“The Japanese Manchurian Army was an Army Group formed from 1904–1905 during the Russo-Japanese War, as a temporary command structure to coordinate the efforts of several Japanese armies in the campaign against Imperial Russia.
“It was set up three months after the start of the war, because of the necessity to have a local command structure closer to the armies, after the operational theater had moved inland. The Army’s headquarters was first located in Kaiping, and on August 22, 1904 it moved to Haicheng.
“Field Marshal Oyama Iwao became Supreme Commander and General Kodama Gentarō Chief of Staff of the Army.”
Count Kuroki Tamemoto was a Japanese general in the Imperial Japanese Army, leading the Japanese First Army during the Russo-Japanese War. His forces enjoyed a series of successes during the war at the Battle of Yalu River, the Battle of Liaoyang, the Battle of Shaho and the Battle of Mukden. Despite his successes and his prior military record, Kuroki was one of two senior field commanders denied promotion to Field Marshal, thought to be largely because of his Satsuma origins at a time when the government was dominated by Chōshū rivals.
Marquis Nozu Michitsura was a Japanese field marshal and an early leader of the Imperial Japanese Army. With the start of the Russo-Japanese War, Nozu was assigned command of the Japanese Fourth Army, which played a crucial role in the Battle of Mukden. At the end of the war, he received promotion to the post of field marshal in January 1906. His title was also upgraded to marquis (侯, kou).
Prince Yamagata Aritomo was a senior-ranking Japanese military commander, and later to be twice-elected Prime Minister of Japan and becoming a leading member of the genrō, the élite group of senior statesmen who dominated Japanese politics after the Meiji Restoration. As the Imperial Japanese Army’s inaugural Chief of Staff, he was the chief architect of the Empire of Japan’s military and its reactionary ideology. Throughout Yamagata’s long career, he amassed extensive leadership experience managing battlefield strategy and other military-related issues as the acting War Minister and Commanding General during the First Sino-Japanese War; the Commanding General of the Japanese First Army during the Russo-Japanese War; and as the Chief of the General Staff Office in Tokyo.
Prince Oyama Iwao was a Japanese field marshal, and one of the founders of the Imperial Japanese Army. In the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 he was appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese armies in Manchuria. As Supreme Commander of the Japanese Manchurian Army, Ōyama had complete authority over all Japanese land operations during the war, and personally directed the tactics of Japanese forces in all major battles, winning the Battle of Liaoyang and repulsing Russian counter-attacks at the Battle of Shaho and the Battle of Sandepu. He was replaced by General Kodama Gentarō briefly during early 1905 due to illness, but recovered to direct Japanese forces in the final Battle of Mukden. After Japan’s victory, Emperor Meiji elevated him in September 1907 to the rank of prince (公爵, kōshaku), the highest rank of the Empire of Japan.
During the Russo-Japanese War, Count Oku Yasukata went to the front as commanding general of the Imperial Japanese Army’s 2nd Army and was noted for his role in the Battle of Nanshan, Battle of Shaho, Battle of Mukden, and other campaigns. Oku was awarded the Order of the Golden Kite (1st class) in 1906, and elevated from baron to count (伯爵, hakushaku) in 1907. In 1911, he received the largely honorary rank of Field Marshal. Oku refused to attend strategy and staff meetings, and thereby gained a reputation for being both a “lone wolf” but also a brilliant tactician capable of independent action. It is believed that Oku’s reluctance to attend the staff meetings was due to his partial deafness that made it difficult for him to contribute to the discussions.
Count Nogi Maresuke was a Japanese general in the Imperial Japanese Army and a governor-general of Taiwan, and a prominent figure in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, as commander of the forces which captured Port Arthur from the Russians. He was a national hero in Imperial Japan as a model of feudal loyalty and self-sacrifice, ultimately to the point of suicide. After the fall of Port Arthur, Nogi was regarded as a national hero. He led his Third Army against the Russian forces at the final Battle of Mukden, ending the land combat phase of operations of the war.
British historian Richard Storry noted that Nogi imposed the best of the Japanese samurai tradition on the men under his command such that “…the conduct of the Japanese during the Russo-Japanese War towards both prisoners and Chinese civilians won the respect, and indeed admiration, of the world.”
Viscount Kodama Gentaro was a Japanese general in the Imperial Japanese Army and a government minister during the Meiji period. He was instrumental in establishing the modern Imperial Japanese military. In 1904, Kodama was promoted to full general. However, he was asked by Marshal Ōyama Iwao to be Chief of General Staff of the Manchurian Army during the Russo-Japanese War.
That was a demotion for him in terms of rank, but he nevertheless chose to take the position; the sacrifice elicited much public applause. Throughout the Russo-Japanese War, he guided the strategy of the whole campaign, as General Kawakami Sōroku had done in the First Sino-Japanese War ten years earlier. The postwar historian Shiba Ryōtarō gives him complete credit for Japan’s victory at the Siege of Port Arthur.
Viscount Kawamura Kageaki was a field marshal in the Imperial Japanese Army. Kawamura served notably as field commander at the Battle of Yalu River (1904). In January 1905, being promoted to General, he was appointed Commander of the Japanese Fifth Army and took part in the Battle of Mukden. After Japan’s victory, Emperor Meiji elevated him to the title of viscount (子爵, shishaku).