New to the site: Question War Rifle I Recieved.


Twin Digger
March 3, 2009, 10:16 AM
Hello everyone! I'm very new to this site. I'm MDer and I have been Digging most of my life. Just a short history on what I have been given.

My Father Passed on and before he did he gave me a Japanese Rifle. I have been doing some searching to indentify it and have narrowed it down to a 38 Long Rifle. Series #2 Kokura. But it looks like the Marking has some added etching's? and the stock is different from all of the 38's I have been viewing online?? Plus I have not seen a good shoulder strape yet like I have.

My father gave it to me with little information to pass on before he passed on. it was sudden so I have no try history except it was taken from a dead soldier killed in action. Now it could be WWII or the Korean War. But I'm left with a puzzle here so I am Asking for help in this.

Thank you:)

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March 3, 2009, 10:44 AM
You most likely have a Type 38 Arisaka. The Mum has been struck off, though not very well, as was required at the end of WW II. It was done as to not offend the emperor. Without seeing the entire stock it is tough to tell how different it is, though I would venture a guess that it may have been sporterized by someone else.

jim in Anchorage
March 3, 2009, 10:47 AM
If your talking about what I think you are,the symbol [I can't remember the name of it starts with a c,means flower or something] was intentionally marred when the gun was surrendered. This was done to show it no longer belonged to the emperor. Almost all Jap WWII rifles show this. It was therefore unlikely to be a battlefield pickup.

March 3, 2009, 11:31 AM
In 2007 I was talking to on of our last CBI veterans: Sammy. Sammy is a leading member of our gun club, and he was in the Navy as a communications guy. His job was to relay messages from the ground commanders to the invasion Command ship. He was sent second wave on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. If you know anything about the survival rate of the early waves, you know he was lucky to survive.

I mentioned to Sammy that I had seen a Japanese Paratrooper rifle, and that it had its Mum. Sammy said he had never seen a Japanese Paratrooper rifle, and he was glad never to have met a Japanese Paratrooper. He also said, something to the effect “how did that rifle get in without its crest being ground?”.

So I followed up. Sammy had brought back five Arisaka rifles, in his duffle bag. He verified, that these were picked up by him on the battlefield, next to piles of dead Japanese. So these were not “turn in rifles”, and they had the crests on them.

However, when Sammy came back through San Diego for discharge, directly off the troop ship, US military authorities lined everyone up, and went through their gear. Sammy said there was a pile of grenades, mortar shells, and mines, that had been confiscated . :what: For those who had rifles, they had to get into a line to have the crest ground off. When I asked Sammy why, he said “we had some sort of agreement with the Japanese”.

From all the sources I have read, ground crest meant turned in rifle, unground meant captured rifle. But there is a subset of captured rifles which were ground by US authorities after the Surrender of Japan

Twin Digger
March 3, 2009, 11:37 AM
here are More Picture's to review. Thanks for the information on the marking.

Twin Digger
March 3, 2009, 11:45 AM
Ok then so are you telling me this is a rifle that made it through when my dad got home and they tried to Etch the symbol off? and it was a poor attempt? Or was this brought in from an underground source? My dad was a very trust worthy guy with no Lie's or false information given on any subject... I even have some old picture's from his service days.. Keep the info coming. It's helping me research alot of things.

Twin Digger
March 3, 2009, 11:47 AM Let's try this. so you can see the stock!!

March 3, 2009, 11:51 AM
Well someone defaced the crest. Just who I don't know. The usual Mum was removed by a grinding wheel.

If this came out of Korea, maybe a Korean used a punch or chisel on the Mum.

Power tools were rare in 1950's Korea. Electricity was hard to find.

Twin Digger
March 3, 2009, 11:55 AM
can someone explain why the Picture is not showing???

jim in Anchorage
March 3, 2009, 11:59 AM
chrysanthemum. That is the name of the mum. And I have seen intact ones.

March 3, 2009, 12:17 PM
My uncle sent half a dozen Type 38 Arisaka rifles back from Okinawa. His unit was tasked with combing the battlefields and picking up any guns, ammo or ordinance they found. He gave me the last one he'd kept along with a bayonet and scabbard. The Mum has been ground off.

Twin Digger
March 3, 2009, 12:19 PM
Thanks Jim. So because of the etching's on the mum are so dominate and the mum is showing pretty good? would this make the rifle a WWII relic? or Korean War Relic? I have been getting mixed remarks both on here and in my research. I'm going to take it to a gun shop and get it registered and appraised because I do see what appears to be Blood stains on the sheath. Most of my research has not shown me the right stock on my gun compaired to what the serial number reflects. No ring or beyonet holder, and the stock is original.

Twin Digger
March 3, 2009, 12:21 PM
So when people are talking about grounded off. can someone show a picture of it? PLease thanks

March 3, 2009, 01:03 PM
Ground off mums are going to be a rough sort of scarred patch there on the receiver...there will be no hint of what was just know that's where the Imerial Chrysanthemum had been located. The Japanese troops removed them so as not to dishonor the Emperor and when McArthur took over and ran Japan, he ordered US troops to do same. McArthur left the Emperor (Hirohito) in power to aid in the war-time rebuilding of Japan. A dishonored Emperor was not in our best interest. Hirohito was neither a Hitler-like figure or even Mousselini...he was a figure-head at the whim of the military leadership and had no political power or input.

I have seen Arisaka's with mums intact. They are not exactly rare but they do add value to these collectables. It would be real shame to mess with a mum-intact Arisaka or even a nice one that had a good grind-off. A good grind-off job is kind of like an arsenal rebuild in terms of value...decreases it without destroying it. A mum intact is sort of like a serial numbers matching western gun in terms of valuing it.

Twin Digger
March 3, 2009, 01:26 PM
Thanks that was good advise. I do not plan on doing anything with the rifle except making a displace. I served in Japan in 1980-84 in the Air Force following my Dad's request. I have some family history thier... Thanks again

March 3, 2009, 01:41 PM
The emperor was more than just a figure head. According to the Meiji constitution he was the commander in chief and he personally signed off and was consulted on most of the important war resolutions. The imperial family was also up to it's neck in military affairs and many of the emperor's brothers, uncles and cousins were officers including generals, admirals and field marshals. He didn't really rule the country by himself, but he was a very influential figure with far more power than say the British monarch.

After the war we preferred that he be regarded as a figurehead since otherwise he should have been tried for war crimes and we had agreed to keep him on as emperor.

March 3, 2009, 01:47 PM
Some mums were ground off, others, like yours, were defaced with a few strokes of a file and others were defaced by stamping over them. I think they pretty much used whatever they had at hand to remove or destroy them and did it in a hurry.

March 3, 2009, 02:05 PM
Assuming it has not been modified, Hornady makes 6.5mm ammunition you can use to fire it.

MacArthur ordered the mums be ground off all captured rifles. He realized how important honor was to the Japanese, and realized treating them with respect was important to long-term peace. That's why he did it. You know what, though? He was right. Their culture could respect being beaten by a worthy opponent. They could not, however, accept debasement. It would have created major problems in the long term had he not understood this.

March 3, 2009, 06:46 PM
The emporer is to Japanese as the Pope is to Catholics or Ted Nugent is to rednecks..

March 3, 2009, 07:26 PM
Here is an example of a ground Mum on a Type 38 6.5mm Arisaka rifle that was picked up by my uncle from the Okinawa battlefield after the fighting was over. He was an Infantry Platoon Leader and they were tasked to police up arms, etc.

Kind of Blued
March 3, 2009, 08:12 PM
The "Question War" sounds like something from Monty Python... :)

March 3, 2009, 10:40 PM
More like Stoppard ;) (see page 17) :)


March 3, 2009, 11:17 PM
There were usually two chrysanthemums on the Jap rifles, one on the reciever or barrel as shown and another on the back of the bolt. Most of the rifles that came into the states after the war had the crests (mums) ground off or defaced, some did not. It would be interesting to see the mum on the back of the bolt on your rifle.

Dirty Dawg
March 4, 2009, 12:35 AM
Can't get the image to post either. Sorry.

March 4, 2009, 12:45 AM
Many of the vet bringbacks that were picked up during battles were subsequently ground. Also it's pretty common for the stocks to be cut so they could be fit in a GI Dufflebag. Some survived unscathed.

March 4, 2009, 12:46 AM
Also to answer the OP this would be a WWII rifle in most likelihood.

jim in Anchorage
March 4, 2009, 01:00 AM
I remember 30 years ago a friend of mine had a 38 he got from his father and had me shorten and refinish the stock. It had a untouched mum,and I recall a cartouche on the side of the stock. Don't remember if it looked like the mum or not. Guess who sanded it off?:banghead::banghead:

March 4, 2009, 01:28 AM
Jim from what I understand 30 years ago that wasn't the sin it is now.

I've heard from the older collectors and shooters I know that you could buy them for $5 (some say less) after the war they were so common.

jim in Anchorage
March 4, 2009, 01:35 AM
I know. But still it falls into the " I could have bought Microsoft at x dollars" category

March 4, 2009, 01:45 AM
Or, more recently, the "I could have sold AIG at x dollars" category. :evil:

Mike ;)

jim in Anchorage
March 4, 2009, 02:26 AM
You had to bring that up. I was blissfully thinking about rifles,now I am back on my 90 year old retirement. Oh well,maybe Wall-Mart will let me work in the gun department,rather than a greeter.

March 4, 2009, 02:47 AM
There were usually two chrysanthemums on the Jap rifles, one on the reciever or barrel as shown and another on the back of the bolt.

There is not a second Mum on the bolt of my rifle and the bolt has not been altered in any way. The rear of the safety is milled in a swirl pattern to aid in setting the safety on and off but there's no mistaking that for a Mum.

Twin Digger
March 4, 2009, 03:36 PM
I'll get a picture of the back of the bolt so you can see.. I also took some measurments of the rifle. it came in at 50" overall and the barrel was 31" to the receiver. 17" from the end to the wood stock. What is making me frustrated is the Notch's to hold the gun are gone, and I do see a seam where they were. What is that about? Also their is a small plug in place at the front of the wood stock?? That's what is getting me. Thanks for the help.

Twin Digger
March 4, 2009, 03:47 PM
Jim your information is helpfull. what do you think?

jim in Anchorage
March 4, 2009, 07:36 PM
I'm about out of info.Digger. I'm going off memory here-very old memory. I do highly recommend trying to find the Frank de Hass' book bolt Action rifles. It has a wealth of info on the Arisaka' and about any other bolt action you may encounter. I do know the 31" barrel is correct, tho.

jim in Anchorage
March 4, 2009, 09:35 PM
P.S. to above-I recall that rifle had a cleaning rod in the stock,below the barrel. Since the stock was shortened,the plug was for the cleaning rod hole.

Twin Digger
March 4, 2009, 11:26 PM
Thank you so much. IThat make's sense about the plug. I just can't beleive how it's in such good shape. My Dad said he actually took it from a dead soldier.. I'm never getting rid of it. But What's the value of something like this? Do I have to Register it? and if so will thier be any questions of ownership that might cause a problem?

jim in Anchorage
March 5, 2009, 12:18 AM
As far as I Know, you do not have to register a rifle in Minnesota. But the state is full of libatards,so you may wish to check.

April 30, 2009, 03:47 AM
Hi, I was surfing around looking for information on a Japanese arisaka type 38 that I inherited from my grandfather when I stumbled upon this thread. He got it from a dead soldier in WWII as well.

I found this page:

It has been a wealth of information. On the lower lefthand side of the chamber, on the outside, there should be a serial number. With that number and the other symbols on your rifle, you should be able to pin down approximately when it was made, and which arsenal/subcontractor made it.

Below is a brief summary of what I have gathered about this rifle:

A chrysanthemum with 16 petals (the symbol of the Japanese Emperor) was usually stamped on the receiver of rifles manufactured for the Imperial Japanese Army, indicating that the rifle belonged to the Emperor. The chrysanthemum was at least partially ground off of all rifles which were surrendered after the war, apparently as a face-saving gesture. Rifles captured in the field, however, normally have the chrysanthemum symbol intact.

The Arisaka Type 38 is chambered for 6.5mm semi-rimmed case, which is no longer available. According to the ballistics table, the Type 38 fires a 145 grain bullet at 2400 fps...more than enough to kill a man, deer, bear, etc.

6.5 Japanese Arisaka
The Japanese army adopted this chambering in 1897 but the rifle in which it was originally chambered was proven unsafe. That gun was replaced in 1905 with the Model 38 Arisaka, which has proven to be one of the strongest guns ever adopted by any government for military use.

The European designation, 6.5x50R, indicates that this is a (semi) rimmed case and that it is also the shortest of the many 6.5mm military chamberings, all dating from the end of the 19th century. Limited powder capacity results in somewhat limited ballistic potential for this chambering. However, since the action of the Arisaka is so strong, this case can be loaded to its full potential. This allows this diminutive case to produce surprising ballistics and it is a very good choice for use on lesser to medium-sized game animals. Currently, Norma is the sole producer of cases for this chambering.


My Rifle:
Type 38 Japanese Arisaka Calvary Carbine Rifle of World War II
Taken in the field

Manufactured by Nagoya Arsenal - ca.1933-ca.1940
Series 26 - 82,873 of 99,999


You should probably find a local shop that that can appraise this for you and give you some advise on care.

April 30, 2009, 03:56 AM
btw, I put mine back into working condition. I'm getting some ammo for it, But its $60 per 20 pack locally and $40 per 20 online. that's a bit expensive, so im waiting a bit... From what I have been able to find out online, these rifles, depending on condition, and the chrysanthemum, can go for anywhere from $200 to $800+, but you will want to get yours independently appraised to know for sure. The picture of your rifle looks like yours has had the wood parts Shellaced or something. I know mine is unaltered sense its capture, and it has no Shellac on it. I am not sure how that effects anything though.

June 7, 2009, 08:53 AM
On your Arisaka type 38 rifle. The verticle symbols top to bottom are three, eight and type. The Mon or Imperial Chrysanthemum has been overstruck with an elongated "M" symbol signifying Military Reserves. This was not crudly done with whatever was available in the field like some rifles or by someone with a hand grinder (like most ) but with a factory stamp. Rifles with post war Mon defacement have the Chrysanthemum totally ground off. Going off on a tangent here I just saw 2 Arisaka type 99 rifles at a gun show. One had US 30 CAL stamped on the Left side and the other US 30.06. I bought the one with US 30 CAL because the Mon was untouched. These were 7.7mm Arisaka type 99's converted to 30.06 by the US Army for Korean troops in 1950. Many Korean troops had been Japanese conscripts and were familiar with Arisaka rifles. Evidently 133,000 Arisakas were converted to 30.06. Solves the ammo problem.

June 7, 2009, 09:26 AM
One other note. After the War all of the rifles used by all of the combatants were tested until they failed. Of all WWII rifles the Arisaka type 38 had the strongest reciever; Second place went to the type 99. This testing included all WWII rifles including American. Late War Arisaka's were not as well made and "last Ditch" models don't come close and production methods are suspect. Your rifle has some history to it; Going into the Army and then being retired to the reserves. I'll bet the production number on the left side of the reciever is low.

June 7, 2009, 09:51 AM
Here is an example of a ground Mum on a Type 38 6.5mm Arisaka rifle that was picked up by my uncle from the Okinawa battlefield after the fighting was over. He was an Infantry Platoon Leader and they were tasked to police up arms, etc.
That's interesting that your uncle picked up an Arisaka off a battlefield with a GROUND OFF mum. Sounds like someone's been telling war stories. :rolleyes:

June 7, 2009, 11:37 AM
I read through all of the replys posted on this and some state that the Chrysanthemum Mon was ground off as troops returned here in the States and their captured prizes were inspected.

June 7, 2009, 12:00 PM
I have a vet bringback Type 99 (in excellent condition) on layaway and no one got to the mum as it is intact. I have seen a few with mums intact but far, far more with them ground. Mine will not be restored as it need not be in any way.

June 7, 2009, 01:57 PM
the Chrysanthemum Mon was ground off as troops returned here in the States and their captured prizes were inspected
That's a lie perpetuated by shady dealers trying to pass off the numerous ground mum guns as true capture/bringbacks and not a milsurp export. The US didn't grind mums and they had no reason to. Ground mums were ordered by the Japanese military postwar en masse on guns still in their posession. The idea of a ground off mum on a battlefield pickup/capture is rediculous. The US military didn't give a hoot about the emperor's reputation but the defeated japanese military sure as hell did.

BTW, there are fake mums out there too engraved over the grinding. Careful inspection will reveal this.

June 8, 2009, 09:21 AM
This is the first time I've heard claims that it was the US who ground off the mums. That makes no sense to me. I can understand the Russians peening swastikas, but this thing with the mums seems fabricated.

I've also heard some say that in the European Theater when vets brought back K98 on board the ship they had to remove the bolts and put them in a pile, which is offered to explain mismtached bolts. Anyone know if that one is accurate?

June 8, 2009, 10:12 AM
That's a lie perpetuated by shady dealers trying to pass off the numerous ground mum guns as true capture/bringbacks and not a milsurp export. The US didn't grind mums and they had no reason to.

Like I said in post #4, my gun club has a living veteran of the Okinawa and Iwo Invasions.

Now I am not going to call Sammi a liar, but his experience was his experience, and US authorities ground the crests off his Japanese rifles on US soil.

This obviously did not happen to everyone, I assume the agreement was to grind off crests after the surrender, not before.

By the way, I have talked to some EOD guys. The Japanese had some anti tank mines that look like cool brass flasks. If you have one, don't unscrew the screw cap at the top. It is the timer/detonator. The EOD guy told me, that even after exposure to a salt air environment for more than fifty years, they have never had known one that would not function the main charge.

June 8, 2009, 10:52 AM
Yeah, I wouldn't call Sammi a liar either. If he was there and saw it, then he saw it.

Just in addition to that, if it was important enough for the US to agree with Japan to grind the mums I would imagine that to be consistent with the Japanese also grinding the mums themselves. So I guess that a ground mum doesn't preclude it being a vet bringback, and I guess some slipped through with the mum intact.

June 8, 2009, 05:23 PM
I heard the same story from a veteran who had been a P.O.W. of the Japanese and had tried to bring back a rifle taken from one of the guards.

Japanese guns taken from stores, the field, or brought into the U.S. after the surrender of Japan or given to allies must have the mum removed. Guns that were already in the U.S. were exempt.

June 10, 2009, 11:39 AM
When I went looking for an Arisaka I found 7 of them pretty quickly. Of the 7, 2 had perfect mum's and one had a mum with a few minor scratches on it; the other 4 mum's were totally ground off. The one I bought had an intact mum and the rifle had been converted to 30.06 for use in the Korean war and had US 30 CAL stamped on the side. A lot of grinding was done by the military to this rifle, including a 1/4" notch in the top of the reciever to accept the 30.06 four years after WWII and no one bothered to grind off the mum. By that time either no one cared or it was " the Captain want's these hundred cases of Arisaka's converted by next Friday! The mum? Screw the mum and get these reamed out!"

June 10, 2009, 11:58 AM
From what I understand, a number of the Korean Arisakas were taken from the Japanese troops and armories that were already in Korea. The Republic of Korea didn't particularly care about the sensitivities of the Japanese and their emperor, having suffered under the Japanese occupation. Thus, the face-saving gesture of removing the emperor's seal was somehow neglected.

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