THE JAPANESE MATCHLOCK
The Japanese matchlock has been used in Japan since the middle of the 16th
century when it was introduced into Japan by the Portuguese. It came to
be known throughout the world as the Tanegashima (named after the island
of its original port of entry), and has maintained its original style and
construction since its inception into Japan. Made and used for about 300
years, it is one of the world's longest utilized guns.
As noted, the matchlock entered Japan during the Sengoku period ( the age
of the country at war) and earned its place among the weapons of war such
as the sword, spear, and bow. While the basic components of the matchlock
remained relatively unchainged over the years, they were made in a great
number of shapes, sizes, and varieties; so much so that it is difficult
to find two that are exactly alike.
Below you will find a diagram of the generic matchlock with its parts defined.