The origins of the IJN


The Imperial Japanese Navy (or Nihon Kaigun) is part of the rich history of naval interaction between Japan and the Asian continent, including transportation of troops for invasions between the peninsula of Korea and Japan, with the beginning of the Kofun period in the third century and many other cultural and commerce exchange missions.

As a consequence of the attempts of Japan invasion by Mongols, led by Khan in 1274, the interactions between Japan and continental Asia increased. These invasion attempts were done in 1274 and 1281. These events led to an increasing activity of Japanese ships wakō in the Chinese coast. The Wokou in Japanese: わこう Wakō translates to “Japanese pirates” or “dwarf pirates”. It is thought that the Wokou came from an ethnic mixture.

1634 painting of a Red seal ship. Tokyo Naval Science Museum.

Painting of a Red seal ship from 1634 .Tokyo Naval Science Museum.

During the history and depending on the Japanese leaders and governments, there were many different efforts to build a solid naval capability in Japan. One of these serious attempts was done on 16th century, during the Warring States period. At that time,  many feudal rulers were fighting for supremacy and built vast coastal navies. In some cases, the fleets could consist of up to several hundred ships. It was the same period when Japan finally succeeded to developed one of the first ironclad warship. It was constructed by Oda Nobunaga, a Japanese daimyo, who had six iron-covered Oatakebune made in 1576. Just 12 years later, in 1588 Toyotomi Hideyoshi declared a ban on Wakō piracy. Then, immediately, the pirates became vassals of Hideyoshi. By doing, they formed a strong fleet that was used as naval invasion force for the conquest of Korea (1592–1598).

From 1604, and as a consequence of contacts and exchanges with the Western nations, it was possible to commission about 350 Red seal ships, usually armed and prepared with latest Western technologies, with the purpose to estimulate commerce with Southeast Asian.

A copy of a portrait of Oda Nobunaga painted by Italian Jesuit Giovanni Nicolao, probably commissioned by Oda himself.

A copy of a portrait of Oda Nobunaga painted by Italian Jesuit Giovanni Nicolao, probably commissioned by Oda himself.

Because the strict and severe Japanese policy, called seclusion (“sakoku“), at early 1640 Japan lost more than 200 years in naval research and it was prevented to establish and negociate contacts with the foreign world and totally restricted the built of open sea-waters ships.

The Shouhei-Maru, Japan's first Western-style warship, launched in 1854. Drawing c.1855. Source: Hagiwara, Kōichi (2004). 図説 西郷隆盛と大久保利通 (Illustrated life of Saigō Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi)

The Shouhei-Maru, Japan’s first Western-style warship, launched in 1854. Drawing c.1855. Source: Hagiwara, Kōichi (2004). (Illustrated life of Saigō Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi)

After a period of obscurity in naval developments, and as a consequence of the Morrison Incident occurred in early 1837, followed by news about the China’s defeat during the Opium War, motivated to the Shogunate to substitute the law to execute foreigners and instead to adopt the Order for the Provision of Firewood and Water. Simultaneously, The shogunate made efforts to strengthen the Japan’s coastal defenses. They had a feeling that modernization was necessary and that traditional ways would not be sufficient to repel further intrusions and western knowledge was utilized through the Dutch at Dejima to reinforce Japan’s capability to repel the foreigners; field guns, mortars and firearms were obtained and coastal defenses reinforced. Numerous attempts to open Japan ended in failure in part to Japanese resistance, this was done until the early 1850s.

An important historical event happened between 1853 and 1854. Several American warships under the command of Commodore Matthew Perry entered Edo Bay and made demonstrations of force requesting trade and commerce negotiations. It is curious that they demanded negotiations when the use of force if not accepted was on the discussion table to. As a result, achieved in the Convention of Kanagawa, it was decided to open Japan to international trade and interaction. Few years later in 1858, it was followed by the 1858 Treaty of Amity and Commerce and treaties with other powers, bringing Japan officially to the International Society.

 


▽ Imperial Japanese Navy – Nihon Kaigun

 

organization of the imperial japanese navy

Nihon Kaigun organization
The structure and history of the
Imperial Japanese Navy

 

 

aircraft carriers of the imperial japanese navy

Aircraft Carriers
The battle and light aircraft carriers
of the Imperial Japanese Navy

 

 

battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy

Battleships
The Battleships and Battlecruisers of
the Imperial Japanese Navy

 

 

heavy cruisers of the imperial japanese navy

Heavy Cruisers
The heavy cruisers of the
Imperial Japanese Navy

 

 

light cruisers of the imperial japanese navy

Light Cruisers
The light cruisers
of the Imperial Japanese Navy

 

 

destroyers of the imperial japanese navy

Destroyers
The destroyers squadrons of the
Imperial Japanese Navy

 

 

submarines of the imperial japanese navy

Submarines
The submarines fleet
of the Imperial Japanese Navy

 

 

auxiliary ships of the imperial japanese navy

Auxiliary Ships
The training, hospital, and other
auxiliary ships in the IJN

 

 

timeline of the japanese imperial navy warships

The TimeLine of ships
The design and operations
timeline records of the IJN warships

 

 

japanese land-based air groups

Naval Air Groups
The Land-Based Japanese
Navy Air-Groups

 

 

Japanese navy landing forces

Naval Landing Forces 1928-1945
Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF),
Landing Forces (SNLF) 海軍特別陸戦隊

 

 

japanese secret weapons and technologies

Secret Weapons of the IJN
The secret weapons and teachnologies
of the Imperial Japanese Navy

 

 

strategic plans and doctrines of the IJN

Strategic Plans of the IJN
The strategic doctrines and
plans of the IJN

▽ Simulations & Wargames

▽ World War II: Pacific Theater

 

war in the pacific: admiral edition computer game

War in the Pacific: Admiral Edition
A computer-based simulation of
the entire Pacific War with incredible detail.

 

 

Empire of the sun_2nd edition boardgame wargame

The Empire of the Sun (2nd Ed.)
An strategy boardgame for the
Pacific War with solitaire playability.

 

 

pacific war boardgame

Pacific War
A fantastic monster game for the
Pacific War with many scenarios.

 

 

pacific war 2nd edition boardgame

Pacific War (2nd Ed.)
The 2nd Edition of the masterpiece
Pacific War game is coming soon!

▽Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)

 

organization of the JMSDF

The organization of the JMSDF
The units and structure of
the Modern Japanese Navy (JMSDF)

 

 

districts of the jmsdf

The Regional District Forces
The locations and bases of the
five regional districts of the JMSDF

 

 

DDH helicopter destroyers of the jmsdf

Helicopter Destroyers DDH
The modern helicopter destroyers
of the Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force

 

 

DDG Guided missile destroyer of the JMSDF

Guided Missile destroyers DDG
The advanced guided missile destroyers
of the Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force

 

 

DD destroyers of the JMSDF

Destroyers DD
The destroyers of the
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force

 

 

Landing Tank ships of the jmsdf

Tank Landing Ships LST
The tank lading ships of the
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force

 

 

submarines of the jmsdf

Submarines SS
The submarine fleet of the
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force

 

 

auxiliary ships of the jmsdf

Support and Auxiliary ships
Patrol and other support ships of the
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defence Force

 

 

aviation and helicopter units of the jmsdf

The aviation of the JMSDF
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force aircrafts
and helicopter fleet

 

 

naval landing forces of the jmsdf

Naval landing forces of the JMSDF
The naval forces for landings
of the JMSDF

 

 

new weapons of the jmsdf

Future projects of the JMSDF
New coming units and future
developments of the JMSDF

 

 

strategy of the jmsdf

The strategy of the JMSDF
The current doctrine and
strategy of the JMSDF

 

 

strategy of the jmsdf

News & manoeuvres
News and military
exercises of the JMSDF

▽ Simulations & Wargames

▽ World War II: European Theater

 

unconditional surrender

Unconditional Surrender
A boardgame with innovative mechanics
for the entire World War II in European Front.

 

 

supreme commander

The Supreme commander
A strategic game at corps/army level
for the World war II in Europe.

 

 

 


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