WWII Japanese Handgun Website
February 28, 2004 4:14 PM   Subscribe

Nambu: WWII Japanese Handgun Website.
posted by hama7 (39 comments total)
Your Asian-fetish weirdness flat out gives me the creeps.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:33 PM on February 28, 2004

Whatever, adamgreenfield. I think it's a pretty cool link, especially the page with photos of soldiers carrying the guns.
posted by vorfeed at 4:47 PM on February 28, 2004

adam, me too. But it's a Japan fetish, and that creeps me out.

vorfeed, looking at the photos you link to, do Nazis turn you on as well?! Hardly "cool".
posted by SpaceCadet at 5:23 PM on February 28, 2004

> Your Asian-fetish weirdness flat out gives me the creeps.

This from somebody whose website is named after the V-2.
posted by jfuller at 5:31 PM on February 28, 2004

Information about WWII-era Japanese small arms can also be found here, for the interested. Notable in particular is the Model 99 machinegun, which looks a lot like Britain's famed Bren gun.

In general Japan copied most of its machineguns from the British (not a terrible idea during the time period) or (God help them) the French in the case of the Hotchkiss-clone Model 11. In the field of submachineguns they wised up and did what a lot of the Allies themselves did - used captured/borrowed (and frankly technologically superior) Nazi weaponry like the MP38 and MP40.

In general most of Japan's automatic weaponry during WWII was terrible - prone to jamming, and requiring low-power rounds or oiling of the ammunication prior to use to help reduce said jams. Nothing as bad as the French Chauchat, mind, but definitely not in the same league as US/UK weaponry, nevermind Germany's technological superiority in the field.

SpaceCadet: small arms are a pretty interesting topic once one gets past the initial learning curve. I originally thought it was up there with interest in pro-wrestling, but there is in fact a deep and sophisticated science behind it that makes it really intriguing even for those who've never touched a gun, like myself.
posted by Ryvar at 5:51 PM on February 28, 2004

Ryvar, I'm sure ewven landmines are interesting once I get passed the initial learning curve, but I simply don't want to get past that point.
posted by SpaceCadet at 6:07 PM on February 28, 2004

Your Asian-fetish weirdness flat out gives me the creeps.

Lovely contribution, Adam.

You're aware Hama lives in Asia, yes?
posted by dhoyt at 6:34 PM on February 28, 2004

SpaceCadet: Landmines ARE interesting. Nuclear weapons even moreso. It's not for me to dictate what any other person reads up on in their spare time, but I do think it's important to seperate your personal ethics from your abstract interests. Clamping your hands over your head and shouting "I DON'T WANT TO KNOW!" regarding the mechanics of any particular thing one dislikes the use of means that one will always be arguing about that particular item from a position of deep-seated ignorance.
posted by Ryvar at 6:47 PM on February 28, 2004

I'm with Ryvar. I'm no weapons enthusiast, but as a geek, I always appreciate small, precisely machined things. These guns (especially the baby nambu) are just... neat -- the same way 24-hour analog watches used by Cosmonauts are.
posted by Eamon at 6:52 PM on February 28, 2004

vorfeed, looking at the photos you link to, do Nazis turn you on as well?! Hardly "cool".

One woman's cool is another man's Godwin, apparently.
posted by vorfeed at 6:53 PM on February 28, 2004

Eamon: exactly. There is a sublime elegance endowed in certain firearms purely by virtue of their superiority through simplicity. The German MG-42 (now G3), the Russian AK-47 (now AKM), the USA's M2HB (which is just now being phased out after almost a CENTURY of use) - hell even to some extent the British Sten gun are all examples of this. For me, at least, the horror of their purpose is overshadowed by the engineering skill on display in their mechanics.
posted by Ryvar at 7:27 PM on February 28, 2004

May I point out that it's guns, not the pussy-assed words some of you spar back and forth with here and elsewhere, that provide some of you with the freedom you so enjoy.
posted by LowDog at 7:31 PM on February 28, 2004

Whatever, LowDog. Think you can field-strip an M-16A1 faster than I can?


dhoyt, living in a place doesn't exempt people from fetishizing it.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:56 PM on February 28, 2004

"Come back here..... you doublecrossing japanzees!" Popeye the sailor man, 1942, Your A Sap, Mr. Jap
posted by Keyser Soze at 7:57 PM on February 28, 2004

Fetish: The inability to procreate or achieve orgasm without said item or ritual.

Wow, must be hard to get a girlfriend with fetishes like this. Or maybe it wasn't a fetish at all, just some strangers talking shit back and forth on the internet, making us all look like we don't have better things to do with our time.
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:05 PM on February 28, 2004

living in a place doesn't exempt people from fetishizing it.

And posting links to things like photographs, artwork and historical museums from one's local geography doesn't necessarily qualify as a "fetish" either, does it? If someone here posted a ton of links about South America, would you say the same thing? No, because it's lazy and somewhat fashionable to suggest anyone with a an interest in Asia to have a "creepy fetish", especially when they just happen to be your established ideological enemy. Adam, you're revealing your sociopolitical bias against hama in a way that's much more unflattering to you than to him. It seems like rather un-Buddhist behavior, eh? Quit while you're behind.

Though I disagree with hama politically on most things, I find it impressive how very infrequently he ever "raises his voice" in a thread or sinks to the level of his detractors' insulting rhetoric.

To make a long story short: good links, hama. Keep them coming.
posted by dhoyt at 8:17 PM on February 28, 2004

dhoyt, I'm sorry if it looks that way. I don't think I say what I say out of fashionableness or laziness.

Look, here's a happy fellow from hama7's site, from Shanghai '37. And here are some of the people on the business end of that "interesting" Nambu.

Never, ever forget.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:22 PM on February 28, 2004

Sorry, above links probably NSFW.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:23 PM on February 28, 2004

hama7 said that like last year, this year would have a theme as well. Maybe he is a Japanese or Asian fetishist, these posts don't supply any evidence for or against however.
posted by substrate at 8:24 PM on February 28, 2004

I probably shouldn't feed the troll, but Adam, because you seem to think that being interested or posting a link about weapons of a bygone era means that we've forgotten about the horribleness about war, did you actually read the damn site? The following quote comes from the site itself;

"Unfortunately, however, that was probably not the case of this soldier about to use his Type 14 to execute an unfortunate Chinese monk in Nanking, China in 1937. The soldier does, however, appear to be mugging for the camera at the moment the photo was taken. From The Rape of Nanking: an undeniable history in photographs, page 62. This book has a lot of very grisly photographs, but should be consulted by anyone with a strong stomach who wants to know what went on then. " (emphasis my own)

Apparently, although this woman is interested in this aspect of things past, she is not oblivious to what people can do with these weapons. I don't think hama7 or the other people interested in these things are either.
posted by dazed_one at 8:38 PM on February 28, 2004

adamgreenfield: Never, ever forget.

Never forget what? World War II? Your opposition to Asian Fetishism? Your opposition to sexual assault? This grudge against hama7? As long as you're jumping around trying to derail the thread, you might as well explain yourself.

FWIW, I live in New York City, so I don't know a whole lot about guns or places on the planet that are not New York City. And I'm 'Merican, so don't even get me started on history. But I've always really appreciated hama7's links. On a website that is increasingly devoted to pissing and moaning about politics and religion, hama7 is one of very few people who takes the time to regularly post FPPs to "best and most interesting of the web" -- even if, again, I don't understand a word of it.
posted by subgenius at 8:39 PM on February 28, 2004

Oh that's a brilliant idea adamgreenfield, ignorance is strength and what have you. I really respect you for your strong, morality-motivated pro-idiocy approach to the world. It's not as if an interest in history down to its particulars might maybe you know possibly motivate us not to repeat it. Obviously the best approach to knowledge is to create a party line and declare it to be truth and then actively ignore or repress everything else.
posted by kavasa at 9:41 PM on February 28, 2004

I found the site fascinating, but then, I'm a geek who likes guns, likes well made, well engineered things and enjoy learning the history of things as well.

I'm also glad that hama7 posted it.
posted by fenriq at 10:10 PM on February 28, 2004

hama7 gives me the creeps even without intimations of fetishizing. But I probably have the same effect on him. So it goes.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:19 PM on February 28, 2004

I found the site interesting, even though I am against guns and their use. For some reason, I find guns fascinating and love learning about different kinds and their workings, though really limited to reading about them on the web. I'm not sure why--it could be a need to understand what I dislike.
posted by zsazsa at 11:23 PM on February 28, 2004

...the USA's M2HB (which is just now being phased out after almost a CENTURY of use)...

Ryvar: Can you provide a link or two, please? I can't believe the US military would be stupid enough to phase out a battle-proven weapon like the Ma Duce.
posted by alumshubby at 11:31 PM on February 28, 2004

Alumshubby: Two things are going to be used in phasing out the Ma Deuce (M2HB).

First, the XM312, comes because the OCSW (which I'll get to in a minute) is delayed. The XM312 is a two-man-portable ultralight .50cal machinegun that fires at a measily 250 rounds per minute (for those chiming in - most assault rifles and machineguns are in the 700-1200 rounds per minute range, excepting heavy thumpers like the current .50cal Ma Deuce (M2HB) in the 500s range). The XM312 in general borrows heavily from the OCSW.

Secondly, the Objective Crew Served Weapon (OCSW) is basically a two-man (when not vehicle mounted) 25mm grenade launcher firing at 250 rounds per minute (these are grenades, not bullets, so the slow firing rate is perfectly acceptable here) with all the latest electronics for aiming. You remember the now-defunct OICW (aka XM-29) that recently had the top-half semi-auto grenade launcher stripped off to become the XM-8 (really a reworking of the Euro-favorite G36)?

Imagine that same now-removed grenade launcher on steroids and setup as a stand-alone system and you have the new replacement for both the MK19 automatic grenade launcher AND the M2.

While this all may seem like a really bad idea at first (and it does), initially so did the transition from 7.62x51mm to 5.56x45mm weapons. The reason behind both transitions is the same - logistics (see the slideshow on the OCSW). Just as 5.56mm weapons are lighter because they have less recoil to hand, and just as much more ammo for them can be carried, so too are the logistics behind the OCSW favorable in the extreme.

Ultimately the M2HB isn't being replaced because we have significantly 'better' weapons - it's being replaced because of the changing realities in how wars are fought.
posted by Ryvar at 12:07 AM on February 29, 2004

[gun geekiness within. Skip if you are here to flame Asian culture or gun/ engineering enthusiasts]

While the Nambu is certainly an interesting historical artifact, as firearms go, most of what the Japanese fielded was inferior to both the Allied and the German weapons of the time period. This can be largely attributed to the fact that the emperor believed that the weapons that they had used with success in the past were good enough, and thus most Japanese soldiers entered the fight using weapons that were designed prior to WW1. Some have argued that this failure to innovate was one of the cornerstones of their defeat.

This is not to say that the earlier designs weren't effective; The Mauser (think: most of the rifles used in WW1) loading mechanism was and is one of the best bolt operated systems ever designed. It is still used regularly in firearms today. Similarly, the Browning recoil system used in the legendary 1911 pistol is found on pretty much every semi-automatic pistol made today. Hell, the .50 cal Browning M2 (made for WW1, used extensively in WW2) is _still_ in service. Every time you see an American tank with a machine gun on the co-ax, think to yourself 'damn, that gun was designed a hundred years ago.'

As to the Nambu itself, it was clearly taking cues from the German Luger (an absolute icon in the firearm world). And while it never lived up to the marvel of engineering that was the Luger, it certainly earned it's place in history, and i, for one, am glad that someone dedicated a page to it.

- Fun Fact: The original Luger is so cleverly machined that it performs it's duties with exactly 1 screw. The one used to hold the wooden grips to the frame.

See kids, learning can be fun!

[on preview, thanks to Ryvar for turning this thread back into what it should have been in the first place: a gun geek lovefest ;]
posted by quin at 12:16 AM on February 29, 2004

Gads, folks I like a snark as much as most folks, but this went in attack mode real quick,. I ain't big on guns in general, but I too being ex AF/Army, SP/Inf, I got my use of them. The Japanese weapons of that time frame are sad in comparison to their contemporaries, Hama7's Fetishes are best left to Hamma7.

And more info on most current US Army weapons

That being said, Japan's Strange idea of public sexuality Freaks out even a Liberal Hedonist Like me, and 'I've seen things'... 'weird things'......'unnatural things'
posted by Elim at 1:00 AM on February 29, 2004

ammunication: words as weapons
posted by Dick Paris at 5:40 AM on February 29, 2004

Speaking of Lugers, here's a combination of an outstanding design in a more worthy caliber.
posted by alumshubby at 6:19 AM on February 29, 2004

U.K. Classic Firearms.
posted by hama7 at 7:09 AM on February 29, 2004

Yeah I saw that, Dick, apparently if you agree with the right wing on one and only one issue you immediately start talking like Bush . . .
posted by Ryvar at 7:11 AM on February 29, 2004

Hama7, I've had just about enough of your British fetish.

A joke, of course. Interesting links, as always.
posted by Ljubljana at 9:12 AM on February 29, 2004

the fetish thing is in meta.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:19 AM on February 29, 2004

Rats. I was kind of excited that I'd get to see the machine gun Nambu, because it's mentioned a lot in Cryptonomicon. I mean, I know it doesn't affect the plot, I was just interested. Anybody know if that really existed?
posted by lumpenprole at 9:38 AM on February 29, 2004

I'm guessing the Nambu machine gun mentioned in Stephenson's novel is probably the Type 99, which was noteworthy in that you could just keep dropping 7.7-cal rifle clips in the hopper, no special belts required.

One other small-arms reference that novel dosen't explain adequately was Bobby Shaftoe's "trench broom," which was a Thompson submachine gun. Early in the novel Shaftoe was running around in the boonies with a Springfield rifle, which Recon Marines preferred to the fancy-schmancy new (at the time) Garand semiautomatic rifle. (Bill Mauldin once wrote that Army topkicks felt that the Springfield was the better rifle because a semiauto would cause troops to develop the unforgiveable habit of wasting ammo.)
posted by alumshubby at 10:29 AM on February 29, 2004

japan pistol lighter
posted by clavdivs at 12:17 PM on February 29, 2004

Nice post, hama7.

Here are some more links (in Japanese):

Firearms Used by the Imperial Navy (Item 7 in the Table of Contents has pictures and schematics of the Nanbu)

Pictures and Schematics of Japanese Pistols (Scroll down for the Nanbu)

Hammer Mechanisms (Full Color Diagrams)
posted by cup at 9:50 PM on February 29, 2004

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