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    JSDF Helmets

    Senior Sergeant
    Senior Sergeant

    Name : Nate
    Location : USA
    Registration date : 2013-10-16
    Number of posts : 331

    JSDF Helmets Empty JSDF Helmets

    Post by TennoHeikaNate Sun Dec 04, 2022 7:07 am

    Was gonna post these in my dump thread, but after reconsidering I realized there was far much information now available on JSDF helmets that wasn't before, at least in English, that would potentially get lost if I threw these in with the other threads.
    Before anyone cements this post as fact, I'd like to call upon Double_Canister and the other members of the retro collecting channels of the JSDF.US Discord, if they are so inclined, to help guide me with some of the information, as I'm merely doing this as a way of assembling the following information, that much of it came from them. To my knowledge at the time of this writing, there's no real decent sources of English language information on JSDF helmets as it's quite the obscure category for Western collectors, so I'd like to make this thread as a gathering point for information and sources to help those fortunate enough to get their hands on any postwar and modern Japanese helmets, and those who are simply curious about them.
    So without further ado, let's get started!

    First up is a basic, well worn Type 66 shell, made by Kawasaki, dated "Showa 42" or 1967.

    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_37
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_38
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_36
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_39
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_40
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_41
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_44
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_43
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_42

    The Type 66, while being a fairly straightforward M1 copy, is distinctive in its larger, more downward pointing brim.
    This one had a rough life; it's very rusted, especially in the crown to the point where there is a hole, and somebody hit it with a grinder.
    There's several different sized stress fractures around the shell, two particularly noticeably large ones, especially in the rusted ring area around the outside of the shell.
    Finally there's the brim, which looks like it had an open flame on it at some point, and the inside of the brim was so rusted I had to hit it with a copper wire brush to be able to read the heat stamps.
    My guess is some serviceman used this to boil water or cook in, with a circular stand and everything.
    I don't know if the "42" tape on the front has any significance, so I left it on just to be safe.

    Here are some original spec sheets for the Type 66 that Double_Canister had found:
    JSDF Helmets Type6611
    JSDF Helmets Type6610

    Notice the swivel bales; as others had noticed, it seems by around 1955 the Type 66's swivel bales were changed from a large US M1 type to these smaller types.
    JSDF Helmets Thecre10

    Unfortunately I'm not very familiar with the chinstraps. To my knowledge, the Nifco SR-20 chinstrap on this shell is a PX purchase item; the initial standard issue chinstrap for the Type 66 was a long "Kabuto" tie type, nicknamed after the same named Samurai era helmets, also found on the previous Imperial Japanese Type 90 helmets. The Kabuto chinstraps weren't particularly well liked, so a vast variety of private purchase model chinstraps were made available.
    I can't exactly recall, but from photos it seems a *slightly* better hook type chinstrap with a sliding second loop acting as a chin cup replaced them sometime by the 70's, but there might have been variations or even different models issued throughout the lifespan of the Type 66.
    Here's a display of several of the later type chinstraps:

    JSDF Helmets Type_613
    JSDF Helmets Type_612

    As for the "Type 66" moniker, why they went for it I have no idea. Collector examples of Type 66s have been found to be dated as early as 1954.
    It's said the reason for their creation was the discovery during the pre-JSDF National Police Reserve (NPR) from the postwar to mid-50's era, that US Military Assistance Program M1s and their liner/suspension system were too large for the typical Japanese male's head.
    The Type 66 with its reshaped shell and newly indigenously designed lining and suspension system gave the newly formed JSDF a helmet that could both be properly worn by its forces, and still largely resembled the M1.
    Besides Kawasaki, other known manufacturers of the Type 66 shells include Daido Steel and Kobe Steel.

    Here's a liner I managed to pick up, unfortunately it's also a PX purchase one. It appears nearly 1:1 a copy of a US M1 liner; the issue ones have noticeably different suspension and lining, and are appropriately marked.
    While the shells and their matching liners were considered gov't property and heavily regulated, the liners were (and still are to this day) often worn for work and training duty.
    As such, many PX ones were made available to "save" the issue ones from being damaged or destroyed, as well as some PX liners having different styles of lining and suspension that the soldier might have preferred.

    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_45

    While most liners appear to be thermoplastic, some earlier ones appear to have been made of fiberglass. Also, some US M1 liners can occasionally be found mated to Type 66 shells.
    I've seen some white gloss painted liners, and issue liners typically have either reddish brown or blue colored leather (possibly pleather?) sweatbands.
    There were also airborne Type 66 helmets; their liners had a four point chinstrap and suspension assembly, as well as a nape pad, very similar to the M1C.
    At least one airborne Type 66 shell had 5 foam pads glued to its interior between the shell and liner for shock absorption, though I don't know if that was standard or just a case of individual modification.
    Here's a neat (not mine) double example of a fiberglass airborne liner, with 1961 dated suspension:

    JSDF Helmets Fiberg11
    JSDF Helmets Fiberg12
    JSDF Helmets Fiberg10

    Double_Canister had a Type 66 liner marked for "JB", believed to be Japan (Nippon) Bakelite, and another collector had a 1955 dated JB liner overstamped by Sumitomo.
    In 1955, Nippon Bakelite Co., Ltd. had merged with Sumitomo Synthetic Resin Industries, Ltd. to found Sumitomo Bakelite Co., Ltd.
    At this time I'm not sure what other manufacturers for the liners there were/are.

    Later, I managed to pick up a PX net, band, and Type 1 "Fang" camouflage cover for it.
    I'm not sure exactly how to tell between the issue nets and PX ones. This net is of the common type seen from the 60's onward, while early nets from around the 50's had very large holes compared to these ones.
    The issue helmet bands have 3 very large metal hooks that hook downwards onto the brim and rear of the helmet.
    In addition to this band, a large variety of PX and field made bands can be seen being used, including inner tube ones, as well as US M1 bands and early Type 88 camouflage bands by the late 80's and into the 90's as the transition to the Type 88 helmet occurred.
    While I have yet to see a Japanese made band with cat eyes, I have seen some photos from the 80's of some SDF personnel sewing singular cat eyes to the rears of their helmet covers.
    Note the binder clip I added for portrayal purposes; in some photos and collector examples, some SDF members can be seen clipping binder clips to the rear of their helmets to help hold them together and prevent rattling.

    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_47
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_46
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_48
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_50
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_49

    Later I found an original 1987 dated Fang cover. The PX one has solid-colored chinstrap slot reinforcements, less stitching around the edge, dark brown tie strings, brown grommets, and a black interior edge trim.
    The PX cover also has no markings while the issue cover has noticeable threads sewing the tag on, visible on the rear of the helmet when worn.
    Early Fang covers were of a 6-panel construction. While I'm not sure when they were first made and issued, it is believed sometime around the early 70's this "double seam" version began to replace them.

    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_51
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_52
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_53
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_54
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_57
    JSDF Helmets Origin11
    JSDF Helmets Origin10

    Here's a couple of photos showing the early 6 panel fang cover. The second (cropped) photo from 1969 also shows the middle and right paratroopers wearing covers made of US camouflaged parachute material.
    JSDF Helmets Early_11
    JSDF Helmets Early_10

    There were also Fang covers made for a short period for the Type 88 helmet, until the Type 2 camouflage pattern replaced it. Fang helmet covers can still be seen worn into the 2000's however.
    Alternatively, there were also Type 2 camouflage covers made for the Type 66.
    Some personnel in the 60's and 70's, particularly those in the 1st Airborne, made covers for their Type 66's out of US camouflage parachute material.
    Others still can be seen with what appeared to be hand painted covers.
    The SDF had their own "brown on light green" camouflaged parachutes, but I've yet to see any photos or examples of a helmet cover having been made out of those indigenous Japanese patterned camouflage parachutes.

    JSDF Helmets From_r11
    JSDF Helmets From_r12
    JSDF Helmets From_r10
    JSDF Helmets 210
    JSDF Helmets 003sk210
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_55
    JSDF Helmets Type_612
    JSDF Helmets Narash10
    JSDF Helmets Snoaea10
    JSDF Helmets First_14
    JSDF Helmets First_15
    JSDF Helmets First_13

    There were also white covers and chinstraps made for snowy areas.
    Interestingly, a lot of the covers have a single seam going down the middle like US M1 covers, they might even be US made white or painted over US M1 covers.

    JSDF Helmets Ssg_da11
    JSDF Helmets Member13
    JSDF Helmets Img_5210

    This photo from ORIENT SHIELD 85 is super noteworthy for many different elements of uniform and kit, but for the sake of staying on topic, I'll keep it focused on just the helmets.
    Note the wide variety of bands being worn, some helmets are scrimmed, nearly all are netted, and there's at least three examples of both sewn-on single cat eyes, and three "binder clipped" helmets.

    JSDF Helmets An_m-411
    JSDF Helmets Helmet10

    As for accessories, the SDF issued/issues a near copy of the US SWD goggles, but with a black band and without the "horns" on the foam.
    For some reason, I have yet to find a photo of a regular SDF soldier wearing a pair who isn't a tanker or vehicle operator.
    Private purchase goggles can rarely be seen, but for some odd reason the entire practice of regular infantry using goggles, even the paratroopers, wasn't a thing until around the 90's.
    Whether this was from a fear of damaging or losing one's pair of issued gov't property goggles or some doctrine thing I have no idea, but not even paratroopers on jumps or during live fire exercises can goggles be seen.
    I'm not positive on this, but to my knowledge during the Cold War personal night vision goggles and devices weren't in the inventory of the SDF, at least not for mass issue, so no NVG mounting brackets or devices for the Type 66 can be found. Only select personnel would get night vision optics mounted onto their weapons.

    JSDF Helmets Jeep_j11
    JSDF Helmets Jeep_j10
    JSDF Helmets Unknow29
    JSDF Helmets Dxlwnn10

    And with that, that's all I can think to cover on the Type 66 for now. Anything else I come up with I will add in subsequent replies.
    In an upcoming reply, I will cover the JGSDF tanker helmets, or at the very least the early model.
    In the meantime, everyone is more than welcome to share their own examples, information, ask questions, and all that good stuff.
    I also have more than plenty of reference photos of Type 66's and different covers, bands, nets, chinstraps, markings, etc. if anyone would like to request more.

    For now, enjoy!
    Senior Sergeant
    Senior Sergeant

    Location : California
    Registration date : 2011-12-12
    Number of posts : 399

    JSDF Helmets Empty Re: JSDF Helmets

    Post by Camonut314 Sun Dec 04, 2022 10:53 pm

    As always, a fantastic info dump and a veritable treasure trove of reference pictures! Thank you!

    TennoHeikaNate likes this post

    Senior Sergeant
    Senior Sergeant

    Name : Nate
    Location : USA
    Registration date : 2013-10-16
    Number of posts : 331

    JSDF Helmets Empty Re: JSDF Helmets

    Post by TennoHeikaNate Fri Dec 09, 2022 5:52 am

    Thank you camonut! Couldn't have done it without a lot of help though.
    That being said, I'll try tackling the first(?) model JGSDF tanker helmet now!

    Japan was provided some US surplus tanks after the end of WW2 for their National Police Reserve (later renamed the National Safety/Security Force) due to the advent of the Korean War and realization by General MacArthur
    from combat in Korea that if Japan were to be invaded at their current (early 1950's) condition without tanks and artillery, they would not be able to withstand an invasion force by a military following Communist combat doctrine.
    To alleviate this, the shift from National Police Reserve to National Security force began as the "police" forces were greatly upsized, and by the end of October 1952, 156 105mm howitzers, 72 155mm howitzers and 190 tanks were leased to Japan.
    The first tanks to arrive were M24 Chaffee's, ultimately receiving about 375 of them. Scarce photos exist of these when they were newly arrived, but from the ones available from early 1953, only M1 helmets can be seen being worn.
    Why former IJA tanker helmets, or a modification of them, were seemingly not utilized I don't know. Obviously the communication electronics would have necessitated modification of the IJA model tank helmet but a lack of photographs, surviving examples, and information currently leave a gap as to what exactly was all worn in that 1952 to late 1953/early 1954 period.
    (Source: The Korean War and The National Police Reserve of Japan: Impact of the US Army's Far East Command on Japan's Defense Capability by Kuzuhara Kazumi)
    JSDF Helmets M24s_o10
    JSDF Helmets Specia14
    JSDF Helmets D-tnn410

    The standard US tank helmet of this era was still the M1938. From my understanding of research on these, the M38 tank helmets were not individually issued, but rather a set number of helmets were included with each tank in predetermined sizes and were considered part of the tank's equipment.
    My best guess is that similar to the US M1 helmet, the M38 helmet (if any did end up arriving in Japan) would have the same issue of being too large for the average Japanese male's head, especially since the M38 did not have a chinstrap as either the metal stiffener "horns" or the M1 shell's chinstrap were intended to be used to secure it.

    By 1954, the transition from NSF to the JGSDF had occurred, and the donation of (eventually) a total of 232 M4A3E8 "Easy 8" Sherman tanks (and about 80 related M32 Tank Recovery Vehicles) were provided.
    JSDF Helmets M4a3e810
    Besides the helmets, there were issues with the American tanks from that start. Firstly, they were WW2 surplus and most all badly in need of servicing, and the lack of spare parts from the US meant that Japan had to start domestically producing their own and figuring out the maintenance. Secondly, by comparison even the smaller American tanks like the Chaffee were "spacious", to put it lightly, for the new GSDF tankers.
    One veteran's blog I read from a former GSDF Sherman crewman mentioned he and several others had to put cushions on their seats to see out of their periscopes, and some guys even had to tie blocks to their boots to reach the pedals.

    Believed to be somewhere around late 1953 or early mid 1954, the first images of what I *currently* call the first indigenously designed JGSDF tank helmet can be seen.
    I've unfortunately yet to see an early sample in a collection to be able to closely examine what differences it might have compared to my relatively late production one, but for the most part, it appears the general construction and appearance of the 1st model helmet was for the most part unchanged for the entirety of its lifespan from the mid 50's until its eventual disappearance sometime in the 2010's.

    It features some sort of thermoplastic (possibly originally fiberglass or some other materials) basic half spherical shell with three round vent holes on each side, and a small cutout for the ear phones on each side.
    It seems most, if not all production ones had three leather snap straps on the back to help secure a pair of goggles (originally a double oval lens pair, later replaced by the SWD copy goggles).
    Later ones tend to have some sort of metal spring hook assembly attached to the back rim, hooking onto both rear vent holes. I think it's for some sort of headphone/electronic assembly but I don't know for sure.
    The shell on mine also has three GITD strips glued on.
    Earlier models of these helmets had some sort of "bumper" riveted or screwed into the front brow of the helmet, probably for added impact protection. What this bumper was made out of (from photos it looks like it might by rubber or foam or some other softer material) I don't know for sure. It seems sometime after 1970 they were eventually removed.

    It has a 5-tongue leather liner, a basic webbing and string suspension, and notably a leather (shroud?) that covers the ears and a bit of the back of the head/upper nape area.
    The material over the ears have snaps to either secure them closed, or they can be rolled up and snapped to the shell to open (Also seen on a similar old Taiwanese tank helmet).
    Photos show when earphones were worn, the "ears" were usually worn snapped up, and often times the headphones were not worn and the ears were opened, probably to help with hearing.
    The chinstrap is a very basic leather strap with sliding buckle like the kind on M1 helmet liners that can be snap secured.

    The date on mine is 1985, and was made by Shoei. All examples I have seen were made by Shoei, so I'm unaware what other manufacturers there may be, as Shoei's roots came from Kamata Polyester Co. which was founded in 1954 who started by producing construction helmets.
    There is a "1" on the tag, which I assume is the size. Not sure how many other sizes there were.
    As the Type 1 "Fang" camouflage pattern came out, eventually custom made covers (made out of Type 66 covers) can slowly be seen topping these helmets, and by the 80's were a common sight on these helmets.
    Whether an official issue fang cover was ever made for these, I don't know, as I've never seen detailed shots of one of these covers from a tank helmet. Sometimes fang goggle covers can also be seen worn by tankers.
    I've tried fitting my PX fang Type 66 cover onto my tanker helmet, but it wouldn't fit without cutting a lot off of the hem of the cover, which I may do someday for display purposes.

    Around 1990, a newer model tank helmet was released along with the new Type 90 tank, similar in appearance but with a more streamlined shell, elongated oval vent holes, a more substantial chinstrap and lining/suspension, and slightly lowered rear half of the shell, as well as the updated electronics.
    Despite this, the changeover was slow, as these tank helmets are also worn by basically every SPG/APC/IFV/wheeled armored vehicle crewman in the GSDF's inventory.
    Photos of these 1st model helmets can be seen worn as late as 2011. The latest dated example I've seen was 2000.
    Factory made private purchase (and field made) Type 2 camouflage covers were also made for these helmets. They have specified details like holes for the vents, elastic hem, and holes for the snaps for the ears and goggle retention straps. I managed to get one these covers, but sadly it seems to be a size too small.
    Type 2 covers can also be seen on the newer 2nd model tanker helmets.
    As far as markings go, I haven't seen very many. The most significant ones were some OPFOR tankers with various styles of red tape on their shells.
    Some seem to have been either painted or covered white in snowy conditions as well, albeit rare occasion.

    With the "ears" closed:
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_58
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_59
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_60
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_61
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_62
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_63
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_64

    "Ears" open:
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_65
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_67
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_66
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_69
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_68

    With non-fitting Type 2 cover:
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_70
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_71

    And good ol' reference pics, starting with early "brow bumper" ones and proceeding chronologically as best I can.
    I will also cover some tanker uniform items in a separate post sometime later while reusing a lot of these pics.


    Thanks to Double_Canister for a lot of these!
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_72
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_73
    JSDF Helmets Self-d14
    JSDF Helmets Sherma10
    JSDF Helmets M24_of11
    JSDF Helmets Shikao10
    JSDF Helmets 28th_o10
    JSDF Helmets 42_nat10
    JSDF Helmets 1954_m10
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    JSDF Helmets Gettyi14
    JSDF Helmets Novemb12
    JSDF Helmets Seiji_11
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    JSDF Helmets Milita12
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    JSDF Helmets Member14
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    JSDF Helmets Type_711
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    JSDF Helmets 203mms10
    JSDF Helmets 06983810
    JSDF Helmets Tank_s10
    JSDF Helmets 18567410
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    JSDF Helmets 15746115
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    JSDF Helmets 20210610
    JSDF Helmets A_colu12
    JSDF Helmets A_japa13
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    JSDF Helmets Blindz10
    JSDF Helmets C8udhd10
    JSDF Helmets Char_d10
    JSDF Helmets Cogqfx11
    JSDF Helmets Cogqgu11
    JSDF Helmets Coswwf12
    JSDF Helmets Coswyg12
    JSDF Helmets Cuvjgc11
    JSDF Helmets Cyvnx112
    JSDF Helmets Ebxsuy11
    JSDF Helmets Eimprq12
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    JSDF Helmets Faatph10
    JSDF Helmets Faatrx10
    JSDF Helmets Fkpxjc10
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_74
    JSDF Helmets Un_sol10
    JSDF Helmets Type_615
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    JSDF Helmets 13th_b10
    JSDF Helmets 127m2_11
    JSDF Helmets 203mm_12
    JSDF Helmets 94100910
    JSDF Helmets 12002511
    JSDF Helmets 00605210
    JSDF Helmets 01605210
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    JSDF Helmets 15806010
    JSDF Helmets Cnz_k812
    JSDF Helmets Howz2011
    JSDF Helmets Hz203_12
    JSDF Helmets Jgsdf_75
    JSDF Helmets Self_d10
    JSDF Helmets Self_d11
    JSDF Helmets Tank_c12
    JSDF Helmets Tank_c13
    JSDF Helmets Tanker11
    Senior Sergeant
    Senior Sergeant

    Name : Nate
    Location : USA
    Registration date : 2013-10-16
    Number of posts : 331

    JSDF Helmets Empty Re: JSDF Helmets

    Post by TennoHeikaNate Fri Dec 09, 2022 6:17 am

    And like a fool I completely forgot to mention one notably accessory for the Type 66: the riot face shield.
    Not much known about it unfortunately, none of the following examples are mine.
    There seem to have been at least two variants, one with mouth vent holes and one without, with slightly varying construction for the band and bracket.
    They seem to have a metal band that fits around the helmet, presumably with some tightening device in the back, and at least two metal clips to secure it to the rim of the helmet.
    At least one post for the second collection photo mentioned "SB-8 type helmet", which I don't know if it refers to the shield itself or if perhaps there was a riot model helmet (police were known to have their own model of helmets despite sometimes using SDF Type 66's) but I couldn't say for sure.

    JSDF Helmets Duinld11
    JSDF Helmets Sb-8_t10

    JSDF Helmets Bulldo10
    JSDF Helmets Securi10

    Compare to this 1995 photo of police officers preparing for a raid on Aum Shinrikyo, wearing their similar Type 66 looking helmet, but it appears to be plastic with an attached vented face shield, and has a large nape pad and a leather chinstrap assembly similar to the tanker helmets.
    JSDF Helmets Police10

    I also forgot at least one instance of Type 66 markings; like the tankers, some regular forces can be seen with red tape on their Type 66's for OPFOR purposes.
    JSDF Helmets Member15

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