Old Katana (Picture heavy)
Hello everyone,

I recently had come into my possession this katana, now I don't know much about them, being mostly interested in western style swords and was wondering if anyone can tell me more about it.

It has a nice wooden sheath and handle, with decorative fittings on both, it's held together with one bamboo pin, it also has two small knives hidden in the sheath. The guard appears to be iron, and has a bull on it.

It was said to be a WII Japanese soldiers sword given to a medic who was trying to save his life. The sword has significant emotional value to me, but i would like to know more about it's style, origins, date, ect. anything anyone could share with me would be great!

I'm attaching several pictures, if anyone wants a better look at any part of it just say so and i'll upload whatever you need.

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katana 1.png

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Two more, imaged of the guard and the overall blade with knives.

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Hi David

Welcome to the forums.

I highly doubt the story and age of this piece and it appears to me to be a fairly recently made decorative sword. There are really so many things that look wrong that it is difficult to say where to start. It is most likely Chinese made and not terribly old, maybe a couple f decades. Stories get passed along with the owners of swords like this and it is taking a look at what Japanese swords actually look like that the differences and faults come to mind.

If you have not spend any real time in looking at antique and military Japanese swords, start with a link such as this one.

Then for random selection of antiques, maybe browse the japanese section here

That first informational link will lead to a great deal more information.

Starting with practicalities, the woodwork while very attractive, never foundto have been used during WWII and by a soldier. The blade is badly formed. The accessory knifes are rudimentary representations but not what one would have seen as a pair, There would have been a pick and/or a knife. You mention the guard (tsuba), It is coarsely cast and ill formed. Again, looking at antiques will point out the problems. There were tourists swords made with a Japanese made in droves during the post war years but this is much newer (my opinion).

If this was given as a gift, honor it as a well intentioned one but if purchased, I hope it was not terribly costly.

Large pictures of the point of the blade (kissaki) and the blade collar (habaki) can be other points to look at but I am pretty sure will just confirm what I can see in those pictures. I am not a collector or authority on Japanese swords but that may be telling in that there are so many issues that can be seen with this piece. really, rather than my going point by point, I suggest again to take a look at some antiques and learn some about how they were made and what to look for.


The sword looks like it may old, but to me it looks to be from the Japanese export market after WWII. During WWII, Japan used the type 94 and type 98 sword patterns.
(Picture of the type 98) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...ype_98.jpg

The non traditional wood grip and scabbard make me lean towards it being from the Japanese post war export market rather than pre-war or WWII era. A Family friend of mine has a Japanese officer sword from a man his father shot in the pacific, that has a type 98/94 grip, traditionally forged blades, and a non standard issue leather and wood scabbard.

This link has a short passage about american GI's purchasing japanese swords in occupied japan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_sword#R...modern_use

There is also the chance that it is even newer than WWII, or not even Japanese, but the full tang makes me think it isn't some cheap Pakistani knock off.
Hi all :)

I don't have the knowledge of the katana. :(
(I'm a Japanese. But I am not interested in a katana... :( )

ummmm... this sword looks like folk crafts for me.
ummmmm... I think that it is not made in Japan...

[ Linked Image ]

thanks ^^
Also the marking looks like its sharpied on. It should be etched into the tang if it was from a smith (with his name)
Tom King wrote:
Also the marking looks like its sharpied on. It should be etched into the tang if it was from a smith (with his name)

Hi Tom

Japanese smiths stamp the kanji on the nakago (tang) with chisels. They are not etched.


Stein's page linked in my first post will discuss this and that will be apparent, along with the military patterns. A great deal of information and pictures from Stein's pages are lifted (cut and pasted) to other informational sites. It really is the best starting page for any interested in Japanese swords. It is a shame so many hotlink his images because his site overloads from use during the later weeks in the month but the pages are available through archive.org.

I cannot emphasis more what I already mentioned in my initial reply and if someone takes a little time on the net, they will be less likely to take stories as verbatim and draw false conclusions. The entire ensemble of the sword in the lead posts are a vague representation of a Japanese sword and virtually all parts of it, simply not what a sword of any real merit will show. That even to the processes of sub $100 Chinese swords sold today. The decorative Spanish made swords from Marto and Art Gladius are many levels above this in authenticity, even with their stainless steel blades.

We are looking at a decorative sword that "looks like" a Japanese sword and falls short of any real value aside from hanging it on a wall or displaying it on a rack. If it was a gift and has sentimental value, I would leave it at that. Use will be bound to be disappointing and very possibly harmfully dangerous.


Glen A Cleeton wrote:
Japanese smiths stamp the kanji on the nakago (tang) with chisels. They are not etched.

I meant etched as in carved into the tang with chisels, not chemical etching. As far as the blade itself, its pretty clear it isn't from WWII, but the 1980's would probably be pretty close to the mark (before reproduction weapons started to strive for authenticity) Not many things out of Pakistan would come with a full tang and retaining pin, but on the same hand that doesn't mean its Japanese. So without finding it in a marto catalogue, it would be safe to assume that it is a modern era reproduction in the general shape of a katana.

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