Original Japanese WWII Katana Samurai Sword in Civilian Style Fittings with Ancient Handmade Blade
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased directly collector, this is a nice condition katana, most likely several hundred years old, still used in the 20th century, and into WWII. This is a great sword with some honest wear, with real signs of field use, and the fittings have a lot of features we haven't seen before. The blade is ancient and handmade and expertly crafted by a master sword maker due to a few tell tale characteristics that include:
- Single-hole tang which shows great age.
- Holes in tang are punch not drilled.
- Folded steel blade: fold lines are evident with some blade inclusions.
- Visible temper line (hamon) at the edge of the blade with crystals visible.
- Clear Grain (hada) in the blade body
- Blade Lamination artifacts / wounds (kizu)
Offered in very good condition with some small areas of surface oxidation, the blade is still sharp and only has a few tiny nicks on the edge. Blade length is approximately 25" and overall length 34 3/4". The blade is hand made, with fold lines and inclusions visible, and a clear "wave" (hamon) temper line. It is of the SUGU (straight) type, and runs all the way to the tip, as it should. The Yokote, the line indicating where the tempered tip (boshi) starts, is visible, but somewhat worn. Overall polish is good, making this a very attractive blade. The tang, unlike almost all of the Japanese swords we see, is not the normal "futsu" shape. This tang looks to be Funagata or possibly even Tanago, with the end cut off as part of suriage, the shortening of the blade. There are not many smiths that used these different tang designs, and it definitely further indicates the great age of this blade.
The handle (tsuka) is well-fitting, with only a little bit of play, and has ornate brass menuki (grip decorations), which are actually men (面): combined face mask and shoulder protectors for Kendo. These are overlayed on Shinai (竹刀), the Kendo practice swords. The end of the grip has a nice Kabuto-Gane (end cap) with a brass tassel loop, with the wooden securing peg still present.
It also has an excellent stingray Sa-Me (grip) with complete Ito (cloth binding), which shows slight wear and discoloration from use. The fittings on this katana are all brass except for the iron Tsuba, typical of the Pre-WWII Period. The Tsuba (cross guard) on this blade is round, with minimal ornamentation. There are two seppa (spacers) surrounding the cross guard, which is secure. Most likely this was a civilian blade, pressed into service at the last need during the war. There were programs where families with no sons or swords that they didn't need could donate them to the war effort.
The Scabbard (saya) is wood, but it has a steel end fitting in the 20th century military style. The scabbard is covered in the standard leather field cover used during WWII, but is black lacquer underneath, a relatively common type of finish for scabbards of the period. It had a brass hanger added below the Kurikata where a sageo would be attached. The scabbard cover is a nice tan leather color, with some wear, and one of the snaps is broken.
A very nice example of an ancient personal katana that was pressed into military service. Ready to display!
It has been over one thousand years ago that the art of making swords appeared in Japan. The swordsmiths of the time may not have known it but they were creating a legendary sword. The Samurai sword has seen combat in many battlefields. From the early days of the Samurai warrior to the fierce battles in the South Pacific during WWII.
Each hand-made Samurai sword is unique because it is forged from steel stock. A tremendous amount of work is dedicated to creating these pieces. They were an instrument of war as much as a beautiful artifact to adorn a room.
The Samurai sword has grown to be one of the most highly desired military antiques.
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