Original WWII Japanese Army Officer Type 98 Shin-Gunto Katana Sword by KANEAKI with Steel Scabbard
Original Item: One of a Kind. Recently purchased at large military show, this is a very nice USGI Bring-Back wartime production High Grade Japanese officer Katana in the Type 98 Shin-Gunto (九八式軍刀 kyūhachi-shiki guntō) setting. These type of fittings (koshirae) are slightly simplified compared to the earlier Type 94. The blade tang is signed by the maker, and appears to be handmade in the traditional fashion. 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.
The blade on this example was hand forged, and the tang of the blade is signed (Mei) with the characters 兼 昭, read as KANEAKI. Research indicates that smith's real name was 福田 富夫 - Fukuda Tomio, and their name appears in the Seki Tanrensho Booklet printed in 1939. Kaneaki was active during the Showa Period and worked at Seki arsenal in Gifu, Mino Province (美濃国). They look to have made both arsenal forged and traditional blades. We have confirmed the signature (Oshigata) with other examples of his work.
The blade is handmade and was expertly crafted by a sword maker, which is indicated by a few tell-tale characteristics that include:
- Hole in the tang is punched and not drilled.
- Visible temper line ("hamon") with crystallization visible (Nie and Nioi)
- Blade is signed on the tang by the maker ("Mei").
- Blade has a faint geometric Yokote at the tip (kissaki) with a faint Boshi (tip temper line)
- Blade has visible grain "hada" in the body of the blade by the edge (ji)
Offered in very good condition, the blade is still quite sharp and looks great. The polish is in very good condition, and the aspects of the hamon are still easy to see. There are some light scuffs and speckled light staining on the blade. Edge still quite sharp, with just a few tiny bends, and some small dents near the tip. Blade length is approximately 26 3/8 inches and overall length of 37 3/4 inches.
The katana has a handmade blade with a Futsu 普通 (regular) Nakago (tang) with a Kuri-jiri (rounded) nakago-jiri. The temper line is still clear, and is a very attractive TOURAN (billowing) without much variation in depth. Along the transition there are clear NIE crystals visible, with cloudy areas of NIOI in the body of the hamon. There are also some areas of ASHI, which are lines of NIOI running towards the edge. The tip temper line (boshi) is visible, but faint, so we cannot see what shape it is. The yokote is is still clear, and the blade has a proper geometric kissaki (tip). The blade body (JI) shows some grain (hada), which is the straight (masame) type.
The blade mountings are the classic High Grade WWII era Type 98 Army Shin-Gunto style, brass with gilt accents. The rounded perforated "quince" (MOKKO GATA) shaped tsuba (cross guard) indicates it was made for a higher rank officer. The tsuka (handle) has brass Imperial Army cherry blossom menuki (grip decorations), and a nice Kabuto-Gane (Pommel Cap), which originally had a rope loop, which has torn off. 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 metal Seppa (spacers) around the cross guard to keep the fit tight. The tsuba and seppa are all inlet for the scabbard lock, which is still present, and fully functional. The blade collar (habaki) is gilt brass, and is the standard shape usually seen on WWII production blades, with "rain" texture. The handle (tsuka) has a great stingray skin (Sa-Me) grip, with the correct golden brown Ito (cloth binding). The wrapping shows only light wear, with just a few stains and areas of soiling. There is a single wooden securing peg (mekugi) still present, which is a post war replacement.
On this set of fittings (koshirae), the Tsuba, Seppa, Fuchi, and Tsuka are all marked with Japanese numerals 十 三 (13). This means that they were made as a set for this specific blade, and have not had parts swapped out over the years. We checked the scabbard, but unfortunately the marking has worn away.
The Scabbard (saya) is steel over wood, and in very good condition, with almost all of the original paint intact. It has a nice darker brown textured paint job, which is just lovely. It has the correct single hanger loop of the Type 98 style, and the top fitting is inleted for the scabbard lock on the hilt, and locks on securely. It does not have any major dents or other damage.
A great handmade Japanese Type 98 Shin-gunto by a known maker, this is a real USGI bring-back from WWII, ready to display and cherish!
Blade Length: 26 3/8"
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 37 3/4“
Scabbard Length: 29"
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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