Monday, August 25, 2014

Dad's Japanese Bayonet

I recently “discovered” a Japanese type 30 bayonet my father brought home from WWII.  It wasn’t so much discovered as re-discovered.  I knew I had it, but it was tucked away as I didn’t have much interest in bayonets.

However, I admit to now experiencing a certain electric spark that seems to jump the almost 70 years between my father holding it and me holding it in my garage.  He was stationed in Japan after the war for a short time.  I believe he was transporting a load of Japanese service weapons to a destroyer, from which they would be pitched overboard into deep water.  He asked if he could take one and I’m sure the answer was something like “it’s no skin off my nose, buddy…”

What seems interesting to me now is the armory markings.  I recently helped a friend with his bayonets so I thought I’d do a little research myself.  


Arsenal marks-Japanese Bayonet
Stacked cannon balls and a prism.  Who would have guessed?



It’s a type 30 Japanese bayonet with a sharpened, polished blade.  I checked several sources and frankly, the internet can be a very misleading place.  The best I can figure is the bayonet is from the Hikari Seiki Seisakusho arsenal.  I suspect it was, like so many wartime products, made by some company under the supervision of the arsenal.  (When I started at Goodyear, I was told by some of the old-timers that Goodyear also made ammunition during WWII as well as aircraft.)

The overlapping spheres, which remind me of a flower are the top down view of stacked cannonballs.  It’s probably better to go into battle with cannonballs on your weapons.  The other is described as the Tokyo hourglass.  I did a little more research which indicated it’s actually a prism.  Maybe.  I see it as light rays passing through a lens showing the curvature of field.  Maybe that week of crystal optics is still on my mind.

In any case, the question is to sell or keep?  I’m going to keep it, at least for a while longer.  It’s a historical connection to my father from before I was born.  I can’t help wonder about the Japanese soldier it was issued to as well.  Did he live to see Japan surrender?  Did he live to see Japan become a manufacturing powerhouse?

In any case, I have a new appreciation of the re-enactors and collectors assembling a complete, original and authentic military kit.

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