Written by BowserforSSBU - 4/22/20 - Feel free to polish/edit as needed
The somewhat renowned Arisaka (有坂銃) is a Japanese infantry rifle of a modified Mauser bolt-action design, with a bit of oriental weeaboo spice and chrome-lining thrown in for good measure. And, like any good Mauser, one or more of these weapons has likely been hacked to shit ("sporterized") by your great-grandfather or is otherwise quietly rotting away in their attic. Either way, this old warhorse from the Land of the Rising Sun is still a worthwhile addition to the collection of military surplus enthusiasts and Golden Kamuy fangirls.
The first physically produced 'Arisaka' pattern was designed by Colonel Arisaka Nariakira as the Type 30 in 1897, chambered for the 6.5x50 rimmed cartridge, in order to replace said obsolete single-shot Murata rifle. Like the Russians with the Moist-Nugget, the Japs realized pretty damn quick that by the mid-1890s, that shit wasn't anywhere near cutting it for frontline combat, thus creating a new incentive for a domestically-designed and produced repeating rifle. In its service lifespan, Arisakas were used by the Empire of Japan from 1897 until the end of World War 2, with some other East Asian armed forces also taking in lent/captured rifles.
A notable, very common trend among Arisakas in the military surplus market (especially captured WW2 Type 99's) are defaced, or 'ground' chrysanthemum markings on the face of the receiver. This was deliberately done by surrendering Japanese infantrymen in order to preserve the dignity of the imperial Emperor Hirohito, as in Japanese culture, the flower symbol of the emperor being associated with surrender was a highly dishonorable offense. Another common trend (mostly in the early 6.5 caliber rifles) is the detachable dust-cover being missing, done ad-hoc in the field by most infantryman since its bulky and noisy presence caused more trouble than it did help in combat situations.
While certainly not short-lived, the Arisaka family tree consists of a lot less intricate developments/variants than, say, Mosin-Nagants, and especially not the same myriad as actual Mausers. Here's a few of the most important:
Type 30 Edit
The very first of the Arisaka series, chambered in 6.5x50mmR. ~554,000 built.
- Type 30 Carbine - same as the base Type 30, though about 300mm shorter. ~45,000 built in 6.5 Jap cal.
- Type 35 Navy rifle - the aforementioned design overhaul by Kijiro Nambu, who added a tangent (adjustable) rear sight assembly, larger bolt head, rearranged cocking knob to protect shooters from the aftermath of a possible blown primer, etc.
- Type 38 - also developed by Nambu, chambered in a slightly altered caliber '6.5x50mmSR Type 38', though the older 6.5mmR can still be used. Designed and continuously produced from 1905-1942 even when the Type 99 rifle was in simultaneous use, meant to be its replacement. An estimated 3.4 million were produced.
- Type 38 Carbine - again, a simple 300mm shortening of the base Type 38. Fielded mostly by support personnel.
- Type 44 - another carbine-length development intended for use in cavalry units, though ended up in backline/support positions. Major differences include a folding spike bayonet and 2-piece cleaning rod assembly housed within the buttstock.
- Type 97 Sniper Rifle - a modified Type 38 concept with a 2.5x factory-zeroed scope and downward-bent bolt, which resembles the arrangement of modified PU Mosin-Nagant snipers' bent bolts. Normally used specialty sniper-grade 6.5x50mmSR ammo to reduce recoil and noise report, which was also used in Type 11 machine guns.
- Type I "Carcano-Arisaka" - a bizarre hybrid between the Italian Carcano and Type 30(?) built under contract from the Imperial Japanese Navy. As you might imagine, it hosts a Carcano-like bolt action system and Arisaka-Mauser fixed box magazine, as well as some other miscellaneous hybridization. While uncommon at only 80,000 rifles made (40,000 by Beretta and 40,000 by other sources), this particular variant isn't particularly popular on the American military surplus market.
Type 99 Edit
The second and final main addition to the Arisaka line, which would (technically) succeed the Type 30/38 as the main issue rifle in Imperial Japanese military service from its designing in 1939 until the final dissolving of the empire in 1945.
- Type 99 - a larger, more powerful Arisaka chambered in its own new 7.7x58 Japanese cartridge, comparable to 30-06 in dimensions and ballistics. Equipped with "winged" Anti-Aircraft aperture sights of questionable usefulness and chrome-lined barrels/actions built to better withstand the humid environments in which they served. Usually graded by 3 categories of 'quality': Initial, Intermediate, and Last-ditch. 2.5 million were manufactured altogether.
- Last-Ditch - informal slang on the military surplus market for Type 99 rifles produced in the final months of World War 2, where quality control had to be sacrificed in order to arm as many troops as quickly as possible. Though 'last-ditch' Axis weapons like Kar98s and Carcano rifles also exist, the Arisakas are by far the most shittily-put together in general.
- Type 99 Sniper Rifle - you get the picture, they're scoped Type 99s. Examples with 2.5x and 4x powered scopes were made, with 10,000 produced in total.
- TERA Folding Paratrooper Carbines - now this is where shit gets more interesting, and collectible. A very small series of 19,000 takedown rifles that are able to be broken down into 2 pieces (the bolt/action assembly and handguard, and buttstock/trigger assembly) for compact carry in airplanes and other vehicles. This weapon had to essentially become a stand-in for the ill-fated Type 100 submachine-gun, which was unable to be effectively produced or used during WW2.
The Arisaka and /k/ Edit
As you might be able to tell, the Arisaka's Japanese origin more than often sparks the ironic (or un-ironic) attention of closet Weeaboos and anime-watchers of /k/. This unfortunately is the case with most Imperial small arms like the Type 14 Nambu, written off as 'another old war gun' or Weeaboo material and then forgotten. Though, to those with special interest in pre '45 military surplus weapons and historical small arms, the Arisaka family holds a special place in the hearts of many, including ya boy. They're rugged, dependable, reliable, damn near impossible to blow up or malfunction (except for some of the last-ditch ones, they suck ass sometimes), and fun as hell to hunt and shoot with.
*NOTE: When looking to purchase your own Arisaka rifle, keep in mind while inspecting them that their barrels' rifling is very subdued and will always appear to be shot-out. THIS DOES NOT MEAN that said rifling is deteriorated beyond usability, this is a known as Lee-Metford rifling and is intentional.