Nambu World: Showa 16.1 Type 94

            I got this Type 94 along with T26 serial #5070 from a collector in Quebec from whom I had bought other guns in the past. Although it has some pitting, mechanically it seems to be about the tightest one I have. If you shake it, it does not make a sound; many Type 94s rattle a bit because the wedge-type locking block is loose, either because of wear or poor manufacturing in the first place.


            The left side shows more pitting, as is almost always the case with Japanese pistols, since this was the side worn next to the body and hence most likely to be exposed to sweat and corrosion. The long dog-legged bar that extends from a rounded end above the trigger to almost the back of the pistol is the sear bar. Pressing on the front tip with the safety off can cause the gun to fire without touching the trigger.


            The right side has the date and manufacturer’s marks. The date 16.1 means the first month of the sixteenth year of Emperor Hirohito’s reign, i.e. January, 1941. The character in front of that number is Sho, short for Showa, the name of Hirohito’s reign. Below that are two characters. The first one is a stylized Nan. By itself it means south, but here it is used as the logo of the manufacturing firm Chuo Kogyo, a successor to the Nambu Rifle Manufacturing Company, which was founded by famed Japanese small arms designer Lt. General Kijiro Nambu when he retired. All Type 14s were made by Nambu/Chuo Kogyo. The second one is the symbol of the Nagoya Arsenal, under whose supervision Chuo Kogyo operated. It looks like a top-heavy 8 in a circle. The horn-like shapes formed along the left and right edges of the circle are supposed to represent the shachi, mythical dolphins that adorn the roof of Nagoya castle, the city’s most famous landmark. On later guns the order of these symbols is reversed.


The serial number is on the right side above the trigger guard.


            These markings above the trigger on the left side are the model designation. From right to left they read kyu-yon-shiki, or Type 94. This designation comes from the year the gun was approved, 1934, which was 2594 by the Japanese calendar, which begins in 660 BC, the date the semi-mythical first emperor of Japan, Jimmu, ascended to the throne.


            At the rear of the gun the little lever is the safety. It is in the fire position, pointing to a Japanese character that means literally “fire”. The vertical position is safe, and points to a character that means “peace”, and is the first character in the Japanese term for safety.


Here is a close-up that shows the worst area of pitting. Fortunately the inside of the gun is immaculate and shows almost no wear.


            The magazine number matches the last three digits of the gun’s serial number, as it should. The inspection mark below the first 9 is the character To as in Tokyo. Although Chuo Kogyo’s factory was under Nagoya Arsenal supervision, it was located in a suburb just west of Tokyo and so Tokyo arsenal personnel actually carried out the inspections.


            The crossbolt, the oval area with the horizontal striations, is what holds the slide and bolt together. This is the first one I have seen with these striations.



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Last updated: November 11, 2006. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.