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Need help identifying a Japanese sword I purchased for my son's Christmas

Article about: Trying to get my son interested in more things than just playing video games. I purchased this sword a month back and was hoping I could find out more information about it. Who made it timef

  1. #1

    Default Need help identifying a Japanese sword I purchased for my son's Christmas

    Trying to get my son interested in more things than just playing video games. I purchased this sword a month back and was hoping I could find out more information about it. Who made it timeframe it was made and anything else I could tell my son about it. I have added several pictures and hope someone can help. ThanksNeed help identifying a Japanese sword I purchased for my son's ChristmasNeed help identifying a Japanese sword I purchased for my son's ChristmasNeed help identifying a Japanese sword I purchased for my son's ChristmasNeed help identifying a Japanese sword I purchased for my son's ChristmasNeed help identifying a Japanese sword I purchased for my son's Christmas
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Need help identifying a Japanese sword I purchased for my son's Christmas  

  2. #2

    Default

    Please be patient, someone who knows about your weapon will be along shortly.

    I’d like to comment on you trying to get your son interested in something besides gaming. It only takes one spark to start his fires burning, don’t give up! Youngsters like knives, swords, guns, etc, so I think your chances are high in getting his interest. Well done, dad!

    Oh, and I’ve always wanted one of these Katana, so maybe I’m still the kid-at-heart.

    Green
    In this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. CE

  3. #3

    Default

    Well what a nice father you are!!! And your gift has some information for you to pass on to your lucky son.

    関住兼友
    Seki jū Kanetomo
    Kanetomo, Residing in Seki [city]

    昭和十七年十月
    Showa 17 [1942] October

    Yellow lacquered assembly notation:
    友十五
    Tomo 15
    • I'm thinking the "Tomo" is related to the smith's name Kanetomo
    • I cannot clearly see the yellow writing on the opposite side


    Assembly numbers on the metal parts:
    五二
    52

    =========
    About the smith
    From the Register of Names of Seki Forge Swordsmiths Since Showa 14, October (1939)
    兼友 三輪静夫 S14.10.20
    Swordsmith name: 兼友 Kanetomo
    Legal name: 三輪静夫 Miwa Shizuo
    Date entered the Seki Guild Log: S14.10.20 -- Showa 14 [1939], October 20

    From Markus Sesko's Japanese Swordsmiths:

    KANETOMO (兼友), Shōwa (昭和, 1926-1989), Gifu – “Miwa Kanetomo saku” (三輪兼友作), “Kanetomo” (兼友), real name Miwa Shizuo (三輪静夫), born March 31st 1916, student of Kojima Kanemichi (小島兼道), he worked as guntō smith and died July 27th 1994, jōkō no retsu (Akihide), Second Seat at the 6th Shinsaku Nihontō Denrankai (新作日本刀展覧会, 1941)

    Also from Sesko about the rankings:
    When it comes to gendaitō and especially WWII-era smiths, this publication includes the ranking of about 300 contemporary smiths carried out by Kurihara Akihide (栗原昭秀) in 1942 under the title Seidai Tōshō Iretsu Ichiran (聖代刀匠位列一覧). He introduced seven ranks:
    shinpin no retsu (神品の列) Supreme masterworks
    kihin-jōi (貴品上位) Superior precious works
    kihin no retsu (貴品の列) Precious works
    jōko no jōi (上工の上位) Superior master
    jōkō no retsu (上工の列) Master
    ryōkō no jōi (良工の上位) Superior skilled artisan
    ryōkō no retsu (良工の列) Skilled artisan

    In addition, also the five ranks and the special rank of the sixth national sword making contest, the Shinsaku Nihontō Denrankai (新作日本刀展覧会), from 1941 are quoted. About 250 swordsmiths were awarded this year and the ranking was as follows:

    tokubetsu meiyo seki (特別名誉席) Special Honor Seat
    kokukō (国工) First seat, national smith
    jun-kokukō (準国工) Second seat, associate national smith
    yūshū (優秀) Third seat, superior quality
    kasaku (佳作) Fourth seat, excellently made
    shinshin (新進) Fifth seat, up and coming
    ===========
    So, when this blade was made in 1942 Kanetomo had already been judged an Associate National Smith (1941), and Master (28 March 1942). It should be a pretty good blade.

    Cheers!
    -- Guy
    Last edited by ghp95134; 12-09-2023 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Fixing sloppy wording

  4. #4

    Default

    What a nice piece of history to start a collection with!
    I still remember opening my WW2 UFH M1 Garand bayonet that sparked my interest in collecting. All those hours just trying to research what each stamp meant!
    I hope your Son loves it!

  5. #5

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    Yes Mordecai, what a wonderful piece to start a collection with, couldn’t agree more.

    And that detailed list of information Guy provided, wow! I’m always blown away at the knowledge our member on the forum possess. Thank you all for sharing!

    Green
    In this world there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig. CE

  6. #6

    Default

    The model is called the Type 98 Japanese Officer sword. Officially designed and approved in 1938 and built for the war all the way through 1945. Japan had been using Western styled swords as they pushed to modernize their military in the early 1900s. The Western-styled sabers were breaking in the brutal winters of the Sino-Japanese war. Also, officers complained that the sabers wouldn't slash through the heavily padded/insulated Chinese troops' clothing. So, Japanese leadership agreed to return to the Samurai styled swords in both style and craftsmanship.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks so much for the information, it will go the extra mile to get him more interest about the sword and will hopefully kick start a collection for his future. Thank you so much it really means a lot.

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