Original WWII Japanese Army Officer Shin-Gunto Katana Samurai Sword by MASUYASU with Aluminum Scabbard - dated 1944
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased directly from a collector, this is an excellent condition Japanese Army Officer Shin-Gunto katana with an aluminum army scabbard. We can tell that the blade is handmade and expertly crafted by a master sword maker due to a few tell tale characteristics that include:
- Single-hole tang.
- Tang is signed by the maker, with 9 character "mei"
- Tang is dated December 1944 on the reverse side.
- Hole in the tang is punched and not drilled.
- Folded steel blade (fold lines are evident on the spine and body of blade).
- Vibrant visible temper line ("hamon").
- Clear grain (hada) on the blade, with lamination lines visible on blade spine (mune).
Offered in excellent condition with only some areas of light staining, the blade is still sharp and nick free. Overall the polish on the blade is excellent, with just a bit of staining from oxidation in places. Blade length is approximately 24 3/4 and overall length 35 1/2". Handmade blade with signed semi round tang. Temper line (hamon) is clearly visible, and is of the straight type. Grain on blade is visible, along with some lamination lines.
The tang of the sword is marked 尾 州 住 真 清 正 泰 鍛 之 - BISHU JU MAKIYO MASAYASU KITAU KORE, which translates to "Makiyo Masayasu forged this in Owari Province (Bishu). This is a known smith operating in Owari province during the Showa period, and they also made examples that were signed 真 野 正 泰 - MANO MASUYASU as well, for reasons that are not entirely known. This smith is listed in Kurihara Hikosaburo's 1942 listing of Wartime Japanese swordsmiths (tosho). He reported about 400 gunto tosho's ranking at the Tosho Banzuke (刀匠番附), and classified these into 7 ranks. MASAYASU is listed as a 中作 (CHU SAKU) level smith, which is the 5th rank out of 7, an "above average" level smith.
The opposite side of the tang is marked with the date, which is in the standard Japanese format: 昭 和 十 九 年 十 二 月 (Showa Juu Kyuu Nen Juu-ni gatsu). This date system is based on the year of the current reigning emperor, so this sword was made in the 19th year of Showa Emperor Hirohito's reign, 1944 in the western calendar, in the 12th month of December.
The blade mountings are the classic WW2 era Army style. Round tsuba (cross guard) with brass Imperial Army cherry blossom menuki (grip decoration), and a nice Kashira (End Cap), with one securing peg. Excellent stingray Sa-Me (grip) with complete Ito (cloth binding), which is in excellent condition. The Scabbard (saya) is aluminum and in good condition, though it appears that it may be a war-time replacement for a lost scabbard. It matches and locks into the hilt.
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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