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Identifiy Japanese Katana

Article about: Hello, We recently were cleaning out my grandparents house and I found this sword wrapped in my grandfather's Seebee jacket along with a Case M4 bayonet. He dies 4 years ago so we can't ask

  1. #1

    Default Identifiy Japanese Katana

    Hello,

    We recently were cleaning out my grandparents house and I found this sword wrapped in my grandfather's Seebee jacket along with a Case M4 bayonet. He dies 4 years ago so we can't ask him about it. Can anyone tell anything about it? Is it real? Is it valuable? How old is it? We want to sell it since we are trying to make money to pay for my grandmother's nursing home. Thanks for any help.
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    Anthony

  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: Identifiy Japanese Katana

    Before I comment I'd like to see an overview photo of the entire sword. Can you provide one?

    Regards,
    Stu

  3. #3

    Default Re: Identifiy Japanese Katana

    Here you go. Thanks
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Identifiy Japanese Katana

    Hello Anthony. Thank you for the additional photographs. I had hoped viewing them would clarify a couple issues for me and allow me to comment with confidence. Unfortunately I cannot. There is nothing wrong with your additional photos. It's me. I know quite a bit about some things but as a student of Nihonto I still have large gaps in my knowledge and your piece has landed in an area I'm just not confident in addressing. I see what I believe is well cut kanji on the nakago, a nice hamon, interesting and well finished tsuba and a blade with good proportions. I also see a kissaki (tip) lacking the definition of line and form that I would expect to see in a blade that otherwise looks good. I'm also a little puzzled as to the nature of what appear to be two Arabic numerals stamped into the nakago. Are they in fact 9 or perhaps 6?

    Numerals are usually associated to the order of sword assembly yet they are most often on the fittings. Other stampings are often found to be arsenal marks, not something I would expect to see on a sword of that configuration.

    I know you are seeking the best information possible for a worthy cause and because the difference between a one thousand dollar sword and another worth many times that can be in some very subtle details I'm going to advise you to bring this thread to the attention of Bob Coleman here on WRF. Bob has a very extensive background in Nihonto and would be the best one to have comment.

    Just for my edification could you tell me the length of the cutting edge of the blade please. From looking at the overview and the build of the tsuka I'm getting the impression it might be wakizashi rather than katana. That's not a bad thing, just a classification based upon the length of the cutting edge. Don't try to get it exact. Just lay a tape along it and see if its much over or under the 24 inch mark.

    Regards,
    Stu

    PS: I have sent Bob a message asking him to comment. I'm sure we will both learn something new.
    Last edited by Stu W; 04-09-2013 at 07:22 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Identifiy Japanese Katana

    Thanks so much for your comments and help. I was also wondering about the 6 & 9 engraved on the nakago. I think when you talk about the kissaki you are looking for a vertical line that defines it from the sharp edge of the blade to the back. It is not visible in the pictures, but it is extremely well defined in person. I attached an additional picture trying to capture it.

    The overall length of the cutting edge is 18 1/4".

    Thanks again for your help.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Identifiy Japanese Katana

    Wow, what a difference that photo makes. I did indeed mean, in part, that line (yokote) but wasn't wanting to get overly technical with the term as it relates the the rest of the kissaki configuration.

    At that blade length you have a wakizashi, commonly carried as the second or companion sword to the longer katana. I'm liking it more all the time.

    Bob will want to see what I'll call the butt of the tang. Please post a photo if you have one.

    I'm traveling over the next three days and not sure how often I will be on the site but I'm sure Bob will be here soon.

    Regards,
    Stu
    Last edited by Stu W; 04-10-2013 at 04:46 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Identifiy Japanese Katana

    Sorrty to be late chiming in on this thread. My wireless keyboard died and I had to replace it. Thanks to Stu for filling in. This sword to me is a real puzzlement. The mounting appears to be late Edo Period. As to the kanji, I was stumped. I know that the first two kanji are a 20th century term used for "China." The balance is unreadable for me. I took this to my wife, who is Japanese, and she also was stumped. The presence of Western numbers on the nakago are also not something you would expect to find on a Japanese sword. In the past, I have seen three different blades with Japanese numbers carved in to the tang. They indicated an inventory number either from a Daimyo's arsenal or from a collection. This is definitely not a modern Chinese fake as the quality of the work is too good. My guess is this blade was made by a Japanese somewhere in occupied China. I am sorry that I can not be of more help. I may try one of my Japaese sword collector friends and let them take a run at this one.
    BOB

    LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Identifiy Japanese Katana

    BOB is Da Man on these here,

    I am a novice at these but always trying to learn more. I have a couple of Koto swords but I am a student in learning.
    This one looks new. It does have some quality to it. The fitting(Fuchi and Kashira) look great. The tsuba and seppa's also takes on the appearance of fine work. They all show no age or it has been well taken care of.
    The wood that the Tsuka was made from has no age to it. The same looks like it has never been in contact with any skin . It all looks in awesome shape for and older blade.
    Just my 2 centavos
    Semper Fi
    Phil

  9. #9

    Default Re: Identifiy Japanese Katana

    Thanks for all the info/help...
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Identifiy Japanese Katana

    Hello Folks,

    I brought this to the attention of Guy (GHP) over at WAF and he offers the following.

    中国大連隊朝波己卯年

    Break-down:

    中国大連隊...
    Chugoku Dai Rentai ....

    [Mid-Nation Great Regiment]
    "Chugoku" is a region in Southern Japan. Although we foreigners can confuse it for the country of China [中国] it is not. The Chugoku region is actually the southern region of Honshu.

    ...朝波
    Asanami
    [his art name = Morning Waves]

    己卵年 [1939]
    Chinese Zodiac Year!!! 己卯



    I have yet to go over it in detail as I'm still travelling and have very limited access to the Internet but have found Guy to be very reliable in the past so know he's either bang on or very close to it.

    Bob, given what we now have can you comment further?

    Regards,
    Stu

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