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Help with Tang Translation

Article about: Hello all,I have a sword tang I could use a little help with as far as Translation I would greatly appreciate it! Regards,Geoff

  1. #1

    Default Help with Tang Translation

    Hello all,I have a sword tang I could use a little help with as far as Translation I would greatly appreciate it! Regards,Geoff
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  2. #2

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    関住兼藤作
    Seki-jū Kanefuji Saku
    Made by Kanefuji residing in Seki

    昭和十六年十月
    Shōwa jū roku-nen jū gatsu
    October 1941

    I'm guessing at the 十六 (16) -- I thought the was because of the upturned leg; but that explanation doesn't fit. 99% certain it is 16.


    --Guy

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    After studying this piece for a little while I noticed I may have overlooked something..I believe I can see what appears to be a partial star stamp Is it just me..if it is a star stamp I believe that would indicate a hand forged blade made of steel other than the traditional Tamahagane Is this correct? Regards,Geoff
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    Here are a few more pictures of the blade it seems to be a bit more precise than most of the blades found in these type mounts .
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  5. #5
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    HI Geoff,

    Nice blade. Does the saya have the double push button lock release mechanism? Each of the star stamped gendaito I've come across were housed in that type of saya.

    FYI ...
    From the “Japanese Sword Guide”
    The presence of a STAR stamp on the nakago of a WW II era sword blade is an indicator of a blade made by swordsmiths of the Rikugun Jumei Tosho. To become Rikugun Jumei Tosho, a swordsmith had to pass tests and examination of his blades. Once accepted as an Army Certified Swordsmith (Rikugun Jumei Tosho), the smith was given a regular allocation of tamehagane with which to make sword blades. Jumei Tosho smiths also made blades using non-traditional materials, mainly forged mill steel.

  6. #6

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    Quote by Geoff Ward View Post
    .... Is it just me.....? Regards,Geoff
    Nope, not just you -- that *IS* a star stamp.

    Japaneseswordindex says: "...The star stamp was used to indicate blades made by smiths of the Rikugun Jumei Tosho (Army approved swordsmiths). ..."

    But, another page in Japaneseswordindex also says: "... Swords with stamps on their nakago (tangs) were made using non-traditional methods or materials, possible exceptions being some gendaito which bear star (Jumei Tosho) stamps, although this too is debated...."

    Forgive the length of this copy, but I feel it is pertinent:
    Quote by George Trotter
    A recent thread showed a wide spread of opinion on star stamp swords of WWII...gendaito or not?
    Some consider the star to indicate simply "made for the army, nothing more", some consider any stamp to signify military swords and thus essentially militaria. Some consider the star stamp and certain other stamps as signifying true gendaito. I read Ohmura's translation of star stamped swords in "Zoheito" (Arsenal swords) as posted by Jacques...see http://www.k3.dion.n...o/gunto_064.htm and found I was confused as to Ohmura san's exact meaning, so I decided to do my own translation of the first part to see if there was any additional information. My translation is as follows:
    Army workshops (Zoheisho) made two classes of sword for commissioned officers; under direction and directly manufactured. Commonly lumped together under one name, they became popularly called "Zoheito" (Arsenal swords).

    HONTANRENTO (True forged swords)
    1. Swordsmiths were commissioned to forge swords at the named workshop's forge (the nakago was marked with the swordsmith's mei and the workshop's logo/mark). Tokyo Hohei Kosho: Yokoyama Sukekane, Morioka Masayoshi; Tokyo No 1 Army Workshop: Yoshihara Nobushiro, (Akihiro, Kuniiye same man); Osaka Kosho: Gassan Sadakatsu, Sadakazu (nidai), Sadashige, Masakiyo; Kokura Kosho: Hakuryushi Tadataka, Taira Sadashige, Kanenobu; Kyuheikisho (refurbishment workshop): Yoshihara, others.

    2. Private swordsmiths, and also Sword companies were commissioned to forge swords (nakago marked with mei and simple Army Star inspection mark).

    3. Army specification Gendai forged swords (nakago marked with mei, date and star). Rikugun Jumei Tosho made swords of the style. They were trialled from Sho 15. From Sho 17 it was implemented nationally. For efficiency, a big break was made with the tradition of individuallistic handwork and non-uniformity of Nihonto "True Standardisation" was tried for the first time. Every sword was subjected to severe inspection to maintain quality/performance. (I am not sure if I have translated the following correctly) The former drawback of testing each sword (as in old sword making in meito times) by tameshigiri was not used. This was the first time such a situation occurred.

    The next part of the article is about mass-produced swords.
    From the above, it seems that true gendaito appear with
    1. tosho mei and small logo stamp, eg "saka", and "na" etc (eg Ichihara Nagamitsu with "saka").
    2. Blades with mei (no date?) and star stamp made "on-site".
    3. Blades with mei, date and star-stamp made "off-site" by Rikugun Jumei Tosho .
    All the smiths who made these swords were top quality smiths, so the presence of a star stamp or "saka" or "na" should not automatically dismiss the sword as "Militaria gunto". Jumei Tosho also made swords without star stamps, some with "contract numbers" on tang (not assembly numbers which are usually painted and correspond to the arabic numbers stamped on the fittings).

    Chris Bowen has seen hundreds of these swords and all (with rare exception) have been clearly true nihonto. We know that Rikugun Jumei Tosho were issued tamahagane by the army, they were issued charcoal by the prefecture. They had to conform in swordmaking to the Army regulation sizes, lengths, hamon etc, but also to ensure all swords were tamahagane, wrapped construction etc...true nihonto. Chris Bowen also says these star stamped swords have been papered by NBTHK anf NTHK.
    It would seem that collectors who find a blade with a star-stamp, but cannot find the smith on the Jumei Tosho list may be wise to check if it has a date? as it may indicate a sword described in (2.), ie stamped with a star "on-site", but not necessarily made by a Jumei Tosho.

    I hope this information is of interest...I hope also that I have not made any terrible mistakes, if so, hopefully our Japanese speakers will correct my post. I do this post to help the discussion on Star-stamped swords, not to confuse it.

    Regards,
    George.

    Source

    --Guy

  7. #7

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    I guess I was still researching when Stu posted -- so I just repeated what he wrote.

    --Guy

  8. #8
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    Geoff , what a nice surprise to find that star stamp. It will be interesting to see what you have there with the blade !
    REGARDS AL

    We are the Pilgrims , master, we shall go
    Always a little further : it may be
    Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow
    Across that angry or that glimmering sea...

  9. #9

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    Thank you all Very much!! Now I am definitely having a Great start to the weekend! Stu this rig does indeed have the double push button release as well as the dust cover for the saya. The dust cover is also numbered to the sword (100) this is the first example I have had that the dust cover was numbered.Another thing I noticed about this blade is of all my swords this blade is without a doubt the sharpest!Whether it is because of the sword not being handled much, the protection provided by the wooden scabbard runners,or the original polish I cannot say, but while wiping the blade down I noticed and tried a piece of paper on the edge and it cut like a razor blade!
    Does anyone happen to know if Seki Ju Kanefuji is listed in the Rikugun Jumei Tosho or where he ranked as a swordsmith? It would be nice to learn a little more about him.Many thanks again for all the help! Regards,Geoff

  10. #10

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    Quote by Geoff Ward View Post
    ...Does anyone happen to know if Seki Ju Kanefuji is listed in the Rikugun Jumei Tosho or where he ranked as a swordsmith? It would be nice to learn a little more about him.Many thanks again for all the help! Regards,Geoff
    Yes --- with qualification -- if this is the same smith:

    兼藤
    Kanefuji

    Civil Name
    藤井 虎夫
    Fuji'i Torao
    [Tora = Tiger!]


    He was awarded 5th Seat "Up-and-Coming" [新進 Shin-shin] at the 6th Shinsaku Nihonto Denrankai (新作日本刀展覽會, 1941); winners were reported at Nihon Kendo Oyobi Token (日本劍道及刀劍) by Hagio Takahashi. From Special Honor Seats to the 5th seat (S: 特別名譽席(鍛刀總匠), 1: 國工, 2: 準國工, 3:優秀, 4:佳作, 5: 新進)
    Source


    --Guy

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