Appears to me to be an authentic Japanese sword with the kind of handle assembly (tsuka, tsuba, seppa etc.) commonly referred to as being of the Type 98 configuration. The hand guard (tsuba) is not one of the pierced higher quality types. These swords were most often carried by Officers of the Imperial Japanese Army during the WW2 period.
Would I be correct that this is a first sword for you? If so you might wish to post better photos of the blade. In my view the value of any edged weapon is in the blade and I have not seen enough of yours to satisfy myself that it's worthy of purchase. Those with grooves are less often found than those without but these are still a very common sword and not one to spend a lot of money on unless there is something more making the package unique.
Thank you very much for the reply. Yes this would be my first Katana but I wanted to make sure I got a good deal. I figured it was machine pressed but I wasn't sure because of the hamon pattern. I don't have that many more pictures but here are the rest. Do you have any idea of the value of this? oh and also the leather cover is missing as well.
Thank you for the additional photos. That sword was most likely semi machine made, oil quenched with hand finishing. The reason I don't say for sure is because although that smith was known to make medium to high grade showato he also made low to medium grade gendaito. Permit me to be brutally honest with you now. If you are not familiar with both those terms then you should step away from any further attempts to purchase a sword until you are. The difference between the two can amount to thousands of dollars difference.
I suggest you begin by obtaining much better photographs and checking to see if there are any stampings on the nakago (tang). If there are, and they can be small, let us see photos of them. That will go a long way to determining how the sword was made. There are other tells, so to speak, but you will not likely be able to determine if they are present at this stage of your nihonto education.
Again, I don't mean to sound harsh but I hate to see newbies get burned as it does more to turn them away from a wonderful hobby than anything else.
To help you on your quest for knowledge have a look here and see the difference between those two terms both in their literal sense and their accepted everyday usage.
JAPANESE SHOWA ERA SWORDS
Then go back to that site index, locate the two sections on Military swords and read up on them.
Just to put things in the context of the moment I'd not pay more than 400 USD for that sword at this point in time. Even then I'd want to ensure the blade edge was intact. If it's a gendaito of any grade and in good condition the value increases significantly but until you know take a step back. These are not rare. Don't be in a rush to spend your hard earned money.
Forgot to mention, a hamon can be produced in several ways. Through traditional forging all the way to a cosmetic acid etch. The presence of a hamon is not a guarantee of authenticity nor method of manufacture.
I really appreciate all of the information. I have been doing research for the last year and really want to buy my first katana but unfortunately I do not have any hands on experience to distinguish quality. I am so glad that I found this forum, everyone seems so knowledgeable and willing to help. There is actually a sword show here in Tampa in February so I think I might just wait and go there. I am hoping to buy one WW2 katana and then eventually a high quality civilian katana. My grandfather was actually an officer in the Japanese military and came from a wealthy landowning Samurai family, I never got the chance to meet him but because of that, the samurai culture has always interested me. Once again, I really appreciate the help and I look forward to getting on here again when I find another Katana.
Glad I didn't scare you off. Take your time and let us see pics before you pay for anything. Best also to develop a bit of a plan as to what kind of gunto you wish. Army Shin-gunto, and if so Officer Type 98 or NCO Type 95 or Navy Kai-gunto Type 97? Then work toward that goal by ensuring you have an adequate war chest. Have a read at the linked thread here ... I do this for fun and if I can assist you let me know ...
Looking to Buy my first Japanese Sword - Wehrmacht-Awards.com Militaria Forums
In the mean time if you want to get one really good reference volume make it this one ...
It can be obtained through various sources but Mike Harris at Satcho is one I recommend. Look in the reference list at the left side. SWORDS OF IMPERIAL JAPAN: 1868-1945 CYCLOPEDIA EDITION J.Dawson (2007)
and ... if you can get to Tampa look this man up ... Moses Becerra. He will be there and this is his web site and background. He's well known and respected the world over in nihonto circles.
Japanese Swords Japanese Sword Information Antique Japanese Sword Japanese Samurai Swords Japanese Katana Swords Japanese Swords For Sale Nihonto japanese sword polishing
He will look after you when it comes to the true "samurai" blade. Till then go over his current offerings and his sold section. You will see some amazing swords and some basic swords but all quality collectibles in their own way. Each one is a study and learning experience in itself.
My greatest fear is that one day I will die and my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them
"Don't tell me these are investments if you never intend to sell anything" (Quote: Wife)