Original WWII Japanese Army Officer Type 98 Shin-Gunto Katana Sword with Sharkskin Grip & Steel Scabbard
Original Item: One of a Kind. Recently purchased at a military show, this is a very nice USGI Bring-Back wartime production 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. 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 example has an arsenal forged blade, which like many is unsigned 無名 (mumei), or "anonymous", and has a simulated faux hamon temper line. There look to originally have been paint markings on the tang, but they are now worn away.
Offered in very good condition, the blade is still quite sharp and looks great. It does show light wear from service, with one or two tiny nicks on the edge of the blade. There are also signs of light staining in a few areas, now polished out from cleaning. There is scuffing on the blade surface and the polish is somewhat degraded, showing that it has been cleaned and seen service since the last polish. Blade length is approximately 26 1/8 inches and overall length 37 1/2 inches.
The katana has an arsenal produced blade with a Futsu 普通 (regular) Nakago (tang) with a Naagari (asymmetrical rounded) nakago-jiri. The replicated temper line is still mostly visible, even with the degradation from oxidation and cleaning. It is the usually SUGUHA (straight) shape used for simulated temper lines. It still has a relatively clear yokote at the tip.
The blade mountings are the classic later WWII era Type 98 Army Shin-Gunto style, brass with gilt accents, which are well retained. Rounded "quince" (mokko gata) shaped 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 brass Seppa (spacers) around the cross guard to keep the fit tight, and all are inleted for the scabbard lock, which is still intact. The blade collar (habaki) is gilt copper alloy, and is the standard shape usually seen on WWII production blades.
The handle (tsuka) has an nice sharkskin (Sa-Me) grip, instead of the usual stingray skin that we see. It is bound with the correct dark brown Ito (cloth binding). The wrapping shows only light wear, with a few areas of fraying from use and storage. There is a single wooden securing peg (mekugi) still present, which looks to be a post war replacement.
The Scabbard (saya) is steel over wood, and in very good condition, with almost all of the original textured olive green paint intact. There is some wear through in areas, particularly near the hanger loop fitting. 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, which is fully functional. There is not any major denting or oxidation we can see.
The tsuba and all four seppa are marked with matching number ス 2 9, while there are no numbers or different numbers on other parts of koshirae (fittings). This mean that these fittings were made for this particular blade.
A great lightly used Japanese Type 98 Shin-gunto Katana with scabbard, this is a real USGI bring-back from WWII, ready to display and cherish!
Blade Length: 26 1/8"
Blade Style: Katana - Shinogi-zukuri
Overall length: 37 1/2“
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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