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The Emperorís New Clothes (The Evolution of the Emperor's Uniforms and Swords 1872-1947)

Article about: The Emperorís New Clothes Foreword and Warning This is a story of the evolution of uniforms worn by three generations of Japanese Emperors, Emperor Meiji, Taisho and Showa from 1872 until 19

  1. #31


    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    ... No one knows a thing about the Grand Marshal's Sword, which was almost as frightening as being in the "Twilight Zone", as a historical piece seemed to have completely disappeared into thin air and even erased from everyone's memory. ...
    Nick, what is the probability (not possibility) of it being secreted away in the Palace? Obviously it is something that would not be allowed to fall into the victor's hands; the current Emperor *must* know its location. I know you, as an historian, do not like to engage in speculation -- but I'd just like to throw that possibility out into the open.

    Hmmmmm .... and which swordsmith forged it? I think both Gassan and Horii were the top smiths of the time.


  2. #32


    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    ..I recall reading that your relatives were Smiths in Hokkaido, but didn't know they did the Field Marshal swords. That is a great heritage to have.
    Thanks Nick -- now if I could just inherit one of his swords!! I've seen two in my wife's cousin's house .... just standing in the attic collecting dust. I offered to take care of it, but they just smiled.

    Here's one of Horii Toshihide's Field Marshal swords:

    Source: Ohmura According to Mr. Ohmura, the owner of this sword allowed only partial photographs of the sword.

    I don't recall if I saw the one at Muroran, or if I saw a photo of it! Somewhere I have an informational pamphlet from Japan Steel and one of the telephone cards (remember those!??).


  3. #33


    Remember the Setto swords given out to generals in my flag story? These swords are a revival of that tradition, so something that should not get into enemy hands even more than the standards. So it is completely natural that it was hidden away. The only question to me is why has it not resurfaced? A private person must have it and fearing discovery. Thanks to the GROSS INEPTITUDE of all the sword book authors in the world, who don't know a thing about research, this person had a quiet life until now. ----------But I'm still willing to confess that I made this all up, if my bank happens to call with some exciting news, say, by Monday?

  4. #34


    I was reading up on the Field Marshal's Sword in a 1940 navy regulation book and it gave background on the sword as explained to the British at the time Japan presented their Royal Family a Field Marshal's sword as well as a Field Marshal's badge. So one set is in the UK.

    It said the marshal's sword is a replica of a sword at Ise Shrine attributed to Shogun Fujiwara no Hidesato

    The tip is supposed to have a cutting edge on both sides, and they added a gentle curve to adapt it to modern use.

    It says the Setto in the Heian era was a treasure to be returned to the Emperor upon the general's return from the mission. The sword, however, was lost in a fire during the Heian period and the remaining blade was enshrined and no longer given out as Setto. Instead a bell was given from that time to those on a mission for the Emperor. You just had to ring this bell and you got an exchange of horses, etc, so it was like an Imperial Gold Card.

    In checking how much of the above is already a widely known thing, I checked Ohmura-san's site and noticed that Ohmura-san's site does have one comment about the Grand Marshal's Sword buried within the field marshal's sword explanation. It says, the Emperor's version had 7 mums instead of the 5. So he was aware of the sword to a certain degree it seems, but did not go any further. Interesting

  5. #35


    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    ...The tip is supposed to have a cutting edge on both sides, and they added a gentle curve to adapt it to modern use....
    Hmmmmmm ..... sounds vaguely familiar


    Image source Ohmura.
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  6. #36


    The Army should be happy it got the flag instead of that bell

    Forgot to say that a Setto was also revived during the Meiji Restoration, so they had both the golden brocade banner and the sword.

  7. #37


    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    ...but didn't know [Horii] did the Field Marshal swords. That is a great heritage to have.
    Hi Nick,

    I found the pamphlet from Japan Steel Works mentioning the Kunaishou contract for 10 swords:


    It does not say that his son finished the contract -- I must have learnt that from somewhere else.

    Don't know if this helps your other research or not, but here you go anyway.

    And here's the phone card just for giggles! Don't know why it's arse-over-elbow, but if you open it, it'll be right-side up.

    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #38


    Nick, great amount of effort and information. Well presented! Bob

  9. #39


    Nick, thank you for a very interesting topic

  10. #40


    Though the Field Marshal's Swords were established on 28th August 1918, not a single one was issued for one whole year.


    Simply because, like women often complain before a party, the Emperor did not have a nicer sword to wear for that occasion. They had to wait until the Emperor got his own Grand Marshal's Sword on 18th October 1919.

    For these presentations, the Emperor was required to be in full dress, but his full dress sword was the puny sabre, so it would have looked odd for him to be giving out gorgeous swords while he himself wore the "plain Jane". So the first ever presentation took place two days after the announcement of the emperor's own version, on 20th October 1919 to all field marshals at that time at the Imperial Palace. 3 field marshal's had to be absent, however, as Heihachiro Togo, Goro Ijyuin, and Yoshika Inoue were all out on maneuvers at that time.

    It was because the Emperor and Field Marshal's all received the swords only days apart, that the Ministry of the Imperial Household were so nervous about the Emperor's version standing out too much, not to make the Field Marshal's versions look shabby in comparison.

    Darwinian collectors would have simply had the Emperor slap some extra mums onto a Field Marshal's sword for himself to wear, but such people do not understand how even the Emperor himself could not take such liberty and had to wait for due process of the law.

    It was also in 1919 that King George the Fifth got his sword and badge from Japan.
    Last edited by nick komiya; 07-03-2016 at 04:07 PM.

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