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Ann J.




Location: United States
Joined: 25 Jun 2018

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri 29 Jun, 2018 1:03 pm    Post subject: Help identifying WWII Japanese sword         Reply with quote

Hi,

I am new to this site and new to the world of swords. I have received a samurai sword that my father brought back from China at the end of WWII. It has been in a closet untouched all these years . He was in the Army Signal Corp in the CBI theater. I have attached a photo of the inscription on the tang. I would appreciate any suggestions or direction in how to translate the inscription or determine if the sword is authentic.

Thank you,

Ann J.



 Attachment: 267.37 KB
Picture of inscription on tang [ Download ]
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Hannes Vereecke




Location: Belgium
Joined: 27 Jul 2016

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon 02 Jul, 2018 5:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could you post more pictures, the tang looks a bit strange to me, in that it almost has zero (surface)rust on it.
Also the circles with x in them i have never seen before, possibly a hole that was never drilled?
Some pictures of the blade itself, temperline (if visible), handle and scabbard would be usefull.

As for translation, some people on this forum can read it, so I won't make any guesses Happy
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Peter Berbiers




Location: Flanders
Joined: 08 Nov 2004

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2018 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Noshu Seki Fukuda Sukemitsu
not my translation but Grey Doffin's
Kanji is open to interpretation, so if you could post pictures of the blade it would be easier to determine the smith.
Welcome to this forum.

Best regards,
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 03 Jul, 2018 11:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ann,

If you want to know if the sword is authentic, it will help if you attach photos of the entire sword. A tang inscription alone cannot guarantee the sword is genuine.
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Peter Berbiers




Location: Flanders
Joined: 08 Nov 2004

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2018 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Ann,

If you want to know if the sword is authentic, it will help if you attach photos of the entire sword. A tang inscription alone cannot guarantee the sword is genuine.


I agree, but it probably is a genuine mass produced gunto.
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Peter Berbiers




Location: Flanders
Joined: 08 Nov 2004

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed 04 Jul, 2018 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hannes Vereecke wrote:
Could you post more pictures, the tang looks a bit strange to me, in that it almost has zero (surface)rust on it.
Also the circles with x in them i have never seen before, possibly a hole that was never drilled?
Some pictures of the blade itself, temperline (if visible), handle and scabbard would be usefull.

As for translation, some people on this forum can read it, so I won't make any guesses Happy


The X stands for "suke"
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Ann J.




Location: United States
Joined: 25 Jun 2018

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu 05 Jul, 2018 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for your responses. I have attached more pictures to aid in identification. The reason there was no rust on the tang is because I wiped it with some 0000 steel wool to get better look at script. Beginners stupidity I am afraid. I so appreciate hearing your comments and helpful suggestions. Thank you for the translation. I will explore that more.

Again, whatever feedback you can provide based on these pictures I appreciate. This sword is a part of our family lore regarding my father' s time in China during the war and in Shangai at the close of the war.

Ann



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Peter Lyon
Industry Professional



Location: New Zealand
Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2018 1:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The scabbard and fittings are standard WW2 issue called Gunto, I can't remember the exact type number of your fittings at the moment but others here could be more precise. This type was used from the late 1930s until 1943-4 in huge numbers for Japanese low to mid rank officers in the Army (higher ranks and naval officers had other types or variations); by the end of the war with materials shortages, new and cruder hilt types were being manufactured. If you took the wrap off the grip section, it would probably also be the WW2 fittings, and possibly still in good condition if it has been wrapped for a long time.

I can't say much about the blade as katana aren't my speciality; blades were also mass-manufactured in WW2 and most are monosteel and of mediocre quality. But sometimes old family blades were mounted with the gunto fittings, this meant the bits exposed to dings and scrapes in general wear weren't precious family heirlooms, but the blade was still of high quality; it is unlikely that this is the case with your sword, but the inscription translation will tell that story.

Still hammering away
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Peter Lyon
Industry Professional



Location: New Zealand
Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 229

PostPosted: Fri 06 Jul, 2018 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, the blade is still in pretty good condition and not too badly marked, probably thanks to being stored in the scabbard all this time. It could be repolished, but that is a specialist job and expensive, so whether that is worth it depends on whether you want to all be original and with the patina that goes with real aging, and value vs polishing cost.

If you look on eBay under "gunto" you will find a lot of complete swords, hilt sets, scabbards, and miscellaneous parts from dismantled swords, and you should be able to identify your exact component types from that (and get an idea of market value, if that matters to you - it will likely be worth a lot more to you as family history than the dollar value). Also use your Google-fu and search "Gunto", and you will find a lot of information about the history and patterns of military issue swords of the Japanese army.

Still hammering away
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Ann J.




Location: United States
Joined: 25 Jun 2018

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat 07 Jul, 2018 4:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, Peter. Very helpful information to help me move forward.
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