Nambu World: Arisaka Rifles

            The above photo shows, from top to bottom: a Type 30 rifle (converted to a blank-firing trainer); a Type 38 rifle; a Type 38 carbine with an early production hooked crossguard Type 30 bayonet; a Type 44 carbine with folding bayonet extended; a Type I rifle (gJapanese Carcanoh); a mid-production Type 99 rifle with a mid-war straight crossguard Type 30 bayonet; and a late, Substitute Type 99 rifle with late wooden scabbard Type 30 bayonet. (This section is undergoing a huge expansion and revision, so parts of it may look a little rough until it is all done). Bayonets for the Arisaka rifle are covered in a separate section: Nambu World: Japanese Bayonets

Type 30 Arisaka Rifles

   The first Arisaka rifle was the Type 30, introduced in 1897 and used extensively in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. I have two of these rifles, one "plain" and the other converted to a blank-firing trainer.

To see more details on the Type 30 and then detailed sections on each of the above two rifles, please click here: Nambu World: Type 30 Arisaka Rifles

            The most common of the Arisaka rifles are the Type 38 and Type 99. Here is a comparison shot of the Type 38 Infantry Rifle and Type 99 Short Rifle together, with a metre stick (one metre=39 inches) below for scale. As can be seen, the Type 38 Infantry Rifle is quite a bit longer than the Type 99 short rifle. However, just to confuse things, originally there was a Type 99 long rifle that was similar in length to the Type 38, but it was dropped fairly quickly in favour of the shorter version. Some Type 38 rifles were also refurbished into Type 38 Short Rifles (sometimes called Cavalry Rifles), which were the same length as the Type 99 Short Rifle. Nevertheless, when people talk about a Type 38 they almost always mean a Type 38 Infantry Rifle and when they talk about a Type 99 they almost always mean a Type 99 Short Rifle. The Type 38 fired the 6.5mm X 50 Japanese cartridge. Although longer and heavier than the Type 99 Short Rifle, it fired a less powerful cartridge, and with the greater weight and less powerful cartridge it was much more pleasant to shoot. Many Japanese soldiers therefore preferred it. The 38 in the type number refers to the year Meiji 38, or 1905. The 99 in Type 99 refers to the year 2599 by the Japanese calendar starting in 660BC. The year 2599 was therefore the same as our 1939.

Type 35 Naval Rifle

    This very rare rifle was the first attempt to address the shortcomings of the Type 30 rifle. (To come...)

Type 38 Rifles

 

To see more photos of the Type 38 rifle, please click here: Type 38 Gallery (this section is due for a huge expansion; the top rifle shown in the photo is a Type 38--the one below it is a Substitute Type 99)

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Type 38 Carbines

To see more photos of the Type 38 carbine above, please click here: Type 38 Carbine Photos (this section is due for a huge expansion)

Type 44 Carbines 

To see more photos of the Type 44 carbine above, please click here: Type 44 Carbine Photos

Type 97 Sniper Rifle

To see more photos of the Type 97 Sniper Rifle (the sniper version of the Type 38 rifle), please click here: Nambu World: Type 97 Sniper Rifle

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Type 99 Rifles

To see more photos of the Type 99 rifle, please click here: Type 99 Gallery (this section is due for a huge expansion).

Type 2 Paratroop Rifle

    This nifty rifle comes apart in the middle. To read about and see more photos of the Type 2 Paratroop rifle, please click here: Nambu World: Arisaka Type 2 Paratroop Rifle

 

Type I Rifle ("Japanese Carcano")

            The Type I rifle is not really an Arisaka at all, but an Italian Carcano rifle ordered by the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was made to look and handle as much like an Arisaka as possible to facilitate its use with troops who were familiar with the Type 38.

To see more photos of this Type I rifle, please click here: Nambu World: Type I Rifle—The gJapanese Carcanoh

 

Arisaka Books:

    Three new books have appeared that cover the Arisaka series. For a specialized look at a specific series of rifles, these books can't be beat. They have been produced by senior members of Banzai, the Japanese militaria collectors' association, based on extensive research and study of large numbers of specimens of each type. The level of detail is unprecedented.

                            

    The Type 30 & 35 book is The Early Arisakas: A Study of the Japanese Type 30 Rifles and Carbines, Naval Type 35 Rifles, Substitute Type 02/45 Rifles and Their Variations, Banzai Special Project #9, by Francis C. Allan, Doss H. White and Dr. Stanley Zielinski, edited by Joseph P. Koss, Jr., published by AK Enterprises, 2006, ISBN 0-9614814-5-5, Library of Congress Catalog Control Number 2006934503 (106 pages).  

    The Type 38 book is The Type 38 Arisaka: A Study of the Japanese Rifles and Carbines Based Upon the Type 38 Arisaka Action, Their Variations and History, Banzai Special Project #8, by Francis C. Allan and Harold W. Macy, edited by Joseph P. Koss, Jr., published by Francis C. Allan, ISBN 978-0-9614814-4-5, Library of Congress Catalog Control Number 2007906708 (493 pages).

    The above two books can he obtained by contacting the author, Mr. Frank Allan. Just click here to send him an e-mail: mailto:the_allans_fcla@yahoo.com (be sure to enquire about shipping costs if you are outside the USA)

    The Type 99 book is The Japanese Type 99 Arisaka Rifle: A Guide for the Collector and Historian, Second Edition, Banzai Special Project #11, by Doss White & Don Voigt, published by Lodestone Publications, 2007 (113 pages). (No ISBN listed).

    If you want to read more about Japanese rifles in general, the classic reference book is: Military Rifles of Japan, by Fred L. Honeycutt, Jr. and F. Patt Anthony (Julin Books, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, 1996). This book is now in its fifth edition (seventh printing), so obviously it is very well regarded among collectors.  It covers everything from the Type 13 Murata through the Arisakas to the Type 5 semi-auto, so it is the most comprehensive "all-in-one" book, though it does not have the level of detail about specific models that the above books do.

             Japanese Rifles of World War II by Duncan O. McCollum is a short but useful summary. Another useful resource is a collection of articles from Banzai on the many variations of Japanese rifles. It is edited by Doss & Ruth White and published under the title Japanese Military Rifles, 1543-2000+ by their company, Lodestone Publications, Inc. (see the Banzai link on the main Nambu World page for contact info). Japanese Military Rifles, Carbines and Their Accessories by Jerry L. Price covers a lot of non-standard stuff. Japanese Contract Rifles by Doss H. White and Francis C. Allan covers foreign use of Arisakas and Japanese use of foreign rifles. The Early Arisakas: A Study of the Japanese Type 30 Rifles and Carbines, Naval Type 35 Rifles, Substitute Type 02/45 Rifles and Their Variations by Francis Allan, Doss White and Dr. Stanley Zielinski, edited by Joseph Koss, Jr., appeared in early 2007 and has a self-explanatory sub-title (my Type 30 trainer is pictured on page 36!). Imperial Japanese Grenade Rifles and Launchers by Gregory A. Babich and Thomas A. Keep is a beautiful, very professional book on an obscure but fascinating topic. If you can read Japanese, Nippon no gunyoju to sogu (Japanese Military Weapons and Equipment) by Shigeo Sugawa has a lot of interesting material. Even if you canft read Japanese, the photos iit are gorgeous. Less visually compelling but nevertheless legendary is the small volume by Jiro Sayama, Shoju kenju kikanju nyumon (Introduction to Rifles, Handguns and Machine Guns). See also the sections on specific rifles, which have additional resources.     

Arisaka Parts:

            If you are looking for some part for your Arisaka and just canft find it, herefs a source who makes repro stuff for a lot of different Arisaka variations. If you ask him really nice he might even make you a part thatfs not on the list.   Don's Reproduction Japanese Militaria Parts List

 

Links to Other Arisaka Sites:

            Here are links to some other interesting stuff. More will be added as they come to my attention (mostly I am always looking for pistol stuff, but I come across other neat things along the way sometimes!)

 

Arisaka rifles & stuff: Japanese Rifles, Pistols, & Militaria at Castle-Thunder.com

                                    Japanese Rifles - The Curio and Relic Firearms Forum (this one has instructions on disassembly, reloading tips, etc.)

                                    Rifles of the Rising Sun

Japanese rifle slings: Japanese Slings

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Click here to go back to the Nambu World: Other Militaria Page: Nambu World: Teri's Other Japanese Militaria Page

Click here to go back to the Nambu World main page: Nambu World: Terifs WWII Japanese Handgun Website

 

Last updated: September 3, 2009. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.