Nambu World: A Brief History of Japanese Military Handguns to 1945
Kijiro Nambu, sometimes referred to as g
the turn of the century a Captain Kijiro Nambu was transferred to the
This is page 45 from gSoldierfs Guide to the Japanese Armyh, published on November 15, 1944 by gMilitary Intelligence Service, War Departmenth, Washington, DC as gSpecial Series No. 27h. It shows the Type 26 revolver, Papa Nambu and Type 14.
By far the best known of Japanese service pistols is the Type 14. Like the earlier Grandpa and Papa Nambus, its outward appearance bears a superficial resemblance to the Luger, though the mechanism is completely different. It takes its name from the 14th year of the Taisho Emperor, i.e. 1925, although only a small number were actually made before the Taisho era ended in late December, 1926. In the Japanese calendar 1926 was both Taisho 15, until the Taisho emperor died in December, and Showa 1, for the last few days of the year when the Showa Emperor, Hirohito, began his reign. The Type 14 held eight rounds of the standard 8mm Nambu cartridge.
Type 14 was a fairly big pistol for the average Japanese, and the desire for a
more compact one led to the introduction of the Type 94, a much maligned pistol
that is often referred to as the ugliest or worst side arm ever adopted by a
major power. It was certainly not a great design in terms of functionality, but
it thoroughly original and the unconventional looks grow on one in an ugly
duckling sort of way. The designation comes from the year 1934, which was 2594
in the Japanese calendar (dated from 660 BC, when the first legendary emperor
Page 48 from the manual referred to above shows the Type 94.
There were also a few other pistols that were used in small numbers, such as the Hamada and Sugiura; for details see the Derby & Brown, Derby or Honeycutt books listed in the books section. They were the source of most of the facts in the brief survey above, though I retain responsibility for any errors of omission, fact or interpretation.
Here is a link to a site with a good summary of the history with more pictures and discussion of variations, etc. Please click here: nambu
You may also be interested in an article I wrote that was published in the Canadian Firearms Journal, Volume XVI, Number 1, 2006 Edition, pages 24-27. To check it out, please click here: militaryhandgunsofimperialjapan.htm
Last updated: July 6, 2006. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.
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