The ensign of the Imperial Japanese Army
Ukiyo-E, depicting the retreat of shogunate forces in front of the Imperial Army (Kangun). Yodo Castle is shown in the background.
The Koishikawa Arsenal in Tokyo, inaugurated in 1871, soon after the Meiji restoration.
Prince Aritomo Yamagata, a field marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army and twice Prime Minister of Japan. He was one of the main architects of the military foundations of early modern Japan. Yamagata Aritomo can be seen as the father of Japanese militarism.
Map of Japanese provinces (1868) with Nagato Province highlighted
Barrack of the Imperial Guard, circa 1940
Marquis Nozu Michitsura, a field marshal in the early Imperial Japanese Army. He was appointed as chief of staff of the Imperial Guard (Japan) in 1874.
Marquis Jutoku Saigo, a general in the early Imperial Japanese Army. He is the nephew of Saigō Takamori, the leader of Satsuma Rebellion of 1877. Many of the rebels were incorporated into the Imperial Army after the failure of the armed uprising.
The Chōshū Kiheitai fought against the shogunate in the Second Chōshū expedition and the Boshin War.
Commander-in-chief Saigō Tsugumichi (sitting at the center) pictured with leaders of the Seqalu tribe.
Count Nogi Maresuke, a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and the third governor of Taiwan
Mōri Takachika
Type 13(Top) & Type 22(bottom) Murata rifle. Murata rifle was the first indigenously produced Japanese service rifle adopted in 1880.
Hagi Castle, the seat of the Mōri Lords of Chōshū
Japanese troops during the Sino-Japanese War
Count Akiyama Yoshifuru, served as a cavalry regimental commander in the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895. In the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, he led his troops against the Cossack cavalry divisions of the Imperial Russian Army.
Prince Katsura Tarō, three times Prime Minister of Japan. Katsura was the Vice-Minister of War during the period. He commanded the IJA 3rd Division under his mentor, Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo, during the First Sino-Japanese War.
Type 30 rifle was the standard infantry rifle of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1897 to 1905.
Ōshima Ken'ichi, Minister of War during the period
Japanese riflemen during the Russo-Japanese War
The Type 38 rifle was adopted by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1905
Commanding Officers and Chiefs of Staff of the Allied Military Mission to Siberia, Vladivostok during the Allied Intervention
IJA amphibious assault ship Shinshū Maru, the world's first landing craft carrier ship to be designed as such.
Army uniforms between 1941 and 1945 (US Army poster)
Type 38 rifle
Type 97 Chi-Ha, the most widely produced Japanese medium tank of World War II
Type 99 light machine gun
Indonesian child recruits being trained by Japanese officers as human shield, 1945
Many thousands of Indonesian were taken away as forced labourers (romusha) for Japanese military projects, including the Burma-Siam and Saketi-Bayah railways, and suffered or died as a result of ill-treatment and starvation. Pictured is an internment camp in Jakarta, c. 1945
Disposition of the Imperial Japanese Army in Japan at the time of its capitulation, 18 August 1945
IJA Japanese officers, 1930s
IJA Korean Volunteer army, 1943
IJA Taiwanese soldier in Philippines during World War II

The domains of Satsuma and Chōshū came to dominate the coalition against the shogunate.

- Imperial Japanese Army

The domains' military forces of 1867 through 1869 also formed the foundation for the Imperial Japanese Army.

- Chōshū Domain
The ensign of the Imperial Japanese Army

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Empire of Japan

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Historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II 1947 constitution and subsequent formation of modern Japan.

Historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II 1947 constitution and subsequent formation of modern Japan.

The Empire of Japan at its peak in 1942:
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The Naval Battle of Hakodate, May 1869; in the foreground, and of the Imperial Japanese Navy
The Empire of Japan at its peak in 1942:
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Prominent members of the Iwakura mission. Left to right: Kido Takayoshi, Yamaguchi Masuka, Iwakura Tomomi, Itō Hirobumi, Ōkubo Toshimichi
Emperor Meiji, the 122nd emperor of Japan
Ōura Church, Nagasaki
Interior of the Japanese Parliament, showing the Prime Minister speaking addressing the House of Peers, 1915
Prince Aritomo Yamagata, who was twice Prime Minister of Japan. He was one of the main architects of the military and political foundations of early modern Japan.
Baron Masuda Tarokaja, a member of the House of Peers (Kazoku). His father, Baron Masuda Takashi, was responsible for transforming Mitsui into a zaibatsu.
The Tokyo Industrial Exhibition, 1907 (Mitsubishi pavilion and Exhibition halls)
Marunouchi District in 1920, looking towards the Imperial Palace
A 1-yen banknote, 1881
Thomas Blake Glover was a Scottish merchant in Bakumatsu and received Japan's second highest order from Emperor Meiji in recognition of his contributions to Japan's industrialization.
Prince Katsura Tarō, thrice Prime Minister and the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan. Katsura commanded the IJA 3rd Division under his mentor, Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo, during the First Sino-Japanese War.
Map of the Japanese Empire in 1895. This map was issued shortly after the Japanese invasion of Taiwan and is consequently one of the first Japanese maps to include Taiwan as a possession of Imperial Japan.
Marquess Komura Jutaro, 1911. Komura became Minister for Foreign Affairs under the first Katsura administration, and signed the Boxer Protocol on behalf of Japan.
French illustration of a Japanese assault on entrenched Russian troops during the Russo-Japanese War
Japanese riflemen during the Russo-Japanese War
Count Tadasu Hayashi was the resident minister to the United Kingdom. While serving in London from 1900, he worked to successfully conclude the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and signed on behalf of the government of Japan on January 30, 1902.
Port Arthur viewed from the Top of Gold Hill, after its capitulation in 1905. From left are the wrecks of Russian pre-dreadnought battleships Peresvet, Poltava, Retvizan, Pobeda and the protected cruisers Pallada
Emperor Taishō, the 123rd emperor of Japan
Topographic map of the Empire of Japan in November, 1918
Native Micronesian constables of Truk Island, circa 1930. Truk became a possession of the Empire of Japan under a mandate from the League of Nations following Germany's defeat in World War I.
Commanding Officers and Chiefs of Staff of the Allied Military Mission to Siberia, Vladivostok during the Allied Intervention
Groundbreaking ceremony of Ginza Line, the oldest subway line in Asia, 1925. Front row, right to left: Rudolf Briske, Noritsugu Hayakawa, Furuichi Kōi, Ryutaro Nomura.
Count Itagaki Taisuke is credited as being the first Japanese party leader and an important force for liberalism in Meiji Japan.
Count Katō Komei, the 14th Prime Minister of Japan from June 11, 1924, until his death on January 28, 1926
Emperor Shōwa during an Army inspection on January 8, 1938
Tokyo Kaikan was requisitioned as the meeting place for members of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (Taisei Yokusankai) in the early days.
Japanese Pan-Asian writer Shūmei Ōkawa
Rebel troops assembling at police headquarters during the February 26 Incident
A bank run during the Shōwa financial crisis, March 1927
National Diet Building, 1930
Political map of the Asia-Pacific region, 1939
Japanese troops entering Shenyang, Northeast China during the Mukden Incident, 1931
The Japanese occupation of Peiping (Beijing) in China, on August 13, 1937. Japanese troops are shown passing from Peiping into the Tartar City through Zhengyangmen, the main gate leading onward to the palaces in the Forbidden City.
IJN Special Naval Landing Forces armed with the Type 11 Light Machine Gun during the Battle of Shanghai, 1937
Signing ceremony for the Axis Powers Tripartite Pact
Founding ceremony of the Hakkō ichiu (All the world under one roof) monument in 1940
A map of the Japanese advance from 1937 to 1942
Victorious Japanese troops march through the city center of Singapore following the city's capture in February 1942 (Photo from the Imperial War Museum)
Imperial Japanese Army paratroopers are landing during the Battle of Palembang, February 13, 1942.
A model representing the attack by dive bombers from USS Yorktown (CV-5) and USS Enterprise (CV-6) on the Japanese aircraft carriers, and in the morning of June 4, 1942, during the Battle of Midway
Group of Type 2 Ka-Mi tanks on board of 2nd class transporter of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1944–1945
The rebuilt battlecruiser sank at her moorings in the naval base of Kure on July 24 during a series of bombings.
The Japanese archipelago and the Korean Peninsula in 1945 (National Geographic)
A drawing depicting a speech in the Imperial Japanese Diet on November 1, 1945, the end of the Second World War. In the foreground there are several Allied soldiers watching the proceedings from the back of the balcony.
From left to right: Marshal Admiral Heihachirō Tōgō (1848–1934), Field Marshal Oku Yasukata (1847–1930), Marshal Admiral Yoshika Inoue (1845–1929), Field Marshal Kageaki Kawamura (1850–1926), at the unveiling ceremony of bronze statue of Field Marshal Iwao Ōyama
Population density map of the Empire of Japan (1920).
Population density map of the Empire of Japan (1940).
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army
Naval ensign of the Empire of Japan
Flag of the Japanese Emperor

In 1947, with American involvement, a new constitution was enacted, officially bringing the Empire of Japan to an end, and Japan's Imperial Army was replaced with the Japan Self-Defense Forces.

The nomenclature Empire of Japan had existed since the anti-Tokugawa domains, Satsuma and Chōshū, which founded their new government during the Meiji Restoration, with the intention of forming a modern state to resist Western domination.

Yamagata Aritomo

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Senior-ranking Japanese military commander, twice-elected Prime Minister of Japan, and a leading member of the genrō, an élite group of senior statesmen who dominated Japan after the Meiji Restoration.

Senior-ranking Japanese military commander, twice-elected Prime Minister of Japan, and a leading member of the genrō, an élite group of senior statesmen who dominated Japan after the Meiji Restoration.

Yamagata in his early years
Field Marshal Yamagata (c.1898).
Yamagata during his years as Prime Minister
Prince Katsura Tarō, thrice Prime Minister of Japan. He was Yamagata's protégé and close ally.
Prince Yamagata Aritomo in his later years.
Yamagata Aritomo, unknown date

As the Imperial Japanese Army's inaugural Chief of Staff, he was the chief architect of the Empire of Japan's military and its reactionary ideology.

He had his coming of age ceremony (genpuku) at age 15, and started off as a petty official at the Chōshū Domain and then at the Meirinkan.

On the far left is Ito Hirobumi of Choshu Domain, and on the far right is Okubo Toshimichi of Satsuma Domain. The two young men in the middle are the sons of the Satsuma clan daimyo. These young samurai contributed to the resignation of the Tokugawa shogunate to restore imperial rule.

Meiji Restoration

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Political event that restored practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji.

Political event that restored practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji.

On the far left is Ito Hirobumi of Choshu Domain, and on the far right is Okubo Toshimichi of Satsuma Domain. The two young men in the middle are the sons of the Satsuma clan daimyo. These young samurai contributed to the resignation of the Tokugawa shogunate to restore imperial rule.
A teenage Emperor Meiji with foreign representatives at the end of the Boshin War, 1868–1870.
The Tokyo Koishikawa Arsenal was established in 1871.
Allegory of the New fighting the Old, in early Japan Meiji, around 1870

The foundation of the Meiji Restoration was the 1866 Satsuma-Chōshū Alliance between Saigō Takamori and Kido Takayoshi, leaders of the reformist elements in the Satsuma and Chōshū Domains at the southwestern end of the Japanese archipelago.

This rebellion was, however, put down swiftly by the newly formed Imperial Japanese Army, trained in Western tactics and weapons, even though the core of the new army was the Tokyo police force, which was largely composed of former samurai.

Government of Meiji Japan

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The Government of Meiji Japan (明治政府) was the government that was formed by politicians of the Satsuma Domain and Chōshū Domain in the 1860s.

To further strengthen the authority of the state, the Supreme War Council was established under the leadership of Yamagata Aritomo a Chōshū native who has been credited with the founding of the modern Imperial Japanese Army and was to become the first constitutional Prime Minister.

Terauchi Masatake

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Japanese military officer, proconsul and politician.

Japanese military officer, proconsul and politician.

Gensui Count Terauchi Masatake(left) with General Kodama Gentarō(right).

He was a Gensui (or Marshal) in the Imperial Japanese Army and the Prime Minister of Japan from 1916 to 1918.

Terauchi Masatake was born in Hirai Village, Suo Province (present-day Yamaguchi city, Yamaguchi Prefecture), and was the third son of Utada Masasuke, a samurai in the service of Chōshū Domain.

Ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy

Imperial Japanese Navy

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The navy of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945, when it was dissolved following Japan's surrender in World War II.

The navy of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945, when it was dissolved following Japan's surrender in World War II.

Ensign of the Imperial Japanese Navy
The Battle of Dan-no-ura in 1185
A 16th-century Japanese "Atakebune" coastal naval war vessel, bearing the symbol of the Tokugawa Clan.
No. 6 Odaiba battery, one of the original Edo-era battery islands. These batteries are defensive structures built to withstand naval intrusions.
The Naval Battle of Hakodate, May 1869; in the foreground, wooden paddle steamer warship and ironclad warship of the Imperial Japanese Navy
The ironclad Fusō, between 1878 and 1891
The ironclad corvette
Marshal-Admiral Marquis Saigo Tsugumichi commanded Japanese expeditionary forces as a lieutenant-general in the Taiwan expedition.
The British-built steam ironclad warship was the flagship of the Imperial Japanese Navy until 1881.
The French-built protected cruiser Matsushima, the flagship of the IJN at the Battle of the Yalu River (1894)
The protected cruiser Hashidate, built domestically at the arsenal of Yokosuka
The torpedo boat Hayabusa
The Chinese Beiyang Fleet ironclad battleship Zhenyuan captured by IJN in 1895.
The armored cruiser Azuma
The pre-dreadnought battleship Mikasa, among the most powerful battleships of her time, in 1905, was one of the six battleships ordered as part of the program.
Marshal-Admiral Viscount Inoue Yoshika, 1900
The pre-dreadnought battleship Katori
Port Arthur viewed from the Top of Gold Hill, after capitulation in 1905. From left wrecks of Russian pre-dreadnought battleships Peresvet, Poltava, Retvizan, Pobeda and the protected cruiser Pallada
Holland 1-class submarine, the first Japanese navy submarine, purchased during the Russo Japanese War
The semi-dreadnought battleship Satsuma, the first ship in the world to be designed and laid down as an "all-big-gun" battleship
The dreadnought battleship Settsu
The dreadnought battleship Kawachi
The seaplane carrier conducted the world's first sea-launched air raids in September 1914.
Yokosuka Naval Arsenal immediately after the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923
Photograph shows the super-dreadnought battleship Nagato, between ca. 1920 and ca. 1925
The super-dreadnought battleship Mutsu
The planned Tosa-class battleship Tosa being prepared for scuttling at Kure on 31 January 1925.
Captain Sempill showing a Sparrowhawk fighter to Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō, 1921
, the world's first purpose built aircraft carrier, completed in 1922
IJN super-dreadnought battleships Yamashiro, Fusō, and battlecruiser Haruna, Tokyo Bay, 1930s
Type 91 Aerial Torpedo on IJN aircraft carrier Akagi flight deck.
IJN Yamato-class Battleships Yamato and Musashi moored in Truk Lagoon, in 1943
IJN Ha-101 class submarines Ha-105, Ha-106 and Ha-109 designed as transport submarines to resupply isolated island garrisons, 1945.
Aft view of the flight deck of the IJN aircraft carrier from the island, 19 October 1945
IJN Aircraft carrier Ibuki under dismantling operation at Sasebo Naval Arsenal. October 1946
Replica of the Japanese-built 1613 galleon San Juan Bautista, in Ishinomaki
A Chinese illustration of a Red seal ship.
The sailing frigate Shōhei Maru (1854) was built from Dutch technical drawings.
The screw-driven steam corvette {{Ship|Japanese warship|Kanrin Maru||2}}, Japan's first screw-driven steam warship, 1857
The gunboat Chiyoda, was Japan's first domestically built steam warship. It was completed in May 1866.<ref>Jentschura p. 113</ref>
The French-built ironclad warship Kōtetsu (ex-CSS Stonewall), Japan's first modern ironclad, 1869
The warship of Yamada Nagamasa (1590–1630), a merchant and soldier who traveled to Ayutthaya (Thailand)

The domains of Chōshū, Hizen, Tosa and Kaga joined Satsuma in acquiring ships.

In 1874, the Taiwan expedition was the first foray abroad of the new Imperial Japanese Navy and Army after the Mudan Incident of 1871, however the navy served largely as a transport force.

Kiheitai Militia 1864-1866

Kiheitai

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Kiheitai Militia 1864-1866
Illustration of Cavalry, Infantry and Soldiers Retreating (Kiheitai, hoheitai, daichōren no zu)

The Kiheitai (奇兵隊) was a volunteer militia raised by Takasugi Shinsaku of the Chōshū domain during the Bakumatsu period of Japan.

The success of the socially mixed unit and its Western armaments and tactics was an important influence on the development of the Imperial Japanese Army, and on the later system of universal military conscription in Japan.

Ōmura Masujirō

Ōmura Masujirō

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Japanese military leader and theorist in Bakumatsu period Japan.

Japanese military leader and theorist in Bakumatsu period Japan.

Ōmura Masujirō
Statue of Ōmura Masujirō at Yasukuni Shrine

He was the "Father" of the Imperial Japanese Army, launching a modern military force closely patterned after the French system of the day.

Ōmura was born in what is now part of Yamaguchi city, in the former Chōshū Domain, where his father was a rural physician.

Ōshima Yoshimasa

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Viscount Ōshima Yoshimasa (大島 義昌) was a general in the early Imperial Japanese Army during the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War.

Ōshima was born as the eldest son to a samurai of Chōshū Domain (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture), and fought as a member of the Satchō Alliance forces in support of Emperor Meiji during the Boshin War against the Tokugawa shogunate.