Item:
ONSV23CWS013

Original WWII Japanese Army Type 95 NCO Aluminum Handle Katana Sword with Rare Leather Hanger - Matched Serial 79051

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 3/8 inches long, with an overall length of 36 1/2 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. This example comes complete with its original scabbard with great paint, as well as very rare leather sword hanger!

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 79051 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 both numbers is the marking for Nagoya Arsenal. The Fuchi (grip collar) of the sword is the later war simplified iron type, with a cast in seppa, and is not marked with the arsenal and maker information like earlier examples were.

The sword is complete with the metal locking spring tab that secures the blade to the scabbard. This prevents the sword from falling when the soldier is running. 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 and in very good condition.

This NCO sword came to us with a rare Japanese WWII Leather NCO hanger, complete with the hooks that could be used to "hitch up" the sword for use in the field. 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 overall is very good, especially the blade, which is in really great shape. It is bright with very little in the way of oxidation, just a bit of light surface scuffing, and even retains the faux yokote near the tip. It is still quite sharp, and the edge shows no nicks, however the very tip (1-2mm) is bent from being dropped. 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 are also still traces of the yellow gold highlighting on the "menuki" on the grip and on the cherry blossom on the pommel. The tsuba (crossguard) is the mid-late war simplified iron MARU GATA (round) shape, with no holes to reduce weight. The "seppa" around the cross guard are part of the cross guard and grip collar castings, and the blade collar (habaki) is the standard brass.

It does look like the sword may have been "dressed up", possibly post war, as both mounting screws have had both sides covered with some type of gilt white metal ornamentations, which look like coiled ropes. There are also chiseled markings on the habaki (blade collar), which look to be in KATAKANA, a Japanese phonetic alphabet used for foreign words. There is also what looks to be a 1941 date so we assume these are markings added by the USGI who brought this home. Many were stationed in Japan post war, and they may have gotten a native speaker to mark it.

The scabbard still has the original olive brown original WWII paint retained at about 90%, with some oxidation on the "inner side". There are no major chips or other damage, and no major dents or bends to speak of.

There are some Chinese replicas of these out there, however this sword is definitely genuine. 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 an excellent condition WW2 Type 95 NCO Katana with an excellent blade and complete with a rare leather hanger. With the decorations probably added by a USGI, this has some great research potential. A lovely example that will appreciate in value over the coming years. Ready to display!

Specifications:
Blade Length: 26 3/8"
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 36 1/2“
Scabbard Length: 29"

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