Original WWII Japanese Army Officer Type 94 Shin-Gunto Sword with Steel Scabbard - Handmade Wakizashi Blade
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased directly from a collector, this is a very nice wartime production high grade Japanese officer sword in the Type 94 Shin-Gunto (九四式軍刀 kyūyon-shiki guntō) setting. 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. This is a very nice example, and shows only mild use, without much damage or wear.
The blade is handmade and was expertly crafted by a master sword maker, most likely before the war time period. This is indicated by a few tell-tale characteristics that include:
- 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)
- Clear grain ("hada") in the body of the blade ("JI").
- Visible temper line ("hamon")
- Tang is totally not signed (Mumei - nameless) with no arsenal markings or other stampings. Arsenal forged blades usually would have these markings.
- Tang has the marking 春 on the end, which is the Japanese Character "HARU" meaning Spring. This is the most auspicious time of the year for forging blades.
Offered in great condition, the blade is still sharp and has just a few small scuffs on the edge and at the tip, with no nicks or dents on the edge. It is still quite sharp. Overall the polish on the blade is good, with some small areas of light staining from oxidation in places. Blade length is approximately 22 1/4 inches and overall length of 34 inches. This classifies the sword as a long wakizashi (Japanese: 脇差, "side inserted [sword]"), which is a shorter version of the Katana, with a blade length between 12 and 24 in. Katanas must be longer than 2 shaku (Japanese: 尺), which is approximately 12 inches in length. We have never seen a wakizashi before in Shin-Gunto fittings, but most likely it was a family blade, and it is almost katana length, so it would have worked fine for this purpose.
The tang is marked on the tang 八 九 〇 (8 9 0) in paint, which may be a matching number, but these fittings do not have them, so it is probably of a higher grade. The wakizashi has a handmade blade with an asymmetrically rounded (haagari) tang, and the typical "futsu" overall shape. The blade itself has a proper geometric kissaki (tip) with a clear yokote (division between body and tip). Temper line (hamon) is visible, and is of the TOGARI (pointed) type, which is, mostly straight with regular small points. The BOSHI (tip temper line) is a KOMARU shape, a small circle turnback. The HADA (grain) on blade is visible on the blade flat (ji), and is the MOKUME (wood burl) pattern, which is most attractive.
The blade mountings are the classic early WWII era Type 94/98 Army Shin-Gunto 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 8 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, maybe with some gilding
The handle (tsuka) has an nice stingray (Sa-Me) grip, not plastic imitation. It has a complete Ito (cloth binding), which shows some wear and light staining. The single wooden securing peg is still present, though is has some damage to one end. The Scabbard (saya) is steel and in very nice condition, with a lovely aged paint job. It does have a few small dents, but these appear to be from storage or handling, not from any type of military action. There is wear to the paint about 3 inches below the hanger ring, which is where the 2nd hanger ring was before being removed, which they were designed to do.
Overall a great display piece, a real USGI-bring back from WWII, with a great handmade wakizashi blade, 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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