Although Japan had extensive experience with artillery, as the result of its war with Russia in 1904-05, and had the technology and industrial infrastructure to construct medium or large caliber naval weapons prior to World War I, planners at the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff turned to Krupp in Germany, for the latest trend in artillery design. Initial units were imported, and then eventually over 2000 units, which were designed "Type 38" in Japan, were produced under license by the Army’s Osaka Arsenal.
The original Type 38 gun had a conical interrupted-thread breech, a single box type trail which limited gun elevation to only 16°30'. Also, there were no equilibrators as the trunnions were at the gun barrel's center of balance. All of these shortcomings were remedied with a redesign following World War I.
After World War I, these weapons were considered largely obsolete. However, by this time, Japanese production capabilities had improved, and the Type 38 underwent a re-design in Japan to improve the carriage, with a corresponding increase in elevation, range and rate of fire to 10-12 rounds per minute.