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Officers Katana ID--Type98? Type3? Mixed Bag?

Article about: Hello Folks, First post, glad I found this place. I am thrilled at the knowledge here, and believe you guys can help. About 15yrs ago, I picked up a Gunto at a local gun show, as part of my

  1. #1
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    Default Officers Katana ID--Type98? Type3? Mixed Bag?

    Hello Folks,

    First post, glad I found this place. I am thrilled at the knowledge here, and believe you guys can help. About 15yrs ago, I picked up a Gunto at a local gun show, as part of my intended ramp into nihonto-collection. It was sold as an "Officer's Marine Landing Sword." Over the years I have tried to pick up as much data about it as I can. I am fairly certain it is IJA. I've crawled through about 15 pages of this forum, and not found a close match to what I have. I suspect I got a "mixed-bag" of parts.

    I think I have the ura-mei translated correctly as Sho-Wa-Jyu-Ku-Nen-Shichi(??)-Gatsu (July, '44), but could use some correction/confirmation. I have not yet been able to figure out the omote-mei, and would appreciate knowing. Seems I may be dealing with bad "handwriting" in addition to an unfamiliar language. Some key notes/questions, then on to the pictures. If I missed something, I apologize in advance...

    1. Nagasa = 26 1/16 inches.
    2. Sori = 5/8 inch.
    3. The blade retainer is missing; the seppa (some are missing) do not all line-up with the hole in the tsuba and koi-guchi; the tsuka has no channel for a blade-retainer, and is very loose on the nakago.
    4. The blade has no hamon--my testing suggests it never had one.
    5. I worked like mad to fix a dog-leg bend in the blade, and it fought me the whole way. It seems to have a spring temper throughout.
    6. There is no evidence of rust anywhere, though someone could have buffed it up before my time. Could it be stainless?
    7. There is a Sakura(?) stamp on the omote, and a tiny, tiny stamp on the ura; I have a greatly magnified view of this attached--is this a Seki stamp? (Doesn't look like the Kanji I've seen in books or on the web.)
    8. What "type" do I seem to have?
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    You have a mismatched 1944 model IJA officer's sword with a replaced handle of the earlier model IJA officer's sword. I have seen this before when a G I broke the handle looking for non existant "jewels in the handle." War time kanji on machined made blades does not look anything like kanji found on older swords. It is quickly applied by a non professional. The man is not a sword smith so the signature was insignificant. Welcome to the Forum.
    BOB

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

  3. #3
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    As Bob says it's a mix. These late war swords were also referred to as Type 3 as you mentioned. The reference to Marine Landing Force is perpetuated through old reference books but has been proven incorrect over time. These are definitely Army.

    For more info have a look here ...

    Military Swords of Imperial Japan (GuntM)

    Regards,
    Stu

  4. #4
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    Quote by BOB COLEMAN View Post
    . I have seen this before when a G I broke the handle looking for non existant "jewels in the handle." .
    Hello Bob,
    I have never heard about that. Could you tell me a little more about this?
    Thanks
    Semper Fi
    Phil

  5. #5
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    Hello Bob,

    Thanks for your time and assistance on this! I guess it was cheaper to have factory guys hacking up gimei than to have a machine stamp a serial number. Since you mentioned it, I very vaguely have some recollection of a popular GI myth about jewels in the handles, though I could be confused. I too would like to hear more about this...

    Hi Stu,

    Thanks for your input. The Ohmura web site is an excellent resource. In fact, that was my "Rosetta stone" for figuring out the date on my blade to the extent I did. At one time when the address still had "dione" in it, he had a blade where the carving style was pretty well identical to that on my nakago (but different characters). He did not show the ura, but typed the Kanji and English on the screen, and gave me an "Aha!" moment.

    Thanks,
    Brian K.

  6. #6

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    []
    Seki [stamp] on date side

    =====
    {}
    Sakura stamp "Gifu" on swordsmith's name side (Gifu is the province where Seki City is located).

    兼茂
    Kaneshige

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    --Guy

  7. #7

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    Quote by RedTex View Post

    ...Sho-Wa-Jyu-Ku-Nen-Shichi(??)-Gatsu (July, '44),
    Very close:

    昭和十九年十二月

    Shōwa jūkyū-nen jūni-gatsu
    Shōwa 19 Year, 12 Month
    December 1944

  8. #8
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    Hello Guy,

    Thanks! That is awesome to have this blade "figured-out." I wasn't sure whether that month was 1 or 2 characters, because there was no uniform spacing (but there was for the year). Guess it's all part of the "non-professional" signer, or a "rule" I don't know. The folks here are just phenominal.

    Brian K.

  9. #9

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    Quote by AZPhil View Post
    Hello Bob,
    I have never heard about that. Could you tell me a little more about this?
    Thanks
    Semper Fi
    Phil
    I have no idea how the rumor started. Samurai would never embellish their swords with jewels. They lived an unadorned life with out glitz. Over the years, I met numerous vets who swore they knew someone who had seen these swords with jewels but never an individual with first hand knowlege. Being a GI myth, some soldiers unwrapped the handles or broke them off in search of what was not there.
    BOB

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

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