Become our sponsor and display your banner here
Page 4 of 6 FirstFirst 123456 LastLast
Results 31 to 40 of 57

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. #31
    ?

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

    Further to my last, and just for comparison, the attached image is one of a high end traditionally made blade in Kai-gunto mounts. As Bob Coleman mentioned earlier in this thread if the purchaser was prepared to accept the additional cost they could buy a fully traditionally made blade contemporary to the period, as this one is, having been made in 1940. Note the structure of the blade.

    Regards,
    Stu
    Photo Credit: Moses Becerra of Nihonto Antiques.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Ota Chikahide.jpg 
Views:	2396 
Size:	98.4 KB 
ID:	463726

  2. #32
    ?

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

    [It was mentioned along the way that the single hanger denotes a Kai-gunto as opposed to a Shin-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]
    Regards Stu


    Another interesting and unusual point regarding the double hanger on the type 94 shin gunto is that the second hanger fitting on the scabbard was removable and was only used when the wearer was in full Dress Uniform . As mentioned , this practice ceased with the type 98 . Again , this is not relevent to the identification of your sword , but worth a mention.
    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...

  3. #33

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

    Quote by Stu W View Post
    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 Kai-gunto as opposed to a Shin-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.

    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

    The name is Andrew, and thank you for that wonderful post. I will see what I can do about getting the handle off and getting some pictures. I assumed it was not an ancestral blade just because of the odds, but it is nice to understand the difference in the methods and manufacturing. Obliviously one would hope to have a "one IN a million" blade over a "one OF a million", so even if it was not "traditionally" made, there is something comforting in knowing that perhaps this blade had human hands help craft it. I'd like to think someone loved and cared for it much like I do now. It was always special to my grandfather and it is one of the only physical objects I have from him. I'd love to know its full history in honor of him. I know he took apart the handle decades ago, but I don't think he ever got the markings translated or even photographed. Let me see what I can do.

    Again thanks and is there anything else I should do when I get a hold of the sword next? Any other photos I should take?

    Best,
    Andrew

  4. #34
    ?

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

    Hi Andrew , if there are Kanji present on the tang of the blade please take photos with the blade in the vertical position , with the tip uppermost , which will enable the writings to be translated from the correct orientation .
    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...

  5. #35

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

    Will do. Just curious, how rare are these swords? It is be no means for sale, but I must admit I am curious as what it could be worth. I know these are hard questions to answer until I get the handle off, but generally speaking, what do I have here? Does the documentation I have with it make it more or less valuable/special/rare? To me, it still seems ironic that the Russians would give it to US servicemen as a symbol of friendship given the decades of Cold War that started almost immediately after WW2.

    Also, as a World Geography teacher, I love that I could tell the story to my students that the poor son of a share-cropper in South Carolina could leave his home, go to what was then Manchuria, get a Japanese Sword from the Russians as a symbol of peace, and bring it home only to have to leave again to fight against the Russian aided North Koreans in a proxy war.

  6. #36
    ?

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

    Andrew , your Grandfather's sword is not a rare item but does command a decent value and even more so with it's provenance . I am glad you respect your heirloom !
    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...

  7. #37

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

    Quote by Alan M View Post
    Andrew , your Grandfather's sword is not a rare item but does command a decent value and even more so with it's provenance . I am glad you respect your heirloom !
    Haha, this is why I'm a Social Studies teacher and not an English teacher anymore, your use of the word "Provenance" sent me straight to dictionary to ascertain the exact meaning. This is one of the many reasons I love my British friends, you constantly remind me that you invented the English language and that we Americans are just using it

    I assumed the sword wouldn't be that rare, although I hope it turns out to be an Officer's sword over an enlisted man's to give it a little more significance. I do like that it is a Naval sword as my grandfather was a Navy man himself (though he wasn't an officer).

    Was it common for the Russians to give away weapons like this? I believe my grandfather told me than most of the men he served with returned with Arisaka rifles like his, but very few had swords or were allowed to keep them.

  8. #38
    ?

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

    Lol , that's amusing Andrew !!

    The circumstances in which your Grandfather received the sword were certainly not common ( ie: US servicemen serving in the Pacific Theatre being in contact with Russian forces ) so in that respect i suppose it is quite rare as most bringback swords were not received in that way , most were hand in's or battle field pick up's !
    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. #39

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

    One easy way to tell if this is a wartime blade, check the cutting edge just above the habaki(th collar on the blade between the hand guard and the blade. If the first inch is not sharp, it is 99.9% a WW2 era blade. If you disaqssemble the sword, be sure to keep all of the parts in order as at times, they can be a tight fit and not interchangeable.
    BOB

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

  10. #40

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

    Quote by BOB COLEMAN View Post
    One easy way to tell if this is a wartime blade, check the cutting edge just above the habaki(th collar on the blade between the hand guard and the blade. If the first inch is not sharp, it is 99.9% a WW2 era blade. If you disaqssemble the sword, be sure to keep all of the parts in order as at times, they can be a tight fit and not interchangeable.
    While I don't have it in front of me at the moment, I believe that part was sharp (the entire blade was very sharp) and the pictures seem to back this up. I will double check when I see the blade tomorrow.

Page 4 of 6 FirstFirst 123456 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. 07-21-2013, 04:20 PM
  2. My WWII Japanese Sword

    In Japanese Militaria
    02-08-2010, 06:28 PM
  3. 01-26-2010, 09:26 AM
  4. 10-26-2009, 03:47 AM
  5. 08-12-2009, 10:52 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •