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Ed

Japanese Revolver

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Thought some of you might enjoy seeing this.

Wondering if anyone has seen such an example of an antique Japanese pistol ?

At this point I don't know any more than what you see.

Bottom part of the mei looks to read HisaYuki Saku .

The rest I haven't spent any time on, but will post in the translation section.

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:Drooling:

Want.

That is gorgeous. I see Colt and Starr influences in that. I'll have to go through the Castle Thunder book to see if anything similar is mentioned. Really intrigued by it. Is it yours Ed? (*looks around to see what he has in trade items*)

:D

 

Brian

 

Edit - Forgot to mention, what is even more intriguing is that a lot of that would have required some form of machining. I would suspect it from the late 1800's?

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Colt Army .44 - Civil war era - Would it have been a special order for the engraving on the cylinder >?

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Well, the kanji look like 國友藤九久行作 to me, but I can't really get the middle character and I don't know how to parse this in the context of gun signatures.

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Gabriel,

I had another friend who said he thought Kuni Tomo Fuji Wara ? ? ? ?.

 

Thanks for the input.

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Kunitomo 国友 yes, Fuji 藤 would be the knee-jerk reaction, but unless 藤 can be used as shorthand for the full Fujiwara 藤原 (never seen that done before) then I don't know. Similarly kyū (9) is the reflexive reading for 九 but again I don't know how it fits into the context of the larger signature.

 

Hopefully someone with real Japanese knowledge will be along soon to give some insight, I just read sword nakago (and that only sometimes). ;)

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Dr B,

That's not even close to any of the Colts.

It has traits of the Starr 1863, the 1851 Navy, perhaps the Cooper D/A.....but a mix of everything.

Looks like a one off to me, or a composite of different revolvers.

 

Brian

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Those are all the photos I have of it at this time, sorry.

 

If not a special order from the west, definitely modelled after the Colt, Starr, etc.

 

The mei, historically inscribed by the maker, would lead me to believe it to be of Japanese origin. However, I have nothing concrete to support my opinion.

 

Which is why I posted it here, in hopes that someone may have some knowledge regarding it.

 

It is a beauty though.

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I'm with you Gabriel, the "wara" character doesn't look right but it could just be the artist's rendering.

 

Hopefully Nobody or Morita san will see it and give their insight.

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This is a neat arm. It is certainly Japanese manufacture. The inscription may include something more than a name. "Kunitomo" could be a name, but it also could be something else - like "Koku Yu!" meaning some thing like "National Companion."

The rest of the inscription looks like a name, Fujimaru something

Peter

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I just checked the Francis Allan et al Banzai volume on Imported Japanese Arms. It has nothing like this.

My guess is that this is probably just some old gun. If you want, you can send it to me and I'll take care of it. :D

Peter

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What will be really interesting is when these late guns are more than 100 years old and can then be legally imported under the current law...Suppose they will simply change the law then to 150 years and older.....

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I saw something similar in Japan once and it was priced so high it made my nose bleed...There are so few of those around and from what I understand, they can in fact be legally imported....Whomever owns that could do very well with it in Japan. Very cool....

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Ah thank you Morita san! I am embarrassed now, if I had just gone back to the Japanese names article I linked earlier, I maybe could have solved it. :roll: It shows quite clearly that 藤 can be used to preface zokumyō like kurō 九郎 (which, in turn, should have been obvious as there are so many "number-rō" names). Live and learn… next time I'll catch it. :D

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Dear Ed,

Although at first glance I can see influences of COLT primarily ( both the Colt Dragoon of 1848 - 1850 but also the Colt model 1860 ), ... but the also the Manhattan Gun Co. ( model Manhattan Navy of 1859 ), can also not be ruled out as an influence.

Anyway, ... I know for sure it is not an American special order, ... but rather a Japanese copy of an American revolver influenced primarily by the Japanese maker having seen in all probability an American Colt revolver or also possible having seen and examined one of the Belgian copies of Colt such as the Belgian colt Brevete.

 

There is a magnificent example ( although of a somewhat different style ( octagon verses round barrel ) in the September 1950 issue of The Gun Collector magazine. Contrary to Brian's statement that this work would have required some " machining " in other words lathe cutting and/or milling the author of the 1950 article states NO, ... all appears at least to have been hand filed and fitted. Also stated, ( Robert E. Kimbrough ) that the workmanship far surpasses the American built revolvers of the same period. At any rate, ... a wonderful and really rare one of a kind handgun showing not only the ability of the Japanese Gun smith but also the hunger the Japanese were experiencing for Western goods of all nature. I notice what appears to be a " Mon " on the cylinder ) and perhaps someone could identify this for us.

 

My grandson will be out this coming weekend and I shall get him to photograph the picture of the OTHER revolver and I will post at that time.

 

... Ron Watson

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Yes, Thank you Morita San. Your expertise is always appreciated.

 

Gabriel, I had forgotten that article as well. I must bookmark it for future reference.

 

Well, one puzzle solved. Now if I can just find some reference to these guns.

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Ron,

Great info you have provided. I would love to see the example you mention and perhaps the article as well.

 

As I stated earlier I couldn't provide any concrete evidence it was or wasn't a special order, but my gut said Japanese manufacture, undoubtedly Western inspired.

 

Thanks for your input. Look forward to the example you cited.

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Ed, thank for posting this, a very interesting gun, especially if it is established that it is Japanese made.

 

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At the Bakumatsu end of time, Mon were being created by everyone and his brother, so this one could really be anything.

 

As to the signature, it comes from a long and respected line of Kunitomo gunsmiths, Kunitomo Tokuro, based in Kunitomo, but also with individuals working for other Han, such as 志筑藩 in 常陸国 (Hitachi) and 小浜藩 in 若狭国 (Wakasa).

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Morning all,

 

The Kamon looks like three stylised "Kara Uchiwa".

 

So, perhaps Maruni san kara uchiwa might be an area to research.

 

Just a thought

 

Cheers

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Chris,

Fairly sure this is already long past 100 years old. Just going by the features, and a gut feel, I would have said between 1865 and 1880. Are you saying that antique guns can be imported into Japan? I thought that they were very resitant against allowing antique firearms into Japan nowdays, and the pool of current guns there was what had to be shared?

Is the import and registration of a 100 year old gun the same as importing a sword?

 

Brian

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Center/centrefire are especially difficult, but there are two ways to do this. The first is to make it legal and above-board and warn the authorities in advance with all the paperwork that this is what you are importing, and that it was made in Japan. Declare it again at the airport if it is with you.

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So are these imports restricted to guns that are Japanese made and being returned, or could a Colt 1851 navy be imported the same way?

 

Brian

(Sorry, I know this is a tranlation request thread, but think we are way past that already :) )

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This one was made in Japan, copied from an 1851 Navy Colt brought in on Commodore Perry's second visit to Japan in Ansei 1.

 

With 7-groove rifling, it is better than the original Colt, (according to Sawada, p. 183) and signed by the maker and the engraver. With solid silver trigger guard and rosewood grip, it is all handmade, including the mold, wrench and powderflask. He adds that many were not as good as this one.

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Brian, a well-known dealer fell foul of the authorities not too many years ago when he tried to bring in a pistol that had Japanese characters on it, proving that it was registered in the great round-up of 1872. The Police said no, that was not good enough, that it had to have been actually made in Japan to be allowed, and this chap apparently spent some time in an unpleasant place as a result.

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