Japanese Type 30 Tokyo Hourglass Bayonet - Outstanding
- Product Code: EWB-1600-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a fantastic example of a later war production Japanese Type 30 bayonet manufactured at the Hikari Seiki Seisakusho Arsenal. This was a subcontracted production facility that worked under the supervision of Kokura (Tokyo) Arsenal. The Tokyo arsenal started production of the Type 30 bayonet in 1897 and continued until 1923. Production was moved to Kokura in 1924, after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Production of bayonets continued at Kokura until 1937, at which point the production of bayonets was outsourced to Hikari Seiki and Matsushita Kinzouku, both of whom worked under arsenal supervision. Both of these contract makers marked their bayonets with their own maker mark, and the bayonets were additionally marked with Tokyo/Kokura “stacked cannonballs’ mark. The contractors produced bayonets from 1937 to 1943 and the Tokyo arsenal took over production again during 1944, continuing through the end of the war. The maker mark of Hikari Seiki was what collectors call an “hourglass’ mark. In fact, it represents a prism, as Hikari Seiki was maker of optics and related items. The hourglass shape of the mark has lead collectors to refer to bayonets from this maker as “Tokyo Hourglass’ bayonets. According to Japanese military author and researcher Sugawa, 450,000 bayonets were produced at Hikari Seiki during their production run from 1937 through 1943. Initially the quality of the bayonets produced at the Hikari Seiki factory was very fine, with high quality fullered blades, contoured bird’s head pommels, contoured wood grips that were secured by screws and hooked quillions. As the war progressed, manufacturing shortcuts started to take place and the overall quality of the bayonets started to decline. The blades became more roughly machined over time and eventually had unfullered blades. The pommels devolved to a flat bird’s head pommel and eventually were simplified to flat rectangular pommels. The wood grips changed their retention system from screws to rivets and eventually became simple slab grips. The cross guards became simple, straight guards without the hooked quillion. The bayonets produced at Hikari Seiki had their serial numbers and series characters stamped on their tangs, instead of the rear of the their pommels. Only early Tokyo arsenal and late war pole bayonets have serial numbers on the tangs “ all other makers serial numbered their bayonets on the pommel cap.
This is an about EXCELLENT condition example of the last series of bayonets produced at Hikari Seiki. The bayonet is part of the 95th series “ the final series produced at the arsenal, and is serial numbered 19896. According to Bayonets of Japan by Raymond C Labar, the 95th Series serial numbers from Hikari Seiki arsenal ranged from 19896 through 86510. If this is correct, that makes this the very first bayonet of the 9th Series produced at Hikari Seiki! This pattern of bayonet is depicted in Labar’s book as LB-103 Variant R on page 132. Labar classifies this pattern of bayonet as Scarce with a rarity factor of 5. Like all bayonets produced at Hikari Seiki, this one has a metal scabbard, with the later pattern tubular tip, instead of the earlier production ball tip. Hikari Seiki never used wooden scabbards, so any Hikari Seiki bayonet found with a wooden scabbard has had the scabbard replaced. The ricasso of the bayonet is stamped with the Hikari Seiki Seisakusho Arsenal “hourglass’ mark, as well as the Tokyo/Kokura stacked cannonballs mark. The bayonet has all of the typical features of these final production Hikari Seiki bayonets, with a flat, rectangular pommel, slap wood riveted grips, a straight cross guard and an unfullered blade. The unfullered blade shows the rough machining of later war production bayonets, but retains about 95%+ of its original blued finish. The marks are crisp and sharp throughout, and even the wooden grips are in very fine condition, with only minimal marring and minor handling marks present. The locking system in the bayonet grip is in perfect mechanical condition. The metal scabbard is in VERY FINE condition with no breaks or cracks. The scabbard body is practically dent free and retains most of its original blued finish, with only some light scuffing and minor finish loss. The scabbard is accompanied by an EXCELLENT condition rubberized canvas frog. The frog shows practically no use and would be nearly impossible to upgrade in terms of condition.
Overall this is simply an outstanding example of a very scarce, later war production bayonet from the Hikari Seiki Seisakusho Arsenal. In terms of condition it would be nearly impossible to upgrade. The production history of the arsenal and fact that this is a last series bayonet lets us know that the bayonet was produced during 1943, at the height of World War II. The scabbard is in wonderful condition as well, and the rubberized canvas frog is about excellent as well. The fact that this bayonet may be the first one produced of the final series at Hikari Seiki makes it even more collectible. For the serious collector of Japanese bayonets, this would be a fantastic addition to their collection and would also be a wonderful addition to a very high condition substitute standard (aka “Last Ditch”) Type 99 Rifle.SOLD