Can anyone shed some information about this sword?

Frank Kruse

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I have a customer that brought this little jewel in and he is looking for any information anyone can give about it. It was his dad's sword who received it as a gift during WWII. Thank you for any info I can pass along.


Pictures are in the link
WW2 Katana pics



Austin Blades
 

Triton

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How confident is he in that story? Who gifted it to his Dad?. It appears to be in tachi mounts which would have been very unusual for that time.
 

SouthernComfort

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Tachi were still around, in fact all WW II swords technically are mounted as Tachi. The only difference is if a sword is worn slung edge down, Tachi. Edge up, katana. The exception is if the sword is signed tachi mei. Mounted as a katana it is called katana signed tachi mei. Another monkey wrench is that there were some smiths who always signed tachi mei. And away we go, LOL.

This could have been a gift I suppose but is a reproduction.
 

Sigp210

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I don't think this is a repro. Take a look at the measurements. Nagasa would be around 14"
So very possibly a child's sword or a mamorigatana or something use for bunraku? Too much effort put into the details and even the diamonds are semi decently wrapped. Markings are nonsense yes...but if the nakago is as small as it appears, then maybe they mean something else. Can't see a repro being made to this scale. I wouldn't discount this completely.
 

SouthernComfort

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Brian, I first thought it was perhaps a chigo-zashi but with as much examination as possible with these photos, I still think the blade is non-traditionally made, which would exclude it from being a genuine chigo-zashi.
With the koshirae, even though it is fairly well made, there are too many discrepancies for it to be real. For me, there is no need not look past the tsuba, which is obviously a cheap reproduction. The very fact that that the tsuba and the sword are stamped with the exact same stamps indicate these are most likely assembly marks, making the probability very high that this entire set is a reproduction.

Compare it to the one you have/had, that you wrote about on NMB. I have owned 6-8 genuine ones myself and the one in question here just does not measure up. I have had a few mumei pieces, and a few signed pieces, but nothing genuine with any form of odd stamps as seen on the one in question here. If I remember, yours was signed.

As far as being a bunraku or puppet theater piece, that is possible, but they are not traditionally made either. I have also seen modern boy's day display pieces made with zinc alloy blades.
Regardless of the quality or place of manufacture, if they are not traditionally made, aren't they still technically a copy or reproduction?

In my thinking yes.

But, that is merely my opinion. My opinion along with $5 will get you a coffee most places.
Ed
 

Frank Kruse

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How confident is he in that story? Who gifted it to his Dad?. It appears to be in tachi mounts which would have been very unusual for that time.
He is very confident in his dads story. He is a school teacher, though he don't teach history, he has a passion for it.
 

Frank Kruse

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By the way, holding it in my hand and physically looking at the sword, its very hard for me to say that it is a reproduction. It may not be made from the common makers of that era, but it doesn't look like a cheap knock off version of any japanese sword i've seen, as a matter of fact, I thought it really looked bad ass and authentic. I was a little concerned about the limited markings on the handle. But I have no experience in Katanas and I have to rely on what I find out from the great experts in these forums. Thanks.
 

Triton

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By the way, holding it in my hand and physically looking at the sword, its very hard for me to say that it is a reproduction. It may not be made from the common makers of that era, but it doesn't look like a cheap knock off version of any japanese sword i've seen, as a matter of fact, I thought it really looked bad ass and authentic. I was a little concerned about the limited markings on the handle. But I have no experience in Katanas and I have to rely on what I find out from the great experts in these forums. Thanks.

There are reproductions and then there are reproductions. Some high quality and some less so. I have no idea what this is or is not.

Who gifted it to his dad?
 

SouthernComfort

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I wouldn't dispute that his dad received it as a gift, if he says so that is good enough for me. I understand that you guys want this to be something great and I wish I could tell you that it was, but in my opinion it is not.

I do think it is a reproduction and over the last 30 years I have owned over 200 Japanese swords. Swords of all levels of quality from lower end to Tokubetsu juyo (highest ranking papers outside Japan).

As Triton pointed out above, even with reproductions they are not all created equal.

However as I stated this is my opinion. If you want to get the opinion of the best sword scholars on the planet, send it to shinsa. Shinsa is a team of Japanese sword scholars who meet, assess and provide their findings by way of what is known as "papers". If legit they will issue Kantei or authentication papers to verify it's authenticity. If they deem it is a reproduction they will not issue papers for it.

There is a shinsa scheduled for April 2022 right here in the US. Want a better opinion, that is your opportunity.
Contact me for details.
 

Mecha

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By the way, holding it in my hand and physically looking at the sword, its very hard for me to say that it is a reproduction. It may not be made from the common makers of that era, but it doesn't look like a cheap knock off version of any japanese sword i've seen, as a matter of fact, I thought it really looked bad ass and authentic. I was a little concerned about the limited markings on the handle. But I have no experience in Katanas and I have to rely on what I find out from the great experts in these forums. Thanks.

I have no idea how real or fake that sword is, but it's happened more than a few times that someone has a katana they're absolutely confident was a war prize from WW2 Pacific Theater, passed down from their grandpa who fought on Iwo Jima, etc, and the blade turns out to be an old BudK knockoff from 1989 or whatever, which is the worst outcome in these cases.

Then there was the wakizashi someone posted that I was totally sure was a fake, and it turned out to be a 400 year old authentic Japanese blade. 🤣
 

Triton

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I have no idea how real or fake that sword is, but it's happened more than a few times that someone has a katana they're absolutely confident was a war prize from WW2 Pacific Theater, passed down from their grandpa who fought on Iwo Jima, etc, and the blade turns out to be an old BudK knockoff from 1989 or whatever, which is the worst outcome in these cases.

Then there was the wakizashi someone posted that I was totally sure was a fake, and it turned out to be a 400 year old authentic Japanese blade. 🤣
Exactly. That's why I was pinging for a few additional details there. It happens all the time. Some family article or other gets passed down a few times and it goes from being a letter opener purchased at Woolworths in 1921 to a being dagger used by the De Medici in various assassination attempts.

Not saying that is the case here but it does happen.
 

SouthernComfort

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Yep, I can't tell you how many times I have heard, "grandpa said he pried this from the hands of a dead Japanese soldier who tried to kill him with it while he was hoisting up the flag on Guadalcanal". Turns out to be a Chinese repro.

Ultimately, if the owner of this sword wants to get a definitive answer, he should send it to shinsa. That will end the discussion.
 
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