Portable Weapons

Field's Equipment

Training Weapons

Communication Tools

Optical Weapons

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.


Many 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 one.

Training Ammunition [Gisei-Dan] [Kyosaku-Dan]

Usually 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 mechanism.
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.

Training Hand Grenades

There 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 18 yen.
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.

School Training Gear
There 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.