ORIGINAL JAPANESE EDO PERIOD TANEGASHIMI MATCHLOCK RIFLE WITH BALL TRIGGER
The Japanese Matchlock rifle is an extremely interesting weapon, especially considering the historical impact of firearm development in Japanese history. It was crafted probably in the late 1700s or early 1800s as a matchlock firearm using black powder and a very primitive ignition system, far behind the rest of the world. This type of gun is often referred to as a Tanegashima (???), after the island where a Chinese junk with Portuguese adventurers on board was driven to anchor by a storm in 1543. The local lord purchased two matchlocks from the Portuguese, and then had his sword smith copy the weapon. Some parts of the process were problematic, so a Portuguese blacksmith was brought over to assist, and the guns were completed, with much success.
These were also often called in Japanese and sometimes in English hinawaju (???), or "matchlock gun", and they were used by the samurai class and their foot soldiers (ashigaru). Within a few years the introduction of the Tanegashima in battle changed the way war was fought in Japan forever. They were used extensively in the wars leading to the formation of the Tokugawa shogunate 1603, which began the Edo period (????, Edo jidai) or Tokugawa period (????, Tokugawa jidai) of Japanese history. This is the period between 1603 and 1867, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional daimyo.
During this time, Japan returned to being essentially a closed society, essentially blocking contact with the outside world. There was also a general lack of the large scale field battles where firearms were most effective. Due to this, advances in metallurgy and firearms ignition systems never reached the artisans in Japan. In a country that venerated tradition, the use of the Tanegashima continued for over 300 years, until the 1870s and early 1880s with the coming of the MEIJI era in 1868. This was the beginning of the modernization of Japan, however the old Shogun War Lords wishing to maintain the old way rebelled in the SATSUMA REBELLION of 1878.
This Tanegashima is a very utilitarian example with minimal ornamentation dating very probably to around 1750-1850, and it is a weapon of beauty. It has a smooth bore barrel of 39 1/2" with a flared muzzle with an overall length of 51 1/2". It has a simple wood stock, which has a seam on the bottom terminating in a small bone inlay by the breech band. It is all brass mounted, with small round brass barrel escutcheons. There is a brass pipe running through the stock, used to direct the excess match lock wick through the stock and out of the user's way. The matchlock action is all brass, complete with pan cover and serpentine hammer or fuse holder. The brass ball trigger has been tested by us with the match lock action being fully functional. There is still the proper brass pan cover to prevent accidental ignition. The lock cocks and dry fires correctly as well.
If you are considering purcahsing this weapon please ensure that it conforms to the Police firearms regulations and licensing requirements of you state. This rifle does not require a license in WA