is a Japanese language
word for a military unit
and may be literally translated as "task force", "group
" or "wing
". The terms "regiment
" and "flotilla
", while sometimes used as translations of Sentai
, are also used to refer to larger formations.
World War II
It is perhaps best known as a term used during World War II
by the military of the Empire of Japan
, for Imperial Japanese Army Air Force
(IJAAF) and Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service
(IJNAS) military aviation
units equivalent to a group or wing in other air forces. However, the term had slightly different meanings in the IJAAF and the IJNAS.
Am IJAAF Sentai was made up of two to four squadrons, known as chutai by the IJAAF. In the IJAAF, two or more Sentai comprised a hikodan (air brigade). In the later stages of World War II, the IJAAF abolished chutai and divided its sentai into hikotai (flying units) and seibutai (maintenance units). A sentai commander (sentaicho) was generally a Lieutenant Colonel.
In the IJNAS, a sentai was a larger unit: a kokutai was the equivalent of an IJAAF sentai. Several sentai made up a kantai (air fleet). In the IJNAS, a Sentaicho was usually a Naval Captain.
The is a franchise of Japanese tokusatsu television dramas
that uses the word sentai
to describe a group of between 3 and 7 costumed superheroes
who often pilot mecha