|Rifle||Arisaka Type 38||Manufacturer||Jinsen Arsenal (Korea)|
|Cartridge||6.5 Japanese||Overall Length||50.2″|
|Action||Rotation Bolt||Barrel Length||31.5″|
|Magazine||5 rounds staggered||Weight||8 lbs|
So this is one of those oddball finds that one just needs to share. Suzie spotted this at the back of a pawn shop and because neither of us recognized it the rifle had to come home. Thanks to the mind-numbingly informed users of Gunboards we’re pretty sure we know its rough story.
Japan’s imperialist expansion at the turn of the century caused a dramatic need for military supplies, rifles being paramount. After its success in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 Japan earned complete political influence over Korea. Five years later it forcibly annexed the country under threat of outright invasion. Now something of a province, Korea’s resources were put to Japanese military use. Eventually Japanese manufacturing was setup in this new frontier, including the Heijo Ordnance Factory in then Jinsen (now Inchon). By 1940 this was renamed simply the Jinsen Arsenal and had begun producing both Type 38 and Type 99 infantry rifles.
Our pictured rifle is an education rifle, though not for new recruits or the schools’ para-military training programs of the time. It was made as a means to instruct the assemblers at the arsenal. As such, it’s marked with an older character for “to teach” or perhaps instruction would be a better term. The dustcover warns that live ammunition is prohibited. It’s apparent that our example has been shot so the warning is not absolute. Rather, it’s there in case one of these instruction rifles wasn’t acceptable from the start. Letting a batch of demonstration guns into the main army wasn’t a risk they were willing to take at that point, though later much much worse was rolling off the assembly line. It’s doubtful these guns were ever proofed for safe firing.
Education rifles supposedly number around 100 or so produced (Certainly post below if you have one and what number to help with this figure!). They are one of the more rare Arisaka variants available to collectors today and are certainly worth an extra glance. The hand-applied markings are rather distinct between guns, so you can almost consider each personally signed. Like regular production Type 38 rifles, these are elegant firearms with beautiful markings.
Unfortunately any other information we could provide at this time would be wild speculation. If you know anything else please comment below. We’d love a good source of information on the history of Jinsen Arsenal if anyone has a book recommendation!