Very nice. Thanks bob!
Hey Guy, I was hoping you would weigh in. As I stated, I was pleased to see the signature on both sides of the tang. Bob and Rod have been a huge help in the translation and markings. I wanted to get as much info as possible. I was doing some research on the sword polishing kits, would that be a mistake?
I didn't weigh in because Bob beat me to the punch. Did you want me to write the kanji?
Shōwa jū nana-nen jū ichi-gatsu Kichi-jitsu
Shōwa 17th year, 11th month, on a Lucky Day (November, 1942)
As for a sword polishing kit ... I don't think you need it. I've used one (most who practice iaido do so), but mostly for the choji-oil. The "pom-pom" is filled with ground polishing stone, and if you use it too much, you can damage the polish. Then again ... yours couldn't be damaged that much more.
If you do use a kit:
1. Wipe away any oil that may be on the blade. You can use kleenex instead of expensive rice paper, regardless of what connoiseurs think (gives them a heart attack).
2. From the kissaki (blade-tip) to the habaki-machi (notch at the collar area), tamp the blade using the pom-pom. Do this on both sides.
3. Wipe away stone powder using kleenex using a long, single stroke from habaki (collar) area to tip. Cover both sides of the blade with the kleenex. [Make certain the cutting edge is facing away from your hand as you wipe .... as if I really have to give a safety briefing here.... ]
4. Repeat #3 until powder is gone. This action actually polishes your blade.
5. Moisted a small lint-free cloth with supplied Chōji-abura (clove oil) and wipe both sides of the blade surface.
6. Remove excess oil with a kleenex/rice paper. You're finished.
7. Do not oil the nakago (tang). The age of the blade will be determined by the level of inactive rust ("good rust" ... it's black, not red) that builds up on the tang.
With newly polished blades this process should be done often -- but I've forgotten the recommended "dosages" ... a few times a month for a while; then once every few months; then once or twice a year. Something like that.
Again, I'm no expert.
Thanks for that. Ya Bob is pretty speedy. I enjoy his posts. But I have noticed most of the posts are very genuine. The reason I ask about the polish kit is I noticed very light fingerprints. I'm originally from your neck of the woods (grew up in El Sobrante (Richmond)) and spent 4 years in mainland Japan with the family while in the USAF. When I got an opportunity to get one of these swords, I couldn't resist. Cool factor, yes, but more so to preserve history. The folks on this site have given me a great deal to chew on. Greatly appreciated. If you ever find yourself in the Omaha area, you'll have to look me up. Also, I have to ask, what does it mean "on a lucky day"?
Amateur polishing of any Japanese sword is a GREAT mistake. The best option is to apply a light weight oil such as clove oil or as it is known in Japan, choji oil. The rust likely occured from people putting their fingers on the blade leaving their finger oil behind. Sword polishing is done on stones and erquires years of training under the eye of a master polisher. If the blade is fa ctory made, as I suspect, it can not be polished. I hope this answers your question. It is best to enjoy it and conserve it as is.
LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.
Further to Bob's outstanding advice:
If your sword is machine made, it CAN be polished by a professional if you've the spare $5,000 or whatever .... BUT it will have to be done by a polisher living outside Japan. You may NOT take it into Japan without either having it (1) confiscated and destroyed after it fails the local area exam, or (2) kept in the hands of the police and returned to you after you have your return ticket home and you are physically on the other side of the airport departure line (personal experience!). I was fortunate in that my host had strong ties to the police department.
I suggest a very light (did I mention very light?) coat of sewing machine oil. More easily obtained than choji and in the case of a WW2 period sword if a bit gets on the nakago (tang) it's not a big deal as age determination is not an issue.
As Bob says, enjoy it for what it is.
Yes, I had read that. not "traditionally" made blades are illegal in the country. I believe I will take Bob's advice and enjoy it as is. You both have been very helpful. Thank you too you both.