You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.
  • Your shopping cart is empty!

Russo-Japanese War Painting Guide (Imperial Japanese Army)

Russo-Japanese War Painting Guide (Imperial Japanese Army)


A general guide to aid the wargamer get his armies skirmishing, battling and campaigning on the table! (also available to download from the 'Wargaming' section of this website.)


The early war Imperial Japanese Army uniform was based on the 1886 and 1887 regulations. These were changed with the introduction of the 1904 regulations.

Division of two Brigades each of two Infantry Regiments each of three Battalions. A cavalry Regiment of three Squadrons, 24 MG and an Artillery Regiment of two Battalions each of three Batteries each of six Guns.


 ·         Tunic. Dark blue tunic, collar piped in yellow (Line) and scarlet for (Guard). Five brass buttons. Coloured shoulder straps. Rank on lower sleeve. (see below).

·         Trousers. Dark blue with yellow (Line) and scarlet (Guard) stripe down seam.

·         Cap. Dark blue cap with black peak and chin strap. Coloured band and crown seam piping in yellow (Line) and scarlet (Guard). Brass five-pointed star on band.  

·         Belt Equipment. Brown leather belt equipment. Black or brown water bottle with brown leather strap. Khaki canvas haversack Black bayonet scabbard with brass fittings.  

·         Boots and Gaiters. White buttoned gaiters. Brown shoes.

·         Knapsack and Greatcoat. Brown hide knapsack, steel mess tin. Black straps. Dark blue greatcoat.

·         Rifle. Arisaka Type 30 1897 6.5mm bolt action rifle with leather brown strap.

·         Officer. Dark blue tunic, either edged at collar, front and hem with black braid as well as five rows of braid with loops, or plain. No shoulder straps. Dark blue trousers with red stripe (General two stripes). Steel sword scabbard, brass hilt. Black boots. Rank on lower sleeve (see below).


·         Tunic. Dark blue tunic with green collar. Three rows of brass buttons and five rows of hussar-type cord at front. Piping top and bottom of collar down front seam and along bottom of tunic. A single cord splitting into three at base from each arm/shoulder seam to centre base of jacket via middle of back. Officer black and Other Ranks yellow (Line), scarlet (Guard).

·         Trousers. Scarlet with green stripe down seam. 

·         Cap. As above. Band, green (Line) scarlet (Guard).

·         Boots. Black, steel spurs.

·         Belt Equipment and Sword. As Infantry. Steel sword scabbard, brass hilt.  

·        Horse EquipmentBrown leather horse furniture and small saddle bags. Large khaki saddle bags. Dull green (Line) dark blue (Guard) saddle cloth. Khaki or dark blue blanket roll. Leather brown carbine strap.


 ·         Uniform as per Infantry. Artillery equipment dark green.

EARLY WAR SUMMER UNIFORM Plain white tunic with five brass buttons and trousers. Plain white cover over cap crown. Havelock could be attached. Rank insignia on lower sleeve (see below).

M1904 KHAKI UNIFORM The new khaki uniforms were introduced during the war with Infantry receiving them by mid-1904. Even so, some units were still in early war uniform in September 1905. Officers often wore mixed 1886/1904 uniform.

·         Plain khaki tunic with five brass buttons. No shoulder straps. Rank insignia on lower sleeve (see below). Plain khaki trousers. White gaiters often dyed khaki. Khaki cap with black peak and chin strap, brass star, coloured band (see below), no piping. Havelock could be attached. Water bottle and mess tin had khaki cover.


Shoulder Straps. Branch colour. Infantry, scarlet. Artillery, yellow. Cavalry and Medical, green. Pioneers, brown. Supply Corps, dark blue.  Regimental Arabic number in white metal.

Ranks and Insignia

M1886 Uniform

Summer/M1904 Uniform

General officer

Field officer

Company officer

Other Rank.





5-7 braid knot (Maj Gen/Lt Gen/Gen)

4-6 braid knot (Maj/Lt Col/Col)

1-3 braid knot (2Lt/Lt/Capt)

Narrow cuff rings in Line/Guard colours:

2-3 coloured rings above gold ring

1 coloured ring above gold ring

3 coloured rings

1-2 coloured rings (2nd Class/1st Class)

3 rings above 3 stars

2 rings above 1-3 stars

1-3 rings above 1 star

In Branch colours:

As M1886

As M1886

As M1886

As M1886


Sources. ‘Japanese Military Uniforms 1841-1929, from the fall of the Shogunate to the Russo-Japanese War’, Ritta Nakanishi, Dainippon Kaiga Co, 2001. ‘The Russo-Japanese War 1904-05’ Ivanov & Jowett, Osprey Publishing 2004.  

See Also:

  • JACKLEX MINIATURES OLD SCHOOL NEW LOOK RULES. ‘MUCKDEN TO MEGIDDO’, Early 20th Century Wargame Rules by ANDY CALLAN. Available to download from the ‘Wargaming’ section of this website.
  •  JACKLEX MINIATURES RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR ARMY ORGANISATION SHEET.  Available free from the ‘Wargaming’ section of this website.

Your shopping cart is empty!