Question about IJN unit names

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Eugen Pinak
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Question about IJN unit names

Post by Eugen Pinak » 24 Dec 2023 22:17

I know, that official announcement of every IJN ship had ship name written in both kanji hieroglyphs and kana alphabet. So everybody was sure about its spelling.

Was something like this for the unit names, especially named air groups?

Asking because well known IJN air group, based in the city of Bihoro, carried code letters "M" for Mihoro. And Oppama Air Group, based in Oppama, carried code "O-Hi" which doesn't match with the name of the city is was located.

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Re: Question about IJN unit names

Post by fontessa » 26 Dec 2023 01:03

Eugen Pinak wrote:
24 Dec 2023 22:17
I know, that official announcement of every IJN ship had ship name written in both kanji hieroglyphs and kana alphabet. So everybody was sure about its spelling.

Was something like this for the unit names, especially named air groups?

Asking because well known IJN air group, based in the city of Bihoro, carried code letters "M" for Mihoro. And Oppama Air Group, based in Oppama, carried code "O-Hi" which doesn't match with the name of the city is was located.
I don't know if it was officially announced, but before the war, the ship's name was written in Kana on the stern. In the example below, the ship's name on the stern, read from the right, is "おほゐ Oi". "ゐ I" is the old-style Kana of "い I". Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships also write their names in Kana on the stern, but the Kana font was inherited from the Japanese Navy. I don't think the pronunciation of the unit's name was ever announced.

ひらがな艦名.jpg

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Re: Question about IJN unit names

Post by Eugen Pinak » 26 Dec 2023 11:48

fontessa wrote:
26 Dec 2023 01:03
Eugen Pinak wrote:
24 Dec 2023 22:17
I know, that official announcement of every IJN ship had ship name written in both kanji hieroglyphs and kana alphabet. So everybody was sure about its spelling.

Was something like this for the unit names, especially named air groups?

Asking because well known IJN air group, based in the city of Bihoro, carried code letters "M" for Mihoro. And Oppama Air Group, based in Oppama, carried code "O-Hi" which doesn't match with the name of the city is was located.
I don't know if it was officially announced, but before the war, the ship's name was written in Kana on the stern.
Yes, ship names were announced in both kanji and kana - see here: https://dl.ndl.go.jp/pid/4009508/1/23
Note that the names were announced only in katakana.
For example, there is interesting spelling of "Ōyodo" name - オ-ホ-ヨ-ド = o-ho-yo-do

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Re: Question about IJN unit names

Post by fontessa » 26 Dec 2023 14:41

    Eugen Pinak wrote:
    26 Dec 2023 11:48
    Yes, ship names were announced in both kanji and kana - see here: https://dl.ndl.go.jp/pid/4009508/1/23
    Note that the names were announced only in katakana.
    For example, there is interesting spelling of "Ōyodo" name - オ-ホ-ヨ-ド = o-ho-yo-do
    Thanks. I would like to take a correction. The official names of the ships were only in kanji. Kanji can be read in various ways, so "How to read the Kanji" has also been shown. Before the war, Japanese government offices, including the Ministry of the Navy, used Katakana, not Hiregana, so "How to read the Kanji" was written in Katakana. To reiterate, Katakana didn't mean a "ship name" itself, but merely a "pronunciation of Kanji".

    The below shows the IJN official document named Oyodo. Note all the text was written in Katakana. If we Japanese write Kanji 大淀 exactly as it is pronounced, it becomes オ--ヨ-ド = o-ho-yo-do. After the defeat of WWII, this was simplified to オ--ヨ-ド = o-o-yo-do under a part of the educational reform based on the GHQ Directive.

    達第六十六号
    呉海軍工廠ニ於テ建造中ノ巡洋艦一隻ニ左ノ通命名セラル
    昭和十七年三月十日 海軍大臣島田繁太郎
    二等巡洋艦 大淀 (オホヨド)
    Tatsu No.66
    One cruiser under construction at the Navy Yard was named:
    The 2nd class cruiser 大淀 (オホヨド)
    10 March 1942 Minister of the Navy Shimada Shigetaro
    大淀 読み方.jpg


    The display of the ship's name on the stern using Hiragana, which was shown earlier, probably had a decorative meaning and was used on cruisers and larger ships. For destroyers, the ship's name was written on the side in Katakana to make it easier to identify. These were before the war, and all of these were erased after the war had begun.
    白雲.jpg

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    Re: Question about IJN unit names

    Post by fontessa » 26 Dec 2023 19:16

    Eugen Pinak wrote:
    24 Dec 2023 22:17
    Was something like this for the unit names, especially named air groups?

    Asking because well known IJN air group, based in the city of Bihoro, carried code letters "M" for Mihoro. And Oppama Air Group, based in Oppama, carried code "O-Hi" which doesn't match with the name of the city is was located.
    區別子 (Carried code letters?) of air groups were specified by 『内令提要』 昭和15年12月25日現在 第10版 「航空機番号附与法及其ノ表示法」.
    https://www.jacar.archives.go.jp/aj/met ... 3071994000

    Here み was assigned to 美幌海軍航空隊. Unfortunately, I do not know why the ひ which was linked to the place name びほろ was not assigned. Others were generally linked to place names.

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    Re: Question about IJN unit names

    Post by Eugen Pinak » 27 Dec 2023 12:53

    fontessa wrote:
    26 Dec 2023 19:16
    Here み was assigned to 美幌海軍航空隊. Unfortunately, I do not know why the ひ which was linked to the place name びほろ was not assigned. Others were generally linked to place names.

    fontessa
    Fontessa - thank you once again for your corrections and explanations. I haven't thought those strange spellings may've been relicts of old pre-reform grammar.
    And the document on IJN air units' marking is a treasure.

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    Re: Question about IJN unit names

    Post by fontessa » 28 Dec 2023 04:23

    Eugen, I have one question.
    You asked "Carried code letters". Was "Code Letter" 區別子 in 『内令提要』 昭和15年12月25日現在 第10版 「航空機番号附与法及其ノ表示法」?
    If not, what is the first half of the Tail Code unit which shows the unit name called in English?
    I looked at that document,' and found out why the aircraft numbers of the Zero, Val, and Kate of the Pearl Harbor attack force were in the 100s, 200s, and 300s, respectively.

    Tail Code.jpg

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    Re: Question about IJN unit names

    Post by Eugen Pinak » 28 Dec 2023 09:47

    fontessa wrote:
    28 Dec 2023 04:23
    Eugen, I have one question.
    You asked "Carried code letters". Was "Code Letter" 區別子 in 『内令提要』 昭和15年12月25日現在 第10版 「航空機番号附与法及其ノ表示法」?
    If not, what is the first half of the Tail Code unit which shows the unit name called in English?
    In British RAF and US AAF those were called "squadron codes":
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_R ... dron_codes
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U ... dron_codes

    In USN they were called "identification marking" but included individual aircraft number: https://www.pmcn.de/English/USN%20Marki ... s%20II.htm
    In 1945 they were called " letter code": https://www.pmcn.de/English/USN%20Marki ... %20III.htm

    Markings of USN carrier air groups were called "geometric identification symbols": https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US ... 4-1945.jpg

    fontessa wrote:
    28 Dec 2023 04:23
    I looked at that document,' and found out why the aircraft numbers of the Zero, Val, and Kate of the Pearl Harbor attack force were in the 100s, 200s, and 300s, respectively.
    Those numbers by plane class were introduced in early 1930 and still in use by the JASDF, even if in slightly modified form. Incredible longevity.

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    Re: Question about IJN unit names

    Post by fontessa » 29 Dec 2023 08:33

    Thanks for the detailed explanation. One correction. JASDF does not have bombers and attackers. Even if the main role of F-2 is an anti-ship attack, it is not an attacker but a support fighter. Japan's constitution renounces war, but Japan can maintain military power for self-defense. This is the reason for the strange name JASDF instead of Air Force. And JASDF can only have weapons for self-defense, which is why there is no attacker or bomber in JASDF. You think it's weird, right? However, Japan had to continue to maintain this stance ever since losing after WWII’s loss. Anyone who has seen the tragedy in Western Europe thinks, “Isn't this bad?''.
    Going back to the original story, JASDF fighters have the last three digits of their serial number written on the nose of the aircraft. This varies depending on the aircraft model; for example, the F-15J has 801 ~ 965, the F-15DJ 051 ~ 098, and the F-2B has 101 ~ 134.

    空自 機番号.jpg



    I found「航空機番号附与法及其ノ表示法」in 1944.
    https://www.jacar.archives.go.jp/aj/met ... 3072034400
    https://www.jacar.archives.go.jp/aj/met ... 3072013500
    https://www.jacar.archives.go.jp/aj/met ... 2070231300

    According to them, they stipulated 内戦部隊 Inner Units = Units stayed Japan Mainland. AS for 外戦部隊 Outer Units = Units dispatched overseas were directed by the GF. On November 1, 1943, the names of 外戦部隊 changed from place names to numbers. There appear to have been three letter codes associated with this name change.
    (1) Use the same letter code (R in Figure 2)
    (2) Change the code letter (M→R2 in Figure 3)
    (3) Code letter not written (H → Not used in Figure 4)

    攻撃機 木更津.jpg

    攻撃機 美幌空.jpg

    攻撃機 三沢空.jpg


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    Re: Question about IJN unit names

    Post by Eugen Pinak » 30 Dec 2023 18:33

    Once again - thank you very much, Fontessa!

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