Imperial Japanese Naval Academy

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The building of Imperial Japanese Naval Academy Japanesenavalacademy001.JPG
The building of Imperial Japanese Naval Academy
The Higher Naval College - later the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy - during its years at Tsukiji, Tokyo, between 1869 and 1888. Higher Naval College, Tsukiji, Tokyo, 1869-1888.JPG
The Higher Naval College – later the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy – during its years at Tsukiji, Tokyo, between 1869 and 1888.

The Imperial Japanese Naval College (海軍兵学校, Kaigun Heigakkō, Short form: 海兵 Kaihei) was a school established to train line officers for the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was originally located in Nagasaki, moved to Yokohama in 1866, and was relocated to Tsukiji, Tokyo in 1869. It moved to Etajima, Hiroshima in 1888. Students studied for three or four years, and upon graduation were ordered (warranted) as Midshipmen, commissioned to the rank of Ensign/Acting Sub-Lieutenant after a period of active duty and an overseas cruise. In 1943, a separate school for naval aviation was opened in Iwakuni, and in 1944, another naval aviation school was established in Maizuru. The Academy was closed in 1945, when the Imperial Japanese Navy was abolished. The Naval Academy Etajima opened in 1956 and the site now serves as the location for Officer Candidate School of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

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Coordinates: 34°14′41.5″N132°28′26.1″E / 34.244861°N 132.473917°E / 34.244861; 132.473917


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The Imperial Japanese Navy was created in 1868, initially the officers and sailors who manned the new navy reflected the composition of the Meiji government's bureaucracy. Samurai who originated from the victorious coalition of south-western domains dominated the navy's small officer corps. These domains which had led the restoration, particularly Satsuma, also dominated the numbers of recruits sent to the new Naval Academy which had opened in October 1869. The leadership of the new navy later took steps to reform recruitment into the officer corps, and to establish the creation of a system of recruitment based on merit rather than on class or region. In 1871, the government announced that applicants would be accepted from the public at large and that entry would be based upon competitive examinations. Eventually, in the words of Arthur Marder, the Imperial Japanese Navy turned out officers of "unquestioned professional competence, fanatical courage, and extraordinary elan". The IJN molded among the ranks a standard of discipline, self-sacrifice, and devotion to duty that became the envy of all navies in the world. Japan's later victories at sea, one commentator has observed, "came as much from the training and morale of the average Japanese seaman as from the effectiveness of the navy's ships or the caliber of its guns".