Object Title

Matchlock musket (hinawa ju)

Matchlock musket (hinawa ju)



Object Number



Presented in 1958; from the collection of Major Ernest Ambler (d. 1958).

Physical Description

The barrel is octagonal, slightly swamped and with a plain muzzle. Simple triangular foresight and a single backsight decorated by a concave forward section. The barrel is fastened to the stock by four pierced lugs underneath. On the upper surface of the barrel near the breech is a mon inlaid in silver in the form of a circle containing a five section melon shape within which was a five petalled flower, now missing. The barrel is further decorated, probably at a later date, with a pine tree in brass and herons in silver. The pan, pan cover and flash guard are of the usual type.
The stock is of kashi (red oak) in the style used by the Sakai group. All of the pin holes are surrounded by decorative chrysanthemum shaped inlays whilst the remainder of the furniture is engraved with peonies. On the outer face of the butt is inlaid a shishi in brass with a peony on the reverse. Inside the barrel channel is an inscription in ink. Typical brass lock with external mainspring of brass. Inside, the horizontal scear is of iron, the tail wrapped with paper to take up movement.


Dimensions: The length of the barrel is 103 cm, width across the breech is 3 cm, the width across the muzzle is 2.2 cm. The bore is 1.33cm at the muzzle corresponding to a 3 momme bore (taking a 12.5 mm ball). Weight: The weight of the barrel is 2.79 kg, the overall weight is 4.14 kg.

Inscriptions and Marks

Signed under the breech 'Niju kenchu Goshu Kunitomo Tobei Shigeyasu'. Inscribed in ink in the barrel channel is the name 'Ku? Kichibei' and 'Byo?'


Places Japan, Omi

Bibliographic References

Dorling Kindersley, Weapon. A visual history of arms & armour, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London, 2006, p. 157


This gun is interesting in that it is made up from a Kunitomo barrel that has been stocked by the Sakai group. Shigeo Sugawa in 'The Japanese Matchlock' states that it was not uncommon to have had good Kunitomo barrels stocked in Osaka.