Original WWII Japanese Type 98 Shin-Gunto Katana Sword by TAKASAKI KANESHIGE with Handmade Blade & Tassel
Original Item: One of a Kind. Recently purchased at an estate sale, this is a great USGI Bring-Back 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 both signed and dated by the maker, and appears to be handmade in the traditional fashion. 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.
The blade on this example was hand forged, and the tang of the blade is signed (Mei) with the characters 高 崎 三 郎 金 繁, which is read Takasaki Saburō KANESHIGE. In this case, their "Swordsmith" name was KANESHIGE, while Takasaki Saburō was the real name. They signed tangs in several different ways, often just with KANESHIGE, but examples have been seen signed this way. They were active during the Showa Period in Gifu province, and worked at Seki arsenal, who stamped the blade with the arsenal proof 関 (Seki).
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 are punched and not drilled.
- Visible temper line ("hamon") with crystallization visible (Nie and Nioi)
- Blade has lamination visible, including some Kizu (Blade wounds), which only happen on laminated steel blades.
- 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)
Offered in very good condition condition, the blade is still sharp and looks great. There are a few minor nicks and dents on the edge, as shown, but no major damage. Overall the polish on the blade is very good, with some areas of light staining. Blade length is approximately 25 inches and overall length 36 1/4 inches. The katana has a handmade blade with a Futsu 普通 (regular) Nakago (tang) with Naagari (asymmetrical rounded) nakago-jiri (tang tip). It has a proper kissaki (tip) with a clear yokote (division between body and tip). Temper line (hamon) is fully visible, and is a very attractive TOURAN - billowing type. There is crystallization visible as well as some large amounts of NIOI, called ASHI.
The blade mountings are the classic later WWII era Type 98 Army Shin-Gunto style, brass with gilt accents. Rounded "quince" shaped 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 8 Seppa (spacers) around the cross guard to keep the fit tight, and all are inleted for the scabbard lock, which is fully functional. The blade collar (habaki) looks to be the standard gold colored bronze alloy.
The handle (tsuka) has an nice stingray skin (Sa-Me) grip, which is fully intact, though the skin has shrunk a bit. It has a complete Ito (cloth binding), which shows moderage wear, with some staining and light fraying. There is a single wooden securing peg (mekugi) still present, which looks to be a period replacement. The Scabbard (saya) is steel and in very nice condition, with much of the original paint intact. It has only a few small dents, and has the correct single hanger loop of the Type 98 style. The top fitting is inleted for the scabbard lock on the hilt.
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. It is in good condition and totally correct.
An incredible Japanese Type 98 Shin-gunto by a well-known maker, this is a real USGI bring-back from WWII, ready to display and cherish!
Blade Length: 25"
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 36 1/4“
Scabbard Length: 29 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 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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