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The Arisaka (有坂銃 Arisaka-jū) is a family of Japanese bolt-action rifles designed by Baron Nariakira Arisaka produced from 1897 to 1945 by a variety of arsenals in Japan and other countries.[1]

Developed to replace the old Murata rifle, the rifle was designed by Nariakira Arisaka with improvements by Kijirō Nambu and Gen. Giichi Dōgane over its lifespan.


Designed in 1897 by Col. Nariakira Arisaka (who later was appointed Baron) who led a commission to design a rifle to replace old and outdated rifles,[2] the rifle was designed as a replacement to the old and expensive Murata rifle and entered service the same year. Over its history, many variants of the Arisaka were made and designed; the initial variant was the Type 30. The design was improved over time by Generals Kijirō Nambu and Giichi Dōgane.

The weapon saw use by the Imperial Japanese Army in great numbers during World War II. With the end of World War II and the surrender of Japan, however, production of the Arisaka stopped very abruptly, with the weapon having become quickly obsolete by then. Many were taken as war prizes, with the Imperial Chrysanthemum Seal on them being ground off or defaced on most captured examples; it is unclear as to why, although accounts say this was done on the instructions of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The rifle was withdrawn from service in 1961.

Design Details

All Arisakas are bolt-action rifles with five-round internal box magazines fed by stripper clips; most variants can be fitted with bayonets. A number of variants of the Arisaka were able to mount scopes, with the most common being a Tokia 2.5× telescopic scope.[1]


A large amount of variants of the Arisaka were designed over its long lifespan, ranging from carbines to specialty variants meant for export.


Main article: Type 30 Arisaka
First variant of the Arisaka as designed by Gen. Arisaka. Produced from 1897 to 1905,[3] with 544,000 produced. Chambered in 6.5×50mmSR Arisaka. Gained its designation as it was designed in the 30th year of Emperor Meiji's reign, in 1897.

Main article: Type 35 Arisaka
An improved version of the Type 30 which attempted to fix any faults that were present on the Type 30. Approximately 38,200 were produced. Chambered in 6.5×50mmSR Arisaka. Gained its designation as it was designed in the 35th year of Emperor Meiji's reign, in 1902.

Main article: Type 38 Arisaka
Quite possibly the most famous variant of the Arisaka, the Type 38 was the standard issue rifle of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1905 all the way until the end of World War II. Manufactured in five different arsenals, including two in other countries (Korea and Manchuria), the Type 38 is undisputedly the most common of all the Arisakas, with 3,400,000 produced.

Main article: Type 97 Arisaka
Essentially a sniper version of the Type 38, the Type 97 is practically almost identical to the Type 38, with the exception of a lightened stock and the addition of a Tokia 2.5× telescopic scope. Approximately 22,500 were produced.

Main article: Type 99 Arisaka
Essentially an upgraded version of the Type 38, the Type 99 most notably uses the larger 7.7×58mm Arisaka cartridge as it was found that the old 6.5mm Arisaka cartridge was no longer adequate. Approximately 2,500,000 were produced in a number of variants, including carbines and sniper rifles.[4]


Main article: Type 30 Arisaka
A shorter version of the Type 30, designated the Type 30 cavalry rifle. About 300 millimetres (12 inches) shorter than the normal Type 30; about 45,000 were produced.

Main article: Type 44 Arisaka
Officially designated the Type 44 cavalry rifle, the Type 44 was designed to provide carbine-carrying cavalrymen with a bayonet already attached without the need to attach a separate bayonet. Approximately 91,900 were produced.


Main article: Type I Arisaka
Essentially the Italian version of the Arisaka (the "I" in the name denotes Italian), the Type I was essentially a Type 38 Arisaka with a Carcano action and was produced by Italian arsenals such as Beretta. Somewhere within the region of 60,000 to 140,000 were produced from 1938 to 1939.

Main article: TERA Type 2
A special paratroop version of the Type 99 Arisaka. The successor of the Type 100 paratrooper rifle, the TERA was a takedown rifle with the barrel and the stock being able to be detached from the receiver. Approximately 22,000 were produced.[5]

A provisional name for what appears to be an experimental self-loading Arisaka (the rifle's name is currently and will probably remain unknown). Essentially some sort of Arisaka with a Type 99's magazine stuck onto the bottom, the only known image of the rifle was taken by the US Army after capturing this rifle. Why this rifle was developed remains unknown.[6]

A provisional name for a volley gun concept rifle of sorts, the Furukawa volley gun (Japanese: 古川式斉射銃 Furukawa-shiki seisha jū) was quite literally six Type 38 Arisakas mounted together in some sort of mount. A lever-like mechanism was used to fire all six rifles at once; reloading the weapon was done manually.[6]