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Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30

Article about: Hi Guys, I've had this bayonet for 10-15 years. I believe it's a Koishikawa Arsenal Tokyo type 30. I just recently got my second one that's a Hikari Seiki Seisaku-jo. They are both pre-42, b

  1. #1
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    Default Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30

    Hi Guys,

    I've had this bayonet for 10-15 years.
    I believe it's a Koishikawa Arsenal Tokyo type 30.
    I just recently got my second one that's a Hikari Seiki Seisaku-jo.
    They are both pre-42, but I would like to pin down a year if at all possible?
    Does the inspection stamp under the serial number always appear?
    Are there any subtle differences in the way they are made that gives away the year, or it's purely based on he serial number?
    I believe there are 3 date ranges for the Koishikawa Arsenal types.
    1898-1923
    1923-1935
    1935-1945
    Because it has the hooked quillion and ball end on the scabbard I think it's production range is between 1935-1942.
    However, I'm interested in seeing what a 1923-1935 looks like if someone has one?
    Even a 1898-1923 wold be amazing to see.

    Thanks in advance for an information or help with this.

    Cheers,

    Danger
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30   Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30  

    Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30   Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30  

    Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30   Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30  

    Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30   Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30  


  2. #2

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    Nice bayonet. Has the been there and done that look.
    John

  3. #3
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    Looks like an LB-76. I cannot make out a series character. I have not seen any references that can pin down a date range with any accuracy.

  4. #4

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    Hi Danger, have a bit of time so will attempt to say what I have learned about dating Type 30 bayonets.

    Firstly, you probably already know that there is a comprehensive work by Raymond Labar called 'Bayonets of Japan'. I got mine directly from him a few years ago. Postage from the US to the UK is expensive, and buying directly from the author turned out to be the most economical route. However, I see that his web site has now gone, so not sure what that means. Does anyone have any information on Raymond?

    Bobby's reference above to LB-76 is from the book, as Raymond catalogued with pictures all the variants.

    It is straightforward to get a reasonable idea of when a Type 30 was produced. Using data from Raymond's book we see that in total around 8.4 million Type 30's were produced. 3.1 million were produced between 1897 and 1923, the year that the Great Kanto earthquake struck and devastated Tokyo and the Koishikawa arsenal. There was very limited production then until 1937, when the war with China got underway, and production surged through 1938 to 1945.

    Up to the early/mid 1930's the bayonets (Koishikawa, then Kokura) had sequential serial numbers, 3156392 being observed. These bayonets are essentially all the same design, LB-75 in Labar's book. With the requirement to hugely increase production, this numbering system changed, initially into 100,000 blocks preceded by a katakana symbol in a circle, and then to 100,000 blocks preceded by 2 hiragana symbols. During this production surge (1938 onwards) the increase in manufacturing facilities occurred, along with all the variations that essentially simplified production.

    So, serial number is key to an approximate date:
    up to 3100000 ish is before 1923 (with Tokyo proofs)
    from then to 3156xxx 1923 to 1937 (with Kokura proofs - I could be wrong here)
    after that knowledge of katakana series order will allow dating to 1938 to 1941 ish (I'm guessing here)
    ditto hiragana for around 1942 to 1945

    Guess it could be possible date more exactly with extensive research.

    In my post on the Type 32 sword, I show an early Type 30 from around 1907. I base my dating (guess) here on the data that can be gleaned from the supply of rifles and bayonets to Britain by Japan in 1914 and 1915 to supplement supplies as Britain ramped up its army in the early days of WW1. Before WW1 (and until 1915) British unit armourers often stamped weapons with regimental markings and rack numbers. The highest bayonet production serial number I have seen on a British unit marked Type 30 bayonet is 1478408, so the latest that could have been made was 1915.

    Type 32 Cavalry Sword

    Regarding the bayonet you pictured, is that a kana symbol before the 2?

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,

    Tony

  5. #5
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    Later variations have the hooked guard arsenal cut , modified to a straight guard and blued blade

  6. #6
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    Hi Tony,

    Thank you for the wealth of information.
    I will have another look to see if there is a kana symbol before the 2.

    Cheers,

    Danger

  7. #7

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    Hi Danger,

    Have just had a look through my bayonets and Labar to investigate your bayonet further.

    As well as studying the pommel end, are there any other marks at all - for example on the back of the crosspiece under the muzzle ring? And what is going on above the 0 and 5?

    If there is no sign of any kana marking to the left of the 2, then I am beginning to wonder if that is the remains of a 4 above the 0, meaning that this is an older bayonet which has had the original serial number erased and been renumbered 2053 for issue to some kind of training establishment (with the blade being blued and maybe replacement grips put on).

    Be interested to hear what you can see.

    Cheers,

    Tony

  8. #8
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    The bayonet has been refurbished at least once as it has a Nagoya Arsenal 名 final inspection mark below the serial number.

  9. #9
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    Hi Tony,

    I tried to take better photos in the sun then under a light. Best result I got is from rotating it in a half light.
    Looks like the tail of a 7 next to the 2. Hard to tell if it's kana?
    It did used to have another set of numbers. Looks like 75X5XX4 or 75X6XX1.
    There was a 5 or 6 above the 0 and 5.
    There's something caked on the crosspiece. Maybe rust through the paint or Bluing.
    I cleaned it off and there is a dimple there in the centre.

    Thanks

    Danger

  10. #10
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    Hi Tony,

    Looks like there are 2 stamps there.
    I managed to get a semi decent photos.

    Thanks,

    Danger
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30   Koishikawa Arsenal Type 30  


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