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Japanese Monographs


Japanese Monographs


The series of Japanese Monographs were written and compiled by former Japanese army and navy officers immediately after World War II, under specific instructions from General Douglas MacArthur, who was then Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in occupied Japan. MacArthur ordered the writing of these studies to provide the Japanese perspective of the war, given that so many important reports and documents were lost during the war, either as a result of combat operations and bombings, or else deliberate destruction at the end of the war.

Over 180 monographs were written, covering almost all aspects of the Pacific War, from the highest levels to specific regions and battles. Twenty monographs are wholly on the Philippines (army, navy, army air, navy air). Several other monographs included sections on the Philippines (such as histories of the Southern Army, Military Administration of occupied areas, railroads, and others).

Some of these monographs turned to be important sources of information for later studies, while others were hardly more than outlines of plans and organizations of units. Some covering up or omissions took place, requiring MacArthur’s headquarters to reiterate more strongly what was required in the monographs. With the abolition of the Japanese Army and Navy, the so-called First and Second Demobilization Bureaus took over administrative responsibility, for the army and the navy, respectively. The monographs were in many cases supplemented by surviving documents or reconstructed orders as remembered by surviving officers.

Due to lack of documents or the infirmity of human memory, some gaps and inaccuracies resulted. Some of the monographs were edited and published; many others were edited quickly but not finalized, and remained in manuscript form with annotations and corrections penned in. Some of the translations themselves were not consistent, especially in the use of military terminology. Other translations were incomplete. These monographs are important in that they are one of the few sources of Japanese planning and operations in English, but they have to be used with caution.

Note that the numbers and titles tended to vary: some early histories of the Philippines in World War I cite these as Japanese Studies on World War II with different numbering (e.g., Smith, "Triumph in the Philippines"); some of the manuscripts show the different numbers. Numbers and titles were standardized in the early 1960s.

All the monographs are written in a detached, impersonal manner, emphasizing plans and units. This makes them difficult for non-specialists to comprehend and use. Still, these monographs are a main source of information from the Japanese side.

*Citations in quotation marks from:
U.S. Army. Office of the Chief of Military History. "Guide to Japanese Monographs and Japanese Studies on Manchuria." Ca. early 1960s.

Items in the Japanese Monographs Collection

"This monograph covers primarily the operations of naval unit personnel who were more or less forced to resort to ground combat operations in Manila, Corregidor and Clark Field areas." - Foreword

“A very brief description of operations of two infantry companies of the 8th Division, which were virtually wiped out in defending Mindoro and Lubang Islands. (Edited, Reproduced, 10 pages)”.

Based on the recollections of Lt Nobushiro …

“A brief account of the attacks by the 11th Air Fleet which preceded the landing of Army invasion forces on Luzon, Mindanao, and Jolo Islands. Some data on escort of troop convoys and landing operations. (Unedited translation, 18 pages)”. Dated…

“Operations of the 4th Air Army in defense of Leyte and Luzon, with some coverage of operations in defense of Mindoro. Primarily concerned with plans and unit listings. (Unedited translation, 119 pages)”.

Dated October 1946, based on…

“Operations of the 5th Air Group in support of the Philippine invasion, including the Bataan operations and the reduction of Corregidor. Primarily a record of sorties flown and results reported. (Edited, Reproduced, 71 pages).”

Dated 1…

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