Portable Weapons

Field's Equipment

Training Weapons

Communication Tools

Optical Weapons

Optical Weapons [Kougaku-Heiki]

One good example of an optical weapon was the M-93 4-power squad leader's scope. It did not use a prism, but it was compact and light. When it was decided to equip every squad leader with a field scope cost became a great problem. The development of the M-93 answered the challenge to reduce the cost. Nikko(Nikon) worked hard on this project and finally was able to reduce the cost of the M-93 scope to less than that of making a rifle. A hard canvas carrying case was adopted as a standard.

The M-89 officer's glass

It was adopted and was popular. The M-93 trench periscope also was popular and it was issued in a metal covered long wood box. The M-89's production totalled about 200,000 and the production of the M-93 reached several hundred thousand.

It is interesting that of those manufacturers-major ones like Nikko,Toko and other smaller size ones-about ten of them would be very strong companies after WW II in the field of optical products and later computer-related products.

The Manufacture of Optical Weapons
It was a problem in every year from the mid-1930's on and, as stated in the History of the Japanese Army Arsenal, in 1940 optical weapons were " the most inadequately prepared capability." In 1940 the production of optical sights for the M-97 sniper rifle was only 1,868, or 31% of the targeted 6,000 units; of the targeted 4,500 M-93 binoculars only 3229, or 71.8%, were produced. As a countermeasure to underproduction, operations were accelerated at the government factory facility which was a division of the First Tokyo Arsenal in Omiya, Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo, and planning and production of optical weapons at private companies was promoted under long-term goals. To resolve under production many private companies were mobilized, and actually more than ten companies were manufacturing and providing the needed products. Without the supply from these companies a sufficient supply of optical weapons could not be ensured during WWII even with this total mobilization and the large production efforts.
Optical weapons manufacture was supervised by Tokyo First Arsenal in Omiya. Omiya made about 30% of the optics by themselves. Two major optics manufacturing companies were Nikko and Toko, and these companies made a little less than 46% of the optics total in 1942. Following is the identification of the major optics manufacturers and their markings.

New Findings