List of territories occupied by Imperial Japan

Last updated
Japanese colonial empire

1845–1945 [1]
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg
Japanese Empire (orthographic projection).svg
The Empire of Japan in 1942.
  •    Japan
  •   Colonies / Mandates
  •    Puppet states / Protectorates / Occupied territories / Thailand (allied)
StatusColonial empire
Common languagesJapanese
Korean (Korea), Manchu (Manchukou), Taiwanese Hokkien (Taiwan), Formosan languages (Taiwan)
1945 [1]
Currency Japanese yen,
Japanese military yen,
Korean yen,
Taiwanese yen

This is a list of regions occupied or annexed by the Empire of Japan until 1945, the year of the end of World War II in Asia, after the surrender of Japan. Control over all territories except the Japanese mainland (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and some 6,000 small surrounding islands) was renounced by Japan in the Unconditional Surrender after World War II and the Treaty of San Francisco. A number of territories occupied by the United States after 1945 were returned to Japan, but there are still a number of disputed territories between Japan and Russia (the Kuril Islands dispute), South Korea and North Korea (the Liancourt Rocks dispute), the People's Republic of China and Taiwan (the Senkaku Islands dispute).


Maximum extent of the Japanese empire Japanese Empire2.png
Maximum extent of the Japanese empire
Members of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere; territory controlled at maximum height. Japan and its allies in dark red; Thailand and Free india(puppet).occupied territories /client states in lighter r;d. Korea, Taiwan, and Karafuto (South Sakhalin) were integral parts of Japan. Greater Asian Co-prosperity sphere.png
Members of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere; territory controlled at maximum height. Japan and its allies in dark red; Thailand and Free india(puppet).occupied territories /client states in lighter r;d. Korea, Taiwan, and Karafuto (South Sakhalin) were integral parts of Japan.

Pre-World War II


Occupied locations

World War II

TerritoryJapanese nameDatePopulation est.(1943)Notes
South Sakhalin Karafuto Prefecture (樺太庁) of Imperial Japanprewar-1945406,000
Mainland China Chūgoku tairiku (中国大陸)1931–1945200,000,000 (est) Manchukuo 50 million (1940), Jehol, Kwantung Leased Territory, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Shandong, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin, plus parts of : Guangdong, Guangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Fujian, Guizhou, Inner Mongolia
Japan Naichi (内地)prewar-194572,000,000Present day Japan, Kuril and Ryukyu Islands
Korea Chōsen (朝鮮)prewar-194525,500,000Both North and South
Taiwan Taiwan (臺灣)prewar-19456,586,000
Hong Kong Hon Kon (香港)December 12, 1941 – August 15, 19451,400,000 Hong Kong (UK)
:: East Asia (subtotal)Higashi Ajia (東アジア)306,792,000
Vietnam Annan (安南)July 15, 1940 – August 29, 194522,122,000As French Indochina (FR)
Cambodia Kanbojia (カンボジア)July 15, 1940 – August 29, 19453,100,000As French Indochina, Japanese occupation of Cambodia
Laos Raosu (ラオス)July 15, 1940 – August 29, 19451,400,000As French Indochina, Japanese occupation of Laos
Thailand Tai (タイ)December 8, 1941 – August 15, 194516,216,000Independent State but Allied with Japan
Malaysia Maraya (マラヤ), Kita Boruneo (北ボルネオ), Marai (マライ)March 27, 1942 – September 6, 1945 (Malaya), March 29, 1942 – September 9, 1945 (Sarawak, Brunei, Labuan, North Borneo)4,938,000 plus 39,000 (Brunei)As Malaya (UK), British Borneo (UK), Brunei (UK)
Philippines Firipin (フィリピン)May 8, 1942 – July 5, 194517,419,000 Philippines (US)
Dutch East Indies Higashi Indo (東印度)January 18, 1942 – October 21, 194572,146,000 Dutch East Indies (NL)
Singapore Syōnan-tō (昭南島) February 15, 1942 – September 9, 1945795,000 Singapore (UK)
Myanmar Biruma (ビルマ)1942–194516,800,000 Burma (UK)
East Timor Higashi Chimōru (東チモール)February 19, 1942 – September 2, 1945450,000 Portuguese Timor (PT)
:: Southeast Asia (subtotal)Tōnan Ajia (東南アジア)155,452,000
New Guinea Nyū Ginia (ニューギニア)December 27, 1941 – September 15, 19451,400,000As Papua and New Guinea (AU)
Guam Ōmiya-tō (大宮島)January 6, 1942 – October 24, 1945from Guam (US)
South Seas Mandate Nan'yō Guntō (南洋群島)1919–1945129,000from German Empire
Nauru Nauru (ナウル)August 26, 1942 – September 13, 19453,000from United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand
Wake Island, USŌtori-shima, -jima (大鳥島)December 27, 1941 – September 4, 1945nilUS
Kiribati Kiribasu (キリバス)December 1941 – January 22, 194428,000from Gilbert Islands (UK)
:: Pacific Islands (subtotal)1,433,000
:: Total Population463,677,000

Disclaimer: Not all areas were considered part of Imperial Japan but rather part of puppet states & sphere of influence, allies, included separately for demographic purposes. Sources: POPULSTAT Asia [4] Oceania [5]

Other occupied World War 2 islands:

Areas attacked but not conquered

Raided without immediate intent of occupation

See also

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  1. 1 2 Peattie 1988, p. 217.
  2. Gregory Smits (1999). Visions of Ryukyu: Early-Modern Thought and Politics. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 143–149·
  3. Leonard A. Humphreys (1995). 'The Way of the Heavenly Sword: The Japanese Army in the 1920s. Stanford University Press. p. 26.
  4. Populstat ASIA
  5. Populstat OCEANIA