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Iida Shojiro (1888-1980)


Photograph of Iida Shojiro

Japanese Army. Via Wikipedia Commons.

Iida Shojiro was born in Yamaguchi prefecture and graduated from the Military Academy in 1908 as an infantry officer. He graduated from the Army Staff College in 1915 and was part of a commission that examined the tactical lessons of the First World War. He served with the Siberian Expedition following the First World War, and was three times an instructor at the Infantry School. He served in important staff positions and as commander of the Imperial Guards Division (1939-1941.)

Iida was commander of 15 Army at the outbreak of the Pacific War. His headquarters was ordered to direct the occupation of Thailand and conquest of Burma. Since the Burma operation was not to take place until the second phase of the Japanese offensive, his army was little more than a skeleton until mid-January of 1942.

On 8 April 1943, Iida was relieved as commander of Burma Area Army and recalled to Tokyo. He retired in 1944, but was recalled in 1945 to command 30 Army in Manchuria. He arrived at his new command just in time to be captured by the Russians, who did not repatriate him until 1950.

Iida was close to Ba Maw, the Burmese puppet Prime Minister, who believed Iida was different from the racist officers that came to Burma from China or Korea (Allen 1984):

I had found him to be a unique type of Japanese soldier, human, fatherly, and very understanding, a militarist on the surface but not altogether so deeper down; at least he always tried to see things your way too, which was what made him different from the other militarists.... The general was a samurai in his almost mystical devotion to his emperor, his warrior caste and code, and his country, but this very devotion which consumed him made him understand the devotion of others to their own gods.

Service record

1888     

Born in Yamaguchi prefecture
1908

Graduates from Military Academy as infantry officer
1915

Graduates from Army Staff College
1932

Instructor, Toyama Army Infantry School
1934
Colonel     
Commander, 4 Imperial Guards Regiment
1935

Chief of staff, 4 Division
1937

Head of Military Administration Burea, Ministry of War
1938

Chief of staff, 1 Army
1938

Commander, Taiwan Garrison
1939

Commander, Imperial Guards Division
1941

Commander, 25 Army
1941

Commander, 15 Army
1943-4-8     

General Defense Command
1944

Commander, Central District Army
1944

Retired
1945-7-30

Commander, 30 Army
1945

POW in Russia
1950

Repatriated
1980

Dies

References

Allen (1984)

Dupuy et.al. (1992)

Generals.de (accessed 2007-11-12)

Hayashi and Cox (1959)

Pettibone (2007)



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