Original WWII Japanese Army Type 95 NCO Aluminum Handle Katana Sword with Scabbard - Matched Serial 91661

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 lovely 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 3/8 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 91661 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 stylized sword Tsuba logo of Iijima Sword Factory, indicating that they produced the sword. 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 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.

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 a really nice blade showing just a bit of light staining, and no major damage from use in service. The olive paint on the pommel is relatively well retained, and correctly does not run off the faux "wrappings". There is also still most of the golden yellow paint highlighting on the "menuki" on the grip and on the cherry blossom on the pommel.

The tsuba (crossguard) is the mid war iron MARU GATA (round) shape, which also has an additional hole on one side, so it is probably identical to a P-1944 type. There are seppa on both sides of the tsuba, which look to be plated brass. The blade collar (habaki) is the standard brass. The scabbard still shows areas of the original olive green paint, which is probably retained at around 60%. It looks to have seen moderate service, though not much use, as there are no dents we can see, and it fits the sword perfectly. It also has a canvas strap wrapped around the top, but this is most likely a post war addition.

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 wonderful WW2 Type 95 NCO Katana with a lovely blade 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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