Original WWII Japanese Army Officer Katana Samurai Sword with Asano Clan Family Crest - Handmade Double Signed Blade
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased from a collector, this is an nice condition katana with a wooden army scabbard and leather scabbard cover. 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 on both sides (mei).
- Hole in the tang is punch not drilled.
- Folded steel blade (fold lines are evident on the spine and body of blade)
- Visible temper line ("hamon").
- Clear grain (hada) on the blade.
Offered in very good condition with some areas of light staining, it is still sharp and only has a few very tiny nicks on the edge. Overall the polish on the blade is good, with just a bit of staining from oxidation in places. The hamon is completely visible and very attractive. Blade length is approximately 25 1/2" and overall length 36". Handmade blade with signed semi round tang. Grain on blade is visible, along with some blade inclusions typically seen in handmade blades. Blade is in very good condition, with a great Japanese-style polish.
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 Kabuto-Gane (Pommel Cap), one bamboo securing peg still present. The cross guard and pommel cap have matching cherry blossom motifs, which are also found on the scabbard fittings. There are two seppa (spacers), a metal one, and a leather one that it one time had a strap that attached to the leather scabbard cover. Excellent stingray Sa-Me (grip) with complete Ito (cloth binding), though the cloth is slightly stained from use. Attached to the pommel cap loop is a Brown and Blue colored Tassel. This signifies that this was carried by a "company grade" officer, which would be a Lieutenant or Captain rank. The tassel is faded and worn, but the colors are still visible.
The officer who owned this katana also was from the well-known Asano clan (淺野氏 Asano-shi), whose mon (family crest) is displayed on the upper side of the Kabuto-gane (pommel cap). It is made of blacked brass, and shows two hawk feathers crossed at a right angle. It is bent around the cap and most likely soldered on. The Asano clan was a prominent Japanese clan claiming descent from Minamoto clan, one of the four great clans of feudal Japan. The Asano were the daimyo (feudal lords) of the Hiroshima Domain at the time that the han system was abolished as part of the Meiji Restoration in 1871, and Asano Nagakoto was one of the last Daimyo alive, living until 1937. Although no longer feudal lords, the Asano family became part of the Kazoku (華族, "Magnificent/Exalted lineage"), or Japanese peerage at the level of Marquess (侯爵 kōshaku), and still held significant power.
We were unfortunately not able to locate any information regarding members of the Asano clan who served during WW2, and would have been a company grade officer.
The Scabbard (saya) is wood and in very nice condition with original WW2 black paint. Over the scabbard is a high grade leather sword cover in original worn condition. There is a snap on the scabbard cover which would originally have matched a strap that attaches to the hilt, but the strap has broken off, though the leather spacer is still present with a portion of the strap.
Overall this is one of the most interesting WW2 Japanese Katanas that we have owned, completely original, and ready for display with some great research potential.
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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