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Ermagherd,
10 Mirrimerter!
Picture of ElKabong
posted
Any experience is more than I have.
Picked this up at a flea market, yard sale price
If it’s a copy I’m still ok , it’s heavy, good edge and seems very high quality
“741” stamped on all the small parts and handle

Not signed on the tang

Any opinions?

Baby the Cat likes it , tried to abscond with the small pin that holds it all together




























I quit school in elementary because of recess.......too many games
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Posts: 2926 | Location: WV | Registered: September 02, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
Picture of kkina
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Not a Japanese sword expert, but that is clearly a gunto ("military sword"), most likely a Type 98. Gunto were produced for the Imperial Japanese Army from 1935-1945. No swordsmith engraving on the tang means probably a machine-made blade. Not a copy per se, but not a true katana either. Perhaps worth $100 and up.

Here's what it probably used to look like...


fss-741-mounts-full-Large-full-resolution by kpkina, on Flickr

(BTW, the assembly number's '1' digit looks like it's stamped upside-down. Not unheard of. Factory worker had too much sake the night before?)

This message has been edited. Last edited by: kkina,



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Posts: 16436 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
Picture of P220 Smudge
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Damn, nice score. Other than the cracked tsuka, it looks like it's in really good shape, and all-matching to boot. It's a WWII Shin-gunto army officer sword.

Given the markings on all the fittings, I'd be willing to bet there's at least an arsenal stamp on the tang. It may be really faint. I suggest doing a rubbing of both sides if you can.

Here's a link with some basic info, and the arsenal stamp logos are on the right side.

https://www.japaneseswordindex.com/military.htm

Lack of signature doesn't necessarily mean machine made. Many historical katana lack them because the tangs were signed in an era when longer swords were common, and the way they shortened them was to cut from the tang end, and the signature went with it. This one has a single mekugi hole, so it's probably not a remount, but I had to make the point. I'm looking around and finding a number of examples of unsigned gendaito (traditionally made, not stainless steel). Here's one that's remarkably similar, with the same menuki (grip fittings under the wrap), but not as nice of condition:
https://www.antique-swords.com...aito-Shin-Gunto.html

Whether machine made or not, that sucker's made from folded steel, based on at least one of the photos. While the patina on the blade doesn't look like something hundreds of years old, it would be a shame to say this is a machine-made sword and have it turn out to be a traditionally made Meiji era blade.

I would like to see better pictures of the blade itself, as well as the tang. The fittings are potentially the least valuable part of the whole thing, and even if not, it's a nice example of a complete package in good condition. At the very least, it's worth a good bit more than $100.


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Posts: 17303 | Location: Sonoran Desert | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
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You bring up an excellent point, P220, and I'm glad you did. Yes, there is a possibility that's an artisan-crafted blade, though produced during the war years. As such the monetary value could be much higher.

It's also possible it is an ancestral blade, even if unsigned. After all, the Honjo Masamune is unsigned (no, it's not the Honjo; I checked the hamon Wink)

Also a good point about an arsenal stamp. Looking at the 5th pic down, is there stamping along the edge of the tang? Didn't mention it as I wasn't sure.



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Posts: 16436 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ermagherd,
10 Mirrimerter!
Picture of ElKabong
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Thanks guys!
Looks like there may be a small stamp under the rust
There is definitely a distinct wavy forge line
That would not be present on a machine made blade ?


I quit school in elementary because of recess.......too many games
--Riff Raff--
 
Posts: 2926 | Location: WV | Registered: September 02, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
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I was actually wondering about that, too. It doesn't look like an artificial temper line. Is it possible it's a machine-made blade that was put through differential clay-hardening?



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Posts: 16436 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Just because you can,
doesn't mean you should
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Not an expert here. My dad did bring one back from the war but traded it to someone when I was a kid.

If you search for Japanese sword and 741, you'll find a lot of info. They were made for the war effort in mostly smaller factories or shops, not necessarily large factories like we had here.
For that reason they varied a bit and many had some sort of signature or makers mark.
Not sure what 741 is other than maybe a design spec or part number of some sort.

Most of them still existing probably came here with GI's as souvenirs. Immediately after the war ended, GI's went through the entire country and gathered up anything resembling a weapon. Most were melted down and destroyed.
We had no idea in the early days right after the surrender, how the population would react to foreign soldiers in their country. Due to the fanaticism they showed during the war and the plans to use indoctrinated civilians, even women of all ages, and children, military leaders expected the worst. So we took no chances and with their help got every scrap that could be used against us.
Turns out they were so obedient that when the Emperor said give it up, they did to an extreme and voluntarily turned over anything and everything, including ancient family heirloom swords. That's why they (the truly old stuff) are so rare today.


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Posts: 9615 | Location: NE GA | Registered: August 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
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quote:
Not sure what 741 is other than maybe a design spec or part number of some sort.

That is the assembly number, used when putting all the pieces together. Usually painted, but sometimes stamped.



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Posts: 16436 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
Picture of P220 Smudge
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quote:
Originally posted by ElKabong:
Thanks guys!
Looks like there may be a small stamp under the rust
There is definitely a distinct wavy forge line
That would not be present on a machine made blade ?


Whatever you do, do not attempt to clean the rust on the tang. That's the cardinal sin with any Japanese sword. Again, I suggest trying to make a rubbing of this with some parchment paper and a pencil. If that doesn't work, chalk directly on the tang may also reveal it without damaging the value.

Regarding the wavy lines, that's the result of folding the steel, and says that whether hand hammered or machine hammered, it is a folded steel blade, not a cast stainless steel blade like some of them were.

quote:
Originally posted by 220-9er:
They were made for the war effort in mostly smaller factories or shops, not necessarily large factories like we had here. For that reason they varied a bit and many had some sort of signature or makers mark.


Yes, this jibes with my research. Here are a couple pictures I've found of some of the "factories."




More info here, apparently on the Japanese language portion of the site, which I haven't attempted to navigate just yet.

http://ohmura-study.net/900.html


quote:
Originally posted by 220-9er:
So we took no chances and with their help got every scrap that could be used against us.
Turns out they were so obedient that when the Emperor said give it up, they did to an extreme and voluntarily turned over anything and everything, including ancient family heirloom swords. That's why they (the truly old stuff) are so rare today.


This runs counter to the research I've done and sounds like apocryphal post-war commentary. The Japanese sword as we know it was made in one form or another for over a thousand years. They made hundreds of thousands of them, and I wouldn't use the words "so rare today" to describe them. Stuff that was obviously made for, or re-mounted for wartime use was subject to this edict. Those could not stay in Japan in Japanese hands. Heirloom swords were another matter and were treated as such, even at the time. I'll find the relevant stuff on it if you really want, but the truth is, there is a thriving market today for these swords, and in Japan, no less. There are strict laws dealing with documenting and managing the sale, import, and export of real antique swords, but it is not difficult to find or obtain one, it just takes lots of money.

https://samuraistore.com/collections/katana

http://www.japansword.co.jp/

And to clarify, I am not an expert, nor am I trying to pose my opinions as one. I obsess on various subjects, learn everything I can about them, and then move onto the next shiny object. Currently, this is my obsession. Razz


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Posts: 17303 | Location: Sonoran Desert | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
Picture of kkina
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I see the lamination patterns too now, so I am leaning toward it being a folded blade as well (I only noticed the hamon line before). The question is if it was manufactured by an artisan during the war years, or is it much older by a famous swordsmith.

As far as heirloom swords getting special consideration, I kind of heard the opposite. A sword was a sword (i.e. a weapon), and they got lumped in with the rest of the army swords. Today to own a sword you must have it certified as either a work of art, or a historical artifact. An ordinary gunto would have virtually no chance of being certified (although it has happened, still rather rare).

I'm no expert either, but find this stuff very interesting. We're all learning together.



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Posts: 16436 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
Picture of kkina
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quote:
Originally posted by ElKabong:
Thanks guys!

No, thank you! This has turned out to be a very interesting thread.



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Posts: 16436 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Now Serving 7.62
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I owned a decent gunto that I wish I’d kept but hard times came and forced me to sell it. I’ll always regret that. It looks very convincingly authentic except for the blade/edge condition. With an easily discernible hamon present, it would have to be traditionally made. Like the other said, don’t change the condition of the blade other than oiling and wiping down. If it is real (even if it’s mass produced) you have quite a piece of history. To be in that good of shape is astounding. I couldn’t tell but do you seen any signs of pitting or edge damage? Treat it as a priceless object until you find out for sure. Like I said, everything looks really convincing and the ONLY thing I can see that would want to make me find out for sure is that the blade and edge condition is so nice (from what I can see). Mine had faint lettering under the rust patina on the handle area that a friend had translated for me. I’m hoping yours is a awesome find.
 
Posts: 6025 | Location: TN | Registered: February 12, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am certainly no sword reference, but the fittings sure look elaborate for a wartime product. The ones I have seen were in olive drab metal sheaths.
 
Posts: 3297 | Location: Florence, Alabama, USA | Registered: July 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
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Gunto fittings could be quite ornate, especially for commissioned officers. Remember they were largely ceremonial swords. That one has pretty standard hardware for the type. The assembly number stamped directly on the pieces absolutely confirm it.

What you've seen with the olive scabbards were NCO swords.


NCO Gunto by kpkina, on Flickr

This message has been edited. Last edited by: kkina,



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Posts: 16436 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
Picture of P220 Smudge
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quote:
Originally posted by kkina:
What you've seen with the olive scabbards were NCO swords.


Yep, and worth noting also with those, the tsuka (or grip) were not wrapped at all, but cast aluminum meant to look like they were. Very, very cheap construction compared to what ElKabong picked up.


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Posts: 17303 | Location: Sonoran Desert | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
Picture of P220 Smudge
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Ran across this today. There's a ton of information on wartime stamps and markings here.

https://swordis.com/blog/japanese-sword-stamps/


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