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July 27, Tanashi Elementary School, Japan – Approximately 2,600 pieces of severely deteriorated WW2-era weapons were discovered while a construction company began work at Tanashi Elementary School. According to a report posted on the Nishitokyo Municipal Government website, an assortment of rifles, machine guns, grenades, swords and bayonets was discovered after crews drilled 3-7 feet in areas within the school grounds. About 1,400 firearms, 1,200 swords and at least 8 practice grenades were unearthed. Judging from the photos, the weapons are composed of mostly pre-1945 issue armaments, including various models of Arisaka rifles, Type 11 and Type 96 LMGs, Type 3 heavy machineguns, bayonets and grenade throwers.

A large cache of weapons was unearthed recently in an elementary school just
outside Tokyo (

Most of the cache was dug up from this 15 x 12-foot pit (

The rusted remains of one of several Type 11 LMGs

Piles of rusted receivers of Arisaka rifles were also discovered.
Notice how the wooden stocks have long since rotted away

Local police and members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force were called in to secure the weapons and safeguard the local populace. A local newspaper, the Manichi Daily noted that while many WW2-era weapons and unexploded ordnance are still found in Japan, “it is rare for weapons used by the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army to be recovered in such a large quantity at one time.” It’s not known whether the site at which the Tanishi school was any sort of school campus during WW2, but officials of the Japanese Imperial Army made it a policy to include military training to students as part of their curriculum during those times.

Perhaps in anticipation of the coming conflict, Japanese Imperial Army officials
made some military training part of their educational systems’ regular curriculum.
Photo shows Japanese female students marching during a school visit of the JIA’s 3rd Regiment.
Photo is dated from the year 1938 (Photo from the Library of Congress).

Unearthing a large cache of weapons like these is unusual, since after the surrender of Japan in September of 1945, virtually all the country’s weapons and military equipment were surrendered to be scrapped, exported as trophies or museum pieces, or simply disposed of by throwing them into the sea.

Here, U.S. Marines at Futtsusaki Point near Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, are photographed
destroying Japanese small arms in the first step toward disarming the Japanese. Photo was released in August 30, 1945 (Photo: U.S. Navy Historical & Heritage Command).