Product Description: This Blood-Stained Japanese Helmet is an extremely evocative and desirable artifact, with wonderful provenance. This helmet was taken as a souvenir from Iwo Jima by USMC Corporal Douglas Leahy, and a letter of provenance from the collector who obtained the helmet from Leahy is included with the helmet. With regard to this piece, Leahy stated, “This Japanese combat helmet was liberated from the island of lwo Jima by Corporal Douglas Leahy, U.S.M.C., from a Japanese major who had no further use for it. Helmet was found with its former owner inside the command bunker after it was neutralized by demolitions.” The exterior of this helmet is covered with its original cloth cover. The cover shows obvious signs of wear and use, with scattered spots and marks. There is an added canvas reinforcement strip around the edge. The top of the cover has large blotches of reddish-brown staining, and a Kastle-Meyer presumptive blood test performed on these stains was positive for the presence of hemoglobin, indicating a heavy amount of blood. The front of the cover is adorned with a multi-piece insignia with bullion star, which is hand sewn to the cover. There is a hand-sewn repair to a small tear on the front, and one side of the cover is adorned with several Japanese characters, presumably the owner’s name. The drawstring is intact. Inside, the helmet retains a badly torn original liner. The liner has manufacturer stamp in black ink, and there are some Japanese Kanji characters embroidered in green thread. One hoop that connects the liner to the helmet shell has been replaced. The interior of the shell retains the original factory applied paint and has a Japanese character painted in white paint. This is an absolutely top-shelf helmet, with tremendous visual appeal. Japanese helmets of this quality are extremely rare. The condition of this Blood-Stained Japanese Helmet rates as excellent.
Historical Description: The Imperial Japanese Army numbered 1,700,000 soldiers in 1941. By August 1945, this number had swelled to 6,095,000 men. During the course of the war, these men were sent to areas of operations that spanned a huge part of the globe, including the Mongolian border, Hong Kong, the Phillipines. Thailand, Burma, Dutch East Indies, and Malaya. These soldiers were issued a wide variety of uniform and equipment items. They had specialized footwear, helmets and other headgear, and different types of uniforms intended for the varying (and often extreme) climates in which Japanese soldiers fought. As with all of the major combatants of WWII, the Japanese also had special insignia to identify ranks and roles of individual soldiers, as well as decorations to reward soldiers for their service and achievements. American soldiers who fought in the Pacific Theater avidly sought Japanese items as souvenirs, and they collected not only flags, weapons and helmets, but items of personal equipment and even personal items of Japanese soldiers. Today, all aspects of WWII Japanese Army uniforms, insignia, equipment, and awards, remain collectible historic items.
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