Ground Guns

Other Guns

Machine Gun Equipment

JAPANESE MACHINE GUNS [Kikan-Jyu]

Development
Before the development of indigenous Japanese machine gun designs Japan imported several Gatling guns from the U.S. in 1867, and these guns were used in her civil wars of 1868 abd 1872. It is said that Japanese marked Gatling guns were displayed once at the Yasukuni Shrine Museum, but they disappeared in 1945 and have never been seen since. The Japanese certainly imported some Maxim guns in the 1890's.

The machine gun was one of the most important technological development which decided the historical outcomes of the Twentieth Century. It needed well trained, systematic troops, advanced industry, and modern supply. Some nations could afford this new weapon, and some could not, and ownership of machine guns clearly separated the military power and potential of nations. Japan joined as the last member of the machine gun club.

The first modern war in which machine guns were utilized widely was the Russo- Japanese War of 1904-1905. This war became the model for the trench warfare and machine gun battle ten years later in WW I. Many European and American observers in the Russo - Japanese War predicted that machine guns would become a key future ground weapon.

Before the development of indigenous Japanese machine gun designs Japan imported several Gatling guns from the U.S. in 1867, and these guns were used in her civil wars of 1868 and 1872. It is said that Japanese marked Gatling guns were displayed once at the Yasukuni Shrine Museum, but they disappeared in 1945 and have never been seen since. The Japanese certainly imported some Maxim guns in the 1890's.

In the late Nineteenth Century several inventors competed in machine gun development, and Japan chose the design of the Hotchkiss in 1897 and made them in their arsenal as the Model HO in 6.5mm and with a thirty-round feed strip system. After that time Mr. Nambu added some of his own ideas to the Hotchkiss system until the early 1930's. The Hotchkiss system was superior for lightness and its air cooling feature. This system was suitable for Japanese operations in Manchuria.

The father of Japanese machine guns certainly was Mr. Kijiro Nambu, who developed most of the early machine guns, such as the Ho-shiki, the M-38, the M-3, the M-11, and the M-89 flexible aircraft machine gun; he also developed later models, such as the M-92 vehicle machine gun in 13.2mm, the M-92 heavy ground machine gun in 7.7mm, the M-96 and M-99 light machine guns, and the M-100 sub machine gun. Mr. Edwin F. Libby of The University of Maine at Augusta is an authority in the U.S. on this subject.