|Rifle||Arisaka Type 2||Manufacturer||Nagoya|
|Action||Rotation Bolt||Barrel Length||25.4″|
|Magazine||5 rnds fixed box||Weight||8.9lbs|
The Japanese forces had long relied on naval landings and did not initially develop their paratrooper capabilities. But logistical failures during the invasion of the Dutch East Indies had their soldiers fighting with pistols, bayonets, and grenades. So, finally, attention fell on producing a significant number of take-down rifles for airborne troops.
First, if you haven’t read it, you may want to see our article on the Type 99. The Type II is really just a modification of this model and so most of the features are going to be the same. It is a cock-on-close, front locking, 7.7mm rifle with the same adjustable barrel-mounted aperture sight sporting anti-aircraft volley fire “wings.” The Type II sports the same chrysanthemum imperial crest (though ours here was ground at surrender) with the characters 二式, pronounced “Ni Shiki”, meaning #2 Type or Type 2. The number comes from the Japanese imperial calendar year for 1942, which was 2602.
Defining the Type II rifle is its ability to break in half for easier carry and storage for airborne operations. This is accomplished by the distinct locking block at its center. The rear half of the rifle features the butt stock and receiver and the fore end is composed of the barrel and sights. The barrel extends rearward beyond the metal block and, when assembled, seats inside the receiver. Instead of being turned in place, it is inserted straight and a metal block is drifted through the locking block to bear on the large lug on the barrel’s underside. This block is locked in place by a threaded cap with D-ring. So to disassemble the rifle you would unscrew the cap and pull the block out (it is captive and can only come 90% of the way out) to free the barrel, which you would pull straight out from the receiver.
While there had been other folding and take-down paratroop rifles in Japan, the Type II was the only one produced in truly significant numbers, with roughly 22,000 completed. Overall the gun was mostly issued with the standard Type 30 bayonet, but a shortened bayonet appears to have also been used. The Type II is much rarer than most other Japanese rifles in the collector market and commands a significant premium. Well worth collecting, especially given it’s unique appearance.
Special thanks to the South Carolina Military Museum for sharing this piece with us and all of you!