This is a very rare example of a late WWII Japanese Type 5 semi-automatic rifle. In July of 1932, an order was given to the Nippon Special Steel Company and the Tokyo Gas and Electric company to submit designs for a Japan's semi-automatic rifle project. At that time two were submitted; one based on the British Pedersen design submitted by the Nippon Special Steel company and the other based on the Czech ZH-29 semi-auto rifle, submitted by the Tokyo Gas and Electric Company (TGE). Shortly after completing the military test, Japan invaded Mainland China in 1935/36, and all testing was halted. Later in 1943/44 Japan decided to resurrect the search for a successful semi-automatic rifle, however they chose to just copy the US M1 Garand design, only chambered in the Japanese 7.7 mm cartridge. This example is one of the Japanese copied U.S. M1 Garand type rifles produced at the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal. It is estimated that approximately 200 sets of parts were actually manufactured, with only 125 rifles actually assembled due to the end of WWII, and very few examples actually returning back to the U.S. These rifles were not serial numbered as is this case, instead many of them were stamped with assembly numbers on various internal parts, so that they were matched up/assembled correctly. This rifle is all original and certainly has an all matching original blackened finish on all the parts. The bolt, operating rod and gas cylinder are all direct copies of the original U.S. M1 Rifle with a slightly different configuration of receiver, close but not exact. The rear bridge of the receiver has a standard Japanese tangent rear sight that is graduated from 100-1200 meters, and the front sight is an inverted "v" with protective wing on the sides; both almost identical to the sights on the Japanese Type 99 rifles. The wood components are also similar in configuration to the M1 Garand in that it includes two handguards and a short M1 Garand type stock with finger grooves on the sides. It is also fitted with side mounted (left side) sling swivels, same as on the Type 99, and a cupped sheet metal buttplate.
Extremely fine with 95% of the original Japanese arsenal blackened finish overall with light wear on the exposed receiver from hand cycling the action and handling. The stock and handguards are all in fine condition with their original wartime finish but showing numerous handling marks and heavier pressure dents all along the sides. Certainly a very rare and highly desirable Japanese copy of the M1 Garand rifle.
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