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20 Years of Japanese Helmets


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Airborne-Hunter

October will be my 20th anniversary in the hobby. There have been many ups and downs. Most notably it should be noted that my first ten years were marked by mistakes, missed opportunities and a lot of work. I suspect anyone entering the hobby would experience the same. I never seemed to find much in those first ten years, but by the time I entered my second decade, I started to find quite a bit more. I had to pull these out for a wild fire last year and this provided a good opportunity to take a photo together. Almost all of these were found in the last ten years. All came out locally.

There is one first pattern cover with added string for foliage. Two second pattern covers and a weird other cover. I have always wondered about the cover on the helmet in the front row, third from left, but its as I found it. There is one painted anchor and one metal anchor. The rest are army. I am still hoping for a netted example and a naval cover.

I think the best thing I can recommend to any new collector is to persevere and when you do find something, take the time to tag it, write where you found it, date, price, value and anything else relevant because you will forget with time. Best ABN

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Mr.Jerry

wow! awesome.  I always tell people that we encounter around 100 German helmets for every 1 Japanese helmet.

You should be proud!

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Scarecrow

That is just a stunning collection.  As Mr. Jerry said...."you should be proud".  Thanks for sharing.

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shemp h.

Nice haul ABN, I would love to see a photo of them all flipped over. I think we all went through the same ups and downs collecting, I started collecting Japanese in 1987 and had to sell everything in 2010 and it made me sick. But I'm now six years into my second collection and still going, and your suspicions about the cover third from left in the front row are correct, it is a repro from the seventies I had a pile of them.Good luck and good hunting.

 

                             Bill

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Airborne-Hunter
5 hours ago, Mr.Jerry said:

wow! awesome.  I always tell people that we encounter around 100 German helmets for every 1 Japanese helmet.

You should be proud!


I've heard similarly 20-30 German helmets for each Japanese and tend to agree. Needless to say, there are 16 Japanese helmets shown and I missed at least one or two. So I have at least 17 or 18. At 20:1 that would mean 350 German helmets.... I probably have slightly more German than Japanese, but not multiples. I have bought and kept every Japanese helmet I have ever run across. I have passed on a luftshutz and single decal luft (still kicking myself on that one though). Otherwise I have bought and kept every German I have found.

As to where they came from, I only tagged the ones I found later. Some I simply can't remember. The yellow anchor came out of a flea market in 2019 - it was sitting on a table fair game to everyone and anyone. The metal anchor came out of an estate sale. The two second pattern covers came direct from the vets. The first pattern cover came from a friend of mine who was given the helmet by the vet. The weird cover came from some guy who played with it as a kid. One army came out of a second hand store, one army a garage sale, one army an estate sale on the 2nd day in Texas, but I can't remember the rest off the top of my head.

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Airborne-Hunter
42 minutes ago, shemp h. said:

Nice haul ABN, I would love to see a photo of them all flipped over. I think we all went through the same ups and downs collecting, I started collecting Japanese in 1987 and had to sell everything in 2010 and it made me sick. But I'm now six years into my second collection and still going, and your suspicions about the cover third from left in the front row are correct, it is a repro from the seventies I had a pile of them.Good luck and good hunting.

 

                             Bill


This photo is from months ago. They're all put away now in their proper spots. But these all have their liners. Some are named. The photo doesn't include the 3-4 shells I have as well. I made the mistake of selling some stuff for some money around 2012 and have regretted it ever since. I have been fortunate and have made provisions such that that should never happen again. 

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Fortunes Of War

That's a beautiful collection of helmets; thanks for sharing!

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St.Lukas

Thanks for posting your collection. I collect Japanese navy headgear. I used to collect army as well but decided to concentrate on naval exclusively. I’m still hopeful we can get John’s book published. It’s shocking that there still isn’t a reference book on Japanese headgear! When time permits please post some individual photos that include interiors. Feel free to ask questions

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Airborne-Hunter
1 hour ago, St.Lukas said:

Thanks for posting your collection. I collect Japanese navy headgear. I used to collect army as well but decided to concentrate on naval exclusively. I’m still hopeful we can get John’s book published. It’s shocking that there still isn’t a reference book on Japanese headgear! When time permits please post some individual photos that include interiors. Feel free to ask questions


There's a decent forum thread on another forum website on Army helmets, but the name of that forum escapes me for the moment. Navals are very tough to find and I've noticed the vast majority on the internet/websites/auctions/shows are messed with/not right. Any specific ones you would prefer photos of?

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Airborne-Hunter

I pulled out one of the navys today and one of the army's that I had immediately available. First up is the army. I found this in an estate sale in January 2020 at an estate sale in Waco while I was visiting friends. Its just a shell, but it has what I presume are names etched into the paint all over it. I have never seen anything like this, but assume it is similar to the flags. More to follow ABN

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Airborne-Hunter

Here's some close ups of some of the etchings. 

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Airborne-Hunter

Here's my naval with painted anchor. It has a bullet hole entering from the liner and exiting the rear. Overall condition is used, but fairly decent considering the straps are present, liner is complete and the anchor is excellent. The liner is fairly stiff so I have never pulled up the flaps to look for stamps. It does show rust, particularly around the edge which I have been told was caused by the canvas covers. Not sure. I found this helmet sitting on a table with glass stemware at a flea market mid morning in July 2018. The seller tried to tell me it was WW1, but not everyone is an expert. Needless to say, one of my proudest finds. ABN

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St.Lukas

No idea why names would be added. Maybe a Japanese had his fellow soldiers ad their names? Love the navy! One I’d like to own! Nice and salty with battle damage. Navy didn’t ink stamp on reverse of liner pads like army

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Fortunes Of War

My guess on the army helmet with names: "Yamaguchi", "Nakagawa", etc. is that those were added postwar.  The helmet also appears to have the kanji for those names as well, although they are difficult to see for sure.  Whenever I see this on good luck flags (kanji name accompanied by Westernized name), they appear on flags that were presented as postwar gifts by Japanese workers and given to their American (or other) boss.  I like the navy one too!  Cool examples....... 

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Airborne-Hunter

I was going through some stuff today and was able to pull this shell out. I wish it still had the star, but this came out of a local estate sale in 2018. I know the Japanese were not known for camouflage, but this one most certainly looks period. Nonetheless an interesting piece. 

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Airborne-Hunter

This is my other naval and also came out of an estate sale, in 2014. It came with a few other Japanese Naval items, but they aren't quite relevant to this thread. 

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Airborne-Hunter

While I was playing with my metal anchor navy I started to look at this one again. This came out of a flea market Summer 2020. I've been told the lines are for Civil Defense, but the shell is a true military issue. I can't see that it ever had an emblem on the front, but I think the liner is a naval.

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ScottG
  • Yes the last one appears to be a Navy helmet. Very nice collection!   Scott
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Fortunes Of War

Nice long chin ties on that metal navy helmet!

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St.Lukas

Nice navy badged helmet! Are both chinstrap full length and ends sewn into points or sewn across? I also like the damaged stencil anchor helmet too! I have a damaged badged helmet.

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Fortunes Of War

Jareth- Can you take a picture of the liner?  That helmet took some blunt force..... 

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Airborne-Hunter
3 hours ago, St.Lukas said:

Nice navy badged helmet! Are both chinstrap full length and ends sewn into points or sewn across? I also like the damaged stencil anchor helmet too! I have a damaged badged helmet.

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The painted anchor has 1 strap that appears to be correct length and is sewn straight across approximately 1/4 inch above the frayed end. The metal anchor has the ends formed into points, but each is done differently. One side has each corner folded in to a center line to create a triangle like this /l\ . While the other has this but then the length of the strap is folded in half up the center line on the diagram in the preceding sentence and then sewn together. The white stripe naval does not have full length straps.  

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Old Marine

That is a fantastic collection.  I have been going to flea markets and junk stores for over 45 years and I’ve only found one Japanese helmets. Your collection is really impressive.   

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