Loose tsuba; second pic the handle is straight on and I can see a size able area of its top, likely assumption.
I have to set you straight, both Bob and Stu know more tha I do about Japanese military and ancestral swords, of that I'm sure.
I was passionately into them a while back, joined the JSSUS and brought all the books I could find, including Harry AFU Watson's excellent translations of the Nihonto Koza. Of course hands on experience is the best preparation for what you may come across. People have been doing horrible things to Japanese swords for decades so even an old piece may be junk. This is fun for me as I can dredge up what I learned and maybe help out (or make a fool of myself which is ok too).
P.S. I often see seppa (washers) on the auction site so the loose tsuba shouldn't be a problem. Please post pics when it arrives.
Definitely. I should have it by next week and will get the pic's up. Thanks so much for the help. Freaking outstanding.
You're welcome. Looking forward to seeing more pics of your 'new' sword!