Original WWII Japanese Army Officer Shin-Gunto Katana Sword by KANEMORI with Steel Scabbard - Dated 1942

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased directly from a collector, this is a very nice wartime production high grade Japanese officer Katana in the standard pre-1944 Shin-Gunto setting and is dated November 1942 on the blade tang. A Guntō (軍刀, military sword) is a Japanese sword produced for use by the Japanese army and navy after the end of the samurai era in 1868, when the Meiji Restoration occurred. This is a very nice example, and either saw very little use, or was never issued.

The blade is handmade and was expertly crafted by a master sword maker, which is indicated by a few tell-tale characteristics that include:

- Single-hole tang.
- Hole in the tang is punch and not drilled.
- Bladed is signed by the maker (Mei) and dated (Nen) on the tang
- Folded steel blade (fold lines are evident on the spine and body of blade, especially the tip)
- Visible temper line ("hamon"), with crystallization visible at the edge (Nie and Nioi)
- Clear grain (hada) on the blade.

Offered in great condition, the blade is still sharp and has just a few small areas of oxidation on the edge. Overall the polish on the blade is very good, with just a bit of light staining from oxidation in places. Blade length is approximately 26 1/4 inches and overall length 37 inches. Handmade blade with an asymmetrically rounded (haagari) tang, and a proper geometric yokote (tip). Temper line (hamon) is visible, and is of the straight (sugu) type, with a few billows. Grain on blade is highly visible, especially on body of the blade.

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. This mei is 5 characters long, and reads 関 住 兼 守 作 - SEKI JU KANEMORI SAKU, which means Kanemori made this at Seki (arsenal).

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 七 年 十 一 月 十 五 日 This would be read: SHOWA (current reigning emperor) Juu Nana Nen (17th year of reign - 1942) Juu-Ichi Gatsu (11th Month - November) Juu-go-nichi (15th Day). We're not sure about the day of the month, as the chiseled kanji are sloppy, but the rest of the date we are very certain of.

The blade mountings are the classic WW2 era (Pre 1944) Army style, brass with gold accents. Round tsuba (cross guard) with brass Imperial Army cherry blossom menuki (grip decoration), and a nice Kabuto-Gane (Pommel Cap). The cross guard and pommel cap have matching cherry blossom motifs, which are also found on the scabbard fittings, and the fuchi (grip collar). There are 4 Seppa (spacers) around the cross guard to keep the fit tight, and all are inleted for the scabbard lock. The blade collar (habaki) looks to be cupro-nickel alloy.

The handle (tsuka) has an excellent stingray (Sa-Me) grip, with complete Ito (cloth binding), which is in very good condition. The single wooden securing peg is still present. The Scabbard (saya) is steel and in very nice condition, with almost all of the original paint, with the expected crazing and checking from age. It does have a "door close" dent near the end. It matches and locks into the hilt securely.

Also, almost components of the handle and cross guard are stamped with western number 8, indicating that this is an original matched set made for this specific blade. The blade tang has several faded paint marks, but also a scratched in "8", so we have every reason to believe that this is the blade the setting was made for. They all require hand fitting, and this one fits like a glove.

Overall a great display piece, a real USGI-bring back from WWII, ready to display and cherish.

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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