The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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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.
||Born in Yamaguchi prefecture
||Graduates from Military Academy
as infantry officer
||Graduates from Army Staff College
||Instructor, Toyama Army Infantry
||Commander, 4 Imperial Guards
||Chief of staff, 4 Division
||Head of Military Administration
Burea, Ministry of War
||Chief of staff, 1 Army
||Commander, Taiwan Garrison
||Commander, Imperial Guards
||Commander, 30 Army
||POW in Russia
Dupuy et.al. (1992)
Hayashi and Cox (1959)
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