When looking for references on military subjects, some topics have a wealth of information available. Others are lacking. One of those subjects less covered is that of Japan in WWII. Written by Claudio Antonucci, this latest publication from Concord is part of their "Warriors" series, and helps fill a gap as it provides historical details and photos of Soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army from the beginning of the war until the end. As I have become interested in the subject, I was quite happy to receive this book from Armorama as a review sample.
10 color plates
34 color and
68 black and white photos
The book is divided into two sections. The first is a series of 10 color plates depicting Japanese soldiers in a variety of roles and uniforms. Each plate has multiple illustrations showing the individual soldiers as well as detail images of specific items such as weapons, insignia, buttons and other personal gear. Everything from a lowly second class soldier in a loin cloth to Generals Yamashita and Kuribayashi is presented.
Along with the color plates, descriptive text is provided. The text identifies the details in each item illustrated, explains uniform variations and types, weapons commonly carried, issue and field modified equipment, and provides the proper Japanese names for all items. In addition to modern dates, the text provides the dates associated with the Traditional Japanese Imperial Calendar of the Emperor's reign.
Factual historical information is provided throughout the text, giving details as to how individual soldiers lived and died, what they wore and how they adapted to the varied climates of the Pacific region, from islands at the equator to Northern Manchuria and the Aleutians, as well as how they adapted to limited resources and improvised camouflage. References are made to Minor Officer Onoda, the Japanese soldier who held out for 30 years after the war had ended.
The second part of the book provides a number of both original color and black and white photographs from both Allied and Japanese sources. The photos also cover the war period from the beginning, for Japan, in Manchuria, until surrender. The photos are a valuable resource if for no other reason than the variety they provide. Uniforms, gear, terrain, and armored vehicles are clearly depicted. Captions are provided for each photograph.
The book is intended as a basic introduction to the subject of the role of Japanese soldiers during the war period. As such it does a good job, considering the time frame that is covered in just 10 pages of informative text. I found some of the text a little difficult to follow because of repeated use of Japanese terms and, what appeared to me, an assumption on the part of the author that readers would already have some knowledge of the subject, leaving the reader to do their own research to fill in the details. The individual illustrations are very good with the exception of the faces, which appeared to me to be somewhat gargoylish. It is very informative. If anything, it left me wanting a little more.
If you want to know more about the Japanese soldier in WWII, this is a good source from which to start. Prices online were about $15.00.
Highs: Good illustrations and photographs, with detailed information provided to describe each part. Lows: Some of the text is a little difficult to follow. You will have to cross reference some subjects to understand what was intended.Verdict: I think this book is a valuable and worthwhile reference to modeling and history enthusiasts.
About Russ Amott (russamotto) FROM: UTAH, UNITED STATES
I got back into the hobby a few years back, and wanted to find ways to improve, which is how I found this site. Since joining Armorama I have improved tremendously by learning from others here, and have actually finished a couple of kits. I model to relax and have fun, but always look to improve. ...