China Expeditionary Army

The China Expeditionary Army (支那派遣軍, Shina hakengun) was an army group of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1939 to 1945.

China Expeditionary Army
Japanese: 支那派遣軍,
Shina hakengun
Active12 September 1939 – 15 August 1945
Country Empire of Japan
AllegianceEmperor of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
RoleArmy group
Nickname(s)Eishudan (栄集団, Prosperous)
EngagementsSecond Sino-Japanese War

The China Expeditionary Army was established in September 1939 from the merger of the Central China Expeditionary Army and Japanese Northern China Area Army, and was headquartered in the pro-Japanese Reorganized National Government's capital city of Nanking. The China Expeditionary Army was responsible for all Japanese military operations in China and was the main fighting force during the Second Sino-Japanese War, with over 1 million soldiers under its command at its peak. The China Expeditionary Army was dissolved upon the Surrender of Japan in August 1945.

In military literature, the China Expeditionary Army is often referred to by the initials "CEA".[1]


After the Lugou Bridge Incident, the Japanese China Garrison Army was reinforced with the Shanghai Expeditionary Army. This force was further supplemented by the Japanese Tenth Army, and marched inland from Shanghai to occupy Hangzhou. In October 1937, this force was renamed the Japanese Central China Area Army. After the fall of Nanking, the Central China Expeditionary Army was formed. On September 12, 1939 by Army Order 362, the China Expeditionary Army was formed with the merger of the Central China Expeditionary Army with the Northern China Area Army. It was headquartered in Nanjing throughout the Second Sino-Japanese War.

The North China Area Army was maintained as a subordinate unit headquartered in Peking and was responsible for operations in the north China plains from the Yellow River to the Great Wall, including Inner Mongolia.

The Japanese Sixth Area Army covered central and southern China, and several independent armies reporting directly to the central command in Nanjing were used for garrison, strategic reserve and for specific operations.

By the war's end it consisted of 1,050,000 men in one armored and 25 infantry divisions. It also contained over 22 Independent brigades; 11 infantry, 1 cavalry, and 10 mixed (combined infantry, artillery, armor and support units). Towards the end of the war much of its ammunition reserve and many of its units had been transferred into the Pacific Theater leaving the China Expeditionary Army weak and undermanned.

The China Expeditionary Army surrendered on August 15, 1945 but its troops remained armed to provide security until Allied troops arrived.


Commanding officerEdit

Name From To
1 General Toshizō Nishio 12 September 1939 1 March 1941
2 Field Marshal Shunroku Hata 1 March 1941 23 November 1944
3 General Yasuji Okamura 23 November 1944 15 August 1945

Chief of StaffEdit

Name From To
1 General Seishirō Itagaki 4 September 1939 7 July 1941
2 Lieutenant General Jun Ushiroku 7 July 1941 17 August 1942
3 General Masakazu Kawabe 17 August 1942 18 March 1943
4 Lieutenant General Takuro Matsui 18 March 1943 1 February 1945
5 Lieutenant General Asasaburo Kobayashi 1 February 1945 15 August 1945

See alsoEdit


  • Dorn, Frank (1974). The Sino-Japanese War, 1937-41: From Marco Polo Bridge to Pearl Harbor. MacMillan. ISBN 0-02-532200-1.
  • Harries, Meirion (1994). Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army. Random House; Reprint edition. ISBN 0-679-75303-6.
  • Jowett, Bernard (1999). The Japanese Army 1931-45 (Volume 2, 1942-45). Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-354-3.
  • Madej, Victor (1981). Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945. Game Publishing Company. ASIN: B000L4CYWW.

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Jowett, The Japanese Army 1931-45