Original WWII Japanese Type 94 Shin-Gunto Katana Sword by FUKUMOTO KANEMUNE - Named USGI Bring Back

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased directly from a collector, this is a very nice wartime production high grade Japanese officer Katana in the Type 94 Gunto (九四式軍刀 kyūyon-shiki guntō) setting. 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. This is a very nice example, and does show some use in the field. It was captured in the field by Pvt. Charles W. Greenawalt (A.S.N. 33166757), who scratched his name into the paint of the scabbard. Included are printouts of his registration card and pension forms.

The blade is handmade and was expertly crafted by a master sword maker, who signed the tang of the blade: 濃 州 住 福 本 兼 宗 作 - which is read NOSHU JU FUKUMOTO KANEMUNE SAKU. This indicates that it was made by Kanemune Fukumoto, located in the Mino Province of Japan, a known swordmaking center. Research indicates that he was a member of the Amahide school, started by his father Amahide Fukumoto, who himself was a student of  Kanenaga. Kanemune is listed as being a 中下作 (CHUGE SAKU), or mid level smith by Kurihara Hikosaburo.

From what we can tell, this is a traditionally made blade, due to the following characteristics.

- Single Hole in the tang is punch and not drilled.

- Grain (HADA) in the body of the blade, something only possible with traditionally made blades

- Visible temper line (HAMON)

- Tang is Signed by the maker with his real name.

Offered in great condition, the blade is still very sharp and is nick free as far as we can tell. Overall the polish on the blade is good, with some areas of light staining from oxidation in places. Blade length is approximately 26 1/4 inches and overall length 37 1/2 inches. The tang is marked with some paint, but it does not match the number on the fittings from what we can see. The katana has a handmade blade with an asymmetrically rounded (haagari) tang, and a proper geometric kissaki (tip) with a clear yokote (division between body and tip). Temper line (hamon) is visible, and is of the zig zag (gunome) type. Light grain on blade is visible on the blade flat (ji).

The blade mountings are the classic early WWII era Type 94 Army Shin-Gunto style, brass with gold accents. Round 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 4 Seppa (spacers) around the cross guard to keep the fit tight, and all are inleted for the scabbard lock. The blade collar (habaki) looks to be brass alloy, maybe with some gilding.

The handle (tsuka) has an nice stingray skin (Sa-Me) grip, not plastic imitation. It has a complete Ito (cloth binding), which shows some wear and light staining. The single bamboo securing peg is still present,and looks to be original. The Scabbard (saya) is steel and in very nice condition,with much of the original paint intact. It does have a few small dents, but these appear to be from storage or handling, not from any type of military action. The top fitting is inleted for the scabbard lock on the hilt, and locks in securely.

The fittings are all marked with western number 8 and Japanese number  (Kyu), or 9. This indicates that they are a matched set made specifically for this blade, and have not been "swapped out" over the years. Combinations of Western and Japanese numbers are common on fittings.

Overall a great display piece, a real USGI-bring back from WWII, with a named handmade 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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