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Steven Biernacki




Location: Chicago
Joined: 18 Oct 2012

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed 03 Apr, 2013 2:33 pm    Post subject: WWII Era Japanese Sword Question         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,
I have recently come upon this sword and I have a few questions about it. I believe it is from around WWII, but I don"t know for sure and I would like some more precise dates. I would also like to know what the appropriate nomenclature is for this sword. There are no markings on the blade but there is some on the wooden scabbard. Lastly, I would like to get an idea of what a sword like this in this condition would be worth.

The blade is sharp and measures about 26" long with an overall length of about 36".

I can provide more pictures if necessary.

Thank you.

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Tyler Jordan





Joined: 15 Mar 2004

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Wed 03 Apr, 2013 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You'll get the most information by popping the handle off (there will be 1 or 2 bamboo pegs) to look for a maker's mark or signature.
Nice to see anything that isn't in Shin Gunto though.
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 805

PostPosted: Wed 03 Apr, 2013 7:21 pm    Post subject: Re: WWII Era Japanese Sword Question         Reply with quote

Steven Biernacki wrote:
I would also like to know what the appropriate nomenclature is for this sword.
You can start here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_sword_mountings
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Steven Biernacki




Location: Chicago
Joined: 18 Oct 2012

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Thu 04 Apr, 2013 8:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric S wrote:
Steven Biernacki wrote:
I would also like to know what the appropriate nomenclature is for this sword.
You can start here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_sword_mountings


Thank You for the link, it was very informative. I also was trying to figure out the specific term for the blade in general. I have read the phrase "shin gunto" means "new military sword", would that accurately describe this blade?

Tyler Jordan wrote:
You'll get the most information by popping the handle off (there will be 1 or 2 bamboo pegs) to look for a maker's mark or signature.


I noticed a peg near the hilt, but I can't seem to take it out by hand, and since the blade doesn't belong to me, I want to avoid damaging the piece. Is there a proper/easy way to do this?
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 805

PostPosted: Thu 04 Apr, 2013 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven Biernacki wrote:


I noticed a peg near the hilt, but I can't seem to take it out by hand, and since the blade doesn't belong to me, I want to avoid damaging the piece. Is there a proper/easy way to do this?
The mekugi (bamboo peg) is tapered, the way to to remove them is to find an object with approximately the same diameter such as a nail punch and gently tap on the smaller end of the mekugi so that it moves in the opposite direction as it was inserted. If you remove the tsuka (handle) make sure you note how each part was facing so that it can be put it back together in the same manner.
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Fri 05 Apr, 2013 5:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No, its not a shin gunto, it is a regular katana that has been modified for Japanese Army use by the addition of a leather saya cover and retention ring. Probably edo period mounts can't say much about the blade without seeing all of it. But its in nice condition...
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Steven Biernacki




Location: Chicago
Joined: 18 Oct 2012

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri 05 Apr, 2013 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric S wrote:
The mekugi (bamboo peg) is tapered, the way to to remove them is to find an object with approximately the same diameter such as a nail punch and gently tap on the smaller end of the mekugi so that it moves in the opposite direction as it was inserted. If you remove the tsuka (handle) make sure you note how each part was facing so that it can be put it back together in the same manner.

I just finished disassembling and assembling the tsuka by following your instructions, thanks Eric! I will put up the pictures of what I found in the next post.
Christopher Treichel wrote:
No, its not a shin gunto, it is a regular katana that has been modified for Japanese Army use by the addition of a leather saya cover and retention ring. Probably edo period mounts can't say much about the blade without seeing all of it. But its in nice condition...

If the mounting of the blade is from the Edo period, would it be more uncommon to find than a WWII military issue mounting? I read that the last years of the Edo period were in the 1860's, and that would make this mounting over a hundred fifty years old...
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Steven Biernacki




Location: Chicago
Joined: 18 Oct 2012

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri 05 Apr, 2013 2:38 pm    Post subject: More Pictures         Reply with quote

Here are the pictures of the dismantled handle of the katana.
The pieces are laid out in the order that they were assembled, and there was one pin holding the system together.
The last picture is very blue because it was the only lighting condition that the markings showed well on in pictures. It is actually very clear in real life without any special lighting.
I appreciate if anyone can tell me any more information based on these pictures.








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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 805

PostPosted: Fri 05 Apr, 2013 3:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I edited your image, I dont know if it is easier to read than the original.


 Attachment: 50.26 KB
z mei.jpg

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Steven Biernacki




Location: Chicago
Joined: 18 Oct 2012

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr, 2013 9:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Eric, I posted your picture as reference on a different forum.
I posted the picture of the blade handle on a couple other forums, and someone has translated the kanji for me. Here is his reply I received:

" It says 常陸守宗重 (pronounced as Hitachi no kami mune shige).
Link is here.
http://www.e-sword.jp/sale/2012/1210_1033syousai.htm "

Feel free to post any more facts about the blade based off this information, I just wanted to post this here to update anyone interested in this thread.
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