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Item:
ONJR21179

Original Japanese WWII Rare Civil Defense German Pattern "Stahlhelm" Helmet with Liner

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Scarce original WWII Japanese Civic Helmet cast from aluminum which mimics the pattern of a German M-35 Stahlhelm. Complete with original suspension and liner. The helmet exhibits a beautiful original painted finish, and the lining is in exceptional condition, which is amazing for how delicate and fragile the original design and materials were for when the helmet was made. Painted in the helmet in Katakana is the Japanese word/name “Sakurawi” followed by the Western number 3 (サクラヰ 3).

Unlike in Germany, where helmets were officially issued by the police, civil defense, fire brigade, and so on, thus tying a certain design to a certain organization, Air-raid helmets in Japan, However,  were completely different. The helmets themselves were a commercial product that a citizen could simply buy off the shelf at department stores. Due to the nature of these being a commercial product, a wide array of styles were made.

In Imperial Japan, various commercial designs were already available as early as 1938, when they officially put helmets under price control. The Home Ministry, responsible for the police and fire brigade, had an established quality rating scale depending on the level of protection they offered. Their "class 1" rating practically meant steel helmets with steel thickness of 1.2mm or more and weighing 920 grams or more, and these were accorded the highest prices. This was followed by steel and molded fiber hybrid helmets weighing 600 grams or more. But for less than half the price of such Home Ministry certified products, you could buy them in wood, bamboo, paper mache, etc to suit your budget.

As the war progressed, steel would become reserved for military use and aluminum and other alloy helmets became more common. The German M35-like designs are typical from this middle phase of the war when they still had ample access to aluminum.

The only officially issued paramilitary helmet in Japan was for the Japanese counterpart of the Luftschutz established in 1939 as an auxiliary to the police and fire brigade. The official excuse to issue them helmets as explained in August 1941 was to "give them protection from antiaircraft gun shrapnel that would rain down on them". These helmets were established on paper immediately before the war with the USA broke out, so what was actually issued under wartime restrictions seldom reflected what had been originally intended.

This is an exceptional example of a very rare helmet that even the most advanced Imperial Japanese collections are missing. These do not turn up very often!

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