Training Rifles and Equipment [Kyouren-Gu]
Tremendous amounts of training
weapons were made in Japan between the late 1920's and early
1940's by many private companies for various schools and for
the military. At that time military training was pursued with
the kind of enthusiasm with which modern Japanese study computers
or English. Several well-known companies such as Izawa, Kanayama,
Heiwa, (which ironically, means "peace"), Heirinndo, and others
manufactured these weapons. Later Izawa actually made M-99
service rifles. Nambu started also as a training rifle company
in the late 1920's but later made actual military weapons
for war. Unfortunately many training weapons do not bear manufacturer
markings so it is difficult to identify makers. A scaled-down
M-38 rifle was made by Nambu, as Mr. Chip Goddard, an authority
on Japanese military training items, found in an original
Nambu Catalog. The rifle had a small aluminum alloy bayonet.
More than twenty different styles of training rifles exist,
all with bayonet fittings.
Examination of the catalogs
of the makers of training weapons reveals that there were
helmets, tools, backpacks, and uniforms available for purchase.
Metal and ceramic dummy grenades were available. They had
pins and cords and manuals for training in their use. Ceramic
training grenades were made in two sizes.
Other important training
weapons were machine guns and mortars. There were several
major training machine gun types, and some used vertically
or horizontally mounted box magazines. They were designed
to use paper bulleted blanks exclusively; standard ball ammunition
and wood-bulleted blanks were dangerous and were prohibited
from use in these weapons. Only paper bulleted blanks were
sold through the catalogs. Only Kanayama in Toyohashi City
put name plates on their products.
Military training (Kyouren )
was required for two hours per week at every school from junior
high school up, and each school had an Army instructor. Each
school held two classes on each of the training weapons -
on rifles, bayonets, machine guns, hand grenades, and so on.
of the M-30 rifles which were used in the Russo - Japanese
War of 1904-1905 were exported to Russia later or used for
training purposes at schools. Some of them have Kanji Characters
stamped on the receivers, written "Kuho-jyu." Usually "Kuho"
means blank ammunition and many collectors believe these rifles
were for training. This is wrong. The characters use for "Kuho"
are different than those which means blank ammunition. Instead
they mean " to shoot to the sky." These guns probably were
used for parade. These guns have no rifling but are smoothbore.
The actual rifles which were sold to schools have rifling.
The M-30 rifle whose mum was erased smoothly might be an exported
Ammunition [Gisei-Dan] [Kyosaku-Dan]
blank ammunition had a paper bullet which was colored purple
or had a wood bullet. At the school training, "Kyouren," the
paper bullet blank was used.
Schools probably did not use the wood bullet blanks because
they were afraid of an accident.
The wood bullet blank was used in military training especially
in a machine-gun to get more gas pressure to operate the automatic
There are several kinds of gallery practice rounds; for example,
one has a 6.6mm round lead ball and the other has a flat nose
aluminum ball. The round balls were used in both smoothbores
and rifles. When a gallery round is shot in a regular rfiles
its power is almost that of a .22LR, and it is accurate. When
it is shot in a smoothbore gun, such as a M-30 Kuhou-jyu or
a trainer, it is a little less accurate and less powerful.
In the U.S. Japanese training rifles are thought to be for
blank ammunition only. But many Japanese training documents
or manuals mention that gallery practice was the essence of
training. There is no doubt that most of the Japanese training
rifles were smoothbore rifle and used round ball gallery practice
rounds. The 7/8 scaled rifle for boys used a special slug
type ball which created the spin by the grooves on the bullet
itself. This rifle and bullet were probably developed by Mr.
Nambu. The case is a little bit smaller than an actual 6.5mm
case which will not chamber in the 7/8 scale rifle.
The character on the receiver of the M-38 early type rifles,
"Bun," means the Agency of Education. The rifle was transferred
from the Army to the Agency for school training. The school
military training was under control of "Monbu-sho," which
was a government agency of education. Later in the war the
rifles which were transferred to the schools were gathered
again for the Army and delivered to the troops who were to
be sent to Burma, Okinawa, and so on.
were several large companies which made training equipment
in the late 1930's.
An examination of their catalogues reveals that almost small
arms was offered such as hand grenade.
Izawa Jyuhou Seizoujo is known as one of the makers of late
M-99 rifles. Their catalogue in 1939 shows many training items
and shows four different types of rifles with bayonets; two
types of light machine-guns with antiaircraft tripods; a portable
mortar, Tekidantou; cleaning kits; parts; ammunition; targets;
and other equipment like pouches, helmets and protectors.
There are three different kinds of training hand grenades-a
formal type, a tortoise shell type, and a practice use type.
The price of the formal one was 0.9 yen, the tortoise shell
type was 0.8 yen, and the practice grenade was 0.55 yen, and
the prices were rather high in comparison to other items.
For example the price of a " Shinai," a bamboo and leather
constructed practice sword for Kendo, was 0.9 yen. Another
interesting point is that the Izawa type training " Tekidantou,"
a portable mortar could shoot a dummy grenade using 6.5mm
blank ammunition. The price of the training "Tekidantou" was
The formal grenade was probably one with a booster portion.
The tortoise shell grenade was like the grenade for M-10,
but without a booster. The practice grenade was just an iron
block for throwing. There were training grenade with pins
and other without pins.
Most of the training hand grenades were made of cast iron
with pins or booster of brass, but there were two exceptions.
An M-97 type one was made of solid aluminum. This looked exactly
like a standard M-97 grenade. The Japanese used ceramics for
hand grenades later but for training purposes there were many
available. There were two different sizes of these grenade,
big and small. Both had practice pins. Probably they were
used throwing into the sand target area.
They also sold many Army
surplus items; for example a Murata rifle cost 8.5 yen. The
catalogues of Japanese training item manufactures give much
interesting information. Izawa was located in Kitaku, Osaka
and their factory was located at Ibaragi, Osaka. Kanayama,
was a major manufacturer of training equipment was located
in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture.
are many items shown in catalogues of the training items, and
some of them are occasionally seen in the marketplace. They
are smaller than those of the actual military ones, and instead
of genuine leather some used pseudo leather or cloth materials.
These materials were used with the belt and bayonet holder for
the 7/8 scaled rifle's bayonet and the ammunition pouch, in
helmet liners, and a belt for a leader's sword. Bayonets for
training were made mostly of cast iron or of some alloy, and
they are not sharp.
Many training items, including rifles, were thought that to
have been made in the late war period when materials were short,
and these training items are often confused with actual late
war weapons and gear. Size clarifies which is which. For example
a full length training belt is very short compared with a full
length soldier's belt.