Murata rifle
The Murata Rifle was the first indigenously produced Japanese service rifle
Service rifle
The service rifle of a given army or armed force is that which it issues as standard to its soldiers. In modern forces, this is typically a highly versatile and rugged assault rifle suitable for use in nearly all theatres and environments...

 adopted in 1880 as the Murata Type 13. The 13 referred to the adoption date, the year 13 in the Meiji period
Meiji period
The , also known as the Meiji era, is a Japanese era which extended from September 1868 through July 1912. This period represents the first half of the Empire of Japan.- Meiji Restoration and the emperor :...

 according to the Japanese calendar
Japanese calendar
On January 1, 1873, Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar. Before 1873, the Chinese style lunisolar calendar had been in use since 7th century. Japanese eras are still in use.-System:...


The development of the weapon was lengthy as it involved the establishment of an adequate industrial structure to support it. Before producing a local weapons, Japan had been relying on various imports since the time of the Boshin War
Boshin War
The was a civil war in Japan, fought from 1868 to 1869 between forces of the ruling Tokugawa shogunate and those seeking to return political power to the imperial court....

, and especially on the French Chassepot
The Chassepot, officially known as Fusil modèle 1866, was a bolt action military breechloading rifle, famous as the arm of the French forces in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and 1871. It replaced an assortment of Minie muzzleloading rifles many of which were converted in 1867 to breech loading...

 after the Satsuma Rebellion
Satsuma Rebellion
The was a revolt of Satsuma ex-samurai against the Meiji government from January 29 to September 24, 1877, 9 years into the Meiji Era. It was the last, and the most serious, of a series of armed uprisings against the new government.-Background:...

. This was about 300 years after Japan developed its first guns, derived from Portuguese designs, the Tanegashima
is an island lying to the south of Kyushu, in southern Japan, and is part of Kagoshima Prefecture. The island is the second largest of the Ōsumi Islands....

s or "Nanban guns".

The design of the Murata was an adaptation of the French Gras rifle
Fusil Gras mle 1874
The Fusil Gras Modèle 1874 M80 was a French rifle of the 19th century. The Gras used by the French Army was an adaptation to metallic cartridge of the Chassepot breech-loading rifle by colonel Basile Gras. This rifle was an 11 mm caliber and used black powder centerfire cartridges that weighed...

, and the German Mauser rifle
Mauser Model 1871
The Mauser Model 1871 adopted as the Gewehr 71 or Infanterie-Gewehr 71 was the first of millions of rifles manufactured to the designs of Paul Mauser and Wilhelm Mauser of the Mauser company.During 1870-71 trials with many different rifles took place, with the "M1869 Bavarian Werder" being the...

. The Murata was later upgraded in several variants, some of which were used well into the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...


It was replaced by the Arisaka
Arisaka is a family of Japanese military bolt action rifles, in production from approximately 1898, when it replaced the Murata rifle, until the end of World War II in 1945...

 series of rifles in 1898, which also used the more modern smokeless powder
Smokeless powder
Smokeless powder is the name given to a number of propellants used in firearms and artillery which produce negligible smoke when fired, unlike the older gunpowder which they replaced...



  • Type 13 (1880) Preliminary model (11x60R). Bolt action, Single shot.
  • Type 18 (1885) Final version (11x60R). Bolt action, single shot.
  • Type 22 (1889) Smaller caliber (8x53R). Tube magazine weapon.
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