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Japanese sword help! WWII??


Dave B
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Hi guys,

I was hoping for some help in IDing this Japanese sword. Unfortunately I know virtually nothing about these things but if I had to hazard a guess I reckon it could be a late WWII officers sword, how far off the mark am I?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dave

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Edited by Dave B
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Hi Dave,

It looks to be the standard WWII Army Officer's shin-gunto.  It looks to be in pretty good condition from the photos.  The blades were machine made though there were a good number of hand made "family" blades mounted in these grips.  You would have to take the handle off and look at the tang to see if it was marked by the maker.  I see no hamon (wavy line caused when blade is quenched) which would lead me to think it is not an old blade.

Nice specimen.

Regards

Brian

 

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Hi Brian,

Many thanks indeed for replying and I'm pleased I wasn't too far off the mark with my guess :-)

You are correct, there is no hamon so it's probably just a standard factory blade.

Any significance to the 24 stamp on the scabbard?

Thank you again for your help mate!

Dave

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Hi Dave,

Glad to help.  The number on the mount is most likely, in my opinion, an accountability number.  The NCO shin-guntos have a number on the base of the blade and this same number can be found on the scabbard (they should match).  LIke most weapons, when the sword was issued these accountability numbers were recorded under the soldier's name.  It may be possible that the number on your scabbard mount is also stamped on the tang of the blade.  There may be a bamboo pin holding the handle on the tang which can be driven out and then you can remove the handle.  This should not harm the handle but if you try this be sure you keep track of the order in which the fittings have been assembled on the guard.  I see a spring catch on the sword to hold it in the scabbard.  Is there a corresponding notch in the scabbard? 

These swords have been copied to a great extend in China so the values have dropped on the originals somewhat (at least over here).  When I first started collecting Japanese swords there were no copies so we had life and collecting easy.  I should mention that you should not be concerned (not that you were) about weatern style numbering as the Japanese used this system for marking their weapons.

Regards

Brian

Oops, bad memory. 

I meant to also say, one of the nice features about your scabbard is that it has the leather field cover.  Again in my opinion, this makes the sword more collectable.

 

Regards

Brian

 

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Hi Brian,

Many thanks again for your help, it really is greatly appreciated and thank you for your opinion on the 24 stamp. It definitely makes sense.

There is no bamboo pin but a screw with nut type arrangement. I've taken a photo but unfortunately it's dark here so please forgive the quality of the photos.

Yes there is a corresponding notch in the scabbard to accommodate  the spring catch, again please excuse the quality of the photo.

I agree with you about the leather field cover, it's a feature that really finishes the sword off.

Cheers

Daveimage.jpegimage.jpegimage.jpeg

Edited by Dave B
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David and Brian,

 

Thought I might add to this. I am lucky enough to know the wartime story of my Shun Gunto as dad brought it home from Buna/Gona in 1942 having taken off a Japanese 'Officer' who no longer had a need for.  I had to replace the leather cover as all that was left after years of neglect was the lace section at the top.  It never had a locking mechanism and was held in its wooden scabbard by pressure.  There are no makers marks beyond a red painted symbol for Tokyo Arsenal.  I had some assistance in tracing it and according to someone who knew it was probably machine made in the late 1930s before being fitted out for jungle service and a trip to New Guinea.  It came without a tassel and I fitted a Company Officer's copy.   

Dad has passed, I got the service medals and the sword and now have a fight on my hands as to who I pass it on to!

George

shin gunto.jpg

Shin Gunto Wooden scabbard.jpg

With leather cover.jpg

blade.jpg

Habaki without locking mechanism.jpg

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