Original WWII Japanese Army Battle Damaged Type 95 NCO Katana Sword with Matched Serial 70264
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 very nice battle damaged 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 3/8 inches long, with an overall length of 36 1/4 inches. The grip wrapping and menuki were cast-formed out of aluminum, 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. 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. 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 70264 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 information related to the swords production and inspection. While holding the sword hilt up, the first character on the left is a cherry blossom with a line in the center, which is an unknown maker at this time. To the right of this is 東, for inspection at Tokyo (東京) Arsenal. All the way to the right is the "stacked cannonball" logo of Kokura arsenal, where the sword was put into arsenal for issue.
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 condition of this sword is very good, and definitely shows period wear from service, as well as some damage from use. The blade shows some light oxidation staining on both sides, as well as dents and chips on the edge from use. However it still is quite bright in areas.
The hilt looks to have had the original paint completely wear away, except for the yellow highlighting on the faux menuki and pommel cherry blossom. The brown paint used very easily wears away, and now the aluminum has light oxidation on the surface. The top securing screw is missing, and it looks like this is because the hilt took a heavy blow on the right side, right by the hole. This was enough to make a hole in the aluminum handle, so we suspect it may have been hit by some small arms fire.
The tsuba (crossguard) is the early-mid war brass MOKKO GATA (quince) shape, with holes in both sides to reduce weight. Later swords would be fitted with simple iron round tsuba. The blade collar (habaki) is the standard brass. The scabbard still has the original paint, though it has also suffered wear and oxidation as shown. There are no major dents, and it really has a great look to it. There is also an original hanger clip still attached to the hanger ring, something we have not seen before.
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 it was issued by Kokura Arsenal. 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 a very good condition battle damaged WW2 Type 95 NCO Katana that will appreciate in value over the coming years. Ready to display!
Blade Length: 26 3/8"
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 36 1/4“
Scabbard Length: 29"
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