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"Special" Army Helmet

Article about: I had forgotten this helmet in my collection! Could it possibly be mentioned somewhere in Nick's fine research on Japanese helmets?! Specifically post # 31. This helmet appears to never of h

  1. #1
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    Default "Special" Army Helmet

    I had forgotten this helmet in my collection! Could it possibly be mentioned somewhere in Nick's fine research on Japanese helmets?! Specifically post # 31. This helmet appears to never of had a star. In its place is an encircled ink stamp which translates to "special". Liner is extremely brittle & in poor condition. Overall helmet shows use. I knew of one other in another collection. Any opinions or thoughts appreciated.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture "Special" Army Helmet   "Special" Army Helmet  

    "Special" Army Helmet   "Special" Army Helmet  

    "Special" Army Helmet   "Special" Army Helmet  

    "Special" Army Helmet  

  2. #2

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    Unfortunately "special" is overused in Japan and it could swing positive as well as negative. Classes for retarded children are also denoted by special in a circle, so it only points to something out of ordinary, which alone is not much of a clue to go on.

    The army memo to Asahi Newspaper in 1939 told them that the star would be absent, but proper markings to tell those reporters apart from combatants should be added by Asahi. The most obvious way of doing that would have been to write Asahi Shinbum in front, as there would have been other reporters from other papers, too.

    But there could have also been a decision to mark all war correspondent helmets uniformly without regard to company. In that case, the modern word "Special Correspondent" comes to mind, which in Japanese, is Tokuha-in 特派員, an abbreviation of Tokubetsu-Haken-in 特別派遣員.

    The only problem is that Tokuha-in is a very current word and I have doubts they would have used that word in WW2. The correspondence with Asahi uses the simple word Kisha 記者 and a war correspondent was called a jyugun-Kisha 従軍記者 in those days. So here again, the most no brainer marking would have been to use the word 記 and put that in a circle rather than 特, which would have communicated their status much clearer in those days.

    So, all in all, the marking detracts rather than adds to its chances of being a war correspondent helmet of WW2.

    However, I like it that they at least had the sense to mark it in black, not in "shoot-me" white, as most correspondent fatalities were from head shots.

    As I said in the beginning, "Special" is so ambiguous a word that it would have been more convincing not to have such a badly selected marking.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for commenting Nick! Regarding " special" term we have a few that come to mind such as special navy landing force as well as type 99 rifle called navy special that has kanji for " special" on reciever in place of mum. Here is a page from excellent book on subject. I'm not saying special on helmet has any navy association just pointing out additional wartime uses of the term " special". You also wrote of two other cases of army helmets without star insignias. Perhaps it's one of the other situations?
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture "Special" Army Helmet  

  4. #4

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    The Japanese Toku actually means "irregular" or "oddball" rather than "special". It rarely has the favorable tone the common English translation has. So by switching your mind to that mode might help you find an answer in the future, It could be just those Type 90s made in substandard low-carbon steel supplied to Chiang.
    Last edited by nick komiya; 03-14-2018 at 10:50 AM.

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