Original WWII Japanese Navy Officer P1937 Kai-Gunto Katana Sword by YOSHIDA YOSHITSUGU - Matched
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased directly from a collector, this is a very nice wartime High Grade 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, and shows only mild use, without much damage or wear. It still has the original brown tassel, which was used for all Naval officer grades.
The blade is very good condition with some minor scuffing, and it does look to have done some cutting. However there are no nicks or major damage. Blade length is 25 inches and overall length 36 inches. Unlike most Kai-Gunto swords we see, this example has a hand-made traditionally made blade, complete with a vibrant temper line (hamon). It features one mounting hole in the standard tang, which has an asymmetrically rounded (haagari) tang tip.
The tang itself is marked with the a 関 metal stamp into the top of the tang, indicating production at Seki Arsenal. However, it also bears a signature (mei), something we usually don't see on these blades. It is signed 濃 州 関 住 吉 田 吉 次 - which reads NOSHU SEKI JU YOSHIDA YOSHITSUGU. This basically translates to "Made at Seki in Mino Province by Yoshida Yoshitsugu." We have not been able to find much information regarding this smith, however those at the major arsenals were often not recorded.
The blade retains most of the original factory finish, and has a true hamon (wave), or temper line, which is clearly visible near the edge of the blade. The shape is midare gunome (irregular zig zag) type, and is very attractive. The blade nagasa (edge) has a few tiny edge dents/nicks and minor oxidation, and there is also one nick on spine (mune).
Japanese Kai-Gunto naval officers swords are somewhat rare, given that they usually went down with the ships. This particular example is definitely high grade, with a sharkskin shagreen covered saya (scabbard) and a tsuka (handle) wrapped entirely with real ray skin handle all the way to top, and even under the fuchi (grip collar)
It has a heavy brass tsuba (cross guard) and the large brass Seppa (spacers) and O-Seppa (Large spacers) around the tsuba are large and highly stylized. The tsuka (handle) has two gold highlighted Cherry-Blossom menuki (grip decorations), and a nice gold highlighted Kabuto-Gane (End Cap), with the wooden securing peg still present. Excellent sharkskin with complete brown-colored Ito (cloth binding) with fine decorative collar. The cord loop that goes through the end of the pommel unfortunately has torn off.
Condition of the blade, scabbard and fittings is very good, indicating light use, and the wrapping shows little use. There also is some oxidation on the various metal fittings. As typical of the pattern, Cherry Blossom motifs appear on many of the fittings. The handle is tight to the blade, with secure spacers.
The Wood scabbard (saya) is covered with sharkskin shagreen, which was lacquered and sanded down to give it the unique look it has. It also has gilt brass fittings, which are still quite bright and are firmly attached to the scabbard. Two hanging loops are present, and the condition is very good, with only a few dents and no splitting of the scabbard glue line. Really a great scabbard here!
The fuchi, saya, tsuba, O-Seppa and all 4 of the smaller Seppa (spacers) are stamped with western number 7 4, indicating an original matched set made for this specific blade. Additionally the tsuka (handle) and both sides of the blade tang are marked ホ 七 四, which is the Katakana character HO followed by the numerals Nana (7) and Yon (4). Definitely an all matching set made for this blade. Interestingly, there is also another set of faded painted markings on the tang, so it's possible that it was originally intended for another setting. Definitely an interesting feature!
Really an excellent example of a Imperial Japanese Navy Kai-Gunto, in great condition with great markings. These are getting hard to find in any condition.
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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