Original WWII Japanese Navy Officer P1937 Kai-Gunto Katana with Scabbard & Tassel - Matched Number 168
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased recently at a military show, 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 great example, complete with scabbard, and shows moderate service wear on the fittings. Usually we see these looking unissued, so to find one that was "really there" is a real treat! It still has the original brown tassel, which was used for all Naval officer grades.
The blade is in excellent condition, with an edge which is still quite sharp. There are just a few areas of minor scuffing from use and cleaning, and no nicks or dents on the edge that we can see.. Blade length is 25 1/2 inches and overall length 36 1/4 inches. It has a factory forged steel blade, with a single mounting hole in the standard long Futsu 普通 (regular) shaped Nakago (tang) with a Naagari (asymmetrical rounded) nakago-jiri (tang tip). There is no signature (MEI), as is usual for later war pieces, however the tang is stamped with matching number ワ1 6 8 (WA 168).
The blade retains virtually all of the original factory finish and simulated straight (sugu) hamon. There are are just a few minor scratches and scuff marks on the surface. There is also a simulated yokote, and given the total absence of rust on the blade, we believe it to be made from Stainless steel, which was popular for the rust-inducing ocean environment. Japanese Kai-Gunto naval officers swords are somewhat rare, given that they usually went down with the ships. This particular example has mid grade fittings, which are quite nice, but not the same level seen on the higher end examples made for command officers.
It has a heavy brass plated iron tsuba (cross guard), with 2 Seppa (spacers) and two O-Seppa (Large spacers) around the tsuba that are large and highly stylized, correct for the Kai-Gunto pattern. All of these are plated steel, with the tsuba and O-seppa being blacked over copper plate. The tsuka (handle) has two plated iron Cherry-Blossom menuki (grip decorations), and a nice brass Kabuto-Gane (End Cap). It has a very nice black sharkskin grip (Sa-Me) with complete service worn olive brown-colored Ito (cloth binding) with fine decorative brass collar (fuchi). Condition of the blade, scabbard and fittings is very good, indicating light use. As typical of the pattern, Cherry Blossom motifs appear on many of the fittings. The handle is tight to the blade, though there is a bit of cross guard wobble, and the mekugi (peg) is a replacement.
The Wood scabbard has a standard black lacquer finish, and has all brass fittings, with much of the original gilding. The fittings are somewhat loose due to age, but they are still held in place party by the original glue. Condition is good, with service wear and the usual cracking and flaking along the seam. The fuchi, tsuba, and O-seppa are all marked with western number 1 6 8. This matches the number stamped into the tang, indicating that this set of KOSHIRAE (fittings) were all made for this specific blade. The end of the tsuka (handle) has staining, and the inside of the scabbard is worn, so we cannot see any markings.
Really a very nice service used example of a Imperial Japanese Navy Kai-Gunto with a lovely stainless steel blade, ready to display!
Blade Length: 25 1/2"
Blade Shape: Shinogi Zukuri
Overall length: 36 1/4“
Scabbard Length: 28"
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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