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Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

Article about: (Sorry for the Re-post) Hi Guys, this is my first post of what I hope to be many more. I am an English teacher in Korea and I since living abroad I've become very interested in all things WW

  1. #21

    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    darn. That's disappointing. I assume then that it was made during the war and not as highly valued as a traditional one. My grandfather has recently told me he wants me to have it, and selling it would be like selling him, but it would have been nice to have known it wasn't mass produced. Also, if it was machine made, then it was probably for a non-commissioned officer, correct?

  2. #22

    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    Quote by SeoulTeacher View Post
    darn. That's disappointing. I assume then that it was made during the war and not as highly valued as a traditional one. My grandfather has recently told me he wants me to have it, and selling it would be like selling him, but it would have been nice to have known it wasn't mass produced. Also, if it was machine made, then it was probably for a non-commissioned officer, correct?
    The sword is a typical example of the sword issued to a junior officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy. For additional money, an officer could purchase a traditional hand forged contemporary blade. In some cases, officers purchased older blades and had them mounted in the typical naval mounts. This is commonly found with officers of the pre-war navy as many came from old samurai families and had family blades they carried.
    BOB

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

  3. #23

    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    What a beautiful peice, nice koshirae, pattina and even the blade which to me apears to be hand forged, shame about the carving and scraches though. Any chance you can take some pics of the Nakago (Tang) and the kissaki (tip of the sword)
    Cheers-

    D.L

  4. #24

    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    Quote by Darren Lillington View Post
    What a beautiful peice, nice koshirae, pattina and even the blade which to me apears to be hand forged, shame about the carving and scraches though. Any chance you can take some pics of the Nakago (Tang) and the kissaki (tip of the sword)
    Cheers-

    D.L
    Thank you. I hope it is hand forged. I know my grandfather took it apart years ago to examine the marking in the handle, but I dont get the feeling that he wants that done again. One day however, I do plan on doing that and finding out the full history behind it.

    I can most definitely take some more pictures. It will probably be sometime next week before I'm over at his house though so give me a few days.

    And thanks for the info, Bob. Very cool to know it might have been a Jr. officer's sword. I love every little fact you and everyone on here has been able to give me. Do you by chance have a link to more information/pictures on that kind of sword? I love learning the history behind it.

    Also, some of the pictures that I have seen show a very different looking scabbard. Were there many variations or is mine just brown with age?

  5. #25

    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    No worries mate,
    i would personaly handle a sword like this very carefully and as little as possible, for example, if the blade is hand forged did you know you should not touch it (the blade) with your hands? also, i would give it a gentle cleaning with a good maintanance kit eg, Uchiko powder, fine paper towels and then to preserve it, a thin coating of choji oil.

    Maintanance should only be done once every 6-7 months, just the blade though. do not apply oil to the tang

    Another idea, if and when you do take the handle off and there is a Mei ( Name of the smith) try doing a rubbing of it, ive done that with a couple of my swords and framed them.

    I do know of a good site with more ino on these swords, ill have to digg around in my favs. if i find it ill post it up later.

    Cheers-

    DL

  6. #26

    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    Your scabbard is covered in polished shark skin, which was the standard for these swords. It has probably changed color slightly with age. For a large add in cost, a few officers had star same or polished ray belly skin applied as a scabbard covering. Fine pieces of this material were highly valued and can be found at times on traditional samurai sword mounts.
    Please feel free to ask any more questions as that is what we are here for. I have a strong background in Japanese swords having collected seriously for over 30 years. I studied in Japan under several respected experts.
    BOB

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

  7. #27

    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    Quote by BOB COLEMAN View Post
    Your scabbard is covered in polished shark skin, which was the standard for these swords. It has probably changed color slightly with age. For a large add in cost, a few officers had star same or polished ray belly skin applied as a scabbard covering. Fine pieces of this material were highly valued and can be found at times on traditional samurai sword mounts.
    Please feel free to ask any more questions as that is what we are here for. I have a strong background in Japanese swords having collected seriously for over 30 years. I studied in Japan under several respected experts.


    Been quite awhile since I've been on this site, but I figured I should check back in since I was telling a friend about the sword the other day. A lot has changed sine the last time I posted though.


    I returned from Korea last year and got a job teaching History and World Geography here in the states. The sword is now mine because sadly my grandfather passed away. It been just over a year now, but I miss him everyday and that sword is a little piece of him that I'm proud to have and will hold onto forever. It still hangs in his home as I don't want to remove it while my grandmother still lives there, but I'd like to have it examined by a professional in the near future to learn all I can about it and it's history. Maybe even have it restored to its original condition if that is something that is possible. Also, being a history teacher, I'd love to be able to tell and possibly even show it to my students one day.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions about having it looked at and possibly restored? I don't think I'd feel comfortable taking it apart myself and it is priceless to me, so I don't want to risk damaging it in anyway, but I'd love to learn the full story of this wonderful relic.

    Thanks

  8. #28

    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    Hello,
    I am sorry to hear of your grandfather's passing, my condolances.
    I would suggest that instead of leaving it at your grandmother's house until she no longer lives there, you go and take possession of it. I was in the position of having a family crest that my uncle had made for him given to me but felt the same way that you do. I left it there until after my uncle had passed and unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, another family member is now in possession of it and there is no way that I will ever get to own it. Talk to your grandmother and explain to her that it is much easier to achieve what your grandfather wanted while she is still alive to verify it.
    Ralph.
    P.S. Nice sword by the way!
    Searching for anything relating to, Anton Boos, 934 Stamm. Kp. Pz. Erz. Abt. 7, 3 Kompanie, Panzer-Regiment 2, 16th Panzer-Division (My father)

  9. #29

    Default Re: IJA Type 95 NCO Sword Info

    Quote by Stu W View Post
    Mass produced machine made NCO blades were all serial numbered. Mass produced blades not fully machine made were not serial numbered. Examples would be both Shin and Kai-gunto.

    If you would like to learn more about your Kai- gunto please start a thread and let us have a look at it. If there are any kanji or stamping on the tang please photo them with the tip of the sword upright so that they can be read from top to bottom.

    Looking forward to seeing your sword.

    Regards,
    Stu
    http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/japane...o-sword-15497/

    Here is the thread we started some years back about it and the question still seems to be open as to whether is it mass produced or not.

  10. #30
    ?

    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    Hello SeoulTeacher,

    Thank you for your comments on the other thread and for bringing this one back up for discussion.

    In answer to some of the points you raised, and in no particular order, here are some thoughts I have regarding the piece;

    It's definitely a Kai-gunto (Kai - sea, gun - military, to - sword or Navy sword) of a type introduced in 1937. It was authorized for carry by commissioned officers and officer equivalents, special duty officers and warrant officers. It's worn with blade edge down and considered a tachi rather than a katana.

    The scabbard color is one I have seen before ranging from brownish to almost an ox blood color. I have always found them to be with the higher quality tsuba and seppa sets. Higher quality could indicate pre or early war manufacture before shortages in raw materials and time dictated a lower quality product be produced. The standard scabbard (saya) color is black, as you know, and perhaps it's just a color shift due to time and environmental conditions that turned them brownish or a different species of shark skin was used before standardization came into effect. Much the same as non standard (brass and zinc to name two) cores can be found in early run examples of the Iron Cross. I'm not aware of any period documentation on the matter. I'm also of the opinion they are not associated exclusively with the Naval Landing Force.

    It was mentioned along the way that the single hanger denotes a Shin-gunto as opposed to a Kai-gunto. First run Type 94 Shin-gunto (Army Officer swords) also had double hangers. The later Type 98 had a single hanger. Regardless that's just for clarification and doesn't impact upon your sword. This paragraph has been corrected as noted in the Edit.

    As to removing the handle (tsuka) to get a view of the tang (nakago) ... well, most folks feel the same way you do the first time they attempt the task but I think it's worth doing for two reasons. First, to determine just what is there and secondly to aid in the conservation of the blade.

    First thing to know is that the wooden pin will be tapered. There is a small end and a big end. When removing the pin tap it gently on the small end. If you do otherwise you will wedge the pin in making it harder to remove. Later, when replacing the pin, insert the small end in first.

    These wooden pins were routinely removed to service the sword or when broken and a fine replacement can be fashioned from a chopstick easily obtained in most parts of the world. It's unlikely you will break it but it's not the end of the world if you do.

    As you don't have specialized tools just use a rubber or wooden mallet to tap on a punch (again a chopstick is handy) to push out the peg. Don't use a nail as it can split the peg and don't try to hit the peg directly with the hammer or mallet.

    I think it would be good to also mention that mass produced, machine made, semi machine made, hand made, hand finished and hand forged all carry different meanings and I suspect have you, and perhaps others, confused. A Type 95 NCO sword is both machine made and mass produced. Lots of Shin and Kai-gunto were partly machine made with hand finishing. If made in sufficient number they could also be said to be mass produced. Some were hand made but oil tempered rather than water tempered so not "traditionally" made. The point I am trying to make is that mass produced refers to volume not quality or method of manufacture although there generally is a direct correlation between the two in the real world. Just make sure you recognize the difference in the terms.

    From what I see at the moment yours is likely a non traditionally made piece. That does not mean it wasn't, at least in part, hand made or finished. It could well be dated and signed and information available on the smith or in the case of some Kai-gunto the manufacturing group/location. I don't see it as being a war time mounted ancestral blade. It will certainly hold value though so best we move toward conservation if possible.

    As to having it examined by an expert ... not necessary until we see the nakago. You'd also be hard pressed to find anyone with more experience than Bob Coleman who happens to be a Mod of this forum. Bob won't really go into it but his experience is nothing short of vast.

    See what you can do with the family dynamic and getting the sword in hand, pop out the peg and see if the seppa and tsuba will slide off. If not then let me know and I'll guide you through their removal. It's not rocket science but be respectful of that blade...you don't want your new nic name to be "Johnny Three Fingers".

    Perhaps you could also mention your first name in a future post.

    Regards,
    Stu
    Reason for edit...Exchange Shin and Kai in the first sentence of the paragraph as noted above.
    Last edited by Stu W; 02-10-2013 at 06:19 AM.

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