Original WWII Japanese Army Officer Shin-Gunto Katana Sword with Steel Scabbard - Dated February 1945
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 February 1945 on the blade tang. 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 1/4 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 to excellent, with just a bit of wear and staining due to age and transportation.
One side of the tang bears the Mei, or signature, of the smith it was made by. In the arsenal setting there was often one swordsmith overseeing many, so they would just use the name of their master. We unfortunately have not been able to translate the name on this example.
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 二 十 年 二 月. This would be read: SHOWA (current reigning emperor) Ni-Juu Nen (20th year of reign - 1945) Ni Gatsu (2nd Month - February).
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 tang has number 315 in paint on it, which is also seen on the handle and the scabbard, as they have to be matched to the blade.
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 brass 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.
The scabbard for this katana is also in great shape, except that it was painted black over the standard army brown, apparently quite some time ago. It was done quite carefully, so it's possible that it was done at arsenal, but we do not know why. It matches and locks into the handle, and is of the correct 1944 pattern style, with simplified blacked brass fittings.
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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