Original WWII Excellent Condition Japanese Army Type 95 Aluminum Handle NCO Katana - Matching Number 51198
Original Item: Only One Available. The end of WWII marked the beginning of the sword ownership ban in Japan. By law, Japanese citizens were forbidden to own swords. General McArthur did not want the general population to be able to arm again. Most soldiers and citizens surrendered their swords to the American occupying forces. The Americans destroyed a large number of swords by dumping them into the ocean or by melting them. But a small percentage made its way back to the United States and into the collector market.
This excellent condition example is a genuine WWII Japanese Type 95 NCO Samurai Sword or katana, with aluminum handle construction and machine made fullered blade. Blade is 26 1/2 inches long, with an overall length of 36 1/4 inches. The grip wrapping and menuki are cast-formed, and then painted to give the illusion of fabric wrappings and gilt menuki.
The design copies the typical WWII Imperial Japanese Army style fittings, known as the "New Military Sword" ( 新軍刀 - shin guntou) style, with a single hanger ring and bolster on the scabbard. It is said that during battle soldiers would not use the ring but rather would stick the sword through the belt the same way as the Samurai in ancient times.
All NCO swords were numbered. This example has a matching serial number 51198 on both the blade and the throat of the scabbard. Most swords do not have matching numbers because somewhere along the life of the sword the scabbard was changed.
The Fuchi (grip collar) of the sword is marked with the "stacked cannonball" logo of Kokura arsenal, as well as with the Suya Sho Ten company Logo. This is a Tokyo company that was used by the Suikosha, or Navy Supply Center. The company mainly made gunto koshirae during WWII. This company started back in the Meiji era and had a long history of making koshirae, including those for members of the Imperial family and many high ranking officers and diplomats.
The sword is complete with the metal locking spring tab that secures the blade to the scabbard. This prevents the sword from falling when the soldier is running. Traditionally this function is assigned to the Habaki (blade collar). But machine made swords like this one do not have the accuracy of manufacturing that enable the Habaki to perform such a function. The metal loop on the pommel is still present.
NCO Katanas were issued to soldiers who did not want to take their family sword to battle or who came from poor families that did not have swords to pass down through the generations.
The condition of this sword is excellent, especially the blade, which is one of the best we have ever seen. There is little wear or staining to speak of, and the edge is nick and dent free. There is some scuffing and light oxidation, but these do not detract from the appearance. The brown paint on the pommel is very well retained, and correctly does not run off the faux "wrappings", so we see no reason to think it has been repainted. There are also still traces of the correct gold highlighting on the "menuki" on the grip.
The steel scabbard definitely has more wear than the sword, and looks to have been repainted a slightly lighter color of olive green during the war. Both layers of paint are now worn through in areas, giving it a great worn look that is impossible to replica. There are a few small dents, but otherwise it is a very nice solid scabbard with some great period wear.
There are some Chinese replicas of these out there, however this sword is definitely genuine. It has the correct arsenal markings on the hilt collar (fuchi) and blade, indicating manufacture by Iijima and inspection by Kokura Arsenal. The spacers (seppa) are cast and rounded, while the replicas are crudely cut. The scabbard is painted the correct green color, and the spacing from the top to the hanging ring is the correct length. Overall the fit and finish is definitely far above a replica, which can be seen in the photos.
Overall an excellent condition WW2 Type 95 NCO Katana that will appreciate in value over the coming years. Ready to display!
Blade Length: 26 1/2"
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 36 1/4“
Scabbard Length: 29 1/4"
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