The Type I were manufactured circa 1941-44, this one has a Showa date of "18" (1943) stamped on the frame. Even though there were an estimated 5,000 made in total, they are somewhat rare in that all of the pistols were issued to units being sent to China during the early part of WWII. The few surviving examples were captured in the Pacific Theater from officers or units that were transferred there before the end of the war.
In a unique partnering arrangement, the Type 2 pistols were manufactured by the Notobe factory using tooling provided by Nagoya Arsenal and then shipped "in the white" to Nagoya's Toriimatsu factory where they would be inspected, blued, and issued to the various Japanese military units. The original production contract was intended for 500 guns.
However, collectors feel only 10 guns of the original 500 production pistols actually exist today. C.F. Author of Military Pistols of Japan, Fred Honeycutt Jr. identifies the highest known serial number of a Hamada, pg 124, Hanada type II as 50, this very pistol.
It is speculated that most assembled pistols were saved as souvenirs by various GIs and the remaining original unfinished pieces destroyed after the war.
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