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Quiz about The Imperial Japanese Army 18681945
Quiz about The Imperial Japanese Army 18681945

The Imperial Japanese Army, 1868-1945 Quiz


This quiz will test your knowledge of the personnel, institutions, and policies of the IJA, with less emphasis on battles and weapons. Names of people are in Japanese (and Chinese) order, family name first.

A multiple-choice quiz by Guiguzi. Estimated time: 7 mins.
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Author
Guiguzi
Time
7 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
338,302
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
7 / 15
Plays
236
-
Question 1 of 15
1. Before the 1920s, the highest levels of the IJA officer corps were dominated by men from which of the former feudal domains? Hint


Question 2 of 15
2. What is the name of the religious institution in Tokyo where Japan's war dead since 1868 are enshrined as Shinto deities? Hint


Question 3 of 15
3. If the makers of "The Last Samurai" had been more concerned with historical accuracy, the character played by Tom Cruise would have been of what nationality? Hint


Question 4 of 15
4. In what year did Japan introduce a system of military conscription on the French model? Hint


Question 5 of 15
5. Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo, considered the father of the modern Japanese army, practiced spear fighting until almost the end of his life.


Question 6 of 15
6. Which of the following statements about General Nogi Maresuke is NOT true? Hint


Question 7 of 15
7. Which action was taken by General Ugaki Kazushige (or Kazunari) during his tenure as Army Minister during the mid-1920s? Hint


Question 8 of 15
8. "If we have a thousand bamboo spears, there's nothing to worry about a war with the Soviet Union." Which Japanese general was the author of this "bamboo spear principle"? Hint


Question 9 of 15
9. What percentage of the Japanese Military Academy's graduating class in 1931 were of shizoku background (that is, their families had once been samurai)? Hint


Question 10 of 15
10. After the failure of the February 1936 coup attempt in Tokyo, Emperor Hirohito granted the "young officers" who had led the revolt the privilege of committing ritual suicide (seppuku) in recognition of the purity and sincerity of their motives.


Question 11 of 15
11. What was the location of the major border clash between Japan and the Soviet Union that took place during the summer of 1939? Hint


Question 12 of 15
12. Lt. Gen. Mutaguchi Ren'ya is best known for leading the disastrous Japanese offensive into Assam in 1944. Which of these other controversial episodes had he been involved in earlier in his career? Hint


Question 13 of 15
13. Lt. Gen. Kuribayashi Tadamichi is best known for what? Hint


Question 14 of 15
14. The General Headquarters of the IJA was located in which area of Tokyo? Hint


Question 15 of 15
15. On December 1, 1945, Japan's Army Ministry was renamed. What was its new name? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Before the 1920s, the highest levels of the IJA officer corps were dominated by men from which of the former feudal domains?

Answer: Choshu

Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo, the creator of the modern Japanese Army, cultivated officers from his native Choshu to fill most of the highest positions. For the details of how this "clan" dominance was finally broken in the 1920s, consult the excellent book by Leonard Humphreys, "The Way of the Heavenly Sword" (Stanford University Press, 1995).

Men from Satsuma could also be found in high positions in the IJA, but were clearly second fiddle to Choshu. (Satsuma men dominated the Imperial Japanese Navy, however.) Hizen, a smaller domain, played only a supporting role in the Meiji Restoration and made a lesser contribution. Aizu had fought bitterly against the Meiji Restoration, and thus was even less well represented.
2. What is the name of the religious institution in Tokyo where Japan's war dead since 1868 are enshrined as Shinto deities?

Answer: Yasukuni Shrine

The Yasukuni Shrine has not been supported by the Japanese government since the implementation of post-World War II reforms abolishing State Shinto, but in recent decades the visits of prime ministers to pay their respects has been controversial. The number of spirits (kami) now enshrined at Yasukuni is more than 2,466,000.
3. If the makers of "The Last Samurai" had been more concerned with historical accuracy, the character played by Tom Cruise would have been of what nationality?

Answer: French

Oui, c'est vrai! French officers served as trainers and advisers for the Japanese army throughout the 1870s, the time period in which the movie is set. The number peaked at around forty officers. They were sent home in 1879, and a much smaller German advisory mission arrived in 1885. Britain provided some instruction for the Imperial Japanese Navy, but not for the IJA. Americans had a role in setting up Japan's modern, civilian education system during the Meiji period. Of course, had Tom Cruise been cast as either a mild-mannered academic or a Frenchman, the film would have had a short run at a few art houses and then vanished into obscurity.
4. In what year did Japan introduce a system of military conscription on the French model?

Answer: 1873

This modernizing reform, which made the IJA a force with far more peasants than samurai, was pushed through by Yamagata Aritomo. Financial and administrative constraints dictated that only a small percentage of the eligible males were actually conscripted, and exemptions could be purchased by the well-to-do. (A substitute cost 270 yen, a much larger sum then than now.) Conscripts had a seven-year obligation, including three years of active duty and four more years in the reserves.
5. Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo, considered the father of the modern Japanese army, practiced spear fighting until almost the end of his life.

Answer: True

Yamagata had been born into a low-ranking warrior family in Choshu in 1838. He learned the techniques of spear fighting as a youth and continued to practice them throughout his life. The story, perhaps slightly romanticized, is that Yamagata's favorite sparring partner was a large tree in his garden.

The tree is said to have succumbed to its wounds shortly before Yamagata himself passed away in 1922.
6. Which of the following statements about General Nogi Maresuke is NOT true?

Answer: He captured Weihaiwei from the Chinese during the first Sino-Japanese War

During the first Sino-Japanese War Nogi captured Port Arthur from the Chinese, not Weihaiwei. It was Field Marshal Oyama Iwao who took Weihaiwei, an important sea port and naval base on the coast of Shandong, in 1895.
7. Which action was taken by General Ugaki Kazushige (or Kazunari) during his tenure as Army Minister during the mid-1920s?

Answer: Reduced the army by four divisions, with some of the savings being used to buy aircraft, armor, and artillery

A relative liberal among Japanese military men, Ugaki served as Army Minister from 1924 to 1927. The assassination of the Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin occurred in 1928, but there is no evidence that Ugaki had anything to do with it. A clandestine effort was indeed underway to purge the army of "clan" (that is, Choshu) influence, but the principals were Nagata Tetsuzan, Okamura Yasuji, and Obata Toshishiro (with Tojo Hideki joining the cabal somewhat later).

Ugaki was elected as a representative to the Diet, Japan's parliament, after World War II and continued to serve his country in that capacity until his death in 1956.
8. "If we have a thousand bamboo spears, there's nothing to worry about a war with the Soviet Union." Which Japanese general was the author of this "bamboo spear principle"?

Answer: Araki Sadao

He is also quoted as saying that a Japanese division armed with bamboo spears would be sufficient to destroy the Soviet Far Eastern Army.

Araki, who served as Army Minister in the Inukai and Saito cabinets in the early 1930s, was a strong advocate of "spirit" (seishin) as the decisive factor in war. He was revered by officers of the Imperial Way Faction. Interestingly, he was a native of Saga (Hizen), where Yamamoto Tsunetomo had dictated the "Hagakure" two centuries earlier.

The other generals listed were associated with the Control Faction, which opposed Araki and had a lot more interest in modern weaponry.
9. What percentage of the Japanese Military Academy's graduating class in 1931 were of shizoku background (that is, their families had once been samurai)?

Answer: 15 percent

This tidbit comes from Meirion and Susie Harries, "Soldiers of the Sun" (Random House, 1991), p. 168.

The long-term trend was toward meritocracy, with less and less attention paid to family background. Until almost the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912) more than half of officers had been shizoku.
10. After the failure of the February 1936 coup attempt in Tokyo, Emperor Hirohito granted the "young officers" who had led the revolt the privilege of committing ritual suicide (seppuku) in recognition of the purity and sincerity of their motives.

Answer: False

To put it bluntly, the emperor was mad as hell. After all, several of his most trusted advisers had been brutally murdered during the coup attempt.

The officers were tried by court martial behind closed doors, and thirteen of them were executed by firing squad in July 1936. Two others had committed suicide before they could be put on trial.
11. What was the location of the major border clash between Japan and the Soviet Union that took place during the summer of 1939?

Answer: Nomonhan

In this battle fought on the Mongolian-Manchurian border, the main Japanese unit involved (Lt. Gen. Komatsubara Michitaro's 23rd Division) was almost entirely wiped out by the larger and much more heavily mechanized Soviet forces.

Changkufeng on the Soviet-Korean border was the site of a much smaller clash in 1939. Manzhouli was where the Soviets defeated the forces of the Chinese warlord Zhang Xueliang in 1929. Nothing of great interest happened at Blagoveshchensk.
12. Lt. Gen. Mutaguchi Ren'ya is best known for leading the disastrous Japanese offensive into Assam in 1944. Which of these other controversial episodes had he been involved in earlier in his career?

Answer: Marco Polo Bridge Incident

In July 1937, then Colonel Mutaguchi was in command of the Japanese provisional regiment stationed near Peiping (Beijing) under the terms of the Boxer Protocol. It was some of his troops that were involved in the clash at Marco Polo Bridge (Lugouqiao) that touched off the second Sino-Japanese War.

As Mutaguchi began his drive on India, he is supposed to have boasted that since he was the one who started the war he should also be the one to finish it.
13. Lt. Gen. Kuribayashi Tadamichi is best known for what?

Answer: He commanded the Japanese forces defending Iwo Jima in February 1945

The role of Kuribayashi is played by Japanese actor Ken Watanabe in the movie "Letters from Iwo Jima."
14. The General Headquarters of the IJA was located in which area of Tokyo?

Answer: Ichigaya

The GHQ and the Military Acadamy were both in Ichigaya, and became the venue for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (that is, the Tokyo war crimes trials) in 1946-1948. The Japanese Ministry of Defense is located on the site formerly occupied by the Ichigaya Military Academy.
15. On December 1, 1945, Japan's Army Ministry was renamed. What was its new name?

Answer: First Ministry of Demobilization

Losing the final round of Imperial Japan's long-running Army-Navy competition, the Navy Ministry became the Second Ministry of Demobilization. Both were downgraded to bureau status in mid-1946 and effectively abolished in October 1947.

The National Police Reserve and the Self-Defense Agency came later, in 1950 and 1954 respectively. Ministry of Peace is, of course, Orwellian rather than Japanese.
Source: Author Guiguzi

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor bloomsby before going online.
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