Reading 内部の真実 by Jokichi Hikage

Cover of 内部の真実 by Jokichi Hikage with a French subtitle “Juste comme je suis”.

I am reading 内部の真実 by Jokichi Hikage, and it is much easier to read than I thought, but as I was expecting, I have a hard time with military-related vocabulary (for example, who is higher, the 曹長 or 伍長?).

What makes the experience truly miserable, is the scarcity of furigana. Even some names lack indications as to their pronunciation, like names that have several pronunciations like our narrator 小高, or names of Taiwanese characters like 江瑶琴 (Jiang Yaoqin) or 金天騏 (Jin Tianqi).

I’ve noted here some vocab related to the military, and I made a list of names with the rank of each character, to help me get started in the novel (it only covers chapter 1). I’m not sure about the pronunciation of the names, and of course, these are just my personal notes as a Japanese learner, hopefully there’s not too many mistakes!

Ranks in the Imperial Japanese Army

I just copied it from Wikipedia. In bold are the ranks found in the novel.

Commissioned officers 将校 ・しょうこう: (I saw the word 士官・しかん with the same meaning, but the author mainly uses 将校.)

  • 大元帥陸軍大将:だいげんすいりくぐんたいしょう:commander in chief
  • 大将:たいしょう:General
  • 中将:ちゅうじょう:Lieutenant general
  • 少将:しょうしょう:Major general
  • 大佐:たいさ:Colonel
  • 中佐:ちゅうさ:Lieutenant colonel
  • 少佐:しょうさ:Major
  • 大尉:たいい:Captain
  • 中尉:ちゅうい:Lieutenant
  • 少尉:しょうい:Second lieutenant
  • 准尉:じゅんい:Warrant officer

Non-commissioned officers 下士官・かしかん and enlisted personnel 補助兵・ほじょへい: (I’m not sure whether 補助兵 is the equivalent of “enlisted personnel”, but this word appears in the novel in a context that makes me think it could be.)

  • 曹長:そうちょう:Sergeant major
  • 軍曹:ぐんそう:Sergeant
  • 伍長:ごちょう:Corporal
  • 兵長:へいちょう:Lance corporal
  • 上等兵:じょうとうへい:Superior private
  • 一等兵:いっとうへい:Private first class
  • 二等兵:にとうへい:Private second class
  • 三等兵:さんとうへい:Private

Places and vocabulary

Places (from the higher authority to the lowest):

  • 軍司令部:ぐんしれいぶ:Military headquarters in Taipei.
  • 部隊本部:ぶたいほんぶ:Regimental headquarters (?) based in Hsinchu.
  • 新竹憲兵大隊:シンジューけんぺいだいたい:Hsinchu military police unit (battalion) – I believe that when the narrator mentions 大隊本部:だいたいほんぶ or “battalion headquarters”, he is referring to the Hsinchu military police unit. Also, a military police officer is 憲兵: けんぺい.
  • 分遣隊:ぶんけんたい:Detached force, detachment, contingent. In the novel, it is based in Taoyuan: 桃源分遣隊.

Vocabulary related to armament:

  • 拳銃:けんじゅう:handgun
  • 銃弾:じゅうだん:bullet
  • 弾丸:だんがん:bullet
  • 貫通銃創:かんつうじゅうそう:piercing bullet wound
  • 挺:ちょう:measure word for machine gun
  • 弾倉:だんそう:machine gun magazine
  • 装填:そうてん:charge, loading (so 未装填 would mean that the gun was not loaded).
  • 激鉄:げきてつ:hammer of a rifle
  • 実包:じっぽう:cartridge


I only noted the characters that belong to the army.

大尉: Captain大手: OOTE: Was sent from the battalion headquarters 大隊本部(だいたいほんぶ) to the detachment unit to investigate Toma’s death.
陸軍中尉 Lieutenant曽根: SONE: Leader of the Taoyuan detachment 分遣隊長(ぶんけんたいちょう), was at the Military headquarters in Taipei during the assault, and came back soon after.
軍曹 Second lieutenant津路: TSURO: 軍医少尉: army surgeon.
曹長 Sergeant Major苫亮治: TOMA Ryoji: was killed by shotgun
軍曹 Sergeant小高: KOTAKA: our narrator. Has been assigned to the Hsinchu military police unit not long ago, but was immediately dispatched to the Taoyuan detachment. In the absence of lieutenant Sone and with the death of sergeant major Toma, he is in charge of the detachment.
伍長 Corporal酒井: SAKAI: 屍衛兵(しかばねえいへい). I get the meaning, but I don’t know how to translate it in English.
勝永: KATSUNAGA: Oote’s assistant, came along to the detachment unit to investigate Toma’s death.
近松: CHIKAMATSU: Saw Toma going out.
兵長 Lance corporal筈見: HAZUMI: 炊事班長 (すいじはんちょう). Again, cannot find a good English translation.
上等兵 Superior private信: SHINOBU: Also dispatched to the detachment unit to investigate Toma’s death.
一等兵 Private first class名倉銀蔵: NAGURA Ginzo: was assaulted with Toma.
根本: NEMOTO: works with Nagura.

That covers chapter 1! Overall, I’m really loving this novel, and it becomes much easier to read now that I have gone over all this vocabulary 😄.