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NLF Gunto Discussion

Article about: I'm still in the investigation stage of this, and am posting on 5 forums, so forgive me if you see this on other website forums, but I'd like to spread a wide net, so to speak to gather more

  1. #11


    And another counter document from a discussion at Gunboards:

    It tells how permission to bring back war trophies was terminated in 1946. So, with this in mind, it is clear why the PX certificate was worded the way it was - regardless of the true origin of the gunto. On this fact alone, the 1950 document doesn't really tell us the facts we are looking for.

    I still think it is telling that the PX was selling them, and in 1950. To me, 5 years after the war was over, this indicates that brand new swords were being made and the PX was involved in the sales.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture NLF Gunto Discussion  

  2. #12


    Quote by Bruce Pennington View Post
    To me, 5 years after the war was over, this indicates that brand new swords were being made and the PX was involved in the sales.
    Sword production [i.e., forging new blades] was outlawed after the war; perhaps you mean that brand new swords were being assembled from old stock?


  3. #13


    Good point Guy, yes I believe the metal fittings as a minimum were newly manufactured (the one-piece fuchi/seppa for example). I’ve always felt the blades were original.

  4. #14


    An update: A post on NMB backing our theory that these were post-war production for the PX:

    Ian B3HR2UH
    Jo Saku

    120 posts
    Locationdrouin australia
    Posted Yesterday, 11:26 PM

    There are a few documents around that I think explain what these swords are

    Among the fantastic documents that Stephen Thorpe kindly posted in the articles section is the report of a conference held at the Tenshozan Works Kamakura on the 9th of September 1946. Those present included the manager Shintaro Yao who said that he had a contract with the 8th Army PX to deliver for sale by them 8000 swords . He was worried because the PX had cancelled the contract.

    Among the downloadable documents in the National Diet library website is a letter from Capt Wall dated 22 July 1949 where he seeks permission to take home one Naval type Japanese sword presented to him by Mr Yao supervisor of the Japanese Naval sword Manufacturing Co Kamakura .

    There is a further letter dated 4 March 1950 requesting authorization to procure authentic samurai swords and hari kari knives for resale to the Exchange . I am not sure what the exchange is but the letter goes on to approve the recommendation that CPO be allowed to procure for sale to the exchange some 6000 souvenir swords . It was noted that the recommendation was based on the fact that an original purchase order had been placed with the manufacturer and had not been cancelled in time to prevent the manufacture of some 6000 swords. In order to prevent monetary loss to the Japanese concern procurement of the remainder of the purchase order was approved .

    I think these documents explain the origins of these swords

    Ian Brooks

  5. #15


    Here is the document. It shows that Tenshozan factory was the only one allowed to remain open and was making these swords of the PX.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture NLF Gunto Discussion  

  6. #16


    It looks like we finally know what was going on, at last. One hell of a search, and an example of real research finally (we hope) getting a result.

  7. #17


    I don't know how relevant it is to the discussions here, but the navy also issued a "Last Ditch" Rinji spec directive for officer swords on 27th March 1945. Directive Number 54 said "1: Gilding, Gold Colored Metal and Cherry branch engravings are to cease, 2:Sarute not to be attached, 3:Only one Haikan (scabbard ring) to be present, 4: Use of animal skins to be minimized, 5: Push button type locks to be changed to tie-cord type, 6: Scabbards to be wrapped in tree bark and be finished with black lacquer.

    By that time, the navy had lost its ships and most members got deployed as land troops, so it is understandable if the above Rinji spec got to be associated with the NFL.

    The PX sword discussed here seems to consist mainly of parts matching the description above, but with some gold colored parts thrown in to beautify them.

  8. #18


    Could be the origin of the pattern. When you say "Cherry branch engravings are to cease," - do you think they are saying that only the branches cease but the blossom/leaves remain (i.e. the Army pattern) or do you think they went to a completely smooth/plain, unadorned fuchi?

  9. #19


    In Japanese, point 1 is 「金鍍金、金色金属、枝桜毛彫及彫刻ヲ用ヒザルコト」, which says no gold color nor engraved or relief adornment, so a "plain Jane". This directive is mentioned in the Ohmura site as well as Wikipedia, so it should be common knowledge to Gunto collectors already.

  10. #20


    Thanks Nick. So it does appear that the post-war gunto were jazzed up a bit, but this does seem to be the foundation for the concept they started from. Very cool.

    Now I’m going to be on the lookout for the navy rinji model. I have a vague memory of actually seeing one before. It was the single haikan that was puzzling, and this explains it!

    In fact, I believe I may have one that halfway fits the description. It's a Takayama-style blade with late-war canvas for ito, not dated, but made for the Toyokawa navy arsenal. One haikan. The only thing that doesn't seem to fit is the fuchi has the normal decorations.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture NLF Gunto Discussion  

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