Showa 19.6 Kokubunji Type 14 Photos


            This was the first gun I bought in the USA. A gentleman who had visited my website contacted me and asked if I would be interested in buying it and a rubberized canvas holster, spare mag and cleaning rod (the rod was actually for a Type 94 pistol). He was selling it on behalf of a veteran friend. Apparently the friend was in the US signal corps and arrived in Japan during the early days of the Occupation. He saw a Japanese police officer wearing the gun and holster and, since the Japanese police were not authorized to be armed at that time, he confiscated it on the spot. I started the transaction in late June, 2004, mailed the money July 4 and by the time the paperwork was done and I went down to the border to pick it up, it was October 6, 2004. It was worth the wait.       

The gun itself is interesting from a number of perspectives. It is a very late product of Chuo Kogyo’s Kokubunji factory. The date is Showa 19.6 (June, 1944), and the factory closed in August, 1944. The Nagoya Arsenal Toriimatsu factory was producing guns at the same time and they kept going when Kokubunji stopped. This is a First Series Kokubunji pistol and therefore has the longest set of markings in front of the serial number of any Japanese pistol (see below). There are two parallel lines down each side of the frame (just under the serial number on the right side). These are the result of a damaged machine tool being used to machine the flats on the frame. The trigger and safety lever are still nicely strawed. Pistols made at the Toriimatsu factory at the same time blued these parts. It also has the older style grooved cocking knob, which was used by Kokubunji even after Toriimatsu went to the simpler knurled type. The grips are the 17-groove type used exclusively by the Kokubunji factory (until war’s end when surplus stocks of parts were recycled into last-ditch weapons at Toriimatsu).


            You can see the same kind of machining problem on the right side. Note how nice the grips are. The area around the magazine latch button is usually the firsts to show signs of wear but is really nice on this one. This gun saw little, if any, use and was probably only carried for a short time.


            Ths shot of the right rear quarter shows that machining problem more clearly. It also shows another interesting feature: Kokubunji First Series pistols were the only Type 14s with three symbols in frornt of the serial number. The first one on the far left is the Nagoya Arsenal mark; Nagoya Arsenal supervised the production of the Kokubunji factory. The second symbol, the Nam in “Nambu”, is the symbol of the Nambu Rifle Mfg. Company, which continued to be used by the successor company, Chuo Kogyo, which was the company that actually made this gun. The last mark, the one that looks like an upside-down “y” in a circle, is the katakana symbol i, pronounced “ee”. This symbol indicates the First Series (i.e. the first series of 99,999 after they made 99,999 without series marks).


            Here’s a close-up of the date, 19.6, or June, 1944. Note that the character Sho (short for Showa, the name of Emperor Hirohito’s reign) is double struck. Below the 6 is the characer To as in Tokyo. This is an inspection mark used by Chuo Kogyo,


Here you can see the poor machining on the left side, too.


This is the left side of the rear frame by the sight. Again, not much polishing done here.


This is the front sight. Note that you can see daylight between the sight and the base both front and rear.


            Like my 20.5 Toriimatsu, this is a gun that is in outstanding condition but shows a decline in cosmetic standards as non-essential machining was done away with. It is precisely because the condition is so good that we can study these factors so clearly.


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Last updated: October 24, 2004. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.