Recent experience in operations has shown that the Japanese do not wear
a strictly standardized uniform. The divergence of the varieties so far
encountered is shown in the reports given below. The only unanimity in
the reports seems to be on the slovenly appearance of the troops.
The uniform is varied and the following combination of dress has been observed:
(1) Khaki blouse and trousers, puttees and rubber-soled shoes;
(2) Khaki blouse, blue (denim) trousers, puttees and rubber-soled shoes,
(3) White shirt, khaki trousers, puttees and rubber-soled shoes.
The shoes seem to be always the same type, and for jungle fighting are
probably superior to heavy shoes.
The Japanese usually carry no equipment apart from a belt containing
ammunition pouches. However, packs, haversacks, and large map cases have
been captured, so they are apparently worn in some cases. Water-sterilizing
outfits are also carried.
There was nothing uniform about the clothing; some wore white shirts, some
green, and some khaki. Steel helmets were worn by some, while others
wore cloth caps. All that were observed had knee breeches, and some sort of
In one instance in Burma a British officer reported that the Japanese
were all dressed in khaki breeches, and had a yellow star on their field caps
with a blue and white shell (cornucopia-shaped) badge above the star. He
presumed that this was some regimental insignia. Officers and senior NCOs all
had a long curved sword which they always wore.
A British soldier reported that the Japanese dress was mixed and always
very dirty. Trousers and puttees, and in some case heavy shoes, were worn, or
else the common split-toed rubber shoe.
In Malaya, the color of the uniform used by the Japanese was khaki or
khaki-green, with the trousers tapering at the ankle. In Borneo the uniform
worn was a brownish-gray color; reconnaissance patrols wore only shirts, shorts,
and light-weight shoes with rubber soles. The uniform worn by naval landing
troops is gray-green, and is hard to distinguish from the uniform worn by the
Dutch in the Netherlands East Indies.