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How to interpret the personal ID numbers used by the Japanese Imperial Navy

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    How to interpret the personal ID numbers used by the Japanese Imperial Navy

    The ID numbers given to individuals in the Japanese Navy are not just simply numbers, but come with kanji codes that say more about that person. These numbers are found on name tags on navy uniforms and equipment, and therefore are often the subject of translation requests on this forum , so here is a short guide on how to read them.
    Numbers for EM and NCOs
    The official name of the number is Nyuseki Bangou (入籍番号) meaning, Entry Registry Number. Naval recruits were sent to Kaiheidan (海兵団) located at naval bases for their induction training. There they were entered into a register called Nyuseki Bo (入籍簿) Entry Registry Book. So the ID number is always prefaced by the abbreviation for the name of the Kaiheidan, which can be the following.
    Position 1
    for 横須賀(Yokosuka) 呉 for(Kure) for 佐世保 (Sasebo)
    for舞鶴(Maizuru) for鎮海 (Chinkai, Korea) for高雄(Takao, Taiwan)
    Position 2
    The above Kanji is followed by another kanji code, which will be one of the following
    for徴兵Chouhei(Draftee)Actually, most cases simplify the Kanji further by only writing the middle of the 3 structures standing vertically to form the kanji, Cho.
    for 志願shigan (Volunteer)
    However, later in the war, when reserves were mobilized, this position also showed what level of reserve personnel he was, as denoted by the following (detailed explanations omitted as these are not often seen)
    一補for第一補充兵役 二補for第二補充兵役 国for第二国民兵役 練for予備練習生 補for予備補習生

    Position 3
    The above is further followed by another kanji denoting the branch, which are typically one of the following
    for水兵 Suihei (Sailor) for飛行兵 Hikouhei(Flight) for整備兵Seibihei(Flight Mechanics)
    for機関兵Kikanhei (Engineer) for衛生兵Eiseihei (Medical) for主計兵 Shukeihei (Admin)
    for軍楽兵 Gungakuhei (Band)
    Position 4
    At last came the 4 digit number written in Kanji
    Notes
    The number stayed with you throughout your military career and normally would not change. The only exceptions were (1)When you were first drafted, fulfilled your term of service and then reenlisted for another term. In this case you would be shifting from a draftee to volunteer. (2) Changing the branch by volunteering for flight duty is the other possibility.
    Naval Band members would without exception have ID numbers starting with横志楽, as only Yokosuka had band training and band members were only chosen from volunteers
    Numbers for Officers
    Officers had a totally different ID number system called Denpoufu 電報符, meaning telegraph code, consisting of simply 5 digit numbers for officers of fighting branches, and for specialist officers like medical, admin, etc the numbers were preceded by a katakana abbreviation of their field of specialty

    #2
    Arigato gozaimasu.
    Very helpful
    "Just as the cherry blossom fades and falls to the ground, so it is with my useful life.Should it prove to be of use to my emperor I would not fail to fall."

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      #3
      Just a short note for those who are not regular visitors to this forum.
      If you only see boxes where kanji should be in the text, that is because you have not enabled Japanese as a language option for your PC. Go to Regional Settings and add Japanese, so the content of this forum displays properly.

      Comment


        #4
        Another QUALITY educational post from Nick-san!

        Many thanks,
        --Guy

        Comment


          #5
          FYI

          I've asked our Mod Dan G. for this to be pinned.

          Regards,
          Stu

          Comment


            #6
            Excellent and useful information. Thanks very much, Nick.

            Best,
            Rich

            Comment


              #7
              5 digit service number on the back of a SNLF NCO photo

              I was wondering why an SNLF NCO would have a 5 digit service number. Did they expand the number range.http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...1&d=1413823145
              Attached Files
              James E

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                #8

                I guess 吳(kure) is 吳港,right?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Not sure what you are asking. You want to know where Kure is? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kure,_Hiroshima
                  These markings denoted the Kaiheidan 海兵団 , training unit locations, into which they were inducted.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Nick Komiya View Post
                    Not sure what you are asking. You want to know where Kure is? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kure,_Hiroshima
                    These markings denoted the Kaiheidan 海兵団 , training unit locations, into which they were inducted.
                    Nick,Thanks for the link.I have a friend from 広島.I've read the story about 吳港雪風,佐世堡時雨 Destroyer,very interesting.

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