Military Wiki
12th Division
Active 1898 - 1945
Country  Empire of Japan
Allegiance Emperor of Japan
Branch  Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Garrison/HQ Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan
Nickname(s) "Sword Division"
Engagements Russo-Japanese War
Siberian Intervention
First Shanghai Incident.
Ando Sadami, Uchiyama Kojiro, Oi Shigemoto, Shiba Goro, Hajime Sugiyama

The 12th Division (第12師団 Dai-juni Shidan?) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Sword Division (剣兵団 Ken-heidan?).


The 12th Division was formed on 1 October 1898, as a reserve division after the First Sino-Japanese War, based in Kokura, in northern Kyūshū. It subsequently relocated to Kurumi, another city in Fukuoka prefecture. Most of its troops were drawn from the prefectures in northern Kyūshū.

The 12th Division participated in the Russo-Japanese War, the Siberian Intervention. In 1932 certain elements organized as the 24th Mixed Brigade participated in the First Shanghai Incident. In 1937, it was withdrawn to Manchukuo and placed under the control of the Kwantung Army. In 1945, in the final closing stages of the Pacific War, it was transferred to Taiwan, where it was assigned garrison duty. It was disbanded at the end of World War II with the remnants of the Imperial Japanese Army, mostly without having seen combat.

Notable commanders of the 12th Division include: Ando Sadami, Uchiyama Kojiro, Oi Shigemoto, Shiba Goro, and Hajime Sugiyama.


12th Division was originally a square division with the following organization at the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War:

12th Division

  • 12th Infantry Brigade
    • 14th Infantry Regiment
    • 47th Infantry Regiment
  • 24th Infantry Brigade
    • 46th Infantry Regiment
    • 48th Infantry Regiment
  • 24th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 12th Cavalry Regiment
  • 18th Engineer Regiment
  • 18th Transport Regiment

Later like most square divisions in the late 1930s and early 1940s, it was reorganized as a triangular division:

The Order of Battle of the 12th Division included:

  • 24th Infantry Regiment (Fukuoka)
  • 46th Infantry Regiment (Omura)
  • 48th Infantry Regiment (Kurume)

See also[]

Reference and further reading[]

  • Madej, W. Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945 [2 vols]

Allentown, PA: 1981

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