Original WWII Japanese Army Officer Shin-Gunto Katana Sword by ISHIHARA MICHIHIRO with Steel Scabbard
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. 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:
- The tang is signed on the tang by the maker (mei)
- Single Hole in the tang is punch and not drilled.
- 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, with lamination lines visible.
Offered in great condition, the blade is still sharp and has just a few small nicks on the edge. Overall the polish on the blade is good, with some areas of light staining from oxidation in places. Blade length is approximately 25 inches and overall length 35 3/4 inches. Handmade blade with an asymmetrically rounded (haagari) tang, and a proper geometric yokote (tip). Temper line (hamon) is visible, and is of the zig zag (gunome) type. Grain on blade is visible on the blade flat (ji).
One side of the tang bears the makers name: 石原 通廣 作, which is read ISHIHARA MICHIHIRO SAKU, or "Michihiro Ishihara Made this". Michihiro is listed in the Seki Tanrensho Booklet printed in 1939. Their real name was 石原 周造 - Ishihara Shuuzou. It was common for smiths to use part of their real name in their "swordsmith" name.
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 a scabbard cover strap, though it is no longer present.. The blade collar (habaki) looks to be brass alloy.
The handle (tsuka) has an nice stingray (Sa-Me) grip, which appears to be genuine ray skin, not plastic imitation. It has a complete Ito (cloth binding), which shows some wear and fraying, though not much staining. The single bamboo securing peg is still present, though is almost certainly a replacement. The Scabbard (saya) is steel and in very nice condition, with almost all of the original paint. It does have a few small dents, but these appear to be from storage or handling, not from any type of military action.
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 folded 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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