Japan was the leader of the Axis powers in the Pacific Theater. Some consider that World War II actually began with the invasion of China by Japan, first by taking Manchuria and installing their puppet the Manchukuo regime. In 1937, after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Japan declared war on China, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War in which Japan invaded and conquered much of eastern China, installing additional puppet regimes along the way, including Mengkukuo and the "Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China". After invading China, Japan struck southwards, invading and conquering British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), in hopes of securing their resources, followed by an invasion of the British Raj.
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, flattening the center of the city. Late in the evening of August 8, according to the Yalta agreements, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, and shortly after midnight on August 9, attacked Manchukuo and Mengkukuo. Only hours later, the Americans dropped a second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, destroying a small portion of it. The total shock of these events forced Emperor Hirohito to intervene and compel the big six to agree on the terms of ending the war, taken by the Allies in the Potsdam Conference. After several days of backroom negotiations and failed attempts to destroy the stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons of Unit 731 in Manchuria, which were captured by Soviet paratroopers, and the collapse of the Kwantung Army, in August 15, Hirohito addressed the nation by radio and announced the surrender of Japan. The signing ceremony of the Act of Capitulation took place on September 2 aboard the United States Navy battleship USS Missouri (BB-63).
- 1 Historical background
- 2 Events
- 3 National focus
- 4 Technology
- 5 Politics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Military
- 8 Strategies and Guides
- 9 Achievements
After Japan's unification during the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the Japanese Empire had undergone a period of rapid westernization and industrialization, with the goal of making Japan a power on par with the other western nations. With its newfound power, Japan sought to make up for its lack of resources by securing them overseas, through invading neighboring nations, starting with its invasion of Korea in 1895, the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894-1895, where Japan conquered Taiwan. Succeeding in this, Japan later fought and won the Russo-Japanese War against the Russian Empire in 1904-1905, cementing itself as one of the world's great powers and first non-European nation to achieve this status. Allying itself with the United Kingdom in 1902, Japan joined World War I on the side of the Entente, conquering Germany's possessions in the Pacific and China.
During the Great Depression, the Japanese government had become increasingly militaristic, leading to the conquest of Manchuria in 1931, creating the puppet state of Manchukuo. In 1933, further Chinese border territories were also conquered, leading to further puppet states, like Mengkukuo. The Japanese government had begun declaring a campaign of "Asia for the Asians", by which they more or less meant "Asia for the Japanese", claiming a series of wars of "liberation" that were in reality further grabs for land and resources.
The government of Japan is still not satisfied, however, and seeks to further expand Japan's dominion in East Asia, its "Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere" at the expense of all caught in its way. Japan has countless plans drawn up for its conquest of Asia, some involve an invasion of the Chinese mainland and splitting up China into loyal puppets, others calling for an invasion of India and others involve invading European possessions in Indonesia and Indochina. Even more tenuous plans call for an invasion of Soviet Siberia, to claim its vast resources and wealth, another plan involves targeting Australia and New Zealand with Japan's biggest ambition being the concept of an invasion of the United States in order to secure the nation's resources and industry and to topple Japan's perhaps biggest rival in the Pacific.
The Japanese Empire stands as the greatest power in East Asia, ready to raze anyone that gets in its way.
- Main article: Japanese events
- Main article: Japanese national focus tree
Japan, as one of the seven major powers, got a unique national focus tree.
The Japanese national focus tree can be divided into 7 branches:
- The Unthinkable Option Branch
- The Communist branch and is organized around the idea of establishing a Communist state in Japan with the possibility of either joining the Soviets or forming a faction with the Chinese Communists. It requires Waking the Tiger.
- Purge the Kodoha Faction Branch
- The historical Fascist tree, it focuses around the aggressive conquest of China, Indochina, Indonesia and the Philippines and an alliance with Siam.
- National Mobilization Law/ National Defense State Sub-branches
- Two Sub-branches that is used for both the Purge the Kodoha Faction Branch and the Support the Kodoha Faction Branch. It Increases economy law and allows Kamikaze Strikes.
- Support the Kodoha Faction Branch
- The Non-Aligned Branch is focused on building up to a war with the Soviet Union and joining the German Reich's faction.
- Strengthen the Civilian Government Branch
- The Democratic branch starts a civil war with the fascists and installs a Constitutional Monarchy. It also liberates Korea, the Philippines and allows Japan to puppet or annex Dutch East Indies, British Malaya or Indochina. It requires Waking the Tiger.
- Army Expansion Law Branch
- This branch expands Japan's army while also giving it the Bicycle Infantry, a unique unit for Japan.
- Fighter Modernization Sub-branch
- This sub-branch expands Japan's Airforce and connects to both the Army and Naval branches.
- New Naval Estimates Branch
- This branch expands Japan's naval research and industry.
|Army Technology||Naval Technology||Air Technology||Electronics & Industry|
Japan starts with four national spirits in the base game:
With the Waking the Tiger expansion enabled, Japan starts with an additional national spirit:
With the Man the Guns expansion enabled, Japan starts with an additional national spirit:
Staff and Designers
These are choices of ministers and design companies for the Empire of Japan.
|Tokyo Arsenal||Infantry Equipment Designer||
|Nissan||Motorized Equipment Designer||
Resource-wise, Japan finds itself in much the same place as Germany. While Japan has access to a satisfactory amount of chromium, tungsten, and steel, it suffers from a shortage of aluminum, and an extreme shortage of oil and rubber. Japan's shortage of oil and rubber at the game's beginning mostly shoehorns the Japanese player into the historical bog of an infantry army. Even a complete annexation of China will not solve Japan's problems, as China has more or less the same resource pool as Japan has. While the Japanese player can trade with the United States in the early game for oil, this ties up civilian factories, and the United States has an early focus to embargo Japan (which they will be likely to pursue with historical focus turned on).
Japan is in luck, however, as all the rubber and oil are a short boat ride and a war with the Allies away. Specifically, the largest supplies of rubber and oil in the game can be found in French Indochina, British Malaysia, and the Dutch East Indies. While Japan won't have complete control of these resources until they reach a peace conference with France, Britain, or the Netherlands, the available resources are more than abundant enough to fuel the construction of planes, ships, tanks, as well as any motorized designs Japan might have for the duration of the war. If the Japanese player does not desire war with the Allies, they will have access to the first technology allowing synthetic oil refineries in 1936, which opens up options for medium-scale production of aforementioned planes, ships, and tanks, without conquest. One thing to keep in mind when taking this route is that synthetic oil refineries are extremely expensive and time-consuming to construct, eating away time that could be used to build up other military and civilian factories with which to build up a force to take all the resources Japan could ever require to fulfill its dreams of Pacific domination.
Please help with verifying or updating this table. It was last verified for version 1.7.
|Conscription Law||Economy Law||Trade Law|
| Limited Conscription
|| Partial Mobilization
|| Limited Exports
19 Military Factories
15 Naval Dockyard
25 Civilian Factories
31 Military Factories
21 Naval Dockyard
48 Civilian Factories
These numbers represent the available resources, depending on the trade law a certain amount may be traded away.
Here the player can type some informative bits about this nation's armed forces in-game in 1936 and the following years.
In 1936, Japan has mixed seasoned and green troops. Japan starts with 45 infantry divisions, 9 cavalry divisions, 3 light tanks, 2 motorized divisions and a marine division. To reflect historical accuracy, Japan begins the game with a number of divisions that begin with experience 2 and weapons 1. This, combined with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident national focus, allows the Japanese player multiple avenues for warfare with China as early as 1936. Japan also has some troops with basic equipment, good targets for a garrison of Japan's home island and Japan's matrix of pacific islands.
|Name||Type||Tech Year||Variants TD / SPA / AAA|
|Ko-Gata||Great War Tank||1918|
|Type 94||Light Tank I||1934|
|Ha-Go||Light Tank II||1936|
|Ke-Ni||Light Tank III||1941|
|Chi-Ha||Medium Tank I||1939|
|Chi-Nu||Medium Tank II||1941|
|Chi-Ri||Medium Tank III||1943|
|Type 95||Heavy Tank I||1934|
|Iwakuro||Heavy Tank II||1941|
|O-I||Heavy Tank III||1943|
|Type 2604||Super Heavy Tank||1943|
Here are some real life names the player can use for their upgrades, for people who are interested.
|Ha-Go||Tank||Ke-Go, Kyu-Go, Ke-Ri|
|Chi-Ha||Tank||Chi-Ha Shinhoto, Chi-He|
Examples of alternative division template names for Japan include:
- Mountaineers - Yamahei-dan Shidan
- Marines - Tokubetsu Rikusentai or just Rikusentai (naval infantry, as opposed to marines)
- Paratroopers - Teishin Shidan
- Motorized - Jidousha Shidan
- Mechanized - Kikaika Shidan
- Armor - Sensha Shidan
Japan starts with several upgraded tier I ship classes. The Akagi carrier and Nagato battleship in particular have an especially high number of upgrade points. Japan also starts with 3 Kongo-class battleships which are tier II and 2 Mogami-class heavy cruisers that are also tier II. Under construction are 1 Soryu-class carrier, 1 Kongo-class battleship and 1 Mogami-class heavy cruiser along with 3 destroyers and 4 submarines. Japan starts with comparably high naval technology. Japan can also acquire Long Lance torpedoes from a national focus, which gives their torpedoes a longer range than any other nation.
|Minekaze Class||Destroyer I||1922|
|Asashio Class||Destroyer II||1936|
|Akizuki Class||Destroyer III||1940|
|Shimakaze Class||Destroyer IV||1944|
|Tenryu Class||Light Cruiser I||1922|
|Light Mogami Class||Light Cruiser II||1936|
|Agano Class||Light Cruiser III||1940|
|Agatsuma Class||Light Cruiser IV||1944|
|Furutaka Class||Heavy Cruiser I||1922|
|Heavy Mogami Class||Heavy Cruiser II||1936|
|Tone Class||Heavy Cruiser III||1940|
|Ibuki Class||Heavy Cruiser IV||1944|
|Amagi Class||Battlecruiser I||1922|
|Design B-65||Battlecruiser II||1940|
|Fuso Class||Battleship I||1922|
|Kongo Class||Battleship II||1936|
|Tajima Class||Battleship III||1940|
|Iwami Class||Battleship IV||1944|
|Yamato Class||Super Heavy Battleship I||1936|
|Super Yamato Class||Super Heavy Battleship II||1944|
|Kaga Class||Carrier I||1922|
|Soryu Class||Carrier II||1936|
|Shokaku Class||Carrier III||1940|
|Taiho Class||Carrier IV||1944|
|Kaichu Class||Submarines I||1922|
|Kaidai VI Class||Submarines II||1936|
|Ko/Otsu/Hei-Gata Class||Submarines III||1940|
|Sen-Toku Class||Submarines IV||1944|
327 Close Air Support
102 Naval Bombers
54 Tactical Bombers
|Tech Year||Close Air Support (Carrier Variant)||Fighter (Carrier Variant)||Naval Bomber (Carrier Variant)||Heavy Fighter||Tactical Bomber||Strategic Bomber|
|1933||Type 91 (A4N)||G3M Rikko|
|1936||Ki-32 (D1A2||Ki-27 (A5M)||G3M1 (B5N)||Ki-38||Ki-21||Ki-20|
|1940||Ki-51 (D3A)||Ki-43 Hayabusa (A6M Zero-sen)||G4M (B6N)||Ki-45 Toryu||Ki-48||Ki-49 Donryu|
|1944||Ki-66 (D4Y Suisei)||Ki-84 Hayate (A7M Reppu)||P1Y Ginga (B7A)||Ki-102||Ki-67||G8N Renzan|
|Jet Engine Technology|
|1945||Kikka||Jet Tac Bomber I|
|1950||J7W Shidden-Kai||Jet Tac Bomber II||Jet Strat Bomber I|
These are the Military Staff candidates for appointment of Imperial Japan.
Strategies and Guides
The Empire of Japan is by far the strongest nation in East Asia when it comes to military strength and has plenty of options for expanding its sphere of influence. That being said, Japan suffers from a chronic lack of resources, given the size of its military and will, as it realized in real life, become very dependent on trade to fuel its war machine unless the problem is properly addressed. Japan is also not a very popular nation globally—the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union all have national focuses that enable them to go to war with Japan and the Together for Victory DLC will also turn Australia and New Zealand into possible enemies.
Japan's national focus tree contains many helpful perks and boosts that can greatly assist in early-game endeavors. The National Focus New Naval Estimates gives 4 naval dockyards while "Spiritual Mobilization" and "Warrior Traditions" raise the recruitable population by a noticeable margin.
Japan starts the game with a total of 59 factories (19 military, 25 civilian and 15 naval dockyards) which is comparable to most of the other major nations and this gives Japan the biggest industrial capacity in East Asia.
The Imperial Japanese army consists of a rather colorful mix of units, ranging from Regular to Green in experience and with varying levels of equipment. Many of the division templates are also somewhat questionable when it comes to composition. A lot of rearming and reorganizing will be needed in order to bring up the military to par with the other major powers.
The Imperial Japanese Navy is the third-largest navy in the world and the largest one in East Asia. Because Japan is an island nation and also controls a large matrix of smaller islands throughout the pacific ocean, the navy will be vital to ensure that the Japanese Empire remains properly connected and that supply lines remain open. As such, Japan will need to build up its naval dockyard capacity in order to allow it to expand its naval force and replace lost ships.
Once the initial buildup is completed there are several paths for Japan to take:
Initial conquest options
The Second Sino-Japanese War
Located to Japan's Southwest, China presents a relatively early conquest goal for Japan. The Japanese national focus tree contains the necessary focuses to grant a war goal against China very early on in the game and this makes China a perfectly logical conquest option in the early game. When taking on China, the Japanese player must be aware of two crucial facts: first, China has the second highest (highest after unification) starting core population in the game and this grants it a near-bottomless manpower supply. As such, a war of attrition is not an option for Japan as Japan will run out of manpower long before China. Instead, the recommended path is for Japan to strike fast and strike hard, using equipment such as artillery and either heavy fighters or tanks to deal maximum damage to the Chinese forces. Second, it is recommended that the player strike China from multiple directions by opening new fronts through naval invasions. Once the war starts, two possible option for additional strikes would be a naval invasion of the Qingdao peninsula followed by a rush inland to cut off supply line to Beijing or an invasion of Southern China to capture a large portion of China's resources.
Once China falls, the player is left with two options: Annexation or Puppeting. Annexing China will grant Japan a good amount of build slots for construction (which is mostly useless as you have enough construction slots in your capital and way better infrastructure) as well as providing a boost to Japan's resource pool but an immense penalty will be applied to the local recruitable population, greatly reducing available manpower.
If the Japanese player elects to puppet China and has the Together For Victory DLC enabled, then they will be able to fully exploit China's immense manpower pool by recruiting colonial divisions or by requesting forces from China at any point, as China will retain full access to its manpower pool as a Japanese puppet. If the player elects this path, they should only fully annex coastal states, and perhaps even all states except Sichuan (which is the highest population state). China should still be left with enough manpower. Annexing the state of Hainan is highly recommended as this state can serve as a staging area for the Japanese Navy when fighting in Southern Asia.
Just south of Japan lies Indonesia and Indochina. These territories are very valuable for Japan as they contain large amounts of rubber as well as a moderate amount of oil, both which Japan sorely needs for tanks, trucks, planes and ships for its military.
Unfortunately for Japan, these territories are controlled by European colonial nations (the Dutch East Indies and British Malaya) and as such Japan will likely not be able to achieve full control of these areas until later in the game unless the player can somehow force through a peace treaty. Still, simply occupying the areas will be enough to extract the resources needed. As far as enemy opposition is concerned, the colonial nations are usually not very well defended so Japan's starting military power alone should be sufficient to capture the colonies if one acts fast enough. Invading the colonies will likely involve a lot of naval invasions or paratrooper drops (depending on personal preference) as well maintaining naval superiority around the islands.
Once the colonies are occupied, a good course of action would be to fortify the coast and station troops in the area to repel enemy attempts at retaking the areas. This is where puppet troops can come in handy, recruiting colonial troops or, if the division templates are good enough, requesting forces from puppets can allow the player to station puppet troops to garrison occupied areas for reducing resistance and repelling or at least delaying enemy incursions.
Mid-game conquest options
After securing China, one possible alternative is to continue onward to India (the British Raj) as having both India and China as puppets will more or less make Japan immune to casualties. India, unlike China is a puppet of the United Kingdom so attacking them will likely lead to war with the British. Given that India is very similar to China, possessing near-bottomless manpower but lacking in industry early on, the recommended approach for Japan would be a two-front invasion of India. Specifically, one example would be a land invasion of eastern India through southwestern China (and through Siam if said country has been puppeted) alongside a simultaneous naval invasion of the island of Ceylon and from there to southern India. Another option could be securing Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan and attacking from that direction as well although this comes with the disadvantage of offering a very chokepoint-heavy attack path due to the Himalayas.
Once again, Japan should preferably strike fast and strike hard in order to not give India any chance to mount an effective defense. This time, however, it is possible that the player may run into British and other Allied troops which presents a challenge in itself as these troops will (typically) be better equipped which can make them harder to fight than the typical Indian division.
Beyond India (the British Raj) lies the fifth biggest oil producer in the world - Iran. Capturing it will secure twice as much oil as the Dutch East Indies, providing for Japan's medium-term oil needs as it expands in the Pacific.
Though small and non-aligned, Iran's border with India is very short and very mountainous, making the invasion surprisingly tough (but still a matter of weeks).
Iran also give you access to the Soviet Union. If the German Reich are already close to Stalingrad, an invasion via Armenia could roll up the entire front. If not, you could blitz straight to Stalingrad or even Moscow while the bulk of Soviet forces are tied up in the West (which will collapse when half the front is deployed to deal with your invasion). You can end the war by Christmas.
Continue down under
After securing Indonesia and Indochina, Japan has the option to invade and capture Australia and New Zealand. Capturing these territories will round out Japan's dominance of Oceania and will also remove the Allies' ability to effectively project power in the south Pacific. Australia and New Zealand are comparable to most European minor nations, possessing good technology but limited manpower. How well defended these nations are if attacked varies greatly; if Australia and/or New Zealand stay loyal to the United Kingdom, it is likely that they will send some of their troops overseas to help their overlord on other fronts. If they choose to sever ties and become independent, however (via Together For Victory), then they will be less inclined to send their troops elsewhere and may therefore be able to mount a more solid defense. In addition to that, going down the national focus trees can lead to Australia and/or New Zealand joining the Axis or Comintern and Australia can even form a faction with the USA, puppet/annex New Zealand and attack Japan.