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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. #1

    Default Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    (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 WWII. My 85 year old Grandfather is a WWII Navy vet that picked up a Katana and Arisaka rifle while in Okinawa from the Russians. He has some documentation on them both but I want to learn more.

    I believe the Sword to be an officer's "Shin Gunto" sword, or I've seen others labeled as such that look similar. I have a friend in Japan that is trying to find out what the tag says, but if anyone else knows I'll gladly listen. What else can anyone tell me about this sword? I know it means a great deal to my "Pappa" and I'd love to tell him what I can find. thanks guys
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    Hi SeoulTeacher , and welcome to the forum These items are wonderful heirlooms and a great reminder of your Grandfather , but he wouldn`t have picked up these items from Russians , in Okinawa it would have been from Japanese troops ! It looks from your photos that it is a naval Kai Gunto sword , but i would like to see some more photos of the blade and scabbard plus some close ups , if possible . From what i can see it looks to be a super example and i`d love to see more of it , the patina looks fantastic . Incidentally the tags usually state the original owners name and address , as originally it was intended that the swords could be returned after the end of hostilities .
    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. #3

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

    Wow, thanks. I'll get more pictures and I will post the documentation he has on it. I'm 99% sure it says something along the lines of "In the spirit of friendship, the Russian Federation gives this captured sword to...." but I will check. The sword is priceless to him and me but I was wondering what does something like that go for?
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    Hi SeoulTeacher , i can confirm from your latest photo that it is indeed a naval Kai Gunto sword , and this can be denoted by the two hanger rings on the scabbard and also by the black/blue same ( shark or rayskin ) wrapping seen seen under the binding of the Tsuka ( handle ) I would like to see more close ups of the blade if possible . Values of these swords can vary tremendously and very much depends on the condition of the blade itself , considering if it was machine made or hand forged , and of course the age of 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...

  5. #5

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

    ok, got some more pictures. As you can see, the blade is near perfect and it hasn't been touched since it came home with my grandfather. You can see where his name (Keller) was etched into the sword as proof that it was his. He told me he didn't do it and was not happy that it was done but I guess they needed some way to show it was his. I also included a letter he got with the sword. The letter says it is a captured sword and a gift to my grandfather from the Russians. Did a lot of U.S. service men get war souvenirs from the Russians? He has the same thing for his rifle too. I passed on much of what you told me and he was very pleased

  6. #6

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

    Umm ok, its not posting the pictures....

  7. #7

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

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Need Help with my grandfather's Shin Gunto sword

    was the name keller stamped into the blade ??????

  9. #9

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

    no, someone kind of scratched it on there. It isn't very deep but its there. It looks like a car that's been "keyed", its a real shame that someone did that to a beautiful sword

  10. #10
    ?

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

    Ok , this makes sense now if you read this piece of info below , it will help you understand how your came by this sword ! I think your grandad was a cox on board a ship that went to Darien harbour to bring home pow`s , it`s a real nice item , treasure it ...

    This is a story in verse of the Death March of Bataan during World War II. This story was lived by Jesse Knowles and written in April, 1943 while he and several hundred other Americans were Prisoners-of-War of the Japanese in Mukden, Manchuria. During the march from Mariveles, on the southern end of the Bataan Peninsula, to San Fernando, 55 miles away, 76,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war were bound, beaten, or killed by their Japanese captors. Some were bayoneted when they fell from exhaustion. Some were forced to dig their own graves and were buried alive. Only 56,000 prisoners reached camp alive. Thousands of them later died from malnutrition and disease. In August, 1945, the Russian Army liberated the prison camp in Mukden and the first Americans the released prisoners saw were at the Harbor of Darien, Manchuria, when the U.S. Navy loaded the prisoners aboard a ship for the long-awaited trip home... to the U.S.A.
    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...

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