Original WWII Japanese Navy Officer P1937 Kai-Gunto Katana Sword with Scabbard - Handmade Ancient Blade
Original Item: Only One Available. Acquired directly from a collector, this is an excellent condition rare 1937 Pattern Kai-Gunto Naval Officer katana, with an even rarer handmade ancient blade. It may be the best Japanese Navy Officer sword we have ever had, and is sure to make a worthy addition to any collection it becomes a part of.
This particular example has the higher grade 1937 Pattern fittings with the lacquered sharkskin wrapped scabbard, indicating this may have been made for a front line naval officers. This fact makes finding them difficult, as often they would be lost with the ship the officer was stationed on. Due to the salt spray involved, many of these swords were fitted with machine-made stainless steel blades, but this particular example has a genuine traditionally made folded steel blade, with a beautiful undulating temper line!
The blade is handmade and was expertly crafted by an ancient master sword maker, which is indicated by a few tell-tale characteristics that include:
- Double Hole tang, indicating blade has been reduced in length at least once (Suriage).
- Holes in the tang are punch and not drilled.
- Folded steel blade (fold lines are evident on the spine and body of blade)
- Visible temper line ("hamon"), with crystallization visible at the edge (Nie and Nioi)
- Clear grain (hada) on the blade, with lamination lines visible.
- Several blade "wounds" (kizu), which only occur on traditionally made blades.
Offered in great condition, the blade is still sharp and has just a few small areas of oxidation on the edge. Overall the polish on the blade is excellent, with just a bit of light staining from oxidation in places. Blade length is approximately 22 1/2 inches and overall length 36 1/2 inches. This ancient handmade blade has a slightly rounded "kiri" (squared) nakago-jiri (tang tip). This style of tang is typical of a sword that has been cut down due to the process of "suriage", when older blades are shortened for more modern use, often due to edge damage near the hilt. The tip of the blade has a proper geometric yokote (tip).
The temper line (hamon) is highly visible, and is of the NOTARE, or wave type. Probably one of the most attractive temper lines we have sever seen. Grain on blade is visible, along with some blade inclusions typically seen in handmade blades. These include mostly Ware (horizontal weld lines).
The grip features a heavy brass tsuba (cross guard) with gold highlighted menuki (grip decoration), and a nice gold highlighted Kashira (End Cap), which matches the cap on the scabbard. The blade collar is nickel plate over copper, and has the typical "heart shape" seen in 19th and 18th century blades. The six Seppa (spacers) around the tsuba are large and highly stylized. Excellent ray skin (Sa-Me) grip with complete olive-colored Ito (cloth binding) with fine decorative collar (fuchi). There is a bit of wear / staining on the grip, indicating that it did see some handling, however the blade does not have any indication of combat. The Wood scabbard is wrapped in lacquered sharkskin, and has brass copper and gold highlights. Two hanging loops are present, and the condition is excellent, with just a few spots of missing lacquer, and no splitting of the sharkskin.
The crossguard, all 6 spacers, grip (tsuka), and fuchi (grip collar) are all marked with 九 八 二, the Japanese numerals Kyu (9) Hachi (8) and Ni (2). The inside of the scabbard is marked with western numerals 982, which all indicates that this blade is fitted with an original matching set of fittings, made specifically for it. Combinations of Japanese and Western numbers are very common on sword fittings of the period. They all require hand fitting, and this one fits like a glove, and is very tight on the tang.
Overall a great example of a rare Japanese Naval Kai-Gunto, with an excellent ancient hand-forged blade. Ready to display and cherish!
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 folded 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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