On This Day

The Day Japan Founded a Military Training School in Wartime Myanmar

By Wei Yan Aung 20 August 2020

Yangon—On this day in 1942, Japanese forces founded their Officer Training School, the first military training school in the then Burma, five months after the occupation of the country.

The school was intended to provide military training to Myanmar’s people to support Japanese rule. The first intake arrived 12 days after opening the training school in Mingaladon Township in what was then Rangoon.

The commandant, instructors and supervisors were all Japanese. Young people underwent extensive military training in harsh conditions with routine slapping by the instructors.

In his address to graduation ceremonies, General Aung San often said: “The military is the servant of the nation, and not the master.”

On March 27, 1945, while the academy was training its fifth intake, the Burma National Army rose in a nationwide rebellion against Japanese rule. The school came to an end with the rebellion.

Patron of the National League for Democracy (NLD), U Tin Oo, graduated from the third intake from the Officer Training School and former NLD leader U Kyi Maung (who died in August 2004) graduated from the first intake.

After independence in 1948, Myanmar’s military established its own Officer Training School (OTS) in Pyin Oo Lwin in Mandalay Region.

The OTS was then relocated to Ba Htoo, a garrison town in southern Shan State, where the military founded its second training institute, the Defence Services Academy (DSA), as its premier training academy in 1955.

The DSA was moved to the current site in Pyin Oo Lwin two years later. But the OTS remains in Ba Htoo today and had trained over 120 intakes by 2019.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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