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Japanese WW2 Officer's sword information

Article about: Good evening! I am new to the forum. I collect knives and guns and while on Christmas break, a friend of my mothers offered me a Japanese officer's katana that her grandfather won in a poker

  1. #1

    Default Japanese WW2 Officer's sword information

    Good evening! I am new to the forum. I collect knives and guns and while on Christmas break, a friend of my mothers offered me a Japanese officer's katana that her grandfather won in a poker game in 1947. I was wondering if anyone could give me any information about it. What I know so far: I believe it to be a family blade and not a factory Katana due to the leather sheath cover as well as the leather covering the handle. I realize the handle will have to come off to ID the piece with any accuracy, but, I am not feeling up to taking off the leather protective cover. I tried to take a few revealing pictures: the crossguard appears to be retrofitted and has hand chiseled horseshoe-like symbols. Where the leather handle has ripped a bit, there appears to be flowers painted on the handle. The tassle points to the owner as a company grade officer and the sword belt chain is in impeccable shape! Can anyone shed any light on the symbols/seen one like this before/any idea on the age save for taking the handle off? Any help you could afford would be greatly appreciated!! Cheers!

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  2. #2

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    Hello and welcome to the forum!
    To start,
    The leather cover has nothing to do with the origin of the blade, it is merely a weather cover to protect the sword handle and scabbard. Your weather cover on the saya is almost identical to my own example posted here.
    My small Japanese collection.
    The tsuba, (guard) appears to be an older cast one and could very well indicate an older blade as well. The Officer's tassel and hanger appear to be original.
    I am sure you will be asked to post more photos by either Bob, Stu or Guy.
    Ralph.
    P.S. I have moved this thread to the correct area for you to get more answers.
    Last edited by rbminis; 12-29-2014 at 01:10 AM.
    Searching for anything relating to, Anton Boos, 934 Stamm. Kp. Pz. Erz. Abt. 7, 3 Kompanie, Panzer-Regiment 2, 16th Panzer-Division (My father)

  3. #3
    ?

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    Welcome to the forum . To glean any more information about the sword you will certainly have to remove the leather field cover and remove the Tsuka (handle) . It does show traits of being an older blade and is dressed with a nice decorated two piece habaki . If you can do this ( there is info on here on how to go about it ) and then post plenty of decent photos of both sides of the tang ( sword in the vertical position with the blade tip uppermost ) you will receive a good appraisal .
    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...

  4. #4

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    Thank you for the info! I figured that the leather lace up was protective in nature. Interesting to hear that the crossguard could indicate an older blade. Any idea what the symbols mean? The same hand etched symbol appears on both sides of the crossguard. I am going to remove the leather off the handle tonight and will watch the tutorial on how to safely remove the handle. Thanks again!

  5. #5

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    Just a note of caution. Once the leather handle cover has been removed, you may b e unable to reapply it as the older leathermay shrink. From your pictures, the sword appears to be a true samurai sword. If it is, that does not naturally mean it is a "family blade." This is a faliciy passed down through some collectors, During the Meiji era, the disbanded samurai often would sell or trade their sword for food. Many military officers, especially the army, were not of the samurai caste. They might purchase their sword from a dealer in such items. When photographing the tang, besides close ups of any kanji, post pictures of the entire tang as this will help in judgement.
    BOB

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

  6. #6

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    Quote by BOB COLEMAN View Post
    Just a note of caution. Once the leather handle cover has been removed, you may b e unable to reapply it as the older leathermay shrink. From your pictures, the sword appears to be a true samurai sword. If it is, that does not naturally mean it is a "family blade." This is a faliciy passed down through some collectors, During the Meiji era, the disbanded samurai often would sell or trade their sword for food. Many military officers, especially the army, were not of the samurai caste. They might purchase their sword from a dealer in such items. When photographing the tang, besides close ups of any kanji, post pictures of the entire tang as this will help in judgement.
    Thank you for the info. I definitely do not want to screw up this piece by taking the leather guard off. Would that be common for officers purchasing samurai blades to have the protective wrap applied? I will hold off on taking the leather guard off and will post more pictures soon Out of curiosity, Is it worth taking the chance in (carefully) removing the leather to aid in exposing the tang? Thanks!!

  7. #7

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    Quote by Badcat22 View Post
    ...Interesting to hear that the crossguard could indicate an older blade. Any idea what the symbols mean?
    Possibly maple seeds?




    --Guy

  8. #8

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    [QUOTE=ghp95134;1350212]Possibly maple seeds?



    Could be! Have you seen maple seeds previously depicted on samurai swords? Thanks

  9. #9

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    Quote by Badcat22 View Post
    Thank you for the info. I definitely do not want to screw up this piece by taking the leather guard off. Would that be common for officers purchasing samurai blades to have the protective wrap applied? I will hold off on taking the leather guard off and will post more pictures soon Out of curiosity, Is it worth taking the chance in (carefully) removing the leather to aid in exposing the tang? Thanks!!
    The weather cover could be ordered at any time by an IJA officer. Few collectors are aware of the fact that during the feudal period, samurai had weather covers of leather or cloth to protect their swords, I have only seen one but it makes sense that a sword would not have been stored or displayed with a weather cover. If the leather does not appear to be overly tight on the handle, you can likely take it off without damage. Frankly, the information gained by removing the handle is more important than the weather cover for the handle.
    BOB

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

  10. #10
    ?

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    Hello and welcome to WRF.

    While we await additional photos I'll comment as follows. That chain hanger, if undamaged, is worth about 300 USD in the current market and the Company Grade (Lieutenant and Captain) tassel another 150-200.

    Caution, combined with patience, is the way to go during the removal process. I'm thinking the lace can be loosened and the cover slid off without damaging it if you are careful. The tsuka (handle) will be held onto the nakago (tang) by a tapered wooden peg inserted in through the side of the tsuka. The peg will most likely be made of wood and can be driven out by taping it on the smaller diameter end. Although it's nice to retain the peg if possible it's not a problem if you cannot. Some get broken during removal and were routinely replaced during the life of the sword.

    Regards,
    Stu

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