Japanese Commanders on Okinawa: (photographed early in February 1945). In center: (1) Admiral Minoru Ota, (2) Lt. Gen. Mitsuru Ushijima, (3) Lt. Gen. Isamu Cho, (4) Col. Hitoshi Kanayama, (5) Col. Kikuji Hongo, and (6) Col. Hiromichi Yahara.
The Japanese 32nd Army was formed on March 13, 1944 as part of the last desperate defense effort by the Empire of Japan to deter possible landings of Allied forces in Okinawa and the surrounding Ryukyu Islands. The Japanese 32nd Army had 77,000 men (39,000 infantry in 31 battalions and 38,000 artillery, armor and combat service troops) plus the 10,000 man Okinawa Naval Base Force and 42,000 Okinawan conscripts. However, many of its personnel were poorly trained reservists, conscripted students and home guard militia. It was annihilated during the Battle of Okinawa from April to June, 1945.