Additional Sources of information (External Links)
Below you will find some of the books that are useful references for game developers and fascinating reads for anyone interested in Imperial Japan’s war efforts.
Bolt Action: Armies of Imperial Japan – This E-book (or paperback) is a must have primer for anyone interested in developing a game focused on or including Imperial Japanese ground forces. The contents are in full color and cover a variety of topics including weapons, military engagements, and ideas for how Imperial Japanese infantry and their equipment can be represented in games. While written for a miniatures game, the information and pictures within are easily adaptable to any game. The focus is on the Japanese infantry, however, so do not expect much on ships or aircraft in this book, and even tanks are only covered lightly. Here is a review.
If you are interested in playing the game to further explore Japanese unit behavior in a wargame but do not have the funds for the Bolt Action brand miniatures, the Bolt Action rules can be adapted for smaller, inexpensive 6mm miniatures from GHQ, CinC and Heroics & Ros, or even paper print-and-play substitutes can be used. The primary rules book in hardback is easy to follow, reasonably priced, and can be found here.
Japan’s Last Bid for Victory: The Invasion of India, 1944 – More fascinating subject matter for a game scenario that dares to stray far from the well-trodden path of Guadalcanal and other Pacific battles with the Japanese. The sheer detail of Commonwealth and Japanese troop movements would be useful to any “British vs. Japanese” wargame scenarios, and there is ample drama to be found behind the efforts on both sides of this campaign.
To the Bridge! ASL Action Pack #9 – The research included in this interesting set of 10 wargaming for miniatures scenarios in Burma is excellent, as are the photos, maps, and illustrations which could be used for any type of game, including video games. This is really worth checking out even if you have no interest in the ASL rules. The Japanese are on the offensive in six of the ten scenarios, and it is worth owning alone for covering in such detail a part of WW2 not already well worn-out by other sources. You can find a very good review HERE.
The Imperial Japanese Army: The Invincible Years 1941-42 – This recently published book covers the Japanese “blitzkrieg” of Asia which has so often been overlooked in games. Per the book description:
“In just eight weeks following December 7, 1941, the IJA pushed the Americans out of the Philippines, and defeated the British to capture Manila, Hong Kong, the Malay Peninsula, and the great bastion at Singapore–called the “Gibraltar of the East.” They also forced the capitulation and occupation of Siam and the occupation of Burma. A month later, the Japanese had added the Netherlands East Indies, with an area and depth of natural resources more than twice that of Japan, to their trophy case.
One of the few histories that tells the story of the Pacific War from the Japanese side, this is the long-awaited overview of the years when the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) was conducting its seemingly unstoppable ground campaign in the Far East. It includes extensive background and biographical information on Japanese commanders, including Homma and Yamashita.”
The Chinese Army 1937-1949 – The Chinese fought the Japanese far longer than any other nation from the 1930s into WW2, and yet they are perhaps the most overlooked of the Allied forces. This book provides a look at the tactics, equipment, uniforms, and weapons that the Chinese had available to them while defending against the Japanese. Any game that intends to include a Japanese invasion of China (a subject to date far too infrequently covered in wargames) should use this book as a reference.
WINGATE’S LOST BRIGADE: The First Chindit Operations 1943 – The Chindits are a fascinating Commonwealth “Special Force” that served in India and Burma, formed specifically to penetrate deep behind Japanese enemy lines. While debatable in their actual or lasting effectiveness in striking at the Japanese, their bravery and guerrilla tactics became the stuff of legend to Allies and bolstered morale. This book tells the tale of the men who dared face down the “unbeatable” Japanese in the harsh and unforgiving jungle. Bolt Action wargaming has a miniatures set of the Chindits and rules to accompany them.
Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze – A riveting book that covers a critical battle between Japanese and Chinese forces.
Rising Sun, Falling Skies – This book touches on another often-ignored but vital part of Japan’s conquest of the Pacific, the Java Sea Campaign. This one will offer more to people who are more interested in how sea and air power played such a large part in Japan’s sweeping initial successes in WW2, and gives a look at how the Allies held out against an “unbeatable” foe.
Warriors of the Rising Sun – This book is a fascinating read and deals primarily with Japan’s military ethics and how it is proposed by the author that they changed from chivalrous during the Russo-Japanese war to brutal during WW2. It does give an interesting perspective on why the Japanese would charge into battle knowing they would die, or treat captured prisoners during the War in the Pacific as badly as they often did when they had captured Russians and treated them well in Japan only a few decades prior. One fault with the book is that while it is very strong in its descriptions of Russo-Japanese conflicts, the second half on the War in the Pacific falls short and feels rushed by comparison.