WW2 JAPANESE PILOTS/ARMY DUST GOGGLES
In the early 1920s the Japanese Imperial Army Air Force procured much equipment of French origin. It is possible that examples of the type of goggles arrived then. In the early 1920s they were used as aviator’s goggles, these appear to have been leather masked with nickel or chromed plated frames. The most common use of the type, however, was from 1930 as general purpose dust goggles for ground troops. They were designated ‘Dust Proof Glasses’ (防塵眼鏡 ‘Bōjin Megane’) Type 5 (1930 = fifth year of Hirohito’s reign = Showa year 5). The later military ‘Dust Proof Glasses’ had khaki painted frames and the mask seems to have evolved through time, with early ones made of leatherette and wartime production being a high quality lightweight pale khaki canvas. There are numerous pictures of them being used by troops in the dusty environments of central Asia during the 1930’s and elsewhere in WWII. Although from 1930 Japanese tank crews had their own special laminated ‘Armoured’ goggles based on the British Triplex ‘Featherweights’ of WWI, non-armoured land transport troops, dispatch riders and ground troops used these lightweight folding lens Type 5 dust goggles through the 1930s to the end of WWII.
Figure 12. Japanese armoured vehicle driver in the Philippines wearing Type 5 dust goggles. They were not however, issued as specialist Tank Goggles, but were for general purpose.
These were originally Army issue, but when Naval Landing Forces started routinely operating on land, they adopted these Army goggles as well as several other items of ground troop equipment. Examples of early leather flight pairs are marked ‘Yamamoto Manufacturing, Iwatani’. The Type 5 Dust Goggle was usually issued in a small, neat, thick leather pouch with a rear loop for threading onto a belt, either shut with a tongue and loop closure, or a snap fastener.
Figure 13. A development sketch of the Type 5 ‘Dust Proof Glasses’. The production goggles, which are usually seen have a simpler elastic strap with double slider adjustment, sewn directly to the mask, unlike the perforated strap shown here, which loops through a slot on the mask. Also the distinctive metal hinge seems to be absent in this drawing.
Figure 14. Leather cases, the top three are Japanese military for the Type 5. The (left) has a snap fastener, (right) has a tongue and loop closure. At top a rear view showing belt loop
Offered today is a pair of Japanese issued Pilots/Army dust goggles in their original case and in excellent condition