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Interesting canteen...

Article about: Good day Gentlemen, I’m not sure if ‘interesting’ is too strong a word for a canteen, but this is one from my ‘too many canteens’ collection (as most collectors of Japanese militaria have)..

  1. #1

    Default Interesting canteen...

    Good day Gentlemen,
    I’m not sure if ‘interesting’ is too strong a word for a canteen, but this is one from my ‘too many canteens’ collection (as most collectors of Japanese militaria have)...

    This one has an improvised cloth cover fitted; the front panel of tan cotton cloth, the rear of quite a bold green - now very sun-bleached, but with the original colour clearly visible under the web harness.

    A cloth label to the front of the harness bears the owner’s details, again very faded and difficult to read and photograph, but I am hoping those with the necessary skills can help me with their translation...
    The unusual (though not impossible) use of the western characters ‘MG’, of course, lead one to think of an MG Company, but I know enough not to jump to conclusions...

    I see no value in unpicking the base of the cover, merely to discover a date stamp. It would be nice to know, but not worth destroying history for.

    Not the prettiest example, perhaps, but I love its character.
    Many thanks for your very kind assistance.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Interesting canteen...   Interesting canteen...  

    Interesting canteen...   Interesting canteen...  

    Interesting canteen...  

  2. #2


    Bob, I only have one Japanese canteen and I think it’s one of the best things I have. The one you have here just drips with character. I can’t help with anything concerning the canteen but I think it’s very unusual and cool.

    Fortune favors the brave 644th td

  3. #3


    Corporal Sato, 921MG. A post war pre SDF modification to match the US style. Such modifications were not tolerated by the IJA, and MG can only be post war.

  4. #4


    Thank you for the translation.

  5. #5


    When time permits I would like to post what I believe is a WW2 Japanese canteen for evaluation..

    Wonderful information


  6. #6


    I think it's pretty interesting as SDF used IJA equipment.

  7. #7


    A problem in placing that item in the postwar timeline is that the rank indicated is 伍長, an IJA designation that did not exist in the SDF, but the fieldmade canteen cover and MG designation is clearly not IJA and postwar. That's why I said somewhat vaguely post war pre-SDF, but the fact is that there was no organization officially using that rank name in post war years. Another possibility is use in a POW camp.

  8. #8


    Here you can see Giretsu using one. I've heard from a few people in Japan it was not so uncommon of a wartime field modification. Not that different than fabric wristwatch sweatbands or covers for bayonet sheathes. Whether this example was actually a wartime modification or not is certainly left up to speculation.

  9. #9


    Giretsu is a total exception and not at all a typical army unit, as the whole unit was set up for sound muffling stealth with camo, etc for one suicide mission only. Please be specific about what general field modifications your Japanese contacts claim were done and the factual basis for those claims, because Japanese collectors also are mislead often enough by myths. Wristwatches were not issue items, so they could have any wrist belt they wanted, so that does not mean anything. Tell us about arsenal or depot issued items that were commonly modified in the field.

  10. #10


    The mix of IJA rank with, ostensibly, post-war MG abbreviation is an intriguing combination.

    I cannot imagine a PoW bothering to manufacture a cover, primarily intended to kill reflection and muffle sound, for any of his kit, however.
    A few period photographs can be found that depict modified kit in (apparently regular; i.e.: non-Giretsu), Japanese units. Bayonet scabbards are occasionally seen with cloth covers fitted.
    Interesting canteen...
    By their very nature, period photographs of modified equipment, of any nationality, are quite rare, but they do exist...

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