Original WWII Imperial Japanese Army Type 19 Kyu-Gunto Nickel Plated Parade Sword with Scabbard
Original Item: Only One Available. The first standard sword of the Japanese military was known as the kyu gunto (旧軍刀, old military sword). Murata Tsuneyoshi (1838-1921), a Japanese general who previously made guns, started making what was probably the first mass-produced substitute for traditionally made samurai swords. These swords are referred to as "Murata-to" and they were used in both the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese war (1904-1905).
The kyu gunto was used from 1875 until 1934, it closely resembled European and American swords of the time, with a wraparound hand guard (also known as a D-Guard) and chrome plated scabbard (saya), the steel scabbard is said to have been introduced around 1900.
This is a very good example of a WWII Era Japanese Army Officer's Parade Sword with a lovely polished dark hardwood grip and the "10 petal" IJA Cherry Blossom Emblem on the sides of the Handle. These are often confused with the Imperial Japanese Police Dress Swords, which are extremely similar, however feature a "5 petal" Cherry blossom, and usually have a Police emblem on the back of the hilt near the pommel.
This is a very fine example in untouched "attic fresh" condition. The brass guard has a rich mellow patina, with some of the original gilt finish still retained in recessed areas. The brass wire wrap on the handle is present, however it was cut through at one point, so it has partly unraveled on the bottom. The wooden grip shows just a bit of wear.
The blade is in very good condition, retaining over 95% of the original nickel plating, with just some scattered flaking and oxidation to the base steel. It has a great simulated "sawtooth" shaped temper line on both sides, which is a bit faint due to cleaning. The leather blade buffer is still present, and the hilt is still tight on the blade.
The nickel plated scabbard is in good condition, showing no dents or bends, however the nickel plating has flaked and oxidized in places, allowing the base steel to rust. This has given it a fantastic "been there" look over much of the scabbard. The original two hanger rings are both still present. Overall length in the scabbard is approximately 35 1/2 ”, with a blade length of 29 1/4”.
This is very nice service used example with a very good blade, ready to add to any collection of Japanese edged weapons.
Overall length: 34 1/4”
Blade length: 29 1/4”
Hand guard: 4” width x 5” length
Scabbard length: 30 1/2”
The Imperial Japanese Army parade sword was first adopted in 1875 (Meiji 8) as the Type 8 Kyu-Gunto (First Military Sword). It was later modified in 1886 (Meiji 19) as the Type 19 Kyu-Gunto. Regulations state that the grips of these swords for officers below the rank of General shall be black horn, although other materials may be seen. General Officer swords were to have grips made of turtle shell. Type 8 sword scabbards have two suspension rings while Type 19 swords have one ring that is removable or only one suspension ring after circa 1932.
This Japanese Army "Parade Sword" is often mistaken for the almost identical "Police Sword" but there are distinct differences. The quick way to determine the difference between Army and Police swords of this type is to note the backstrap decoration. Army swords will normally have a ten petal cherry blossom on the back of the pommel and on the "ears" of the backstrap. Nearly identical Police swords will have a Police badge on the back of the pommel and a five petal cherry blossom on the "ears" of the backstrap. The same applies to ten- and five-petal cherry blossoms found in the guard design.
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