Western District Army (Japan)

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Western District Army
Active August 1, 1937 – November 30, 1945
Country Empire of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Role Field Army
Engagements Operation Downfall

The Western District Army (西部方面軍, Seibu-hōmen gun) was a regional command of the Imperial Japanese Army (equivalent to a field army) responsible for the defense of the Kantō region and western Honshū, Shikoku and Kyūshū 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 Western District Army was established on 2 August 1937 as part of the regional realignment of the Imperial Japanese Army as the Western Defense Command (西部防衛司令部, Seibu Boei Shireibu). It was essentially a home guard and garrison responsible for recruitment and civil defense.

On 1 August 1940, it was renamed again as the Western Army (西部軍, Seibu-gun), which became the Western District Army on 1 February 1945.

The Western District Army existed concurrently with the Japanese 16th Area Army and the Japanese 15th Area Army, which were tasked with organizing the final defenses of Kyūshū and Shikoku against the expected American invasion of the Japanese home islands. The Western District Army assumed all administrative functions, whereas the individual area armies were operational combat commands.

The Western 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 Lieutenant General Tomou Kodama 2 August 1937 15 July 1938
2 Lieutenant General Takuro Matsui 15 July 1938 9 March 1940
3 Lieutenant General Heitaro Kamimura 9 March 1940 10 April 1941
4 General Keisuke Fujie 10 April 1941 22 March 1944
5 General Sadamu Shimomura 22 March 1944 22 November 1944
6 Lieutenant General Isamu Yokoyama 22 November 1944 13 October 1945
7 Lieutenant General Kanji Nishihara 13 October 1945 November 1945

Chief of Staff[edit]

Name From To
1 Major General Shuntoku Nagami 2 August 1937 15 July 1938
2 Major General Rion NIshimura 15 July 1938 9 March 1940
3 Lieutenant General Kazuo Isa 9 March 1940 1 March 1941
4 Lieutenant General Shinnosuke Sasa 1 March 1941 22 December 1942
5 Lieutenant General Wataro Yoshinaka 22 December 1942 3 May 1945
6 Lieutenant General Masazumi Ineda 3 May 1945 13 October 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]