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Japanese officers at Iwo Jima

The 109th Imperial Japanese Army Division was a division of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second world war.               The commander of the division was Lt. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi.


The division was formed on the 30th of June 1944 and was considered to be the main and only Imperial Japanese Army force on the Island of Iwo Jima.

Many of the 109th Division personel were soldiers that already

A Japanese Officer armed with a Nambu Type 14 pistol during the battle of Iwo Jima.

served in China, Burma and the Dutch East Indies and the soldiers were only reservists who were now reductant to fight succesfuly in battle. To boost Japanese morale, Japanese Emperor Hirohito sent his own palace guard to the island. 

With preparations for the upcoming battle Lt. General Tadamichi Kubibayachi ordered the construction of numerous pillboxes and concrete bunkers and 13,000 meters of underground tunnels, filled with a kitchen and even a hospital.

On the 19th of February the Battle of Iwo Jima began. Emediately the Japanese high command realised, that they were doomed so Lt. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi ordered that every soldier should inflict maximum damage and killing at least 10 soldiers before being killed or comitting suicide. 

Lt.General Tadamichi Kuribayashi

After 33 days of fighting, only 1,083 of the initial 20,000 soldiers stationed on the island were still alive, with a mere 210 soldiers being captured by allied soldiers. Because of the loss of the battle Lt. General Tadamichi Kuribayashi commited ritual suicide. Fighting continued for weeks as japanese soldiers still resisted the Americans. Some individual Japanese Army soldiers hide for many years in various caves throought the island. 

Units and Regiments[]

  • 1st 109th Division reinforcment brigade
  • 2nd 109th Division reinforcement brigade
  • 109th Division transport unit
  • 109th Division Artilery battalion