i am interested in, what's the difference between these 3 words "bantai" , "buntai" and "butai". the context of these words refer to the organization within the military.


jyubantai should be something along the lines of 10th squad/division? (maybe i misinterpreted it with the word buntai,if so,ignore the word bantai as it is probably non existent) i believe these 2-(3) words are used to organize military into squads,divisions and such,i just don't understand which is for which.

  • 4
    Buntai and butai should be 分隊 and 部隊, but I'm not sure what word bantai is. Could you write it in Japanese?
    – user1478
    Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 19:55
  • can you provide some quotes using these words? Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 8:47
  • @Priest Do you mean "bantai" which is used with a numeral, like 一番隊 ?
    – hnishy
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 9:48

2 Answers 2


部隊 is a catch-all term of military (sub)units of any size. The number of the members of a 部隊 can be 5 or 50,000. Basically it's just "a group of soldiers".

部隊 is obviously too unspecific, so we also have many specific terms to categorize 部隊 according to its size. In English you have battalion, company, platoon and squad. In Japanese we had 大隊, 中隊, 小隊 and 分隊. 分隊 is a small unit that is subordinate to 小隊, and it typically has 10 soldiers or so. Its English equivalent is squad, according to Wikipedia.

番隊 is not a word on its own. 番 is a suffix like "no." as in "no. 5". 二番隊 means "2nd squad", for example. (English speakers may be more familiar with "Alpha team", "Beta team" and so on.)


OK. So,分隊(Buntai)、部隊(Butai)、番隊(Bantai)。 First, 分隊 is one of the tactical units in the military. And it is relatively small scale. Second, 部隊 to perform organizational operational actions. In this case, 部隊 able to spread out to 分隊. Third, 番隊 is mostly your understanding is correct. 番隊 is used when there are several teams. So (number)番隊.

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