Original WWII Japanese Type 98 Shin-Gunto Katana Sword by HATTORI MASAHIRO with Steel Scabbard and Tassel

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 98 Shin-Gunto (九八式軍刀 kyūhachi-shiki guntō) setting. These type of fittings (koshirae) are slightly simplified compared to the earlier Type 94. The blade tang is signed by the maker, along with other markings. 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 shows only mild use, without much damage or wear.

The blade on this example was hand forged at Seki arsenal, indicated by the stamped character, and the tang of the blade is signed (Mei) with numerous characters: 濃州関住服部正廣作, which is read as NOSHU SEKI JU HATTORI MASAHIRO SAKU. This basically translates to "Made at Seki in Mino Province by Hattori Masahiro". We were not able to find much regarding this smith, however they appear to be a high level one, working in Mino Province / Gifu, the location of Seki Arsenal.

The other side of the tang bears some painted characters, but they are not legible, and appear to be the remnants of matching numbers. However, the fittings are not numbered.

The blade is handmade and was expertly crafted by a master sword maker, which is indicated by a few tell-tale characteristics that include:

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

- Visible vibrant temper line ("hamon")

- Blade is signed on the tang by the maker ("Mei")

Offered in great condition, the blade is still sharp and just have a few small nicks, as far as we can see. Overall the polish on the blade is good, with some areas of light staining from oxidation in a few areas, probably from it not being cleaned after being handled. There is some scuffing and light staining in areas, but overall it presents very well, as shown. Blade length is approximately 25 1/8 inches and overall length 36 1/2 inches.  The katana has a handmade arsenal made 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.

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 6 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 copper alloy, with some worn nickle plating.

The handle (tsuka) has an nice faux stingray skin (Sa-Me) grip, which is in great shape. It has a complete Ito (cloth binding), which shows almost no wear. The single bamboo 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 sizable dents, but nothing that interferes with the function, and it has the correct single hanger loop of the Type 98 style. The top fitting is inleted for the scabbard lock on the hilt, however it is worn, so the lock no longer holds.

Attached to the pommel cap loop is a Brown and Blue colored Tassel, which has somewhat discolored to look greenish. This signifies that this was carried by a "company grade" officer, which would be a Lieutenant or Captain rank.

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