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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw this on the usual Japanese auction site. I was surprised to see it has a registration certificate the same as swords and matchlocks. This also seems to suggest that the authorities think it is an antique.
The photos are all taken from the auction listing and the seller has posted groups of six photos together as one to enable him to post more pictures on the listing. This piece has makers marks, a serial number and what appears to be a kakihan (stylised signature mark).

Does anyone know what this is? Possible age? And is it IJA, IJN, or civilian?
 

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It could be a copy or maybe they scrubbed the original markings before accepting it in to Japanese military service? I'm not an expert but my gut feeling says it's an original U.S. VK-M12 captured by the Japanese.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looks like a WW2 VK-M12 Parachute Signal Gun made by the Van Karner Chemical Arms Corporation in New York.
It could be a Japanese copy or maybe they scrubbed the original markings before accepting it in to Japanese military service?
I Googled VK-M12 and you are right, they look identical. The VK guns seem to have some variation in their markings, so I guess the right variant could have had the markings scrubbed and been re-marked in Japanese, or it might be a copy.

What makes it go boom?
If you look at photo two, you will see the barrel is a breech loader, and there is a striker (firing pin). It would therefore take a conventional signal cartridge. I would hazard a guess that the calibre will be the same as the VK-M12.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is it for sale ?Thanks, PH
Yes it's for sale, with a bit longer than three days still to go on the auction. Currently it's had 47 bids and is at ¥52,000.
You will need to find someone to bid for it on your behalf and to handle the export from Japan, so it might not be practical to try buying it, but I can send you the auction link by PM if you want.
 
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