Type 38 rifle
Arisaka Type 38 rifle


Bolt-action rifle

Place of origin

Empire of Japan

In Service


Used by

see Users


Russian Civil War, World War I, Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II, Chinese Civil War, Indonesian National Revolution, Korean War, First Indochina War, Malayan Emergency, Vietnam War



Number built



Carbine & Cavalry rifle




50.4 in

The Type 38 rifle Arisaka was a bolt-action rifle that supplemented the Type 99, the Japanese standard infantry rifle, during the Second World War.[1] It was in Japanese service from 1906 to 1945.

History Edit

As a result of the shortcomings of the Type 30 being exposed during the Russo-Japanese War, Lieutenant General Arisaka Nariakira and Kijiro Nambu redesigned the Type 30 into the Type 38. Production began in 1906, which was the 38th year of the Meiji period, hence Type 38. The rifles were made in several arsenals:

  • Koishikawa arsenal from 1906 to 1935; 2,029,000 rifles
  • Kokura arsenal from 1933 to 1940; 20,000 rifles
  • Nagoya arsenal from 1923 to 1940; 200,000 rifles
  • Jinsen arsenal from 1939 to 1940; 1,700 rifles
  • Mukden arsenal from 1934 to 1940; 30,000 rifles

By 1940, about three million Type 38s had been issued to the Imperial Japanese Army. However, flaws in the Type 39 design were revealed during the Second Sino-Japanese War, resulting in the introduction of the Type 99 rifle in 1939. The new rifle fired the 7.7x58mm Arisaka cartridge also used by the Type 92 heavy machine gun and the Type 97 light machine gun. Not all units received Type 99s before Japan entered World War II, thus ensuing considerable supply issues in World War II.

Operators Edit

  • France: Purchased during World War I
  • United Kingdom: Bought a mixed batch of 150,000 Type 30 and Type 38 rifles from Japan at the beginning of World War I. They were mostly used for training and these rifles were declared obsolete in 1921.[2]
  • Russian Empire: During World War I, bought the remaining 35,400 rifles originally intended for Mexico, and also received 128,000 Type 30 and 38 rifles from Britain in 1916[3], as well as 600,000 directly ordered from Japan[4]

References Edit

  1. Honeycutt and Anthony p. 84
  2. Walter, John (2006). Rifles of the World (3rd ed.). Iola, WI: Krause Publications. p. 33. ISBN 0-89689-241-7.
  3. Walter, John (2006). Rifles of the World (3rd ed.). Iola, WI: Krause Publications. p. 34. ISBN 0-89689-241-7.
  4. Walter, John (2006). Rifles of the World (3rd ed.). Iola, WI: Krause Publications. p. 33. ISBN 0-89689-241-7.
  • Honeycutt Jr., Fred L. and Anthony, F. Patt. Military Rifles of Japan. Fifth edition, 2006. Julin Books, U.S.A. ISBN 0-9623208-7-0.

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