Japan Archives

Japan

  • Military History

    Wolves of Mibu: Japan’s Shinsengumi Police

    Among the most feared warriors in Japanese history were those of the Shinsengumi secret police, professional swordsmen who served as a special forces unit for the Tokugawa shogun from 1863 to 1869. This close-knit troop of men terrorized...

  • Military History Magazine

    Spirit of the Samurai

    General Maresuke Nogi lived and died by a strict Samurai code—and tried to raise future Emperor Hirohito the same way. Guns thundered around Tokyo on September 12, 1912, as the cortege of Meiji, Japan’s first modern emperor, passed...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    A Detailed View of Japan’s Mistakes at Midway

    Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway, by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully (Potomac Books, Dulles, Va., 2005, $35), shatters all previous notions of how the battle was fought. It also redefines the standards for...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Build Your Own: Nakajima Ki.84

    In the closing days of World War II in the Pacific, it was not uncommon to hear U.S. Army Air Forces radar operators on Okinawa mutter: “Forget it! It’s a ‘Frank.’” The technicians knew that the fast-moving blips they were...

  • Aviation History Magazine

    Last Deadly Gale from Japan

    The Nakajima Ki.84 was the Japanese army’s best fighter of World War II—and could have been even better with more trained pilots and a higher grade of fuel. On the morning of January 7, 1945, four Lockheed P-38L Lightnings of the Fifth...

  • American History Magazine

    Lost-Found Nation

    In excerpt from a new book of essays, I Wish I’d Been There, delves into the curious origins of the Nation of Islam, and a bizarre, pre–World War II plot by Japanese agents to build a fifth column among African Americans. The year...

  • World War II Magazine

    The ‘Battle Baby’ Magazine Born in Tokyo

    General Douglas MacArthur had not even entered the city when Tokyo was declared off limits to war correspondents in September 1945. To enforce the edict, roadblocks were set up and manned by grizzled veterans of the 1st Cavalry and 11th...

  • World War II Magazine

    Eyes of the Imperial Fleet

    At 5 in the morning on December 7, 1941, the Japanese heavy cruisers Chikuma and Tone catapulted one floatplane each into the sky. Their mission was to make a last weather reconnaissance around the target for the six aircraft carriers of...

  • World War II Magazine

    Star-Crossed Translator

    Chief ship’s clerk H.L. Bryant, the yeoman of the U.S. Navy’s Translation and Dissemination Section, OP-20-GZ, finished logging the sheaf of newly decoded messages and looked around the desk-filled room, trying to catch the eye of one...

  • World War II Magazine

    The Royal Navy’s Revenge

    In the final days of World War II, the Royal Navy achieved a victory over the Imperial Japanese Navy that restored some measure of the prestige that it had lost early in the war. Driven from the waters of Southeast Asia by a resolute...

  • World War II Magazine

    ‘What good would it do you to survive?’

    The scratchy recorded voice that fought its way out of the oft-repaired speakers had a few more minutes to run. Sixteen-year-old Mitsuharu Nagase had already heard enough to cause tears to flow down his cheeks. He shot a sideward glance at...

  • World War II Magazine

    Surviving Armageddon

    In the final year of the Pacific War, the Japanese worked undetected on a massive underground fortification project that might have convinced Emperor Hirohito to fight on— even after the atomic bombs were dropped. A mushroom cloud...

  • World War II Magazine

    A Most Unusual Reunion

    Navy ensign Jim Moore tensed with the rush of adrenaline as the B-24 Liberator flew above Chinese fields at 500 feet early on the morning of August 17, 1945. He was one of six men sent on a daring mission to locate the Weihsien Civilian...

  • World War II Magazine

    The Turncoat Who Brought Down an Empire

    The Japanese used hundreds of spies throughout Malaya prior to their invasion in December 1941. Those agents helped the emperor’s generals gather all types of information about terrain, military fortification and readiness of units, road...

  • World War II Magazine

    Dreadnaught’s Fiery Finale

    As the shells from Rear Adm. Jesse Oldendorf’s battleships fell upon Vice Adm. Shoji Nishimura’s dreadnoughts attempting to force a passage of Surigao Strait, an era of naval warfare came to a thunderous end. For much of the Pacific...

  • World War II Magazine

    WWII Book Review: Shattered Sword

    Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully; Potomac Books, Herndon, Va., 2005, $35. The moment is etched in gilt in American history as the “miracle at Midway.” Just as it appears...