Dai Juroku Shidan (Sixteenth Division) of the Imperial Japanese Army (第16師団 (日本軍))

The Sixteenth Division was one of the divisions of the Imperial Japanese Army.

Summary

It was a division of the Imperial Japanese Army established in Kyoto Prefecture on July 18, 1905. When Japan mobilized all of the former divisions in the Russo-Japanese War, it resulted in a situation where there were no army divisions stationed on the mainland. Four divisions including the Sixteenth Division were created to solve this situation. Other than the Sixteenth Division, the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Divisions (Imperial Japanese Army) were established on April 1, 1905, and Fourteenth Division (Imperial Japanese Army) was established on July 6 of the same year.

Russo-Japanese War

The Sixteenth Division was dispatched to Manchuria on July 18, 1905 immediately after its formation but did not join the battle since it already ended and the peace treaty (Treaty of Portsmouth) was signed on September 5.

The division was ordered to stay in Manchuria from 1919 after the Russo-Japanese War. It temporarily returned to Japan, but was assigned to be stationed in Manchuria in 1929 and 1934.

Sino-Japanese War

The division was incorporated into the second army (Imperial Japanese Army) under Toshizo NISHIO, who held the title of Chujo (Middle Captain) commander when the Sino-Japanese War broke out in July 1937, and it was placed in the frontlines of the Northern China battle line before joining the Shanghai Expeditionary Army on the Shanghai City battle line in November of the same year to participate in the Battle of Nanking. It participated in the Japanese Northern China Area Army to fight in the Battle of Xuzhou from January 1938 and followed the Second Army again in July of the same year to fight in the Battle of Wuhan and was incorporated into the Eleventh Army (Imperial Japanese Army) in December.

It demobilized itself in August of the following year of 1939. At this time, the Thirty-eighth Infantry Regiment of Toyohashi was incorporated into the new Twenty-Ninth Division (Imperial Japanese Army), and the Sixteenth Division was reorganized into santani-sei Shidan (Shidan comprised of three infantries). The Sixteenth Division made Kyoto City its permanent base, but it shifted to Manchuria in July 1940 and that became its permanent base.

The Pacific War

The Fourteenth Division (Imperial Japanese Army) was dispatched to the front lines on November 6, 1941 and fought at the beginning of the war in the Philippines (1941-1942), and stationed there after Manila fell.

It went under the commands of the Thirty-fifth Army (Imperial Japanese Army) from August 1944 and stationed itself on Layt Island. The Allies invaded Layt Island on October 20 of that year, and the Imperial headquarters were planning the battle on Layt Island while the Sixteenth Division was annihilated. Among thirteen thousand soldiers that participated in the battle on Layt Island, only six hundred twenty survived, and three regimental commanders died in the battle, and Shiro MAKINO, who was the head of the division committed suicide on August 10, 1945.

Structural Remnants

Some of the soldier units and facilities were located in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City beside the headquarters for the division commander. The dormitory of the commanders of the Sixteenth Division whose construction was completed in 1908 was later used as the main headquarters of Seibo Jogakuin School Corporation, and the division drill court was used by Ryukoku University.

Furthermore, Fuji no Mori Station of Keihan Electric Railway Corporation had the name, Shidan mae (front of division) around the time it was established (it was renamed to the current name in 1941). The streets and bridges such as the Shidan-kaido Road (Division Road) and Shidan Bridge (Division Bridge) over the river that flowed from Lake Biwa were established at the time the Sixteenth Division was stationed there.