Japanese IJN M22 1931 Variant

IJN Sailor in Shanghai, 1932. Note the brass naval badge.*

General Information: The Japanese “Cherry Blossom” helmet is a collector term for this model. Officially, it was called the “Provisional Standard Head Armor” and was referred to as “kabuto” (head armor). Collectors also use the terms Model 1922 or Model 1918 Type 2, or Second Model M18. For more information on this type, please see my other post on this subject: Japanese “Cherry Blossom”.

In 1931, after the Imperial Japanese Army’s adoption of the Type 90 helmet, 3,250 Cherry Blossom helmets were produced concurrently with the new line of helmets.[1] Cherry Blossom helmets from this production run borrowed design elements from the Type 90s, notably the three-point chinstrap system and the two pairs of ventilation holes on the top.

Needless to say, this late-production variant of the Model 1922 is exceedingly rare.

Displayed Example: This helmet surfaced recently (fall 2022) in flea market in a small town in northeastern North Carolina. It was purchased by a picker from a seller who said somebody had given it to him and he did not know anything about the history of the piece. Given that it surfaced in the United States for a small sum, it was likely something brought back by a US veteran of the war in the Pacific. I bought it from the picker for a larger sum.

The helmet has had a rough life, but most of the original factory brown paint, sometimes referred to as “imperial brown” is still intact. The liner is long gone, but remnants of the chinstrap are still there. There is a faint, small arsenal stamp embossed in the back rim. The original owner’s name is written in white paint in a manner very similar to the other Cherry Blossom helmet in my collection. The outline of an Imperial Japanese Navy anchor badge is visible on the front.

Collector Notes: The good news is that the late-production Cherry Blossom helmets have not been reproduced or faked, so you do not have to worry about fraud or misrepresentation. The bad news is that you will probably never see one for sale.


* Nila, G. and R.A. Rolfe. Illustrated by Tony Chong. Series editor Martin Windrow. “Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces: Uniforms and equipment 1932–45.” Men-at-Arms. 432. Photo credit: Eric Doody. https://download.e-bookshelf.de/download/0000/7057/78/L-X-0000705778-0007112298.XHTML/index.xhtml. Accessed November 21, 2022.

[1] Komiya, Nick. “The 1922 Model Helmet, Cherry Blossom.” Wehrmacht Awards. November 12, 2011. https://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/forum/ken-jasper-international-militaria-forums/japanese-militaria-forum/553490-the-1922-model-helmet-cherry-blossom. Accessed November 2, 2022.

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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