Imperial Japanese Navy

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Imperial Japanese Navy
大日本帝國海軍
Dai-Nippon Teikoku Kaigun
Ensign Imperial Japanese Navy.png
Active1868
Disbanded1945
CountryFlag of Japan.png Empire of Japan
BranchEnsign Imperial Japanese Navy.png Imperial Japanese Navy
Part ofMinistry of the Navy

The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) or Nippon Kaigun was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1868 until 1945, when it was dissolved following Japan's surrender in World War II. It was later replaced by the new Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) in 1952.

History

The origins of the Imperial Japanese Navy go back to early interactions with nations on the Asian continent, beginning in the early medieval period and reaching a peak of activity during the 16th and 17th centuries at a time of cultural exchange with European powers during the Age of Discovery. After two centuries of stagnation during the country's ensuing seclusion policy under the shōgun of the Edo period, Japan's navy was comparatively backward when the country was forced open to trade by American intervention in 1854. This eventually led to the Meiji Restoration in 1868 led to the overthrow of the shogunate. From 1868, the newly formed Meiji government continued with reforms to centralise and modernise Japan, This led to the creation of the Imperial Japanese Navy

The navy had several successes, sometimes against much more powerful enemies such as in the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War. The Imperial Japanese Navy became the third largest navy in the world by 1920, behind the Royal Navy (RN) and the United States Navy (USN).It was supported by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service for aircraft and airstrike operation from the fleet. It was the primary opponent of the Western Allies in the Pacific War.

In Command

Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff

Chief's of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff
# Rank Flag Name Term
1 Rear-Admiral Itō Toshiyoshi 8 March 1889 – 17 May 1889
2 Rear-Admiral Arichi Shinanojo 17 May 1889 – 17 June 1891
3 Rear-Admiral Inoue Yoshika 17 June 1891 – 12 December 1892
4 Vice-Admiral Nakamuta Kuranosuke 12 December 1892 – 18 July 1894
5 Vice-Admiral Kabayama Sukenori 18 July 1894 – 11 May 1895
6 Vice-Admiral Itoh Sukeyuki 11 May 1895 – 20 December 1905
7 Marshal Admiral Togo Heihachiro 20 December 1905 – 1 December 1909
8 Vice-Admiral Ijuin Goro 1 December 1909 – 22 April 1914
9 Vice-Admiral Shimamura Hayao 22 April 1914 – 1 December 1920
10 Admiral Yamashita Gentaro 1 December 1920 – 15 April 1925
11 Admiral Suzuki Kantarō 15 April 1925 – 22 January 1929
12 Admiral Katō Hiroharu 22 January 1929 – 11 June 1930
13 Vice-Admiral Taniguchi Naomi 11 June 1930 – 2 February 1932
14 Marshal Admiral Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu 2 February 1932 – 9 April 1941
15 Marshal Admiral Nagano Osami 9 April 1941 – 21 February 1944
16 Admiral Shimada Shigetaro 21 February 1944 – 2 August 1944
17 Admiral Oikawa Koshiro 2 August 1944 – 29 May 1945
18 Admiral Toyoda Soemu 29 May 1945 – 15 October 1945

Components

At various times it encompassed naval formations and other ships not attached to other fleets. In addition to shore establishments including, barracks, dockyards, depots, hospitals, refitting and re-supply bases, naval bases or victualling yards. Those components that were part of this station are shown below.

Major Fleet Formations

Unit From To Notes/Ref
Northern Expeditionary Fleet 1869 1870
Small Fleet 1870 1872
Medium Fleet 1872 1885
Eastern Fleet 1875 1876 merged into Medium Fleet in 1876
Western Fleet 1875 1876 ditto
China Area Fleet 1937 1945
Combined Fleet 1894 1945
China Area Fleet 1937 1945

Area Fleet Formations

Unit From To Ref
10th Area Fleet 1945 1945
1st Mobile Fleet 1944 1944
Central Pacific Area Fleet 1944 1944
North East Area Fleet 1943 1944
South West Area Fleet 1942 1945
South East Area Fleet 1942 1945
Fleet Formations
Unit From To Ref
1st Fleet 1903 1945
2nd Fleet 1903 1945
3rd Fleet 1903 1944
4th Fleet 1905, 1937 1945
5th Fleet 1938, 1941 193, 1945
6th Fleet 1940 1945
7th Fleet 1945 1945
8th Fleet 1942 1945
9th Fleet 1943 1945

Naval and Guard Districts

Unit From To Ref
1st Naval District (Yokosuka) 1884 1945
2nd Naval District (Kure) 1887 1945
3rd Naval District (Sasebo) 1887 1945
4th Naval District (Maizuru) 1901 1945
Tokai Naval District 1876 1884
Bako Guard District 1920 1945
Chinkai Guard District 1916 1945
Mako Guard District 1901 1943
Ominato Guard District 1905 1945
Osaka Guard District 1941 1945
Ryojun Guard District 1905 1942

Shore Establishments

Naval Bases

Unit From To Ref
Kure Naval Base 1886 1945
Maizuru Naval Base 1889 1945
Yokosuka Naval Base 1866 1945
Sasebo Naval Base 1883 active

Naval Shipyards

Unit From To Ref
Kure Naval Arsenal 1889 1945
Maizuru Naval Arsenal 1901 1945
Yokosuka Naval Arsenal 1871 1945
Sasebo Naval Arsenal 1889 1945

Naval Aviation Yards

Unit From To Ref
Hiro Naval Arsenal 1930 1945
Suzuka Naval Arsenal 1943 1945
Toyokawa Naval Arsenal 1939 1945

References