun) was a field army of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, based in northern Manchukuo and active in combat against the Soviet Union in the closing stages of the war.[1]


The Japanese 1st Area Army was formed on July 4, 1942 under the control of the Kwantung Army as a military reserve and garrison force to maintain security and public order in northern Manchukuo as many veteran divisions of the Kwangtung Army were transferred to the various southern fronts in the Pacific War. It consisted mostly of minimally-trained reservists, conscripted students and home guard militia, without adequate weapons or supplies. The 1st Area Army was headquartered in Dunhua, in what is now the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture of Jilin Province, China.

The units of the 1st Area Army proved to be no match for the Red Army when the Soviet Union invaded Manchukuo at the end of World War II. Without adequate armor, ammunition or leadership, many units broke and fled, or surrendered en masse.[2] Many surviving soldiers of the 1st Area Army, including its commanding officer General Seiichi Kita, became prisoners in Siberia and other parts of the Soviet Union after the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945.[3]

List of Commanders[edit]

Commanding officer[edit]

Name From To
1 General Tomoyuki Yamashita 1 July 1942 26 September 1944
2 General Seiichi Kita 26 September 1944 15 August 1945

Chief of Staff[edit]

Name From To
1 Major General Kitsuju Ayabe 1 July 1942 7 December 1942
2 Major General Tsunamasa Shidei 7 December 1942 16 October 1944
3 Major General Tadao Teragaki 16 October 1944 1 April 1945
4 Major General Ryozo Sakurai 1 April 1945 15 August 1945



  • Frank, Richard B (1999). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-41424-X. 
  • Glantz, David (2003). The Soviet Strategic Offensive in Manchuria, 1945 (Cass Series on Soviet (Russian) Military Experience, 7). Routledge. ISBN 0-7146-5279-2. 
  • 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. 
  • Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi. Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan. Belknap Press. ISBN 0-674-01693-9. 

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Jowett, The Japanese Army 1931-45
  2. ^ Glantz, The Soviet Strategic Offensive in Manchuria, 1945
  3. ^ Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire