Original WWII Japanese Navy Officer P1937 Kai-Gunto Katana Sword by INABA KANEYOSHI - Matching Numbers
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased recently from a collector, this is a very nice wartime production Japanese Naval officer Katana in the Pattern 1937 Kai-Gunto setting. A Kai-Guntō (海軍刀, naval sword) is a weapon and symbol of rank used by the Imperial Japanese Navy during the WWII Period. This is a very nice example, complete with scabbard, and shows only mild use, without much damage or wear.
The blade is excellent condition, with a nick free edge, which is still quite sharp. Blade length is 25 1/8 inches and overall length 36 1/4 inches. It has a factory forged steel blade, with a single mounting hole in the standard Futsu 普通 (regular) tang, and a haagari (asymmetrically rounded) nakago-jiri. The tang itself is marked a Naval ANCHOR stamp, indicating manufacture at Toyokawa Naval Arsenal (豊川海軍工廠, Toyokawa kaigun kōshō).
The tang also bears a signature (MEI), something we usually don't see on these blades. It is signed 伊 奈 波 - INABA, which research has shown is short for 伊 奈 波 兼 吉 - INABA KANEYOSHI. We have not been able to find any information regarding this smith, however those at the major arsenals were often not recorded. They did however stamp the blade with the "grass writing" version of the 伊 character under the anchor, something seen on other examples from the maker. There is the painted matching number 一 二 〇 七 - 1 2 0 7 on the same side of the tang.
The blade retains most of the original factory finish, with a simulated temper line. With the near total absence of rust, even on the tang, we are fairly certain that this is a stainless steel blade, but we have not been able to verify this. Japanese Kai-Gunto naval officers swords are somewhat rare, given that they usually went down with the ships. This particular example has the higher grade 1937 Pattern fittings with the lacquered sharkskin shagreen wrapped scabbard, indicating this may have been made for a front line naval officer.
It has a heavy brass plated iron tsuba (cross guard) and a single gilt brass seppa (spacer) The tsuka (handle) has two brass Cherry-Blossom menuki (grip decorations), and a nice nickel highlighted brass Kabuto-Gane (End Cap), with a green rope loop. It has an excellent condition black oilcloth grip with complete olive-colored Ito (cloth binding) with fine decorative collar (fuchi). Condition of the blade, scabbard and fittings is very good, indicating light use. There is some plating loss on the various metal fittings due to age. As typical of the pattern, Cherry Blossom motifs appear on many of the fittings. The handle is tight to the blade, and the crossguard has no wobbling.
The Wood scabbard is wrapped in lacquered sharkskin shagreen, and has all brass fittings, with traces of nickel plating. All of the fittings are still secure, and have not gotten loose over the years. Two hanging loops are present, and the condition is very good, with only a few dents and no splitting of the sharkskin. The fittings are mostly gilt iron, except for the throat, which is gilt brass. The gilding is well retained, and there are few signs of wear on the scabbard.
The fuchi, tsuba, and all four spacers are all marked with western number 1 2 0 7. This is also written inside the throat of the scabbard itself, which is marked 1207 16. This matches the Japanese numbers 一 二 〇 七 (1 2 0 7) painted on the tang and written on the top of the tsuka. This indicates that this set of KOSHIRAE (fittings) are a matched set, all made for this specific blade.
Really a great example of a Imperial Japanese Navy Kai-Gunto with a lovely signed Stainless Steel blade and high grade fittings, ready to display!
Blade Length: 25 1/8"
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 36 1/4“
Scabbard Length: 27 3/4"
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 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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