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Gunto Repair Teams

Article about: Just finished reading Kapp & Yoshihara, "Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths, From 1868 to the Present" and came across an interesting discussion of gunto repair teams: &quo

  1. #1

    Default Gunto Repair Teams

    Just finished reading Kapp & Yoshihara, "Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths, From 1868 to the Present" and came across an interesting discussion of gunto repair teams:

    "...so many smiths and sword craftsmen were sent overseas to battlefields to repair and maintain swords. ... Kurihara organized a group of sword craftsmen that included smiths, polishers, and koshirae craftsmen, to go to the wartime battlefiedls to repair swords on the spot. The group was called the Gunto Shuri Genchi Hoshidan (the Volunteer Gunto Repair Group), founded in 1936. Kurihara's original plan called for five to seven smiths in each group. A group was to consist of twenty people and include polishers, tsukamaki (hilt wrapping) craftsmen, and other. Theoretically, each person would work on ten swords a day, but they had to remain at each location far longer than planned and often worked on more than the original quota."

    I thought it interesting that so many gunto needed repair! I wonder to what level of quality the repair was. Did koshirae have to meet IJA spec? Or might it look like some of the odd-ball stuff we see on these forums?

    Anyone have more info on the repair teams and the work they did?


  2. #2

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    You will find a fair number of documents in the archives by using 軍刀修理 as a search word.
    These teams were sent out in groups of 10 or 20 to various destinations overseas from 1939.
    After they finished their term of 6 months, they were offered employment by the army and even supported for local settlement should they wish to open shop abroad for the service they provided. Thus it appears only about half of them returned home after the mission, judging by the reports about their return. They also issued a detailed repair manual, but I do not know whether it can be found in the archives, sorry.
    The mission statement for these repair teams says their purpose was primarily repair of external fittings, not the blades.
    Last edited by nick komiya; 10-04-2016 at 10:36 PM.

  3. #3

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    Nick, Brian at Nihonto Message Board, and others there, wanted me to pass thier thanks for this very interesting bit. Your contributions to our love and study of swords is invaluable!

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