Join Date: Dec 2004
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.