May I please have some help with Japanese military commands?

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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BarracudaSP
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May I please have some help with Japanese military commands?

Post by BarracudaSP » 30 Nov 2010 00:23

Hi, I'm BarracudaSP. I am a bit of a Japan-Militaria-Nerd (even though I live in the USA- please don't sue me XD) and I would like to ask for some help with some translation of commands. Sorry but I'm new here to this site so if I made any mistakes with format or such please correct and forgive me. I don't think this belongs under the other thread of "terms" because that one discussed things like "Independent Artillery Batallions" (organisations and such) as opposed to commands such as "Open Fire!". I am going to be going to an anime convention sometime soon (lol) and I would like to be well versed in Japanese Army, Navy, and Aircraft forces' commands because it will have many War-themed anime cosplayers. Your help is greatly appreciated. Here are the ones I know already:

-"Uttei!" Open Fire / Commence Firing (guns/cannons) The Japanese gunners always shout this in Otokotachi No Yamato when shooting their (unshielded) AA guns.
-"Zenshin Zensoku!" (Navy ships) Japanese equivalent of "Full steam ahead!" I think it just means full engine speed, though... I heard it from IJN-themed movies.
"Torikajippai / Omokajippai" Hard-a-Port or Hard-a-Starboard, respectively. I think it can be used like "Rudder, Hard About" in the US terminology(?). Same movies as above.
"Sento *something" means engage(ment?) in battle, I believe. I heard it in an anime.

Other ones I'd like to know:
-The Japanese Naval equivalent of the US Navy's phrase "General Quarters" or "Battle Stations". I don't know the lingo well so perhaps it won't be a literal translation.
-'Bayonette Charge' (Please don't say Banzai Charge, I'm pretty sure this came from the actual shouts of BANZAI by IJA troops during such attacks. I meant, how would a Japanese CO tell his platoon (whatever force he leads) to do this?)
-Any marching related commands the helpful people here can think of.
-Ordering them to salute somebody (i.e. a general/admiral/other important leader)?

Note: If I think of any more I'd like to know, I'll post them. Thanks for your help. :milwink:

~BarracudaSP

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hisashi
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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military comma

Post by hisashi » 30 Nov 2010 02:25

"Uttei!(撃て)" is the simplest word "fire". For example in bridge, if the gunmaster of a destroyer allow every turrets to the starboard side, "migi hosen xx do uchikata hajime(右砲戦xx度、撃ち方始め)". It means "Gunfire to the right, [target] xx degree, open fire". "Uttei!(撃て)" was shouted in each turret by the leader there. The second shot was simply ordered by electric buzz, until "Uchikata Yame(撃ち方やめ)" was shouted via phones or voice pipe.
For AA guns hosen (gunfire) was replaced by taikusen (AA fire).

"Zenshin Zensoku!" is a direct translation of "full ahead (together)" in merchant ships, not used in IJN. In IJN, "[ryogen] zenshin saidai sensoku" meant "ahead [together] at maximum combat speed".

"Torikajippai / Omokajippai" is hard port/ hard starboard. I don't know of practice in other navies.
http://usmilitary.about.com/od/glossary ... /h2795.htm

Sento kaishi 戦闘開始 sounds as "begin the battle", unrealistic in real battlefield command. It is a common expression in the lead of newspapers.

General Quarters
大本営海軍部 daihonei kaigunbu (at war, including second Shino-Japanese War period)
海軍軍令部 kaigun gunreibu (in peace, but often inofficially even at war)

battle station: 戦闘配置 sento haichi, but in command simply haichi. "Haichi ni tsuke(配置につけ)" was a command for battle station.

You would better think of the time and article length required to answer your question. Some posters here put 'write-a-book-for-me' question, replying to which needs heavenly long explanations, but they seldom get any good answer. Salute in IJA and IJN and sequence of IJA land combat takes somewhat long explanations. I suggest you part some of your questions and put one by one for the others' use in the later, and avoid to question too many at once not to occupy the microphone too long for others who want to sing.

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BarracudaSP
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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military comma

Post by BarracudaSP » 30 Nov 2010 02:31

Thank you so much for your help, sir! Much appreciated. I guess I have some studying to do~ ^^

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Ron Sundby
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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military comma

Post by Ron Sundby » 30 Nov 2010 08:43

In the Japanese military when answering a senior was it customary to add an honorific, such as 'yes sir' (Hai xxx), or only the answer such as a sinple yes (Hai)?

This is a very basic question, but one which I've been wondering about. And it's the litte details that make things so interesting.
Everything I've read has always left off the honorific when using dialog in Japanese, but that just seems wrong to me because using the honorific was so fundamentaly drummed into me while I was in the Navy. So am I reading simplified dialog, or are my ingrained pedjudices leading me astray?

Thanks, Ron

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hisashi
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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military comma

Post by hisashi » 30 Nov 2010 09:30

In Japanese, basic honorific is ending of each sentence.

example: 'Island ho!'

To equivalents or inferiors;
島だ。shima-da.

To superiors in civilian society
島です。shima-desu.

To superiors in army and navy
島であります。shima-de-arimasu.

'arimasu' came from dialect of Choshu, the leader prefecture of Meiji Restoration. 'arimasu' to superior was essential. Relatively, the calling of class/appointment can be omitted as honorific.

Yes sir (affirmation) is in military Japanese 'So-de-arimasu'. As an answer to order (recognition), 'Ryokai (de-arimasu)', or he repeated the order with the ending 'desu' 'masu'.

Honjitsu 15-ji shikan-shitsu ni shutto seyo. (Today at 15:00 you come to officers' room)
Honjitsu 15-ji shikan-shitsu ni shutto itashimasu.( Today at 15:00 I go to officers' room, sir)

Every verb have (often several) honorific form with many exceptional rule. Many Japanese cannot use them correctly.

On the other hand, Japanese lack any generic honorific calling 'sir/mom'. 'Danna' was something similar but was never used among militarymen. Ladies in some sort of bar/pub call their newcomer visitors as 'shacho' (president of a company) but it is never correct honorific.

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Ron Sundby
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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military comma

Post by Ron Sundby » 30 Nov 2010 10:02

I see I've been dealing with authors who over sinplify. Thank you Hisashi Sama, you are an outstanding teacher.

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hisashi
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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military comma

Post by hisashi » 12 Dec 2010 04:07

For readers who found this thread in search, I summarize callings to Japanese militaryman here.

The idea that holy name is 'too sacred to be uttered' existed in Judaism. Also, Chineses once had a courtesy name (zi) and avoided adult's given name in daily life.

Names of God in Judaism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_God_in_Judaism
Chinese style name
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_style_name

Japaneses had a sense that we should avoid calling respectable persons by their real name, though this sense have rapidly disappeared in postwar Japan. Ancient Japaneses invented several ways to deal with this problem. The simplest way is to set a courtesy name as Chineses did, but it mostly disappeared after Meiji Restoration.

'san' came from 'sama'. 'sama' had several meanings and one of them was 'ward/direction'. 'donp' meant 'building/residence'. Japaneses used these two suffixes in honorific. 'dono' was mainly used in official context and in conversation used exclusively in military after Meiji Restoration.

Calling one's direct superior, usually the position name was prefered to class and family name.

'Chutaicho-dono' company leader sir!

'Butaicho-dono' troop leader sir!

In IJA butai referred to battalion-regiment sized unit. For example one's platoon was temporally at the disposal of a battalion, he called the battalion leader as 'Butaicho-dono'.

Calling one's superior, family name seened avoided.

'Tai-i-dono' (army) captain sir!

'Hancho-dono' (peacetime) naimuhan leader sir!

'Hancho-dono' was a common calling for NCO. Naimuhan is a unit of 20 men or so, led by NCO. In peacetime a squad and platoon was an ad-hoc formation for exercises and soldiers lived on company-naimuhan society. This calling had an advantage not to discriminate corporals and seageants. Poor-performance NCO staying in lower class for long was the most nervous, living explosives in soldier society.

'Kohei-dono' senior private sir!

'Ninen-hei-dono' private in the second year sir!

Kohei-dono was the most generic calling to senior soldiers. Ninen-hei-dono was from fresh draftees to seniors drafted in the previous year.

In general some overshoot was allowed. Say 'Socho-dono' (master seageant sir!) to a seageant.

In the contrary, an inferior was called by family name and class, or simply by family name. 'Yamada (nito-hei)' to Private Yamada etc.

'kakka' (his excellency) was a suffix for a rear-admiral, major general or higher class.

'Kakka' Your excellency sir!

'Shidancho Kakka' Your excellency the division leader sir!

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BarracudaSP
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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military comma

Post by BarracudaSP » 20 Dec 2010 04:28

BarracudaSP's update.

Oh, here's one I forgot: I think 'Totsugeki' means "charge!".

And I watched a sci-fi anime where "Mokkyou" or something was used as "target" ie. Mokkyou: teki uchuu senkan (target: enemy space warship).

Feel free to correct any mistakes, sirs, I think correction can only help me. I am learning so much! This might help my writing, too!

Thanks,
Cuda

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hisashi
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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military comma

Post by hisashi » 20 Dec 2010 12:37

Target is mokuhyo (目標).

Eugen Pinak
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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military comma

Post by Eugen Pinak » 23 Dec 2010 15:09

Hisashi - thank you once again for an interesting information.

Hilfskreuzer
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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military commands?

Post by Hilfskreuzer » 11 Feb 2017 17:51

I have a curiosity: when watching some movies (recent japanese movies, like Men of Yamato of 2005 or Yamamoto Isoroku of 2011), I noticed that most of orders / commands are given and replied like if the officer was `singing`. Not sure if this was some sort of tradition, or just to make the order understandable through the voice pipes. As an example, on Yamamoto Isoroku movie the command `forward at half speed`was sung somewhat like Ryogen Zenshin Hansooooooku`. Thanks in advance

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Re: May I please have some help with Japanese military commands?

Post by Birdie » 11 Sep 2019 12:29

May I piggy back on this discussion thread, please? I would like help with the commands in Japanese that a soldier in WW2 would have shouted at his prisoners:
1) Kneel down
2) Bow

Your expertise is much needed here to lend authenticity to a book I am writing about Japanese occupation of Singapore in WW2. Thanks to everyone and anyone who can assist me with this.

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