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Japanese GSDF patches

David S

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GSDF meaning Ground Self Defense Forces

Out of my area but interesting nonetheless

Left - Northern Army

Right - 11th Division of the Northern Army

The colors on the top indicate the arm of service (Infantry, Arty . . .) but I'm not sure. References are few and far between.

Edited by David S
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi David, you are right about the colors representing the branch of service. Here is a list:

Red = Infantry

Dark yellow = artillery

Orange = armor

Maroon = engineer

Green = ordnance

Dark green = medical

Light blue = aviation

Blue = signal corps

Brown = quartermasters

Purple = transportaion

White = airborne brigade and airborne training units

Dark blue = others units including Ground Staff Office, Army HQ, and Division HQ

When I have time I'll post some of mine. JSDF stuff is very under appreciated but very neat!


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The colors on the top indicate the arm of service (Infantry, Arty . . .) but I'm not sure. References are few and far between.

You will also often see a numeral on the upper part indicating a subordinate unit, such as, for example, a "31" on the 3rd Division patch for the 31st Infantry Regiment (第31普通科連隊).

If you have any Japanese proficiency, or access to someone with same, here is an explanation of the patches and the color schemes:


Below the diagram, on the left, is a clickable menu which shows the GSDF HQ, corps, division, and separate composite brigade patches. The color codes below are generally as Eric outlined above. The menu on the right is of other branches and organizations, for example:

P - Military police corps (keimutai, 警務隊)

B - Military music corps (ongakutai, 音楽隊)

GRD - General research department (kenkyuhonbu, 研究本部)

ASF - Tsushima Garrison (Tsushima keibitai, 対馬警備隊)

H is for headquarters, C is for chemical protection units, F is for finance, A is for anti-aircraft units, L for logistics, T for training. The ones from AB to PT are schools, such as the GSDF airborne school (AB) and the GSDF Staff College (SC). I think GMC is the GSDF Material Command.

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That's an great link Dave.

Here are a few of mine that I can get to right now:

Left to right

Northeastern Army (Quartermaster)

Western Army (other units)

Northern Army (other units)

Northeastern Army (Aviation)

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4th Division (Infantry)

4th Division, 19th Regiment (Infantry)

5th Division (other units)

4th Division (Medical)

The first 4th Division (Infantry) patch is interesting in that the numeral is stitched into place with thread. Later patches have numerals attatched by small prongs at the top and bottom of the numeral that are then folded over.

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7th Division, 11th Regiment (Infantry)

7th Division (Infantry)

6th Division (Medical)

7th Division (Armor)

I've found shades of red can really vary, even within patches from the same time period....probably more so than the other branch of service colors.

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Units under Direct Command of the Director General of the Defense Agency (other units)

10th Division (other units)

Sorry these are a little bit disjointed and the colors aren't the best. I was just looking for a chance to show off one of my real loves!


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