Rifle Arisaka Type 38 Manufacturer Jinsen Arsenal (Korea)
Cartridge 6.5 Japanese Overall Length 50.2″
Action Rotation Bolt Barrel Length 31.5″
Magazine 5 rounds staggered Weight 8 lbs


So this is one of those oddball finds that one just needs to share. Suzie spotted this at the back of a pawn shop and because neither of us recognized it the rifle had to come home.  Thanks to the mind-numbingly informed users of Gunboards we’re pretty sure we know its rough story.

Japan’s imperialist expansion at the turn of the century caused a dramatic need for military supplies, rifles being paramount.  After its success in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 Japan earned complete political influence over Korea.  Five years later it forcibly annexed the country under threat of outright invasion.  Now something of a province, Korea’s resources were put to Japanese military use.  Eventually Japanese manufacturing was setup in this new frontier, including the Heijo Ordnance Factory in then Jinsen (now Inchon).  By 1940 this was renamed simply the Jinsen Arsenal and had begun producing both Type 38 and Type 99 infantry rifles.

Our pictured rifle is an education rifle, though not for new recruits or the schools’ para-military training programs of the time.  It was made as a means to instruct the assemblers at the arsenal.  As such, it’s marked with an older character for “to teach”  or perhaps instruction would be a better term.  The dustcover warns that live ammunition is prohibited.  It’s apparent that our example has been shot so the warning is not absolute.  Rather, it’s there in case one of these instruction rifles wasn’t acceptable from the start.  Letting a batch of demonstration guns into the main army wasn’t a risk they were willing to take at that point, though later much much worse was rolling off the assembly line.  It’s doubtful these guns were ever proofed for safe firing.


Education rifles supposedly number around 100 or so produced (Certainly post below if you have one and what number to help with this figure!).  They are one of the more rare Arisaka variants available to collectors today and are certainly worth an extra glance.  The hand-applied markings are rather distinct between guns, so you can almost consider each personally signed.  Like regular production Type 38 rifles, these are elegant firearms with beautiful markings.

Unfortunately any other information we could provide at this time would be wild speculation.  If you know anything else please comment below. We’d love a good source of information on the history of Jinsen Arsenal if anyone has a book recommendation!


12 Responses to “Rifle: Arisaka Type 38 Jinsen Arsenal “Education” rifle.”

  1. PCShogun says:

    A very neat pawn shop find. great addition to any collection that includes Japanese militaria. Good article.

  2. Brian says:

    Great article, thanks for the information!

    I just picked up one of these, although at the time I knew nothing about it other then it was an arisaka type 38. It’s a Jinsen arsenel education rifle with the same “to instruct” symbol instead of the usual mum. It also has the jinsen arsenal stamp next to the production number, which is #245.

  3. John O'Hara says:

    I’ve got a GEW 88 with a similar gold number on the butt. I wonder it it was an “education” rifle as well.

  4. Randy Johnson says:

    I have #52. Is there any other information out there or anything else you need?

  5. Matt says:

    I have #180…it was found at a garage sale in the mid 1960’s

  6. Phil Pangborn says:

    I have an older Type-30 so-called “training rifle” in my collection. I believe it was pulled out of service after the adoption of the Type-38 rifle. It shows considerable combat usage (Russo-Japan War?). There is a rectangular block 2 inches long on the left buttstock with kanji characters translating to “First Tokyo Girl’s High School” stamped into the wood. (translations by Shin Namura) It also has white paint kanji (faded to ivory color) on the opposite side buttstock translating to “strike the Enemy with Fierce determination!! It came to me with a straw-colored fabric sling permanently sewn to the sling swivels. Wow..japan was by this time so desperate they were preparing HS girls to attack GI’s if there was to be an American invasion!

    • Cherndog says:

      Well, it should probably not surprise you that sometimes the USAAF and the US Navy would send low altitude fighter sweeps over Japanese airfields to kill any good fighter pilots the Japanese had left. After that, the American planes would shoot anything that moved, including school kids! A contact of mine who lives in Japan found uploaded gun camera footage from a P-51 Mustang. The pilot of that plane had shot up a school building. As revenge for indiscriminate fire-bombing and “mass murder of children by fighter plane,” Japanese civilians would mob lynch (whether by beating to death or stabbing to death with kitchen knives) any American pilot who bailed out over Japan.

  7. James says:

    I seem to have found a Type 44 one of these. It has the same warning on the dust cover.

  8. Drew says:

    I have number 5. I picked it up at a shop 5 years ago and it was so rusty you couldn’t read anything on it. It cleaned up awesome and looks fantastic.

  9. peterNaCl says:

    The Grammar Nazi would point out that the literal translation of “instructional” is probably better termed ‘production prototype’ …

    Also, strictly speaking, a rifle is not called a ‘gun’ …

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