Over the past few years I've come across three 25.4x95R (1") Nordenfelt rounds that have beautiful headstamps. The first two of them were acquired by me, of which one was traded.
Ever since I've come across them, I've had some questions about them that I've not been able to get answered 100% beyond a doubt, and I'm hoping that perhaps a native Japanese (or Chinese) speaker (or someone else, of course) can shed a further light on it, when closely looking at the Kanji ideograms.

Shown are the images of all three headstamps. Unfortunately not all images equally well show the full details, but I think these can be made out well enough anyway. They all follow the same headstamp style (counter clockwise, starting at the '*'): "* 3/4 2 anchor K1 K2 K3". This text appears written around the primer in a circular fashion, which is very typical of Chinese headstamps (and which I haven't seen on a single headstamp that's known beyond a doubt to be Japanese).

I did previously ask on BOCN about this, and some very interesting insights were given by a native Chinese speaker. I would very strongly recommend to read the thread (and at the very least reaction number 7). To cut to the chase, that person thinks the way the arsenal is indicated comes across as more likely to be Japanese than Chinese.
The full thread appears here: Need help with an old Chinese (!) 1" Nordenfelt case headstamp

That post was made when I had only seen ONE of these headstamps, now I have seen two more, and some exciting new facts have surfaced!

To add to what was written in the BOCN post, I can largely explain the headstamp:
-'*' = Not sure, it might just be a delimiter. I do have a Chinese 75x118R case that uses pentagrams (3 in total) as a delimiter.
-'3 2' or '4 2' (in Kanji ideograms): these read as '23' and '24': this will be beyond a doubt the year indication.
-'anchor': welllll, obviously _a_ Navy acceptance mark
-'K1' : Kanji ideogram that possibly indicates the arsenal name or location.
-'K2' : Kanji ideogram '兵' (part of the word 'arsenal').
-'K3' : Kanji ideogram '造' (part of the word 'arsenal').

Now then for a new bombshell: not only did I already notice (and mention in the BOCN post) that the shown anchor is of the exact -what I call- the "simple anchor style" that is seen on early IJN contract ammo, but............. one of the three specimens also has a Kure anchor stamped on it! That happens to be on the specimen that I have at home here. It is stamped upside down (and at an angle) respective to the rest of the headstamp, between the position of the 'simple style anchor' (that is also present) and 'K1'. The headstamp pictures of that case were taken in a lightbox and came out with little contrast. I could possibly later use some chalk or so to make them stand out better, but trust me, that IS a Kure anchor. No mistake about it.
Another new development is that the later two headstamps both featured the number '23' and the first one a '24'. This again strengthens my believe that that number indicates the year of manufacture.

I am now strongly inclined to think that indeed these are Japanese (or manufactured for a Japanese contract) and that the year (era) of manufacture would have been Meiji 23 or 24 (i.e. 1890 or 1891). This same style headstamp has been seen on a 37x94R case that also came out of Japan, and that is a further calibre that the Japanese used too.

Still, it is very difficult to me to be 100% sure of this. Obviously the Kure anchor was stamped in at a later moment than the rest of the headstamp. Possibly that is a reloading/refurbishing mark. It could also be an additional arsenal mark, on earlier accepted/acquired contract ammo.
I'm strongly suspecting that this is contract ammo (hence the simple style anchor) that was manufactured in China around 1890-1891, for Japan. The simple style anchor is fully in line with that on later British manufactured (period, at least: 1998-1901) contract ammo, like the 47x131R and 57x306R calibres. On those British manufactured items, at times one also sees the Kure anchor along with the simple anchor.

But..... before being able to make that call, I would really, really, really appreciate the opinions (and if possible translations) of some native Japanese and/or Chinese speakers. Of utmost interest is the best possible interpretation of 'K1', and also of 'K2' and 'K3'. If indeed these items date back to around 1890-1891, would these particular Kanji ideograms then be correct for that period of time? Also, can someone properly interpret 'K1'? There is possibility that this varies on several of those headstamps, in case these items were manufactured at different locations.

Who can shed a light on this?

Cheers and thanks very much in advance for any thoughts,

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