Old firearms and swords are seen on the grounds of Tanashi Elementary School in Nishitokyo on Monday Photo: NISHITOKYO MUNICIPAL GOV'T OFFICE

1,400 guns, 1,200 swords from WWII era found buried at Tokyo elementary school


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1,200 swords... I think they and the other weapons and such were hidden so occupation forces couldn't take them.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

I'd like to hear the condition they were found in, were they dumped and buried there as disposal or were they properly protected before being buried in case they could be retrieved later. Historical finds like this can be fascinating.

27 ( +28 / -1 )


according to the story on the Mainichi website


I'd say either the arms were dumped for disposal purposes, or if they were stashed in an attempt at later retrieval, they were done so improperly or for the short term and then whoever did it was unable to get them back later.

They're in pretty bad shape.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

David Varnes

A shame, there is something special about Japanese swords.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

In Japan, unexploded bombs and weapons are still sometimes found, even in residential areas. But it is rare for weapons used by the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army to be recovered in such a large quantity at one time.

Okinawa is still a part of Japan, and unexploded ordnance is found quite often here. It will be probably more than a hundred years before it's all found, if ever!

There are still idiotic tourists that try to take unexploded shells, hand grenades, bullets and what not on their flights back home.

4 ( +7 / -3 )


Thanks for the link. That picture pretty much answers my question. That's a shame everything looks pretty much destroyed. I agree it looks like it was just a dumping ground that was lost track of.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Wow cool, put them up for auction after decommissioning the guns

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Burn them all before they're used to fuel even more nationalistic xenophobia

-14 ( +5 / -19 )

Not really surprising to be found here. Its a well known fact, yet... seemingly deleted from Japanese history, that schools during that time were military prep institutions. Half the "classes" were getting the kids ready to become soldiers later. Later in the war when the desperation began they pretty much stopped teaching regular subjects at all and simply started training the children as soldiers and a last line of defense for a mainland invasion (along with the those who were thought too old to originally join the war)

4 ( +8 / -4 )


Take a look at the link David Varnes provided. There's nothing to sell. Nature has already decommissioned everything.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

edit: and now I see there is the same picture added to this article. Still wishing for that edit button.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They could be used for ww3, at least by some people 80 years ago.

-20 ( +1 / -21 )


A shame, there is something special about Japanese swords

Yes, but not about WWII swords. Mass wartime production of low quality.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I hope this will encourage the students to learn more about this time in Japanese history.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I am intrigued by the mention of cannonballs... really, cannonballs in WWII?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

KaishuToday 07:06 am JST

David Varnes

A shame, there is something special about Japanese swords.

Well not really when it comes to 軍刀. Mass produced in a rush.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Everywhere in Japan weapons, airplane engines, military equipment, ordnance were squirreled away, out of sight of the unsuspecting Americans, on the orders of Japanese officials harboring revanchist fantasies or fears of the displeasure of the occupying forces were such caches to be discovered. Mark Gayn's revealing book "Japan Diary" shows how the Japanese completely outfoxed the naive Americans, handicapped linguistically and without the adequate manpower to effectively "occupy" a foreign nation of 80 million.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

They could be used for ww3, at least by some people 80 years ago.

........Time to log out!

I am intrigued by the mention of cannonballs... really, cannonballs in WWII?

Japan used Type 89 cannons in WW2, so not odd at all.


5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japanese army must hava hurriedly tried to hide it temporarily by seeing occupation forces with the intention of retrieving it later but never got that chance.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

farhaan, there is no doubt that there are still things like these buried somewhere, even abroad, waiting for being "discovered".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Wow!! I lived in Tanishi in high school for a short time and visited this elementary school many times. Amazing that I might have walked above the grounds that held these weapons!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'll take one sword please, thank you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

From the photo everything looks like one big pile of tetanus and a shot awaits. However, they still have value.

You maybe able to get the name of the owner or the maker off the sword. Most likely you have a mix & mashup of many different genre of swords. One's that may have been passed down through generations made by a famous smith. Or one that was standard issue and machine made.

I am curious as what type of rifles were unearthed.

Here is interesting page I check in with every so often.


But a cool find indeed. A good read too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Judging by the picture, which makes them all look like burdock roots or bundles of sticks, these won't be used even for display. Interesting find, though.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

These are cheap swords, made from bad iron, no national treasures among them. It

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There are probably more unearthed weapons leftover from World War II. Weapons probably intended for use by the Japanese civilian homeland defense in anticipation of the Allied invasion that (fortunately) never came.

See Operation Ketsu-Go for details on the preparation of the homeland defense and plans


3 ( +3 / -0 )

I hate war but this is a memory of what we were.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cannon balls? I suspect a mistranslation from the Japanese.

The type 89 still fired shells not cannon balls.

If the IJA were really resorting to cannon balls they were even more desperate than I thought! Even Captain Mannering went that far :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

never went that far :) Please can we have an edit button!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I didn't see that picture at first, it was not available, but after seeing it, I think they buried the weapons as a show of Peace. Because if you did someday want to re-dig them up, you would have wrapped them in something protective, those appear to have been just dumped in to a large hole.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


Fair point. But surely a “show” if any kind needs to be done publicly, to some degree.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


0 ( +0 / -0 )

SaikoPhysco: "I think they buried the weapons as a show of Peace."

I very, very much doubt that. They probably realized they might not be used again, but they were just dumping them and running, maybe worried that the cache might fall into the hands of the enemy. They weren't buried in a "show of peace".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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