Nambu World: One-Day Show Display, Calgary, October 20, 2007

    This display was my first attempt at creating a display that I can put up and take down quickly enough to participate in one-day shows, where there is only about two hours for set-up and less for take-down. The idea was to give an overview of the principal weapons used by the Japanese in WWII: rifles, pistols and bayonets. The flag and banner were intended to add visual interest and a human element. Here is a shot of the whole display. The tables at the show were six feet long, so I booked three. The display took up 15 feet and I used the other three feet for a small case of items for sale. The show had about 80 tables and was in a small community centre, hence the basketball backboard.

    The banner is a send-off banner (shussei nobori or osho nobori) used in parades to send soldiers off to do their service. This one is noteworthy for having the image of the Order of the Golden Kite, Japan's most prestigious military order, superimposed on the two crossed flags at the top. Just below that it has the motto jinchu hokoku, "loyalty and national service", and then two red characters, osho (conscription). The large characters in the centre indicate the flag was for a man named Mr. Muneo Oyama. The smaller print along the left edge indicates it was a gift from a Mr. Yazaki. I intended to position the stand for this banner on the floor as I was told that the corner area was vacant, but then someone was squeezed in there and I had to move it up onto the table. The bar, mounting cord and tassels on the banner are original, but the pole is just a piece of bamboo from the garden centre (this is what was most commonly used back then anyway) and the ball at the top was purchased at a hardware store and painted gold after the insertion of a dowel that fits in the pole. The panel beside that is my poster advertising my interest in acquiring Japanese pieces for my collection.

    The first panel on the left explains the main types of Japanese rifles, including the significance of the mum on the receiver and the terminology associated with it (intact, ground, etc.). The centre panel has the title of the display and a good luck flag (hinomaru yosegaki in Japanese). I have used the centre panel before. In fact, I cheated: it already had a title "Handguns of the Japanese Empire", so I just folded the "Hand" part underneath and re-centred the top line. Flags like this one were given to almost every Japanese soldier to wish him good luck. This one has the slogan jinchu hokoku (loyalty and national service), the same as the send-off banner at the far left of the display. The writing on the right side of the flag indicates it was for a Mr. Shinichi Kameuchi. The other writing is the signatures of well-wishers. To the right of that is a panel explaining the basics of Japanese bayonets.

    In this shot you can see the bayonet panel a bit better. The central panel in the shot explains the role of Lt. Gen. Kijiro Nambu, who designed or modified almost all the guns the Japanese used in WWII. The far right panel gives an overview of Japanese handguns.

    The rifle case includes three pieces: a Mukden arsenal Type 38, a mid-production Nagoya Type 99 with AA sight but no monopod and a late Nagoya Substitute Type 99 rifle.

    The carbine case has a Type 38 on top, a folding bayonet Type 44 (First Variation) used by the cavalry in the middle in the middle and an NCO sword at the bottom.

    The bayonet case included three Type 30 bayonets: an early style with hooked crossguard and ball-tipped metal scabbard; a mid-production style with straight crossguard, blued blade and tube-tip metal scabbard; and a late version with no fuller (blood groove) on the blade and a wooden scabbard. At the right are two specialty bayonets: a child's reduced size bayonet for use with a reduced size rifle in elementary schools, where boys did military drill from an early age, and a pole bayonet, which was not intended to be attached to a rifle, but rather lashed to a pole as a last-ditch weapon for defense of the homeland.

    The last case shows the main types of handguns used by the Japanese. Top row: Type 26 revolver, Papa Nambu and Baby Nambu. Bottom row: small trigger guard Type 14, large trigger guard Type 14 and Type 94.

    This display accomplished its purpose: I was able to get it moved in and put up in about 90 minutes, and taken down and packed up in about an hour. I may make a few refinements but the basic concept worked well.


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Last updated: November 18, 2007. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.