Original WWII Japanese Type 98 Shin-Gunto Katana Sword with Ancient Handmade Blade & Steel Scabbard
Original Item: One of a Kind. Recently purchased at a large military auction, 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 signed by the maker, and is 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 is handmade and was expertly crafted by a sword maker, which is indicated by a few tell-tale characteristics that include:
- Multiple Holes in the tang are punched and not drilled.
- Visible temper line ("hamon") with crystallization visible (Nie and Nioi)
- Blade has lamination visible in the body (JI) as well as edge (HA) of the blade, including HADA (grain) on the ji.
- Blade has a proper geometric Yokote at the tip (kissaki) with a Boshi (tip temper line)
There is no signature on this blade, so it is considered 無名 (mumei), or "anonymous". Sometimes these blades were never signed, or the signature may have worn away due to oxidation over the years. This blade is definitely quite old, probably from the 17th or 18th century.
Offered in very good condition, the blade is still sharp and looks great. There are just a few tiny dents on the edge, though there is a chip at the very tip, less than 1mm thick and about 4mm long. Overall the polish on the blade is good, with just a few areas of wear and scuffing, particularly on the "right" side of the blade when held edge down. Blade length is approximately 24 1/4 inches and overall length 35 inches. The katana has a handmade blade with a Futsu 普通 (regular) Nakago (tang) with a Naagari (asymmetrical rounded) nakago-jiri (tang tip).
It has a proper kissaki (tip) with a clear yokote (division between body and tip). The temper line (hamon) is fully visible, and is a very attractive TOURAN (billowing) shape, which is also MIDARE (irregular) in shape. There are Nie crystals visible with a magnifying glass at the temper line, and the correct NIOI cloudy areas of crystals. The BOSHI (tip temper line) is an OOMARU (large circle) type, and fully visible. Just a great blade on this sword.
The blade mountings are the classic later WWII era Type 98 Army Shin-Gunto style, brass with gilt accents. A high grade "perforated" 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 EIGHT 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) is nicely gilt brass.
The handle (tsuka) has an nice stingray skin (Sa-Me) grip, which is fully intact, though unfortunately the Ito (cloth binding), does have significant wear, and has torn through, which has caused it to partly unwrap. This does however allow the very nice real rayskin shagreen to be seen. There is a single wooden securing peg (mekugi) still present, which looks to be original. The Scabbard (saya) is the standard steel over wood, and has almost all of the original paint intact. It does not have any major dents or damage we can see, and has the correct single hanger loop of the Type 98 style. The top fitting is inleted for the scabbard lock on the hilt.
The fittings do not have any matching markings, however those were only really used at arsenal, and this definitely has high grade fittings for a Type 98. The seppa are varied in style and in correctly matched pairs.
An incredible Japanese Type 98 Shin-gunto by a highly rated smith, this is a real USGI bring-back from WWII, ready to display and cherish!
Blade Length: 24 1/4”
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 35"
Scabbard Length: 29"
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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