Country Listing

Japan Table of Contents


Uniforms, Ranks, and Insignia

Uniforms in all three SDF branches are similar in style to those worn by United States forces. GSDF uniforms are gray-blue; MSDF personnel wore traditional blue dress, white service, and khaki work uniforms; and ASDF personnel wear the lighter shade of blue worn by the United States Air Force. The arm of service to which members of the ground force are attached is indicated by piping of distinctive colors: for infantry, red; artillery, yellow; armor, orange; engineers, violet; ordnance, light green; medical, green; army aviation, light blue; signals, blue; quartermaster, brown; transportation, dark violet; airborne, white; and others, dark blue. The cap badge insignia for all displays a dove of peace.

There are nine officer ranks in the active SDF, along with a warrant officer rank, five NCO ranks, and three enlisted ranks (see fig. 14). The highest NCO rank, first sergeant (senior chief petty officer in the MSDF and senior master sergeant in the ASDF), was established in 1980 to provide more promotion opportunities and shorter terms of service as sergeant first class, chief petty officer, or master sergeant. Under the earlier system, the average NCO was promoted only twice in approximately thirty years of service and remained at the top rank for almost ten years.

Data as of January 1994