Koishikawa arsenal

Coordinates: 35°42′20″N 139°44′57″E / 35.70556°N 139.74917°E / 35.70556; 139.74917

The Koishikawa Arsenal (小石川工廠, Koishikawa Kōshō), formally Imperial Japanese Army Tokyo Arsenal (日本帝国陸軍東京砲兵工廠, Nippon Teikoku Rikugun Tokyo Hōheikōshō) was an arsenal in the Koishikawa area of Tokyo, on the grounds of today's Tokyo Dome City and the Koishikawa Kōrakuen Garden. It was located on the ground of the former residence of the Prince of Mito.[1]

Koishikawa Arsenal
Tokyo hoheikosho.jpg
Tokyo Koishikawa Arsenal.
LocationKoishikawa, Tokyo, Japan
Japanese artillery unit, at the Koishikawa arsenal, Tokyo, in 1882. Photographed by Hugues Krafft.
Destruction of the Tokyo Koishikawa Arsenal in the Great Kantō earthquake in 1923.
Modern location of the Koishikawa arsenal, on the grounds of Tokyo Dome City and the Koishikawa Kōrakuen Garden.


Tokyo Koishikawa Arsenal, circa 1930.
Tokyo Koishikawa Arsenal near Suidōbashi.

The arsenal was inaugurated in 1871, soon after the Meiji restoration. One of its main early productions was the Murata rifle, the first locally produced Japanese rifle. As of 1893, it was producing about 200 rifles and 200,000 cartridges daily.[2] The arsenal was especially active between the two World Wars, as the Arisaka was produced there.[3]

The arsenal also produced airplanes after World War I for the Japanese army, and also for the Imperial Russian Army, which placed an order for 10 airplanes before 1916.[4][5]

Discipline and organization at the arsenal are thought to have been extremely strict, leading to the development of labor disputes in which the Koishikawa arsenal took a leading role in Japan.[6][7]

After the First World War, the Imperial Japanese Army Institute of Science was established within the Koishikawa arsenal. In 1937, the Number Nine Research Laboratory was established as a breakaway unit from this station.

The arsenal suffered considerable destruction during the Great Kantō earthquake on 1 September 1923. Complete reconstruction was deemed too expensive, so that the arsenal was transferred to Kokura in Kyūshū (小倉工廠) in October 1935, after 66 years of operation.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Koishikawa Arsenal ( Ho-hei Kosho) occupies the site of the former mansion of the Prince of Mito. Here are manufactured the celebrated Murata rifles. An order from the military authorities is necessary to gain admittance." in A handbook for travellers in Japan Basil Hall Chamberlain, W. B. Mason p.122
  2. ^ "The arsenal of Koishikawa is Woolwich on a smaller scale, with 200 rifles and 200000 cartridges for its day's work." in The Real Japan Henry Norman 1893
  3. ^ Rifles of the World John Walter p.32
  4. ^ "An order has recently been placed at the Koishikawa Arsenal by Russia for the manufacture of ten aeroplane motors. The authorities have accepted it, it is understood, although recently an order for 300 planes from Petrograd was declined by them owing to the limited capabilities of the arsenal." in Anti-aircraft Journal Vol. 45, 1916
  5. ^ "Journal of the United States Artillery". 1916.
  6. ^ "The Koishikawa Arsenal, for example, was arguably the most hierarchic, tightly controlled worksite in the nation." in Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan Andrew Gordon
  7. ^ Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan Andrew Gordon p.74