Original WWII Japanese Type 98 Shin-Gunto Katana Sword with Fullered Blade & Leather Covered Steel Scabbard
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased recently at a military show, this is a very nice wartime production 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. 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 nice example, with a very nice arsenal-forged blade, which has a BO-HI (fuller), which helps to reduce the weight of the blade. These are very rarely seen on katana swords in general, especially WWII production. It definitely is well made, and above some of the other arsenal made blades that we have seen. Offered in very good condition, the blade is still quite sharp, and the polish is still very good, with a nice faux hamon. There are a few areas of light staining, and some overall speckling, which could probably be cleaned off. The edge is nick and dent free, with only the very tip having any type of damage.
Blade length is approximately 25 5/8 inches and overall length 36 inches. The blade has the typical arsenal style Futsu 普通 (regular) Nakago (tang) with Kuri-jiri (rounded) nakago-jiri (tang tip). There is a bit of oxidation on the tang, which may have covered up any matching markings stamped into it. It has geometric short kissaki (tip), with a visible yokote, the polished in line that indicates the border between the tip and the rest of the blade.
The blade mountings are the classic WWII era Type 98 Army Shin-Gunto style, brass with gilt accents. It has a rounded and perforated "quince" shaped tsuba (cross guard) with brass Imperial Army cherry blossom menuki (grip decoration), and a nice Kabuto-Gane (Pommel Cap), with a brass hanger loop going through it.
The high end perforated tsuba is clearly marked with the Suya Sho Ten Logo, a Tokyo company that was used by the Suikosha, or Navy Supply Center. The company mainly made gunto koshirae during WWII. This company started back in the Meiji era and had a long history of making koshirae, including those for members of the Imperial family and many high ranking officers and diplomats.
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, which is still intact and fully functional. The blade collar (habaki) looks to be bronze alloy, which has the gilding retained at about 50%.
The handle (tsuka) has an nice stingray skin (Sa-Me) grip, which is fully intact. It has a complete Ito (cloth binding), which shows moderate to heavy use and staining. There is a single wooden securing peg (mekugi) still present, which looks to be original. The Scabbard (saya) is steel with a wooden interior, and is completely covered in a leather field cover, which has shrunk over the years, and would be difficult to remove. It has split through at the bottom, showing the correct end fitting for a type 98 scabbard. The top fitting is inlet for the scabbard lock on the hilt, and locks in correctly.
The fuchi, tsuba, and all four spacers are all marked with matching number 十 二 ( 10 2), which indicates that this set of KOSHIRAE (fittings) are a matched set, all made for this specific blade. The wood on the end of the tsuka and inside of the saya are both a bit dirty and stained, so we cannot see any markings on them, but we do not doubt that they are matching.
Overall in lovely service used condition, a real USGI-bring back from WWII, ready to display and cherish!
Blade Length: 25 5/8"
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 36“
Scabbard Length: 28"
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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