Nambu World: Type 14 Pistol Manuals

            Original Japanese Type 14 instruction manuals are very rare. They are worth almost as much as a pistol, but are much, much harder to find. I now have one, and although the condition is not that good, it is complete. Here I show the original manual first. Then I show the one I originally purchased from someone who told me it was original before I knew enough to know better. I think the seller genuinely thought it was original, too, but it turned out to be an early post-war reprint. There are now a number of later reprints that are much easier to distinguish from the original.


Original Manual

            There were different editions of this manual issued over the years, and it also came out in both this version with a white cover and a smaller version with a black cover. The size of this one is 105 mm by 147 mm, or  4-3/16  inches by  5-13/16 inches. The writing in the box on the cover says ju-yon-nen-shiki-ken-ju-tori-atsukai-ho, gHow to Handle the Type 14 Handgunh. The column in the far right is the date: Showa 6th year, 6th month, 25th day (June 25, 1931). The characters in between indicate it has been approved by the Ministry of War (literally, the Army Ministry). On the far left you can see rust stains from the two staples that held the pages inside together. The smaller, black-cover version was about  75 mm by 105 mm (3 inches by 4-1/8 inches) and the one I have seen was dated Showa 15-8-24, i.e. August 24,1940. I got this one on eBay on March 23, 2005 and paid US$362.99.


            Here is the back. The character in the middle of the chrysanthemum is hei, meaning soldier. The characters in purple ink are a name: Sakamoto Zencho. Sakamoto is a fairly common surname. Zencho is how I think the given name would be pronounced, although I have never seen that name before and it is not listed in my book of names, so I canft be positive. The same name is stamped in purple on the blank page inside the back cover. The red characters in an oval are again Sakamoto. Japanese use little name stamps like this instead of signatures or initials in many cases. At the far left about two-thirds of the way down you can again see rust stains from the staples. The staples have broken from rust so the pages are mostly loose.


            This is the inside front cover (note that like most Japanese books, this one has the binding at the right, not the left, and opens from what we would consider the back). The far right column is riku-fu-dai-ni-yon-go-ichi-go, gArmy circular number 2451h. Then there is a column indicating these are the regulations for the handling of the Type 14 handgun, one indicating this volume establishes the procedures for handling the Type 14 handgun, and then the last column that starts near the top is another date, Showa 6th year, sixth month, third day (June 3, 1931). The column in the middle of the page that starts about half-way down is the name of the War Minister, Minami Jiro (family name=Minami). In the lower left corner it indicates this version was revised and expanded on Showa 8-10-4, i.e. October 4, 1933. After this page there is a table of contents (seven pages), the body of the text (48 pages), and then the page with the publisherfs information (see next photo).


            The last page has the publisherfs information. The upper right corner says it was printed June 20, 1931 and issued June 25, 1931, with the sixth edition on March 10, 1939.  Below that is the title in brackets on the far right and then the price in brackets just to the left of that. It cost 25 sen (there were 100 sen in one yen). The box in the centre top indicates that the publication has the approval of the War Ministry. The columns below the box begin on the right with honkoku (or hankoku) hakkosha, or the publisher of the reprint. The column of smaller characters is the address: Tokyo-shi (city), Koji-machi-ku (ward), Nagata-cho (town, equivalent to a neighbourhood in a North American city), Itchome, 3-banchi (banchi means something like gloth). Addresses in Tokyo have changed, but as near as I can tell it was on the west side of the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo, just north of the Diet (parliament) buildings. The company name was Hei-yo to-sho kabu-shiki-gai-sha, which means roughly gMilitary Book Corporationh.  The directorfs name is next. The family name is easy: Kobayashi. The given name is not in my book of names, but may have been Yasukazu. The next caption is the printer: address 4-banchi in the same area (i.e. basically next door). The printerfs name is the same Mr. Kobayashi. Then there are phone numbers, Kudan 33-0419 or 0850 (my guess is they are no longer in service), and the firmfs postal transfer account number, Tokyo 296 (the Japanese post office also operates like a bank). The place of printing is given as Kobayashi Printing, phone number Ginza 57-3069. There is a notation that it is next to the War Ministry. To the left of the line is the place of publication. The address and company name are the same as given for the publisher, but with  a different phone number (Kudan 33-2991) and postal transfer account number (Tokyo 18066).


The title is repeated on the spine, although the top two characters have been worn off and the third one is only partially legible.


            This is the first of several fold-out diagrams at the back. This one is an overall view of the pistol and is 215 mm by 148 mm in size ( 8-7/16 inches by 5-3/4 inches). Interestingly, the model designation in the diagram reads from right to left, although on the guns themselves the characters are marked from left to right.


Early  Post-War Reprint

            Here is the cover of the reprint. The text in the box says: gHow to Handle the Type 14 Handgunh. The far right column says: gNovember 27, Showa 14h, which means November 27, 1939. The middle column means it was approved by the War Ministry (literally, the Army Minstry). You can also see that there are marks made by the staples on the right side. This is one of the things that fooled me. I had heard that reproductions were stapled in the centre of the spine, not along the edge this way. The Derby and Brown books also indicates that reproductions do not have the title on the spine, but this one did. In addition, there is a photo of an original that has exactly this date and cover text on page 188 of their book. One of these reprints sold on eBay for US$56.00 on August 24, 2005. It was properly identified as a reproduction. Unfortunately I paid $375 for this one when I bought it in October, 2003 from a US collector. Live and learn.


            This is the big foldout in the back. In this version of the reprint all the diagrams are squeezed onto two big foldouts, whereas my original has several separate ones. The Derby & Brown book does show a special instruction sheet that had all the diagrams squeezed together like this, though (p. 186). In August, 2009 I  saw one of these manuals being offered for sale at a gun show in Puyallup, Washington (near Seattle). That one had the publishing information page still in the back (that page had been ripped out of mine). The page indicated the manual was printed in Showa 38 (1963). That definitively established that this version is a reprint, and also explains why it is hard to tell: it has had over 40 years to age, and you have to be pretty sharp to tell the difference between something that is 40 years old and 70 years old.


            I completed a draft translation of this manual in June, 2004 and circulated it to a few experts for comments. I had all their replies by late fall, 2004, but due to work commitments I was unable to return to this project until late September, 2005. As soon as I can get the final editing done I will offer copies for sale through this website. This was quite a big project as the manual is over 50 pages long, uses a ton of technical terms and is written in pre-war Japanese, which uses many characters that were dropped or simplified after the war and often archaic expressions and grammar.


Last updated: September 4, 2009. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.


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