Original WWII Japanese Army Early Pattern Type 95 NCO Katana Sword with Scabbard
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 service used 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 1/4 inches long, with an overall length of 36 1/4 inches. The grip wrapping and menuki are 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. 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 to match their scabbard, and this sword comes with scabbard 58164. However the blade on this example has been polished and cleaned, possibly even chrome plated. We can see traces of the serial number marking, however it is almost completely missing. Due the polishing however, the blade is extremely attractive.
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 indicates production by Iijima Sword Factory. 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.
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 very good, and with the polished blade it really is quite striking. Still there is some oxidation and pitting still remaining on the blade near the end, so originally it must have been extensive to survive the polishing. The humid environments in most of the Pacific Campaign were very hard on steel items such as edged weapon blades. It does not show any major nicks or damage to the edge.
The aluminum hilt looks to have most of the original finish worn away, with portions still visible in the more protected areas. There is some of the yellow paint still present on the faux menuki. 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, and is probably retained about 50%. There are however no dents, bends, or other structural issues with the scabbard.
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 nice condition 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 3/8“
Scabbard Length: 29 1/4"
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