The purpose of this study is to provide a concise description of Japanese infantry weapons. The successful operations of United Nations forces on Guadalcanal, New Guinea, New Georgia, and the Aleutians have resulted in the capture of large amounts of Japanese materiel. Many types of this materiel are available, and wherever possible, the descriptions are based upon an examination of actual weapons. Furthermore, reports from the various theaters of war have been compared and evaluated in order to present in the simplest and most compact form all the pertinent information concerning the main Japanese infantry weapons. No attempt has been made to provide all the details that would be required for permanently servicing them, but enough are given to enable U. S. troops to identify, to deal with, and, if necessary, to operate them. As is well known, the industrialization of Japan took place in relatively recent times, and Japan's experience in the manufacture of modem weapons is comparatively brief. As a consequence, since the Japanese purchased European and American weapons and imitated them in their factories, the design of their weapons inevitably reflects their studies of foreign materiel. In some cases the imitation is meticulous and slavish, but it would be a mistake to conclude that the Japanese are incapable of manufacturing; first-class weapons or of creating original designs of their own.
All reports agree that the Japanese infantry encountered in recent combats has been well armed. While antitank weapons have so far been found only in small numbers, it is probable that they will be more numerous when engagements are fought on terrain that favors the employment of tanks. Much of the fighting thus far has been in jungle country, and the Japanese weapons have been well suited to the tactical requirements of such terrain. In this connection, the efficiency of the Model 89 (1929) 50-mm grenade discharger should be especially noted. In many respects it is a unique weapon and provides the Japanese with something between the hand grenade and the standard type of mortar; for jungle fighting, it has proved to be a most effective weapon.