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Japanese helmet, machine gun damage, japanese text inside cloth cover, translation?

Article about: Conclusion following Translation I am very happy! The information provided by you forum experts is consistent with the translation’s I have obtained via Elance and some positive identificati

  1. #51


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Japanese number their companies like the Germans? In any given regiment the breakdown is something like:

    1st Bn: 1,2,3,4 companies, plus a weapons company (or anti-tank, or whatever ... my memory fades and I don't want to look it up)

    2d Bn: 5,6,7,8 companies, plus;

    3d Bn: 9,10,11, 12 companies, plus.

    If the above premise is accurate, Nakatani should be in 5th Regiment, 1st Bn, 1st Co, 1st Plt.


  2. #52


    Guy I'm uncertain about that. Nick might know. I don't know how I missed this thread all those years ago !

  3. #53


    I don't believe SNLF units ever reached regimental proportions. I think rifle companies were the norm, possibly within a couple battalions.


  4. #54


    I knew the thread was pretty old. Russ was researching some stuff similar to this group. I ran across it by accident and thought he would like to see it so I brought it back to the top. Oh, also, I'm kinda in love with this group of bring backs as well lol..

  5. #55


    Wow, very nice item! Thanks for sharing

  6. #56


    You guys need to bear in mind that the original poster has not been back on this forum for nearly 6 years, so clearly this is not going anywhere further.

  7. #57


    Quote by ghp95134 View Post
    十七 ** **
    17 ** **

    Kure Go Toku Ichi Chū Ichi Sui[hei]
    Kure 5 Special、 1st Company, 1st Sailor[?]

    That "Toku" might be for "Special Landing Force"
    Kaigun Tokubetsu Rikusentai

    中谷 *一
    Nakatani ~kazu [or ~ichi]
    family name/given name

    Maybe Nick can read the full given name.

    呉 should be 呉港(くれこう)is in 廣島縣吳市。
    Name looks like 中谷興一

  8. #58


    Quote by Paulnoonan View Post
    Conclusion following Translation

    I am very happy! The information provided by you forum experts is consistent with the translation’s I have obtained via Elance and some positive identifications have been made.

    Conclusion 1) The helmet is indeed IJN and most probably a relic of the Battle of Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, 25 August – 7 September 1942. I have the name of the soldier.

    As you will all know, this battle is famous as the first time the Japanese military were comprehensively defeated on land in WW2. The translator (Ludwika S.) identified the helmet as belonging to Nakatani Kenichi of the 5th Kure Special (Naval Landing Forces). The 5th Kure Special Naval Landing Force fought at (and was all but wiped out at) Milne Bay as referred to at 5th Kure Special Naval Landing Force - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    By the way, in the back of the leather helmet harness (where Tom had told me to look for a small anchor symbol) I found the Kana (fuze mark) for 'Kure' (looks like a J with a long top bar) – as seen in the table of Kana and Kanji provided earlier by zwerge).

    My grandfather (RAAF) was stationed at the Milne Bay aerodrome sometime around the time of the battle so that's most likely where he got it, even found it. His album contains photos of Japanese equipment (such as a bogged tank) labelled as being at Milne Bay, and he probably went exploring in his spare time.

    Conclusion 2) The senninbari possibly dates from the early period of the senninbari tradition, and in my opinion belonged to a career soldier who served in the Sino Japan wars. Perhaps he later served in the South West Pacific, or passed it to a family member who did. The name of the lady who made and gave it is now known.

    This belt has been ‘dated’ to the Taisho period (1912-1926) and was made by Teramachi Yoshiko. If the original wearer participated in the Sino -Japan wars it would tie in with the now antique Chinese coins I posted pics of previously (with holes in their centres). If these are over 100 years old (according to Walkwolf) they would have been in circulation in the period 1910 onwards.

    It is quite possible that the chinese coins were themselves lucky amulets (or Sino war booty) added to the belt after the original Japanese coin. My grandfather may have removed them all from the belt (accounting for the two coin sized tear holes in it) because the two Chinese and one Japanese coin in his war souvenir collection are unique within it.

    The following explanations are the direct notes from the translator.


    Inside cloth cover: First line as a whole: 呉五特甲水

    呉五特 = 5th Kure Special (it's Naval Landing Force, but that's not included in the text)

    The following two kanji are unclear, possibly they are also abbreviations to some longer words.

    甲 = first class; can also mean "helmet"
    水 = water

    There's a dash between those two kanjis, which makes no sense. It appears to belong to the bottow kanji "water" (水), which would make it into "eternity" (永), but still doesn't tell me anything, so I'm not sure which one is more correct.

    [That is also discussed below]

    The second line of the kanji on the helmet cover is a name.

    中谷顕一 = Nakatani Kenichi

    The same name, as well as "5th Kure Special" is written on the leather lining (inside the helmet). Between those two lines is "one" (一) and "small" (小), which I would assume are other abbreviations.

    The kanji next to <S> is probably the size of the helmet, <S> 大 = big

    Senninbari Belt:

    The large kanji on the senninbari belt are:

    義勇 (giyū) = heroism
    奉公 (hōkō) = service (e.g. for the country)

    Except for the first two characters, the handwritten kanji is a girl's name:
    寺町美子 = Teramachi Yoshiko

    The two kanji before the girl's name were a date (sort of). Here is the full kanij (as handwritten);

    大正 寺町美子 = Taisho Era, Teramachi Yoshiko

    It said Taisho ("big justice"), which was an era in Japan between 1912 and 1926. This would mean the senninbari belonged to someone ever since that time.

    As for the "first class" and "water", I think they may be abbreviations, like:
    "First class (unit of) water (island division)" or something like this. In the West it's popular to abbreviate using only first letters, (U.S.A., G.B.) and in Japan they abbreviate using first kanji, i.e. "sun" -> "Japan" (full name "sun rising"), "center" -> China ("center land"), and so on.
    That is why I think "first class" and "water" are abbreviations, and possibly they would make more sense if someone can inform us about the exact structure of the Imperial Japanese Navy. "

    End of translation..............

    Current questions:

    I'm wondering if there is a Japanese WW2 roll of honor, like the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have for our side, as it might be the most likely way to track down details of the original owner of the helmet?

    Can anyone shed any light on the abbreviations "first class" and "water"?


    I have since found more kanji inside the harness. Some time I'll transcribe that onto paper and have them translated too. They are practically impossible to photograph.

    I've also ordered the war service records of both my grandfathers from the National Archive of Australia.

    Best regards to all, and I hope you find this interesting. I think its fascinating and I am delighted that so much has been established in such a short space of time.


    PS The character below says "Justice", part of "Big Justice" = Taisho period
    The name looks like 中谷興一 and 壽美子

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