This rifle was used by Japan in World War II from 1939 to 1945. It is a bolt-action rifle firing a 7.7mm caliber bullet, and was designed by Japanese Army Colonel Nariakira Arisaka. It is called the type 99 because it was introduced into service in the Japanese calendar year of 2599, which corresponds to the year 1939.
The Type 99 was produced in several versions, and the original standard rifle came with a folding wire monopod intended to improve accuracy in the prone position. It also had a folding rear sight that featured folding horizontal extensions intended for greater accuracy when shooting at aircraft. The monopod and antiaircraft sight extensions were not very effective during the war, so they were eliminated on later rifles. As the war progressed, the quality of manufacture and of the materials it was made of steadily diminished. Despite this, rifles made near the end of the war still shot just as well as the early war rifles.
Another feature of the Type 99 was an engraving of the imperial chrysanthemum on top of the rifle receiver. An image of the chrysanthemum flower is a national seal and a crest used by the Emperor of Japan and members of the Imperial Family. It was placed on an item of military equipment to show that it belonged to the emperor, and was used under his authority. When Japanese weapons were surrendered at the end of the war, Japanese soldiers would deface or remove the chrysanthemum. This was done to indicate that the rifle no longer belonged to the Emperor, and also to preserve his honor.
U.S. Marines and U.S. Army soldiers returning from the Pacific theater brought these rifles home with them as trophies and souvenirs at the end of the war, so there are many Type 99 rifles available in America. As luck would have it, an early version of this rifle is owned by the Minnesota Wing of the CAF. Our rifle is an early version, complete with monopod, antiaircraft sight, and defaced chrysanthemum.
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