| Konoe Shidan|
For ten thousand years!
The only regular infantry unit for Japan, the Konoe (近衛, "Imperial Guard") is armed with medium rifles (40 damage) and satchel charges. The Konoe is unable to stand up to upgraded infantry, so they must be kept out of direct combat. However the Konoe has a increased resistance of 500 as supposed to the standard 400 resistance making it a ideal infantry to lay ambushes that are considered a suicide order. In addition it has heavy grenades to deal with tough bunkers in seconds but, poor AT capacity with only satchel charges.
When Emperor Meiji assumed all the powers of the state during the Meiji Restoration he ordered the formation of an Imperial Guard to protect himself and the Japanese royal family. In 1867 the Imperial Guard was formed from loyal retainers and former samurai. This unit would then go on to form the nucleus of the new Imperial Japanese Army.
By the 1870s the Imperial Guard, which had been organized and trained along French Military lines, consisted of 12,000 officers and men. It was organized into the 1st Guards Infantry Brigade which had the 1st and 2nd Regiments. The 2nd Guards Brigade contained the 3rd and 4th regiments. However following the decisive German victory in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, the French defeat prompted the Japanese government to recruit some of the victorious German officers to retrain and reorganize the Imperial Guards on the Prussian Gardes du Corps model. The Imperial troops first saw action in the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877.
By 1885 the Imperial Guards was one of seven divisions within the Imperial Japanese Army. Each division consisted of four regiments containing two battalions. The Imperial Guard division was based in garrisons around Tokyo but it recruited nationally.
After the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, a further Guard Brigade was formed from indigenous Formosans. In 1920 the Guards Cavalry Regiment, Guards Field Artillery Regiment, Guards Engineer Battalion, Guards Transport Battalion, plus other Guards service units were added. From 1937 to 1939 the Guards Engineer Battalion was expanded into a regiment along with the Guards Transport Battalion.
In September 1939, the division was split into the 1st and 2nd Guards Brigades. The 1st Guards Brigade, which contained the 1st and 2nd Guards Infantry Regiments, the cavalry regiment, and half of the support units, was transferred to South China. Here it became known as the Mixed Guards Brigade. In October 1940, it joined other Japanese units occupying French Indo-China. In April 1941 the Mixed Guards Brigade returned to Tokyo but it did not rejoin the Imperial Guards Division.
The 2nd Guards Brigade, which contained 3rd and 4th Guards Regiments, also went to China. In 1940, it went to Shanghai before being posted to Hainan Island. In June 1941, the 5th Guards Infantry Regiment joined the 2nd Guards Brigade becoming the Imperial Guard Division again. It later saw action in the Battles of Malaya and Singapore with Tomoyuki Yamashita's 25th Army.
In May 1943, all designated Imperial Guard units were renamed again. The Mixed Guards Brigade in Tokyo became the 1st Guards Division (which now consisted of the 1st, 2nd, 6th Guard Regiments) and the Imperial Guard Division became the 2nd Guards Division. The 3rd Guards Division, which never left Japan, was formed in 1944. It consisted of the 8th, 9th and 10th Guards Regiments. Sources do not agree if there ever was a 7th Guard Regiment, although it is speculated it possibly could have.
All military Imperial Guard Divisions were dissolved at the end of World War II.