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Identification and translation asked

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Good day to everyone,


I am looking for information on this matchlock. I think it is a Sendai gun but that is about all I know. It is rather simple and probably later on decorated for the tourists.

They also added more "sofisticated" sights but these can be removed without damage.


All infomation is welcome of course.











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I am sure others will be able to tell you more about this gun, but it looks like an Iyo gun from Shikoku, and the signature says that it was made by the famous Inoue Sekiuemon of Settsu (Osaka), where Iyo often placed their orders. I have a similar one. Can you give us some measurements, for example overall length, length of barrel, bore/caliber, (inner diameter of barrel), etc. in cm if poss? :thumbsup:


The wire in the serpentine pinch flap needs removing, and the foresight looks to have been changed. I would keep the rear sight just like that. Most guns have lost that little feature, if they ever had one, so they are somewhat rare.

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Thank you Piers. That is a lot of valuable information.

The gun is approx. 125 cm and the barrel 92 cm with a .45 caliber (11.45 mm). The weight = 2,35 kilo.

The bisen is very loose and almost falls out on his own weight. The flash hole is worn out, but the rest is in good condition.

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Thanks for the dimensions. They make sense.  A 2 Monme' gun like mine. The barrel of mine was blocked, and it turned out to be a mixture of lead shot and fine straw. Perhaps its last use had been for shooting bird? Down at the bottom left of the barrel underneath is a very small 伊 mark, indicating 'made for Iyo', I guess. (Iyo is 伊予, or the province of I-Shu, 伊州)


One easy fix for a loose bisen is to wrap it in a small section of cloth or something like kitchen paper towel, maybe 6 cm x 3 cm. There are stories of gunners leaving the accumulated grunge in place for a tighter fit. 

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Thank you,

Were the bisen also wrapped in thin lead sheet if too loose?

On another one I solved the problem with flax strands which works perfect.

Is my asumption correct that the dragon (and mon, Kikkawa?) was put on for the tourist trade?

Thanks again fo the info.


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Yes, Leo, I believe that thin lead sheet would be good as it would pack down. Tightly wound strands of flax, hemp etc. would also tighten things up. There comes a point however, where the screw is not performing its true function, and if you fired a gun like that it would blow out the back. There was a trade in fixing tired guns, and a new Bisen would have been on the menu. Either that, or retirement.


The general rule is that many bright decorations were added to increase sales values, yes, but some inlay was tastefully done and may be original. Proper Mon on the top of a gun tended to be smaller than that, but other than that I could not say from a photo.  My Iyo gun had a dragon in lacquer along the barrel. I removed it! :laughing:

Iyo guns are so slim and simple, though, that a bit of colour is maybe not a bad thing. Personally I like the clean simple shape as it is.

In the western marketplace such a decoration, be it for the original tourist trade, will still generally add value to a gun. Even in Japan many dealers look for the decoration, for customers both at home and abroad. Horses for courses. Purists will say that a gun should not have any decoration, especially along the top of the barrel where you take aim.

Some elite schools of gunnery though took pride in silver inlaying a single or double Kanji expressing exhortation to valour etc., on the top of the barrel.


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