a. The military police ( Kempei ) form a branch of the Army under the Provost Marshal General who is responsible to the Minister of War. They are sometimes erroneously referred to as gendarmerie. Under Acts of 1898 and 1929 the headquarters is divided into two sections:

General Affairs Section. Service Section.

The General Affairs Section concerns itself with policy, personnel, discipline, records, and the control of thought in the Armed Forces.

The Service Section has three main functions: the supply, organization, and training of police units; security; and counterespionage.

b. The military police take orders from different authorities according to the areas in which they are stationed. For example, in Japan during peacetime, they were responsible to the Minister of War for their normal military duties, to the Minister of Home Affairs insofar as they assisted the civil police, and to the Minister of Justice for duties connected with law administration.

In fortress zones they come under the command of the fortress commanders. In Manchuria, Korea, and Formosa, although they are primarily responsible to the commanders-in-chief, they also may be called upon to assist the local civilian authorities. In all areas their broad duties are the surveillance of military discipline, the enforcement of security, the protection of vital military zones, the execution of conscription laws, and the detection of crime among soldiers. In combat areas and occupied areas additional duties have been allotted to them (see paragraph 7).

The Military Police consists of officers, non-commissioned officers, and superior privates only; lower ranks are attached from other services when needed. Officers are obtained by transfer from other branches of the Army and are permanently assigned to the military police. In peacetime men are recruited voluntarily; they are supposed to be of good character and of a high physical standard. In time of war such additional police as are necessary are drawn from all branches of the service. Both officers and enlisted men undergo training either in military-police schools or training units, as well as in their unit barracks. The principal schools are in Tokyo and Keijo (Korea). The duration of these courses in war­ time is not known, but in peacetime a noncommissioned officer's course would last 6 months and an officer 's course 1 year.

On normal duty the military police wear the usual uniform of the mounted services , with heavy boots of un­ dressed leather. They are equipped with a cavalry saber and a pistol. A white band bearing two characters reading Kempei is worn on the left arm. The color of the insignia is black. In combat areas the military police usually will be armed as infantry, but while on special duties they may wear civilian clothes.

In 1937 there were believed to be .315 officers and over 6,000 men in the Japanese Military Police. In 1942 the evidence suggests that there were a minimum of 601 regular officers in military-police units. In 1942, these officers are believed to have been distributed as follows:

1 Japan and Karafuto 142
2 Manchuria 114
3 Korea 23
4 Formosa 24
5 North China 100
6 Central China 97
7 South China 16
8 Soutern Area (Includes field units) 85

No information is available about reserve officers who have been recalled to the colors to perform military-police duty since the outbreak of the present war. A number of military-police units which are known to have existed in 1941 have not been reported since. However, they must be assumed still to exist, for otherwise a number of important prefectures in Japan would be without military police. Therefore this list of military-police officers is in­ complete and the total strength of the forces cannot be estimated accurately.

According to a report from China date 1 March, 1940 the basic military police unit consisted of a section of t10 men under a captain or lieutenant. These sections were grouped in detachments and distributed throughout China. It is clear , however, that detachments vary in size and composition according to the areas in which they operate and the nature of their duties. No recent confirmation has been received of evidence that the section of 40 is the basic organization.

a. Military police are divided into three main categories:

(1) Regional organizations which come under the command of area army headquarters and per form duties in the homeland, or in static or base areas such as Manchuria, Korea, and North China.

(2) Numbered field units (Yasen Kempei Tai) which provide parties or sections to operate in the fighting or forward operational areas.

(3) Military police auxiliaries.

b. Regional organizations.
Regional organizations are to be found in the military police districts of Japan proper under the direct command of military police headquarters at Tokyo, and in the Kwantung Army (Manchuria), the Korean Army, the Taiwan Army (Formosa), the North China Area Army, and the Southern Expeditionary Force under regional headquarters.

(1) Japan and Karafuto. In peacetime the military police in Japan were organized into units to correspond with the 14 divisional districts and their headquarters were at the headquarters of the depot division concerned. A small section would form part of the staff of the depot division. In wartime, however, military police districts do not necessarily correspond with the divisional areas. They are in fact designated by the Minister of War according to the density of the population and the strategic or industrial importance of the area. For example, Kobe, strategically a part of the Hanshin industrial belt, which comes in the Himeji divisional area, is assigned to the Osaka Military Police District. There undoubtedly have been several important changes in organization since 1941, notably the establishment of new units at Kure and Yokosuka, the naval bases.

(2) Korea and Formosa. The military police in Korea and Formosa are both commanded by major generals. Detachments are to be found in all the main towns.

(3) Manchuria. The Kwantung Military Police are commanded by a lieutenant general with head­ quarters at Hsinking. Under him come a number of units and detachments allocated to industrial and strategic areas.

(4) China. In North and Central China the military police are under a major general; in South China under a colonel.

(5) Southern Area. A Southern Expeditionary Force Military Police Training Unit was established in August 1942, presumably at Singapore, probably for the training of natives. It is thought that the military-police work throughout the whole of the Southern Area, at present occupied by the Japanese Army, comes under the charge of the Field Military Police Units.

c. Numbered field military-police units.
Numbered field military-police units have been identified. These units probably are based at important headquarters (one has been identified at Rabaul, the headquarters of the area army in charge of operations in the Solomons-Bismarcks area) and are responsible for specified geographic sections. It seems likely that these units provide sections not only for duty with divisions and other field units but also for the enforcement of discipline in the base areas. Small military-police sections normally appear to accompany divisions operating in the field.

d.Military-police auxiliaries.
Laws dated 1919 and 1937 established volunteer native auxiliaries to the military police in Korea and Manchuria. They may hold ranks up to the equivalent of sergeant major, and presumably come under the orders of the Japanese military-police units in the areas concerned. No information is available about their strength. Natives also have been employed in the Pacific areas as police and espionage agents.

In addition to the normal military and field security police duties, such as the issue of travel permits, the detection and arrest of fifth columnists, and the scotching of subversive rumors, field military-police sections are ,assigned various duties connected with the natives in the occupied areas and may also engage in combat.

In the Pacific area they are responsible for pacifying hostile natives and for settling disputes between the natives and Japanese soldiers, as well as for requisitioning native foods. and supplies. They also are charged with the recruitment of native labor and the organization of native espionage nets operating in and behind Allied lines. According to reports, the military police were given charge of a native force in New Guinea both for reconnaissance purposes and in order to harass the enemy.

An order to the Lae military-police commander directed him, in addition to continuing his present duties, to "complete the training of the native 'army' and form a roving defense o-f the left bank of the Markham river. He will send the native 'army' forward in the right bank section and will be responsible for directing the harassing of the enemy's rear."

Testimony varies as to the qualities of the Japanese, military policeman. There is little question but that in peacetime they were picked and well-trained men who carried out their duties efficiently. Like all persons in authority in wartime they are frequently disliked and feared, and complaints have been made by the ordinary line soldiers about their strictness and abuse of power. But it seems likely that as in other armies, they are first-class troops who carry out their many and varied duties competently.


Japanese Military Police ( Kempei ) are a separate branch of the Army, directly under the control of the Military Affairs Bureau of the War Ministry. Comprehensive counterintelligence activity is the main function of the Kempei , whose powers are superior to those of the civilian police even in areas where no military operations are in progress or in prospect. In their counter­ intelligence work the Kempei personnel maintain close contact with the Special Service Organization, also an Army organization, primarily concerned with espionage, sabotage, and fifth-column activities. Routine guard and inspection duties, com­ parable with those performed by U.S. Military Police, occasionally are assigned to the Kempei , but usually are carried out by line troops.

a. Higher command.
The Military Police branch is commanded by a lieutenant general (Provost Marshal General). The headquarters in Tokyo and the Provost Marshal General are responsible lo the Minister of War, a member of the Japanese Imperial Headquarters and coequal with the Chief of the General Staff.

The branch is divided into two sections. The General Affairs Section is concerned with policies, personnel, records, and control of thought in the Armed Forces. The Service Section is responsible for the training of Military Police units, and for counterintelligence and counterespionage.

b. Classes of Military Police.
Personnel of I he Military Police appear to be divided into four classes: Regular , Auxiliary , Field, and Auxiliary Field.

(1) Regular military Police.
Most of the Military Police engaged in field work in Japan, and most of those in occupied territory under military administration (garrison regulations), are classified as Regular. Their basic duties are very similar to those of the Military Police in American and British Armies. As a general rule, they do not supersede the Field Military Police in control of an area until it has been officially proclaimed to be under garrison instead of field service regulations.

They may he found in- an operational area, however, before and during a campaign. The lowest rank in the Regular Military Police organization is that of corporal.

(2) Auxiliary Military Police.
All enlisted volunteers for the Regular Military Police force are classified as Auxiliaries. They remain in this status until they have completed the prescribed amount of training and actual service. Then, if their work has been satisfactory , and the necessary vacancies exist, they are assigned to the Regulars and promoted to corporal. Men are selected for the Auxiliary service from line personnel of the Army who have had considerable military experience. The main duties of the Auxiliary Military Police are the guarding of depots and vulnerable points, clerical work in any Kempei headquarters, and other tasks which do not require the high standard of physical fitness and specialized training necessary for the Regulars.

(3) Field military Police.
The field class of Kempei , with more powers than the Regulars , appears to be organized only in war time. Many of its members are believed to be former Japanese embassy and consular police or Foreign Office officials. On enrollment, these become Kempei ,officers or warrant officers, or they may remain as civilians with assimilated status as officers. It is probable, however, that peacetime officers of the Regular Military Police also are assigned to Field units, the duties of which require a highly specialized knowledge of the country in which they are operating and of its inhabitants.

Field Military Police probably are employed before and during an actual campaign and may be retained upon its conclusion if strong counterespionage measures are necessary. Although not definitely known, it would seem probable that at least some enlisted men are incorporated in the Field Military Police.

(4) Auxiliary Field Military Police.
Members of the Auxiliary Field class, to a large extent, are civilians with ranks equivalent to the enlisted grades. These often are on loan from the Japanese Special Service Organization and are employed as assistants to the Field Military Police in the early ' stages of a campaign. Later, they probably are either supplemented or replaced by enlisted personnel of the Regulars who are assigned to Field units.

c. Military Police operational organization.

(1) Main area and area army headquarters.
At each of the three main area army headquarters (Manchuria, China, and the Southern Areas) there is a Kempei main headquarters commanded by a major general. This officer appears to be responsible to the main area army commander for operations, and to Military Police headquarters in Tokyo for personnel, general policies, and training.

Each area army under these main area armies also has a Kempei headquarters, under a major general or colonel responsible for the control and allocation of all Military Police with the area army. This Kempei contingent is known by the name of the area army with which it serves, such as Seventh Area Army Kempei Tai . The size of the Military Police unit assigned to an area army is not definitely known, but assignment may be based on a ratio of three Field Military Police units to each two armies.

(2) Assignment to areas or numbered armies.
In some instances the area army appears to assign its Military Police to specific areas rather than place them under the command of subordinate military units. In other situations, Field Military Police units are assigned to numbered armies in which Kempei headquarters is set up, usually under· a colonel, to direct their activities. Such Field Military Police are given the same number as that of the numbered army with ,which they serve.

(3) Attachment to divisions.
Occasionally, Military Police units are attached to divisions for specific missions, but the usual procedure is to assign Military Police sections and smaller units to definite geographical areas which probably do not correspond to the boundaries of any divisional area. These Military Police sections may depend on the division for rations and, quarters or may forage for themselves, but they are almost never an organic element of the division.

(4) Field and Regular units.
In the Southern areas, it appears that Field Military Police are used for the majority of Kempei duties but, in the home islands, Formosa, Karafuto, Korea, Manchuria, and perhaps China, Regulars probably are employed. How definitely the distinction is drawn between Field and Regular Military Police, particularly in China, is not known. It appears likely that the first infiltrating units of Military Police counter­ espionage personnel in a new area of operations always are provided by the Field Military Police from men who have had considerable experience in the country.

As the operation proceeds, and Military Police work is progressively more open, it seems that the distinction between the two classes lies only in the fact that those in the operational areas are called Field Military Police and those in the more quiet areas Regulars. After the operation is terminated, most of the Field personnel apparently is withdrawn, but some may continue on jobs similar to those performed by Regulars in other areas, even though their Field designation may not be changed.

Subdivisions of Field Military Police units. A Field Military Police unit is ordinarily under the command of a lieutenant colonel and is broken down into sections or sector units commanded by captains or first lieutenants. These sections usually are assigned a certain portion of the area for which the unit is responsible. Each of these sections can be divided into several detachments for assignment to smaller towns or areas. It is not certain how many men are in a section or in a detachment, although figures from 9 to 21 have been given for the latter.


a. General.
Officer and enlisted personnel for the Kempei are selected from other arms. Military Police officers are divided into several categories, each of which reaches commissioned rank by a different method and has a different limit on the rank its members may attain. Basic qualifications of all personnel include a high standard of education, intelligence, and physical fitness. Training is rigorous and thorough, both from the aspect of general military knowledge and specialized Kempei subjects.

b. Kempei school for enlisted men,
After selection, the successful enlisted candidate for Military Police service undergoes a course at a Kempei school. In peacetime the course lasted a year, but a concentrated program of study is now given in 6 months. If the candidate qualifies at the conclusion of the course, he is sent to a Kempei training unit for a further period of about 2 months, after which he is normally assigned to a Kempei unit in the field as an acting noncommissioned officer.

c. Qualities emphasized.
Throughout all Kempei training, both at school and in the field, strong emphasis is placed upon the development of initiative, courage, and a sense of responsibility. The general principle of training is to instill into the student the belief that he is the guide of the Army, part of the advance troops in the "Holy War," and the core of "Special Warfare," which embodies pacification, propaganda, and psychological control.

d. Courses.
Courses for enlisted men at the Military Police school include such subjects as government and military law, manual of arms, unarmed combat, fencing, signals, codes, horsemanship, language, espionage, counterespionage, and other intelligence subjects. Of these subjects, military law is given special consideration.

e. Officer schools.
Kempei officers undergo a preliminary specialist training course of 12 months duration at a Kempei school. This is followed by 6 months' practical training , with subsequent assignment to a Kempei unit for duty. It is probable that reserve officers undergo similar training. Officer courses at the Military Police school probably include the same subjects given the enlisted men but in more detail and on a higher level. Advanced courses also are set up for Military Police officers to prepare them for higher command, but these can be taken only after a considerable period of field service.

Kempei personnel, except those in the Field class, wear the normal Japanese military uniform with knee-high boots or leather leggings. On the left arm they wear a white arm band on which are printed the Japanese characters for Kempei.

They also may have a small brass button next to the insignia of rank on the collar. They carry a sword and a pistol. Men from other arms who are carrying out Military Police duties wear the uniform of their own arm or branch with a Military Police arm band. They may be equipped with a rifle and bayonet.

No definite rule can be given that governs the wearing of the uniform by Field Military Police, for the nature of their work determines whether it is an asset or a liability. When civilian clothes are worn, any disguise is adopted which permits free movement among the native population of the area in which undercover Military Police work is being done.


a. General.
The main duties of all Military Police are surveillance over military discipline, the enforcement of security, the protection of vital military zones, the execution of conscription laws, the detection of crime in the Army, the issue of travel permits, and the suppression of subversive rumors. Normal police duties such as traffic control guarding of installations, and routine inspections, although occasionally carried out by the Kempei, are more usually left to line troops.

In combat and occupied areas, Military Police are responsible for the requisition of native foods and supplies, recruiting of native labor, and the organization of native espionage and counterespionage groups.

The Military Police exercise control over the native populations and foreign residents only so far as actual policing is concerned. Such control includes censorship of mail and the investigation of political sympathies, individual character and loyalty, suspicious acts, and subversive activities. Dossiers are kept of all suspected persons, and re­ ports are submitted to Kempei area army headquarters.

b. Neighborhood Associations.
Considerable use is made by Kempei detachments of Neighborhood Associations , which are the basis of the Japanese system of civilian control and law enforcement throughout occupied territories. These associations, organized for each town or village, are made up of groups of people (usually those occupying 25 houses), each with a leader. it is the responsibility of each leader to see that a watchman is posted from his group between sunset and sunrise.

These watchmen are armed, and must check obedience to the curfew law and the identity cards of unknown persons. Group members are required to spy upon each other and to report suspicious acts to their leaders. By this system, the Japanese have been able to provide themselves with a great amount of information and with an excellent means of controlling civilian populations.

c. Military Police during landing operations.
During an opposed landing, the duties of the Military Police consist of counterintelligence for high-echelon commands and maintenance of discipline. If necessary, they act with the forward landing forces, gathering information in the vicinity of the landing, arresting spies, recruiting coolies, and taking charge of the inhabitants of invaded areas to prevent their resistance to the landing forces and to maintain order immediately behind the troops. The Military Police also control markets, storage and transportation of supplies and munitions, the postal and telegraph systems, and hanks. They control public officials, and prevent inhabitants from fleeing or committing sabotage.

They regulate prices and wages, take measures to prevent disease, and are responsible for fire fighting.

d. Policing of assembly areas.
When a Japanese Army unit is moving into an assembly area before an attack, the Military Police proceed to this area as quickly as possible to investigate local conditions. They pay particular attention to the attitude of the people, propaganda, strength of the enemy forces, enemy plans, and topography. Spies are sent to certain areas. If advance expeditionary forces are sent ahead of the main body, some of the Military Police accompany them to carry out necessary investigation and inspection and to control the inhabitants in the area.

e. Marches.
On the march , the Military Police collect intelligence, guard against enemy espionage and sabotage, regulate communications, and preserve discipline in the column. When entering bivouac areas and towns, the Military Police go forward with the advance guard. Military Police do not always travel with ach column during marches; often they proceed under a unified command in order to accomplish their mission. At such times, they receive the assistance of other branches of the Army. When it is advisable to split up the Military Police detachment, the commander of the main force determines their disposition. The Japanese rarely attach Military Police to units smaller than a company.

f. Combat.
In battle, the Military Police normally are stationed at the command headquarters. Their duties are to collect information, maintain order in the rear, guard against fifth-column activity, take charge of prisoners of war , and care for the wounded. They also may guard command headquarters , field hospitals, ammunition dumps, and similar important installations. When necessary, they infiltrate deep into enemy territory, collect in­ formation, observe the enemy situation, and gather special intelligence. Before actual combat, the Military Police restrict the movement of civilian traffic and search out fifth columnists and other unfriendly agents. They guard against looting and robbery, and assist medical personnel and burial details after the battle ends.