Military Archives

Military Archives

Open Day Calendar

user guide

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The National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) has collected historical documents related to the Imperial Army and Navy, to conduct research on, and compile Japan's military history.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 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 others gathered by NIDS itself. The collection consists of 58,000 volumes related to the Imperial Army and 38,000 volumes related to the Imperial Navy.
The following are the principal documents.

Army Documents

Rikugunsho Dainikki

Rikugunsho DainikkiRikugunsho Dainikki, or Document Files of the Army Ministry, 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.

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.

Navy Documents


Kobunbiko, or Document Files of the Navy Ministry, date from 1876 to 1937. The Kobunbiko is classified into about twenty titles including education, fleet and weapon.

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.

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 in the reading room. Please fill out a request form which is available at the writing 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 will be temporarily closed. Please check on the website.

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. You can take photographs of any documents with your own digital camera that are included in volumes with no issues concerning privacy, copyright, etc. in the entire volumes. Please apply for taking pictures within Booth 1.

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 84-yen stamp if you are in Japan. Neither e-mail nor fax inquiries are accepted.Neither e-mail nor fax inquiries are accepted.

Other information

  • "Regulations for using the Military Archives ( written in Japanese )" is available at the corner of our reading room.
  • Please visit the Kaga-gate first for admission to the Military Archives. The gate is located on the north side of the Ministry of Defence.
  • Call our guard beyond the gate before you enter.
  • Show your passport to our clerk.
  • Your entrance is limited to the Military Archives.
  • You have to go out of the gate for lunch.

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 a 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)


  • Nine-minute walk from East exit of Ushigome-yanagicho Station(Subway).
  • Thireteen-minute walk from exit of Ichigaya Station(JR/Metro/Subway).