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Original WWII Japanese Army Officer Shin-Gunto Katana Sword by FUJIKATSU with Capture Tag - Dated 1944

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased directly from a collector, this is a very nice late war style mid grade Japanese officer Katana, with an arsenal-made blade. It is in the standard 1944 pattern Shin-Gunto setting, and is dated December 1944 on the blade tang. It also is signed by the smith who made it, FUJIKATSU.

A Shin-Guntō (新軍刀, new military sword) is a weapon and symbol of rank used by the Imperial Japanese Army between the years of 1935 and 1945. These are not made as carefully or to as high of a standard as the earlier blades, which makes them a very economical way to get into Japanese sword collecting. This is a very nice example, and appears to have seen very little use in combat.

The katana itself measures 37 1/2 inches overall, with a 26 inch arsenal-made blade. The blade is most likely machine made, as it does not show any lamination lines or grain, and does not have the correct geometry or polish for a hand-made blade. It has a standard bright finish to it, with a faux hamon (temper line). Condition is very good, with light scratching and swirling from polishing.

One side of the tang bears the Mei, or signature, of the smith it was made by: 藤 勝, which is read as FUJI KATSU. We have not been able to find much information regarding this smith, which is not uncommon. Many of the smiths during WWII in arsenal were not that notable, so little information was left behind regarding them.

The other side of the tang bears the date when the blade was produced, in the standard long form indicating years into the current emperor's reign: 
: 昭 和 十 九 年 十 二 月.  This would be read: SHOWA (current reigning emperor) Juu-Kyu Nen (19th year of reign - 1944) Juu-Ni Gatsu (12th Month - December). 

The tang of the blade (nakago) is the typical futsu (normal) shape of the period, with a haagari (symmetrically round) tip, with the usual file marks, which help the tang stay secure in the handle. The two hole tang is also typical of this period's arsenal forged blades. 

The blade mountings are the typical Pattern 1944 era Army style. Round steel tsuba (cross guard) with no decorations, a brass habaki (blade collar), with a blacked brass fuchi (grip collar). The scabbard lock is present and fully functional. The tsuka (handle) has Imperial Army cherry blossom menuki (grip decoration), and an unadorned black Kabuto-Gane (Pommel Cap). The Tsuka (handle) has an excellent faux stingray (Sa-Me) grip panels, covered with complete Ito (cloth binding), which is in excellent condition, but not wrapped traditionally. It also looks like at some point the sword was dropped hard on the pommel, which snapped the grip pegs (mekugi) and also bent the habaki and end of the blade edge. This means the grip is currently only held on by friction.

The scabbard for this katana is in great shape, with the correct original brown paint and late war blacked steel fittings. It also has the remains of a "capture tag" on one side, which was added when it was turned over to authorities after the war war over. It matches and locks into the handle, and is of the correct 1944 pattern style.

A great chance to pick up a real Japanese Shin-Gunto, ready to display!

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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