Original WWII Japanese Shin-Gunto Katana Sword made with 17th Century Handmade Blade by JUMYOU
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased directly from a collector, this is a very interesting Japanese officer's Katana in the Type 98 Shin-Gunto (九八式軍刀 kyūhachi-shiki guntō) setting, made with a Shinto (新刀 - New Sword) Period (1596–1780) family blade. These type of fittings (koshirae) are slightly simplified compared to the earlier Type 94. A Shin-Guntō (新軍刀, new military sword) is a weapon and symbol of rank used by the Imperial Japanese Army between the years of 1935 and 1945.
It was a common practice for swords to be passed down for generations, particularly ones that were of high quality. These would be re-polished and re-fit numerous times, as steel was precious and swords were expensive. This continued up into WWII, which is how this blade found it's way into standard WWII "Shin-Gunto" fittings, with a locking scabbard. There also was an official Japanese program during the war for families with no sons to donate their swords towards the war effort.
The blade on this example was hand forged in the 17th century, as indicated by the signature on the tang of the blade: 丹 後 守 藤 原 寿 命, which is written top to bottom and reads TANGO NO KAMI FUJIWARA JUMYOU. The first part of the signature is more of a title than a location, as would often be given. This smith worked from 1628-1644 and was located in Owari and Mino provinces during their career. They are considered a high level smith. For more information please see these links:
The blade is handmade and was expertly crafted, which is indicated by a few tell-tale characteristics that include:
- Single Hole in the tang is punch and not drilled.
- Visible temper line ("hamon")
- Blade is signed on the tang by the maker ("Mei")
- Multiple Tang Holes (mekugi), indicating it was fit multiple times to Koshirae (Fittings)
- Holes in the tang is punch not drilled. There is also wear around the hole, indicating great age.
- Tang shows significant age and past removed rust and wear.
- Folded steel blade (fold lines are evident on the spine and body of blade)
- Clear grain (hada) on the blade, with lamination lines visible.
Offered in great condition, the blade is still sharp and has no nicks that we can see.
Overall the polish on the blade is great, with just some light oxidation on the Kissaki (tip). It does not look like it was polished after being set in these fittings at arsenal, and the Hamon is visible, but it was not highlighted with hadori stones, so it can be hard to see. Blade length is approximately 28 inches and overall length 38 1/2 inches, which is definitely quite long, but somewhat typical for earlier blades.The asymmetrically rounded (haagari) tang (nakago), and a proper geometric kissaki (tip) with a clear yokote (division between body and tip). Temper line (hamon) is visible, and is of the "notched" (Yahaza) type, something we have not seen before. There are some old rust pits or possibly carbon pits (fukure) near the blade collar (habaki).
The blade mountings are the classic later WWII era Type 98 Army Shin-Gunto style, brass with gilt accents. Rounded tsuba (cross guard) with brass Imperial Army cherry blossom menuki (grip decoration), and a nice Kabuto-Gane (Pommel Cap). The cross guard and pommel cap have matching cherry blossom motifs, which are also found on the scabbard fittings, and the fuchi (grip collar). There are 5 Seppa (spacers) around the cross guard to keep the fit tight, and all are inletted for the scabbard lock. The crossguard is however somewhat loose, so it looks like a seppa was lost at some point. The blade collar (habaki) looks to be silver plated or wrapped copper alloy, with some wear. Copper is typical for the older blades.
The handle (tsuka) has an nice genuine stingray skin (Sa-Me) grip, which is in great shape. It has a complete Ito (cloth binding), which shows some wear. The single wood securing peg is still present, but is most likely a replacement. The Scabbard (saya) is steel and in very nice condition,with much of the original paint intact. There are a few ares of paint loss and oxidation, but nothing that interferes with the function, and it has the correct single hanger loop of the Type 98 style. The top fitting is inletted for the scabbard lock on the hilt, however it is worn, so the lock no longer holds.
Overall a great display piece, a real USGI-bring back from WWII, made with an Ancient Japanese Katana 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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