Dan, Dangan or Hôdan
Shell or projectile.
Eiryôdan or Eikôdan
Tracer Shell.
Smoke shell.
Exercise (inert training) projectile.
Jigen Enshûdan
Times Exercise (time fuzed) projectile.
Target Shell.
Seidan (before 1938) or Shômeidan A (after 1938)
Illumination (star) shell without parachute.
Shômeidan B
Illumination (star) shell with parachute.
Shrapnel shell.
Shôi ryûsandan (Sankaidan)
Incendiary shrapnel shell (Fragmentation).
Armor Piercing (AP) projectile.
Hibô Tekkôdan
Capped Armor Piercing (APC) projectile.
Common projectile.
Hibô tsûjôdan
Capped Common projectile.
Shôi tsûjôdan
"Pillar coloring shell." Shell containing a dye for coloring the splash.


Chakuhatsu Shinkan
Percussion fuze.
Dan shinkan
Shell fuze.
Dantei Shinkan
Base fuze.
Dantô Shinkan
Nose fuze.
Fukudô Shinkan
Double action fuze (instantaneous and timed).
Kikai jigen shinkan
Time fuze.


Bursting Charge (inside projectile).
Propellant charge.
Jô sôyaku
Full charge.
Jaku sôyaku
Reduced charge.
Gen sôyaku
Light or half charge.
Kyô sôyaku
Heavy or proof charge.
Powder (gunpowder, propellant powder).



The following description is adapted from "Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War" by Eric Lacroix and Linton Wells II:

Shimose, a picric acid burster roughly equivalent to British Lyddite, was adopted prior to the Russo-Japanese War. Like most bursters derived from picric acid, the Japanese found that shells using this had a tendency towards premature detonation.

Following the end of World War I, the Japanese obtained a quantity of German AP shells which used a TNT - beeswax mixture for the burster (Fülpulver C/02) enclosed in a "pulp" mantle as a dampener and a wooden plug at the top of the explosive cavity which acted as a buffer against the impact shock. Based upon this knowledge, the Japanese developed a similar enclosure made of hardended stone plaster pulp and parafin and the burster was changed to a mixture of wax with Shimose. This development was in an advanced stage by 1922 when the Japanese purchased some AP shells from the British armament firm of Hadfields, Ltd., Sheffield, in order to examine the latest British improvements.

Lessons learned from this examination and from live-fire experiments were incorporated into the new shell designs finalized in June 1925 and adopted as the 5 Gô hibo tekkodan (APC Model 1925). These shells still had some degree of premature or low-order detonations and in 1928 they were replaced with the improved Type 88 (APC Model 1928) which had an improved container for the burster among other modifications. A few years later in 1931, the Japanese adopted TNA (tri-nitro-anisol), which was more stable explosive than shimose. This burster was designated as Type 91 bakuyaku (Model 1931 Explosive) and was used for the Type 91 APC and Type 1 APC shells during World War II.

Cordite in various forms was used by the Japanese from about 1890 to the end of World War II. Different formulations were used, most containing about 30 percent nitroglycerin and 65 percent nitrocellulose with the remainder being stabilizers. Nominal diameters of the cords were given in units of 0.1 mm (0.004"). For example, DC80 would be cordite with cords of 8 mm (0.315") diameter.
Powder Bags
Powder bags appear to have been made from wool up to 1942 at which time silk ones were introduced.


Machine Gun.
Caliber (bore).
High Angle (AA) Gun.
Type (year designation).
Quick Firing Gun (QF).

Imported Gun Designations

Many European armament firms built guns for the Japanese Navy during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Some of the more famous ones are listed below.

Antotokuryû hô
AN Type Gun (British Armstrong).
HI hô
HI Type Gun (British Vickers), this is also shown as BI hô.
Kanot (?) hô
KA Type gun (French Canet).
Kuryôhaku hô
Koku Type Gun (German Krupp).
Ruizu kiju
RU MG (Lewis MG)

Page History

02 July 2008
27 May 2012
Updated to latest template
27 September 2015
Corrected typographical error