Reference materials for firearms of the Boshin War
Howdy folks. I'm new to the forum and I've joined following a referral from the American Long Rifle forums where I was suggested that this forum would have a good answer to my titular question. I'm interested in the arms of the Boshin War. The combination of Japan's long isolation and the already rapidly evolving technology of small arms in the years after the American Civil War make the Boshin War incredibly fascinating to me. Gatling guns, sharps rifles, colt revolvers with percussion and cartridge systems, there's so much cool stuff as the shift from muzzleloader to cartridge gun occurs alongside the background of the massive leap forward in Japanese technology.
I'm looking for material, preferably a good reference book, on the arms of the Boshin War. I'm also looking for information on how to find some of these original arms for sale.
Thank you, Dave
Welcome to the Forum!
I see that you originally posted this back on September 14, but it has just come through the Moderation system. Not sure why it took that long. Apologies for the delay. Better late than never I guess. I hope we have a member who can help you with your request.
I recall from the dim past, when I was interested in collecting and shooting late 19th/early 20th cent. military rifles (European models), that I saw a book entitled (per recollection) Military Rifles of Japan... by an author named Honeycutt or some similar name, and it in its intro chapter cover some of these early patterns.
Seemed that during the early years of the Meiji Restoration ( 1870s ) the Japanese state sought to imitate and emulate the French army and British navy (so did many new republics in Latin America). But there was a smorgasbord of small arms that were considered or adopted, including the Albini-Braendlin breechloading system for rifles, and Smith and Wesson break-open-frame revolver actions.
Over the years I've seen in collections and at gun shows various arms of the era of current European pattern with Japanese markings, they were either imports or contract production. When I owned a S&W Russian .44 revolver (with Cyrillic markings and Romanov eagle stamp) , my research showed that the same system was made for the Japanese Navy and the Turkish military, and marked accordingly.
Over time, Japanese-designed bolt action rifle systems took on a more Mauser-ish flavor, starting with the series of Muratas with tube magazines resembling those on the German-issue Infanterie-Gewehr Mod. 71/84, and the German-made Turkish M 1887.
These pics might help. Further Yamamoto Yae 山本 八重 is known to have used a Spencer carbine, all photos of her are post Boshin war though.
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