Original WWII Japanese Army Type 95 NCO Aluminum Handle Katana Sword - Matched Serial 40536

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The end of WWII marked the beginning of the sword ownership ban in Japan. By law, Japanese citizens were forbidden to own swords. General McArthur did not want the general population to be able to arm again. Most soldiers and citizens surrendered their swords to the American occupying forces. The Americans destroyed a large number of swords by dumping them into the ocean or by melting them. But a small percentage made its way back to the United States and into the collector market.

This excellent condition example is a genuine WWII Japanese Type 95 NCO Samurai Sword or katana, with aluminum handle construction and machine made fullered blade. Blade is 26 1/2 inches long, with an overall length of 36 1/4 inches. The grip wrapping and menuki are cast-formed out of aluminum, and then painted to give the illusion of fabric wrappings and gilt menuki.

The design copies the typical WWII Imperial Japanese Army style fittings, known as the "New Military Sword" ( 新軍刀 - shin guntou) style, with a single hanger ring and bolster on the scabbard. It is said that during battle soldiers would not use the ring but rather would stick the sword through the belt the same way as the Samurai in ancient times.

All NCO swords were numbered. This example has a matching serial number 40536 on both the blade and the throat of the scabbard. Most swords do not have matching numbers because somewhere along the life of the sword the scabbard was changed. Next to the serial on the blade is the (To) marking for Tokyo Arsenal.

The Fuchi (grip collar) of the sword is marked with information related to the swords production and inspection. While holding the sword hilt up, the first symbol on the left is the Suya Sho Ten company Logo, indicating that they produced the sword. This is a Tokyo company that was used by the Suikosha, or Navy Supply Center. The company mainly made gunto koshirae during WWII. This company started back in the Meiji era and had a long history of making koshirae, including those for members of the Imperial family and many high ranking officers and diplomats. To the right of the logo is for inspection by Tokyo arsenal, and all the way to the right is the "stacked cannonball" logo of Kokura arsenal, where the sword was put into arsenal for issue.

The sword is complete with the metal locking tab that secures the blade to the scabbard, which normally prevents the sword from falling when the soldier is running. Unfortunately the spring under the tab is broken or missing, so the scabbard no longer locks to the hilt. Traditionally this function is assigned to the Habaki (blade collar). But machine made swords like this one do not have the accuracy of manufacturing that enable the Habaki to perform such a function. The metal loop on the pommel is still present.

NCO Katanas were issued to soldiers who did not want to take their family sword to battle or who came from poor families that did not have swords to pass down through the generations.

The condition of this sword is very good, with much of the bright steel finish on the blade still retained. There is some staining further down the blade, with some spots of light oxidation on the last 3 inches or so. The brown paint on the pommel is very well retained, and correctly does not run off the faux "wrappings", so we see no reason to think it has been repainted. There is also still much of the yellow gold highlighting on the "menuki" on the grip and on the cherry blossom on the pommel.

The tsuba (crossguard) is the early-mid war brass MOKKO GATA (quince) shape, with holes in both sides to reduce weight. Later swords would be fitted with simple iron round tsuba. The blade collar (habaki) is the standard brass. The scabbard looks to have been repainted a dark brown / green color during the war, however where it has chipped away the original olive green paint can still be seen. There are no major dents or bends to speak of.

There are some Chinese replicas of these out there, however this sword is definitely genuine. It has the correct arsenal markings on the hilt collar (fuchi) and blade, indicating manufacture by Iijima and inspection by Kokura Arsenal. The spacers (seppa) are cast and rounded, while the replicas are crudely cut. The scabbard is painted the correct green color, and the spacing from the top to the hanging ring is the correct length. Overall the fit and finish is definitely far above a replica, which can be seen in the photos.

Overall a very good condition WW2 Type 95 NCO Katana that will appreciate in value over the coming years. Ready to display!

Blade Length: 26 1/2"
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 36 1/4“
Scabbard Length: 29 1/4"

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