Original WWII Japanese Type 98 Shin-Gunto Katana Sword with Named Scabbard Cover & Star Stamped Handmade Blade
Original Item: One of a Kind. Recently purchased at a large military auction, this is a great USGI Bring-Back 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. The blade tang is marked with the RJT Star proof, 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:
- Peg Hole in the tang is punched and not drilled.
- Visible temper line ("hamon") with crystallization visible (Nie and Nioi) with correct polish.
- 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". However, it does have the star stamp of the RJT inspection. The Rikugun Jumei Tosho were swordsmiths certified by the Army headquarters of Japan during wartime. Their names first appear in "Rikugun Jumei Tosho Meibo (1933)" and it is believed that they produced blades for highly ranked officers. Besides Yasukuni tosho and Minatogawa tosho, these smiths all produced Gendaito (traditionally made blades), which should be discerned from Showato (arsenal forged blades). A star stamp was marked on the blade tang when passed by Rikugun Shinsa Inspection.
Offered in very good condition, the blade is still sharp and looks great. The edge is virtually dent free, with just the very tip of the blade having a slight bend. Overall the polish on the blade is very good, with just a few small areas of staining, and the proper mirror polish on the shinogi-ji. Blade length is approximately 23 1/4 inches and overall length 33 3/4 inches. This is just a bit short for a Katana, but we do not feel it was designed as a wakizashi. 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 standard SUGU (straight) design, with possibly just a bit of undulation. There are Nie crystals visible with a magnifying glass at the temper line, and the correct NIOI cloudy areas of crystals. Lamination texture can be seen in the hamon area, and there is hada (grain) in the blade body. The BOSHI (tip temper line) is an KOMARU (circle) type, and faintly visible. Just a great blade on this sword, with a lovely polish.
The blade mountings are the classic later WWII era Type 98 Army Shin-Gunto style, brass with gilt accents. These include a "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 two Seppa (spacers) around the cross guard to keep the fit tight, and all are inleted for the tie strap on the scabbard cover. The blade collar (habaki) is nicely gilt brass.
The handle (tsuka) has an nice stingray skin (Sa-Me) grip, which is fully intact, with a complete Ito (cloth binding), that shows only light wear. There is a single wooden securing peg (mekugi) still present, which looks to be a replacement. The Scabbard (saya) is painted wood with steel fittings, and a custom olive green fabric scabbard cover. This has a tie strap for securing to the tsuba. It also has the name and address of the officer that owned it!
The line furthest to the right is written top to bottom" 香川縣 小豆郡 池田町, which translates to Kagawa Prefecture, Shozu District, Ikeda Town, the address of the owner. The line on the left is also written top to bottom: 八木 増雄 or Yagi Masuo, the name of the owner of the sword. In Japanese the surname comes first, so their name in the western style would be Masuo Yagi. We have not been able to find any information about this person, but it would definitely make a great research project!
An incredible Japanese Type 98 Shin-gunto with a hand made blade and a named scabbard cover, this is a real USGI bring-back from WWII, ready to display and cherish!
Blade Length: 23 1/4”
Blade Style: Katana
Overall length: 33 3/4"
Scabbard Length: 28 1/2"
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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