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04-11-2013, 03:02 PM #1Member
- Join Date
- May 2011
Insight Into The Disposal of Some Japanese Weapons in 1945
I found an interview with a veteran who, at the end of the war in Europe, was sent home on leave and then had to board a troop ship in Tacoma,WA for the invasion of Japan. On the way, the Japanese surrenderd and they became Occupation Forces instead.Here is some of his interview...
(quote)We sailed on to Japan for a total voyage of 31 days from
Tacoma to Cebu Philippines to Japan, where we disembarked at Yokohama and I was
assigned as a military policeman, and our assignments were to search out anything
that could be used as a weapon against us. All the weapons must be turned in to the
Japanese police who, in turn, were under the control of General Douglas McArthur
and the United States Army and those of us who were military police. And I was
stationed in Yokohama and Sendai and Kofu, which is near Mt. Fujiyama, and in
Nigata which is a seaport on the West China Sea. While I was in Nigata, I had a very
interesting assignment. My job was to go to a warehouse where all of these arms
had been turned in by the Japanese to their police and they were stashed in this
warehouse. It was filled with hunting rifles and shotguns and samurai swords and
hari-kari (seppuku) Knives and daggers and ceremonial swords, and there were 5
Japanese civilians who were paid by the U.S. Army, and my job was to bring them to
the warehouse. I had a girl interpreter, lock them in, and they were to destroy these
weapons. And they would sit crouched down and take one samurai sword and cut
the trappings and the handle off of the other one and all the medals were placed in a
box to be melted down, and all the wood and cords and finish work that would burn
would be burned, and they sat their with tears running down their face, while we
destroyed what I now understand to be much of their heritage, their culture. We
were allowed to send home one box of souvenirs. It was one way the Army was able
to get rid of military weapons and weapons of war. That box could not exceed 48
inches. It was a wooden box. I was able to send 3 boxes, one each month home,
including kimonos in silk, which my wife later made her wedding dress from, and a
while horse hide, and a pistol, and some samurai swords, and some daggers and
souvenirs, and that’s how the Army disarmed Japan. (end of quote)
04-11-2013, 11:02 PM #2
Thanks for posting, that is interesting information.
12+ years ago, I knew a British veteran of the Burma campaign. He told me that after the end of hostilities he spent three days throwing throwing captured Japanese rifles into a Burmese lake. That's one way the British disposed of Japanese arms.
04-11-2013, 11:40 PM #3
My Granddad was on a troop landing ship circling the Missouri as the official surrender was being signed close enough that he could see them on board. They then landed on the shores of Tokyo bay to begin the occupation with full weapons, ammo, food etc. He was carrying his Browning 1917a1 and proceeded to march to Yokohama. They helped POW's first, then went to factories and broke cylinders off of plane engines and hacked wings. As time went by, they did the weapons surrender and were able to send what they wanted home. The rest were dumped out to sea from the harbor. If someone has a specific question, he has been talking more in detail the past 10 years after my Grandmother past. He lost his 2nd wife last week, so anything to keep him busy helps for now. I plan on taking him to shoot my 1917a1 in the next week or so. He last shot his August 1945. His health is great and will be 92 in June.
04-12-2013, 07:10 AM #4Senior Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
- Maryland, USA
I'd try to incourage him to write (to capture his word usage, volcabulary, intonation, etc.) his memoirs, not record although if that's the only option then it's better than nothing. For years I shared my Civil War collecting activities with Dad noting that, through often arduous research, I new many details of these long gone veterans than I knew about his 2.5 years in Burma even though he shared much with the famile almost every evening at dinner as my brother and I grew up and played with military stuff. His response was that nobody would be interested in a lowly soldier. Well, long story short, he wrote those memoirs starting with being drafted prior to Pearl Harbor, horny guys getting off the boat in India, hooking-up and shaking sand out their shorts, until he came home and much in-between. Priceless with details never before shared with his family until then...priceless.
04-12-2013, 10:52 AM #5Silver Bullet member
- Join Date
- Dec 1969
My old friend Bob, now deceased, was sent to Korea in 1945-46 and assigned a position of police commissioner or police commandant for the city of Soul. He was either a captain or a major in the military police at that time. Bob liked to talk about his WWII experiences. And, he was a consummate gun collector/marksman even before the war.
Bob once mentioned observing a large number of Japanese semi-automatic rifles being destroyed. The rifles were laid across a curb and then a truck ran over them. Bob did not know what type of semi-auto these rifles were. I’m sad he did not snag a few, but it would appear that he was not all that interested in Japanese rifles at that time.
From the look in his eye, Bob was far more interested in an arsenal containing captured Russian arms from the Russo-Japanese war of 1904. Bob “liberated” .44 single action S&W Russian model revolvers, at least one Nagant M95 revolver and other fine weapons. He also brought back such prizes as a Papa Nambu pistol with shoulder stock, a nice Baby Nambu , swords, etc. Before being shipped back home, Bob and his friends used captured Japanese ammo to do target practice with the various souvenirs they collected. While I bought some nice items from Bob, most of the really nice stuff eventually went to some advanced collectors who paid Bob rather well.
04-12-2013, 09:43 PM #6
04-12-2013, 10:37 PM #7
I talked to a veteran, who was a dozer operator, during the occupation. He said, they put a small Japanese dozer in the back of an LST. Then, they would fill it up with weapons. Rifle, machineguns, mortars, etc. When they would get out to 500 feet of water, they'd drop the gate, and shove the contents out. They did that for weeks.Before starting any serious collection: Spend your first thousand dollars on reference material. It's money in the bank.
04-12-2013, 10:59 PM #8
I have two NCO. Swords that came home from piles placed on the docks of Tokoyo bay. The piles were pistols, swords and rifles. As the troops got on the boat they were allowed to take something from the piles as a war trophy. Both of my swords came from those exit piles.Owner/Administrator of Gunboards.com
Michigan Historical Collectables
"Terror is not a new weapon. Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example. But inevitably they fail, either because men are not afraid to die for a life worth living, or because the terrorists themselves came to realize that free men cannot be frightened by threats, and that aggression would meet its own response. And it is in the light of that history that every nation today should know, be he friend or foe, that the United States has both the will and the weapons to join free men in standing up to their responsibilities."
John F. Kennedy
04-13-2013, 01:00 AM #9
This 20th series Kokura was picked from a stack of rifles at Tachikawa Airbase after the surrender. I talked to the vet on the phone about it and he brought it back as found, with all the "goodies" removed from it."Nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot"
Inspector Callahan (AKA Dirty Harry)
04-13-2013, 08:36 AM #10
I think it is way cool to know the story on how some of this stuff we all love got back to the states. I have seen surrender papers that were just blank sheets of paper with it written on them what was taken.“Be Kind, for Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Great Battle.” ~ Plato