This is a stunning 1957 Super Grade .30-06 rifle which has a link to a fascinating part of US military history.
US soldiers based abroad have always been able to purchase and possess personal firearms, which is one of the reasons you will find US rifles mixed into the culture of most places where America has military bases on foreign soil. It is not surprising to see this in places which already had flourishing hunting and shooting cultures such as Germany, but feels less natural in places like Japan - and yet it is there. This rifle is a part of the unique gun culture which existed in Japan through the 1950s and into the 1970s.
After the Japanese surrender in WWII, the US established the "Far East Command" in Tokyo - an extension of the US military under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. This was the beginning of US forces being based on Japanese soil - something which continues to this day. US soldiers brought their interest of firearms with them and this resulted in a small number of Japanese artisans specializing in customizing and engraving rifles for GIs. For US soldiers based in Japan during the 1950s through the 1970s frequently came home with a customized rifle as a prized memento of their time overseas. This rifle is a beautiful example of a GI rifle customized by a Japanese stockmaker and engraver.
About the rifle:
The rifle is a 1957 Super Grade chambered in .30-06. All parts are correctly marked and conform to the post-1954 Super Grade configuration, including the bolt serial number matched to the action. The barrel is stamped "SUPER" on the bottom and there is a large 'S' on the bottom of the recoil lug.
The rifle has extensive bulino engraving (also called "scroll" engraving - done with a hand-pushed chisel) and accented with gold leaf highlights. The rifle is fitted with a Weaver K6 scope in Weaver rings which are finished with matching scroll work. The Super Grade bottom metal also has this matching work, in addition to a silver elk or stag centerpiece (appears to be actual silver). The rifle is fitted into a nicely shaped custom Mote Carlo stock made from highly figured wood (possibly walunt?). The stock has an engraved grip cap which matches the rifle engraving.
This rifle is an outstanding example of Japanese engraving work, done on a very high-end starting point. A classic piece of history from US soldiers being based in Japan.