Ranks of the Imperial Japanese Navy

The following graphs present the rank insignia of the Imperial Japanese Navy from its establishment in 1868 to its defeat during World War II in 1945. These designs were used from 1931 onwards.

Commissioned officer ranks

[1]

Cap badges:

All-forces ranks English translation IJN insignia (sleeve) IJN insignia (collar & shoulder boards)
大元帥海軍大将
(Daigensui-kaigun-taishō)
Lord high admiral of the Japanese Empire
(Admiralissimo)
元帥海軍大将
(Gensui-kaigun-taishō)
Grand Admiral
(Admiral of the fleet)

(Same insignia as admiral; with enamelled breast badge)
海軍大将
(Kaigun-taishō)
Admiral
海軍中将
(Kaigun-chūjō)
Vice-admiral
海軍少将
(Kaigun-shōshō)
Rear-admiral
海軍大佐
(Kaigun-daisa)
Captain
海軍中佐
(Kaigun-chūsa)
Commander
海軍少佐
(Kaigun-shōsa)
Lieutenant-commander
海軍大尉
(Kaigun-dai-i)
Lieutenant
海軍中尉
(Kaigun-chūi)
Sub-lieutenant
(Lieutenant junior grade)
海軍少尉
(Kaigun-shōi)
Ensign

Cadet and warrant officer ranks

All-forces ranks English translation IJN insignia (sleeve) IJN insignia (collar & shoulder boards)
兵曹長
(Heisōchō)
Warrant Officer
海軍少尉候補生 (Kaigun-shōi-kōhosei) Midshipman

Enlisted rates

All warrant and commissioned officer ranks had the same names as their army counterparts. For seamen and petty officers, which were selected from enlisted men or conscripts and given one year of training in the Navy PO Academy, the naming changed in November 1942. Both of the names were different from the army names but were equal in rank.

All-forces ranks IJN insignia (upper sleeve)
Before 1942 After 1942
Rank English translation Rank English translation
Petty officers 下士官 (Kashikan)
一等兵曹
(Ittōheisō)
Petty officer first class 上等兵曹
(Jōtōheisō)
Chief petty officer
二等兵曹
(Nitōheisō)
Petty officer second class 一等兵曹
(Ittōheisō)
Petty officer first class
三等兵曹
(Santōheisō)
Petty officer third class 二等兵曹
(Nitōheisō)
Petty officer second class
Enlisted/Seamen 水兵 (Suihei)
一等水兵
(Ittōsuihei)
Seaman first class 水兵長
(Suiheichō)
Leading seaman
二等水兵
(Nitōsuihei)
Seaman second class 上等水兵
(Jōtōsuihei)
(senior seaman)
Able seaman
三等水兵
Santōsuihei
Seaman third class 一等水兵
(Ittōsuihei)
(seaman first class)
Ordinary seaman
四等水兵
(Yontōsuihei)
Seaman
(seaman fourth class)
二等水兵
(Nitōsuihei)
(seaman second class)
Seaman recruit

Service branch colors

The branch of the Navy in which non-executive personnel served was indicated by a color code. For officers, including midshipmen, it was the color of cloth placed as background to the cuff stripes, on both sides of the gold lace on the shoulder boards, and as longitudinal piping on the collar patches. Midshipmen and cadets wore a colored anchor on the cap, which cadets wore on the shoulder boards as well.[2] The branch of enlisted men was denoted by the color of the Chrysanthemum flower on their rank patch; line personnel using the default gold.

Color Branch
Violet Engineering
Brown Ship and engine construction
Purple-brown Ordnance construction
Red Medical
Pale green Legal
White Paymaster
Black Survey officers
Light blue Aviation (Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service) and Hydrography
Green Chief carpenters (warrant officer)
Grey-blue Band master (warrant officer)

See also

References

  1. Rosignoli, Guido (1980). Naval and Marine Badges and Insignia of World War 2. Blandford Colour Series. Link House, West Street, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1LL: Blandford Press Ltd. pp. 152–153.
  2. Rosignoli, Guido (1980). Naval and Marine Badges and Insignia of World War 2. Blandford Colour Series. Link House, West Street, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1LL: Blandford Press Ltd. pp. 152–153.
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