Original WWII Japanese Navy Officer P1937 Kai-Gunto Katana with Handmade Blade by KANENAMI & Scabbard
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased recently from a private auction, 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 features a traditionally made and maker signed blade, something we rarely see in Naval fittings. It does show some use and wear, though we do not know if this is from during the war, or afterwards.
The blade on this example was hand forged in the traditional manner, and the tang of the blade is signed (Mei) with the characters 兼 波 作 - KANE NAMI SAKU, or "KANENAMI made this". This smith, who also signed blades 伊 奈 波 兼 波 (Inanami Kanenami), is a known maker of Kai-gunto during WWII. Research done by a member of the Nihonto Message Board has cataloged many blades by this maker, and they range from lower grade stainless examples, to traditionally made blades such as this one.
The blade is handmade and was expertly crafted by a sword maker, which is indicated by a few tell-tale characteristics that include:
- Hole in the tang is punched and not drilled.
- Visible temper line ("hamon") with crystallization visible (Nie and Nioi)
- Visible Grain ("hada") in the body of the blade ("ji)
- Blade is signed on the tang by the maker ("Mei")
- Blade has a proper geometric Yokote at the tip (kissaki) with a Boshi (tip temper line)
The blade is very good condition, though it definitely shows wear from the elements and use. The overall polish somewhat degraded, with areas of light staining beginning. There are also nicks and dents on the edge, particularly near the tip. Blade length is 25 3/4 inches and overall length 37 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 a Futsu 普通 (regular) shaped Nakago (Tang) with a Kiri Nakago-jiri (Cut Tip).
The blade has a true hamon (wave), or temper line, which is clearly visible near the edge of the blade. The shape is a very subtle TOURAN (billowing), with some very visible NIE crystallization at the edge of the temper line, as well as the correct NIOI cloudiness in the hamon. The blade body (JI) also has MASAME HADA (straight grain) which can be seen under the light. There are some areas of cloudiness and light oxidation, but the kissaki (tip) still shows a clear yokote with visible Boshi (tip temper line), which is the KOMARU (small turn back) type.
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 hand made blade, and excellent fittings.
It has a heavy brass tsuba (cross guard), with 4 brass Seppa (spacers) and two O-Seppa (Large spacers) around the tsuba are large and highly stylized, and correct for the Kai-Gunto pattern. The tsuka (handle) has two gold highlighted Cherry-Blossom menuki (grip decorations), and a nice gold highlighted Kabuto-Gane (End Cap) with a rope through the end. There is a single wooden securing peg still present, though part of it is missing. Excellent black Sa-me (Ray Skin) under the complete brown colored Ito (cloth binding) with fine decorative collar.
Condition of the blade, scabbard and fittings is very good, indicating light use, though the wrapping does show some dirt and staining. There also is some light oxidation and wear 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 and no wobble in the tsuba. All of the metal fittings are non magnetic, so they were less likely to rust.
The Wood scabbard has a standard black lacquer finish, and has all brass fittings, with much of the original gilding. The fittings are just a bit loose due to age, but they are still held in place party by the original glue. Condition is very good, with only a few small chips and dents. The fuchi, tsuba, tsuka, O-Seppa and all 4 of the smaller Seppa (spacers) are stamped with western number 1 0 5. This matches the number 一 〇 五 - (1 0 5) painted onto the tang, as well as the number 105 (faint) inside the scabbard itself. This indicates that this set of KOSHIRAE (fittings) were all made for this specific blade.
Really an excellent example of a Imperial Japanese Navy Kai-Gunto, handmade by a known smith and complete with its original scabbard. These are getting hard to find in any condition.
Blade Length: 25 3/4"
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 37“
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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