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Very Unusual "Konan Essei" Mantetsu

Article about: Came across this quite unusual gunto on the Kinghouse.sg, sword collection site. I tried copying the particular page, but the link takes you to page 1 of 27. The sword is on page 7. http://w

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    Default Very Unusual "Konan Essei" Mantetsu

    Came across this quite unusual gunto on the Kinghouse.sg, sword collection site. I tried copying the particular page, but the link takes you to page 1 of 27. The sword is on page 7.
    http://www.kinghouse...frame.asp?cat=8

    He claims, and it does appear to be made by Mantetsu, but it simply "Konan Essei" stamped on the nakago (picture attached).

    According to the collector: "Extremely Rare Mantetsu sword signed "Konan Issei

    This is an extremely rare blade specially made by Mantetsu, South Manchurian Railway Company for the senior Officers at South Pacific War zone during the last stage of the War in 1945. very few were made and very hard to find. It's so rare that no literature on "Konan Issei" can be found.

    During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in South Central China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands.

    "Konan Issei" swords were created hastily from readily Mantetsu blades in very small quantity at Seki in 1945 at the final phase of WW2 to rush to the senior commanders fighting in the South Pacific War.

    "Konan Issei" was meant "to win the South Pacific War with determination" a "WAR CRY" to boost the morale of the very weary troops after loss of many battles.

    To the best of my knowledge, this sword, is so far, the only one with "Konan Issei" inscription that has surfaced unlike other swords made by Mantetsu. The hamon is suguha and except with the wordings" Konan Isshin, otherwise, it's very much a Mantetsu sword"

    It's the first I've ever heard of this, but it appears legit. He's got 3 other standard Mantetsu Koa's, and I've emailed them for the serial numbers. Hopefully they reply!
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Very Unusual "Konan Essei" Mantetsu  

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    興亜一心 Kou-a-isshinn and 興南一誠 Kou-nan issei are both companion economic development slogans, as the first means "Total Dedication to the Development of Asia" and the latter means "Sincerest Devotion to the Development of the South". The sales talk about the circumstances of its birth don't seem to understand that it's a slogan for industry and finance, not any military war cry. Anyway, they themselves admit that there is no documentation, so they simply made the whole story up as they usually do to sell.

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    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    興亜一心 Kou-a-isshinn and 興南一誠 Kou-nan issei are both companion economic development slogans, as the first means "Total Dedication to the Development of Asia" and the latter means "Sincerest Devotion to the Development of the South". The sales talk about the circumstances of its birth don't seem to understand that it's a slogan for industry and finance, not any military war cry. Anyway, they themselves admit that there is no documentation, so they simply made the whole story up as they usually do to sell.
    Nick, I was hoping you’d have a go at this! But I’m a bit lost. The collector who owns the Konan Essie blade isn’t selling. His 200+ blade collection isn’t for sale. And the kanji on the blade look like standard Mantetsu writing.

    My main confusion is that even if both slogans originated as commercial pitches, they are in fact being found on Mantetsu blades. Are you saying the slogans were simply added by the factory to market their blades making them more appealing to officers?

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    If it's not made-up sale talk he's repeating and there are no documents, where does his nonsense come from, some inner voice? I see no conflict in having these slogans on Mantetsu blades. The Manchurian Railway itself was a means of developing Asia, so Koua-Isshin is like a company slogan.
    The question in the case of the sword is which "South" they were referring to; Southern Manchuria covered by the South Mantetsu Railway or Southeast Asia.

    Anyway, it was no war cry and I seriously doubt it was a late war item (no one talks about economic development of a region when a war is about to be lost). Kou-Nan activities generally took place earlier around 1942.

    Anyway, to claim that to be a war cry for a last ditch effort in the South Pacific is a total fabrication only people who cannot read Japanese can concoct.
    Last edited by nick komiya; 11-10-2018 at 01:20 PM.

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    Thanks Nick. Yes, he’s clearly thrown in his own thoughts on that “war cry” stuff! What I appreciate from your post, though, is the fact that the slogan was real. I’m hoping they will respond to my request for a date and serial number.

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    I think it's far fetched to call this sword Mantetsu. The style of the Mei is nothing like the Mei on the Mantetsu. The hamon is different. Most Mantetsu if not all are Suguha. This is Midare.

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    Now I know that the phrase Kou-nan 興南 was referring to the colonization of Southern China as well as Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, etc. The main emphasis of the Kou-nan program was development of Japanese multicultural administrators to run the colonies and promote Japanese language education. They started to train such personnel in April 1941 and the school was initially called Takunan-Juku (Development of the South Classes), a 2 year program that sent 300 graduates out to the southern countries. This school changed its name to Kou-nan-Rensei-in 興南錬成院 (Academy of Southern Territories Development Administrators) in November 1942 and, under that name, they sent out 179 graduates to the South. One year later, they will further change their name to Academy of Great East Asia Development Administrators.

    Thus colonial development of South East Asia initially used the phrase Takunan 拓南, then Kou-nan 興南 and further Great East Asia Development 大東亜. Think of it as a Japanese counterpart to something like "Pax Romana".

    Kounan, the phrase used on the sword was only used between November 1942 and November 1943. Thus the sword can be dated linguistically to this period.

    Koua, "Development of Asia" was a phrase used in a similar context, but preceded Takunan.

    So it is clear that "Koua-Isshin" and "Kou-nan Issei" were twin slogans representing Japan's pre-1944 coloniallization program and those slogans are attributed to a specific timeframe, but how and why they ended up being engraved on swords is another story.

    By the end of the war, after November 1943, Kounan-Issei was a dead phrase, and it was totally out of place to mention the phrase in connection with the last ditch efforts in the South Pacific, out of place like the German word "Lebensraum" in late 43/44.

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    Thank you Nick, fabulous info!

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    Update from the kounan issei owner. His info simply came from a Japanese man who works in a sword shop in Japan. No documentation.

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    So Quatsch (BS) as we say here.

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