Military Archives

Military History Documents at NIDS

The National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) has collected historical documents related to the Imperial Army and Navy, to conduct research on, and compile the Japan’s military history. Most of the documents were destroyed by the military at the surrender of Japan in World War II, and the rest were scattered. The papers that had survived were seized by the Allied Occupation Forces and kept at the U.S. National Archives. After the long diplomatic negotiations to take back the documents from the United States, they were finally returned to Japan in April 1958. Most of them are kept at the Military Archival Library of NIDS.
The collection at the NIDS includes the documents returned from the United States along with those kept at the Bureau of Repatriation of the Ministry of Health and Welfare after the war and the others gathered by the NIDS itself. The collection consists of the 58,000 volumes related to the Imperial Army and the 36,000 volumes related to the Imperial Navy.

The following are the principal documents.

Army Documents

    • Rikugunsho Dainikki
      Rikugunsho Dainikki, or Document Files of the Military of the Army, is the archive dating from the Meiji Restoration of 1868 to 1942. The Rikugunsho Dainikki consists of some twenty titles including Mitsudainikki, Rikushimitsu and Rikumanmitsu.
    • JACAR National Archives of JapanYou can see catalogs and documents on the webpage of JACAR, National Archives of Japan.

    • Jinchu Nisshi and Sento Shoho, etc
      Jinchu Nisshi and Sento Shoho are action reports produced by field units. They date from the foundation of the Imperial Army to the end of the war in 1945.
    • Lists (all in Japanese)

    Navy Documents

    • Kobunbiko
      Kobunbiko, or Document Files of the Ministry of the Navy, date from the 1876 to 1937. The Kobunbiko is classified into about twenty titles including education, fleet and weapon.
    • JACAR National Archives of JapanYou can see catalogs and documents on the webpage of JACAR, National Archives of Japan.

    • Senji Nisshi and Sento Shoho, etc
      Senji Nisshi and Sento Shoho are action reports produced by naval units during the first Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, World War I , the second Sino-Japanese War and World War II.
    • Lists (all in Japanese)

Senshi Sosho, War History Series

Senshi Sosho, the War History Series, was compiled by the Military History Department on the history of World War II. The Senshi Sosho totals 102 volumes that consist of 34 volumes on the Imperial General Headquarters, 37 volumes on the Army, 21 volumes on the Navy, nine volumes on the aerial war the Army and one volume of chronology.

Reading Room Guide

Anyone can have access to the historical military documents, manuscripts, and materials kept at the Military Archives, Center for Military History, the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS). Please be reminded that some of the documents quoted in the Senshi Sosho, or the War History Series are unavailable at the Military Archives.

  • Request Form
    You can search holdings of the Military Archives by using the listings, index cards at the front desk of the reading room and please fill out a request form which is available at the reception desk in order to read particular documents.
  • Open Hours
    9:00-16:30 (Admittance granted only before 16:00)
  • Days closed
    · Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays of Japan
    · December 28 through January 4
    · Days of special events
  • The reading room temporarily closed
    · October 11th through October 14th, 2016
    (Fumigation will be done in our archival depository. Our reading room will be close even after Monday, October 17 if the depository is not completely detoxified by Sunday, October 16.)

Photocopy Service

  • You cannot mail a photocopy service request to our reading room.
  • Fill out a photocopy service request form and submit it to the reception desk.

Archival Loan

You cannot borrow the documents at the Military Archives.

Inquiries about the Military History Documents

  • For inquiries, please visit our reference desk.
  • Inquiries by letter are also accepted. Please be sure to enclose return postage in: an international postage coupon if you are outside Japan; or 82-yen stamp if you are in Japan. Neither e-mail nor fax inquiries are accepted.

Other information

  • "Regulations for using the Military Archives ( written in Japanese )" is available at the reception desk.
  • Please visit the guard’s office first for the admission to the Military Archives. . The office is located at left-hand side after the main gate.
  • Your entrance is limited to the Military Archives.

Request Forms for Downloading

Fill out and submit request forms to the reception desk.
They are all in Japanese.

  • Permission Request Form for Publication
    Please identify which part of each document you would like to publish, such as by attaching photocopy of the page(s), or listing the specific page(s) of each document you would like to publish.
    If you would like to publish the entire document, please attach photocopies of all of the pages of the entire document.
    In either case, requests by mail are also accepted.
  • Broadcast Request Form
    Please identify which document, or part of a document, you would like to film, in a way such as attaching photocopy of material you would like to shoot. Besides, please submit a document that explains content of the program where the material will be shown. While request by mail is accepted, appointment for the date of filming is required.

Location(Reading Room/Reference Desk)

  • Access
    Nine-minute walk from East exit of Ushigome-yanagicho Station by Metoro Oedo Line.
    Thireteen-minute walk from exit of Ichigaya Station by JR Line.
  • Map
Administration Division
The National Institute for Defense Studies :
5-1 ichigayahonmuracyou, shinjyuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8808 Japan
Phone: +81-3-3260-3019
FAX: +81-3-3260-3039