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Why did the army revive the Samurai sword design in 1934 for officers?

Article about: Why did the army revive the Samurai sword design in 1934 for officers? Authors of Japanese military sword books, who are merely collectors, without the capability of researching original war

  1. #21


    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    Yes, Bruce, the same chart, but translated with more attention to details, which I learned were of interest to sword guys. Particularly blade supply to other arsenals that will affect stamping combinations found on examples.
    Thank you Nick for a full translation of the 1944 officer's sword production table. Indeed, one can see on surviving sword blades the mixing of arsenal stamps, for example, the 1st Factory of Kokura Army Arsenal 小倉陸軍造兵廠第一製造所 made blades.

    "Arsenal Stamps."
    Arsenal Stamps. - Page 13 - Military Swords of Japan - Nihonto Message Board

    I would also like to acknowledge Stegel-sensei, who I consider the foremost authority with hands on experience with the Type 95 NCO Sword 九五式軍刀, for sharing so much of his knowledge with the rest of us, both offline and online.
    Last edited by Kiipu; 08-01-2020 at 02:50 AM.

  2. #22


    Thanks for a great read as usual Nick, and thanks to all who also added value to the topic.

    The Type32 sword 'Otsu' version (foot soldiers) was replaced by the Type95, did the 2" longer Cavalry 'Ko' version actually continue production until 1945 as we are led to believe in references?

    Most War and pre-war photo's show mounted cavalry troops with the Type32, here are a couple with Type95's, so post 1938 at least.
    Why did the army revive the Samurai sword design in 1934 for officers?Why did the army revive the Samurai sword design in 1934 for officers?

    BTW-love the horse hats, i wouldn't be surprised if they had specs on them too!

  3. #23


    With the various prototypes being developed over the years before the release of the type95, mainly to align the cavalry with the rest of the army as one of the goals, did it stop there for them? that is , is there any record of further cavalry input or request for changes after the type95 was introduced?

    I have a type 95 in Kogarusa-Maru configuration (i think i spelt it right).
    It has a double edged blade, not single edged. The groove (bohi) starts as a normal type95 and widens out to the same size as the type 32 groove and matches the German cavalry swords groove.
    The curvature of the blade is further exaggerated when compared to the normal type95 blade, and it appears to replicate the WW1 Prussian Artillery/Cavalry soldiers blade. (see the pics below)

    From the serial numbers i place production at about 07-08 month in 1942.
    My question i guess, is do you think it may have been intended for cavalry use?

    Why did the army revive the Samurai sword design in 1934 for officers?Why did the army revive the Samurai sword design in 1934 for officers?

  4. #24


    The official designation for the horse's hat Stegel remarked on was 防暑帽乙, Sun Helmet B as introduced on 12th Oct. 1938. The A model in this case was meant for humans. More details here. 

    As I do not waste money on buying Japanese militaria books written by non-historian collectors, I was not aware that such authors claim that the Type 32 cavalry swords continued to be produced until 1945. No, they are confused and misinformed as usual. As I have been stressing in this thread, the Type 94 and Type 95 signified the extinction of the cavalry model, and the Samurai sword finally could be revived in its full traditional form, because the cavalry hand-guard was no longer a must.

    Pure functionality, not nationalism already brought the Samurai sword blades back after the Sino-Japanese War, but the huge amount of say the cavalry had into the early Showa era had made hand-guards around the grip of the sword mandatory, impeding the full revival of the Samurai sword design. Thanks to the waning moon of the IJA cavalry, a full comeback was finally possible.

    The unification of the cavalry and infantry models of the Type 32 swords into the Type 95 is not a topic for this heading, so I will cover that under the Type 95 history.

  5. #25


    "Pure functionality, not nationalism already brought the Samurai sword blades back after the Sino-Japanese War,"

    So Nick, (at a risk of sensei Stegel losing his head again) are you taking a position that Japanese nationalism and Militarism had no part in the reintroduction of the Samurai sword? I think that would be a position other scholars and historians would question. My earlier comment that tipped someone's boat, related to that "functionality" a two handed sword obviously delivers more power than a single handed sword. Simple physics. Functionality and Nationalism can aid and complement each other, and could not both be at work in this case?

  6. #26


    I suppose you've been too busy loping heads off to pay attention to what I said. You claim that I concluded that "Japanese nationalism and Militarism had no part in the reintroduction of the Samurai sword". Please keep your head on long enough to read the full thread before trying to put words in my mouth.

  7. #27


    This Article has now been added to Nick's Master Index , found in the sticky list at the top of the forum , thanks Nick .

    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...

  8. #28


    If Western historians are indeed attributing the return of the Samurai Sword as Gunto to Japanese nationalism and militarism, that merely exposes their shocking ignorance of Japan's modernization and militarization history as well as universal human nature. Actually, if left to Nationalism and Militarism, Saber designs would have prevailed and the Samurai sword would have had little chance of being revived.

    Japan went through the birthing pains of having to Westernize and forsake all Samurai tradition in that process, including Samurai swords. As a result of this painful transition, Japan won 3 big wars in succession; the Sino-Japanese War, Russo-Japanese War and WW!. This naturally was a huge boost to nationalistic pride, and that kind of nationalism on a roll is generally not self-critical but endorses the status quo by re-electing the leaders that won the war for them, etc. Nationalism, in that context, is like social inertia based on a conviction that the nation is doing the right thing and knows best.

    All these wars were fought with sabers, not Samurai swords. These victories, in a sense, fully endorsed the wisdom of switching to Western weapons, further distancing the nation from old fashioned Samurai tradition. So riding the wave of nationalism should have perpetuated the use of saber designs instead of bringing back the Samurai sword.

    Nationalism of those times actually found little that Japan could be proud of about its past and huge numbers of cultural assets were burned and destroyed. Bringing back the Samurai sword was actually, to many, a dubious decision that went against this tide of national sentiment and no natural outcome of that tide.

  9. #29


    Excellent Thread
    It is not the size of a Collection in History that matters......Its the size of your Passion for it!! - Larry C

    One never knows what tree roots push to the surface of what laid buried before the tree was planted - Larry C

    “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” - Winston Churchill

  10. #30


    Quote by Kiipu View Post
    This change in swordsmanship style required the lengthening of the hilt on Japanese army swords to accommodate an extra hand.
    I borrowed one of Bruce's pictures to illustrate what I am talking about. The sword on top is single handed while the sword on bottom is double handed. The sword on the bottom would have to date from sometime after 1915. The cavalry and dress swords continued to be single handed after 1915 though.
    Kyu Corner - Military Swords of Japan - Nihonto Message Board
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Why did the army revive the Samurai sword design in 1934 for officers?  

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