Book Review
Japan's Asian Allies 194145
Japan's Asian Allies 194145
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Japan's war of conquest across Asia was welcome in some quarters. Raising formations with volunteers from Asian countries and ethnic peoples throughout the lands Japan conquered helped with manpower. This volume explores the groups who joined Japan's cause, and why. Modelers who find Japanese subjects appealing should enjoy the uniforms and insignia of these unique units to can further spice up one's Imperial Japanese subjects.

Japan's Asian Allies 194145, Men-at-Arms 532, is a 48-page book from Osprey Publishing LTD. Authored by Philip Jowett and illustrated by Stephen Walsh, it is available in softcover, catalogued with Osprey's Short code MAA 532 or ISBN 9781472836960. It is also available in PDF and ePUB formats.

Osprey tells us of this book:

    During the Japanese occupation of large parts of Asia and the Pacific in 1941-45, Japan raised significant numbers of troops to fight alongside them, as well as militias to guard their conquests. The total number of these soldiers is estimated at no fewer than 600,000 men. These ranged from the regular troops of Manchukuo (200,000 men), Nanking China (250,000), Thailand, and recruits from the 'puppet' Burmese Independence Army (30,000) and Indian National Army (40,000), to constabularies and spear-wielding militias in the Philippines (15,000), Borneo, Indonesia and New Guinea.

    Many of the recruits from former European colonies hoped for independence as part of the 'Greater East-Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere' proclaimed by Japanese propaganda, but Japan's intentions were entirely cynical. They formed alliances to deny the Allied powers access to territory that they could not actually occupy, and raised these large numbers of auxiliary troops to relieve the manpower burden of occupation, or simply as 'cannon-fodder'.

    This extensively researched study examines each of these armies and militias in detail, exploring their history and deployment during World War II, and revealing the intricacies of their arms and equipment with stunning full-colour artwork and previously unpublished contemporary photographs.

I look forward to learning about Japan's local armies and militias.

Japan's Asian Allies 194145 is brought to us through 12 main topics in a 48-page book:
    MANCHUKUO, 1933-45
    Manchukuo Army - Manchukuo Air Force & Navy
    "NANKING CHINA," 1940-45
    "Nanking" Army - "Nanking" Air Force & Navy
    INNER MONGOLIA, 1937-1945
    THAILAND, 1941-45
    Thai Army - Thai Air Force & Navy
    Operations 1941-1943
    Background - Organization
    Operations 1944-45
    BURMA, 1941-45
    Burmese Independence Army, 1941-1942 - Burmese Defense Army, 1942-1943 - Burmese National Army, 1943-1945
    Burmese & Indian tribal volunteers
    INDONESIA, 1942-45
    Seinendan and Keibodan - Hei-Ho - PETA - Hezbollah Giyugun
    Other Indonesian paramilitary organizations
    MALAYA, 1942-45
    Gunpo - Giyugun and Giyutai
    Other Malayan paramilitary organizations
    THE PHILIPPINES, 1942-45
    Background - Philippines Constabulary
    Shin 'etai - Yoin/United Nippon - "Peace Army" - Makaftili- "Bisig Army"
    New Guinea
    Pacific islands

That is a great deal of information. Volumes have been written about the independence movements in Western colonies in Asia, and this book does not try to explain them in detail. This book is an overview of the groups and countries that allied with the Japanese. It recounts the units, how they came about, operations with or for the Japanese, their fate during and after the war, loyalty to the Japanese cause, and consequences. Equipment and training are touched upon. The formula for each topic is:
    Operations (appropriate dates)
Not every group receives each of those overviews.

Ultimately, this is a book certain to inspire modeling beyond the typical Japanese subjects we are used to. Figures in these uniforms can shake up judging at upcoming model shows, too. A book most satisfying.

Students of the Pacific War, minor combatants, mercenaries, local/ethnic/colonial militarizes/militias, and irregulars should find this book enlightening.

Photographs and Artwork
Photographic support is good and almost every page has an image. The photographs range from studio quality from propaganda efforts, to amateur "grab shots". Most are of units in parade or training activities. Most are useful for modelers seeking accurate modeling of kit.

Artist Stephen Walsh created over a dozen special color profiles, each supported by commentary at the end of the book.

A. Manchukuo & Inner Mongolia
    1. Infantry LMG-gunner, Manchukuo Army, 1944
    2. Cavalryman, Inner Mongolian Army, 1943
    2a. Inner Mongolian Army cap badge
    3. Volunteer, Asano Bde, Manchukuo Army, 1941
B. "Nanking China"
    1. Wang Ching-wei, 1942
    2. Cavalry Corporal, 2nd Division, 1943
    3. Private 1st class, Kongmoon, 1944
C. Burma
    1. Standard-bearer, Burmeae Independence Army, 1942
    2. Aung San, Burmese Defense Army, 1943
    3. Lance-corproal, Burmese National Army, 1944
D. Indian National Army
    1. Lance-naik, Malaya, 1942
    2. Subedar, Azad Hind DAL, 1943
    2a. INA Badge
    3. Havildar, Rani of Jhansi Regt; Burma, 1944
E. Thailand
    1. Infantryman, Shan State, Burma, 1942
    2. Standard-bearer, Yuwachon Thahan Youth Corps, 1941
    3. FM Phibun Songkhram; Cambodian border, early 1942
F. Indonesia
    1. Hei-Ho volunteer; Java, 1943
    2. Bundancho standard-bearer, PETA; Java, 1944
    3. Officer, Polisi Training Academy; Java, 1944
G. Philippines, Malaya, and New Guinea
    1. Sgt, Philippines Constabulary; Manila, 1943
    1a. Constabulary badge from 1943 onward
    2. Makapili volunteer; Manila, 1944
    3. Giyugun volunteer; Malaya, 1944
    4. Tribal volunteer; Dutch New Guinea, 1943
H. Borneo, Sumatra, Vietnam, and Burma
    1. Kyodota volunteer; Sarawak, 1944
    2. Officer, Giyugun; Samatra, 1944
    3. Boa-an standard-bearer; Vietnam, 1945
    4. Volunteer, Arakan Defense Force; Burma, 1944

Japan's Asian Allies 194145, like the similar book about Hitler's eastern legions, should be an excellent reference for modelers and students of Japna's war, uncommon units, auxiliary troops, and ethnic co-belligerents. It features good color artwork illustrating the unique uniforms and kit of Japan's collaborators. The concise text is informative.

This book is interesting, informative, and inspirational for modeling subjects, and I recommend it.

Please remember to mention to vendors and retailers that you saw this product here, on Historicus Forma.
Highs: Color artwork and informative text.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: An excellent reference for modelers and students of Japna's war, uncommon units, auxiliary troops, and ethnic co-belligerents.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: MAA 532, 978147283
  Related Link: Hitler's Eastern Legions 194245
  PUBLISHED: Sep 25, 2020
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.


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