Katana Identify Help

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by MichaelWestwood, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort Gold Member Gold Member

    488
    Dec 8, 2011
    Not sure how to take that.
    I specifically instructed the OP to study and learn before spending his money again.
    Aside from years of study, the advise or guidance of someone with experience in the field can be of great benefit when looking to purchase a genuine Nihonto.

    I have studied Nihonto for 25+ years, owned literally hundreds of genuine Japanese swords and was mentored by some of the best outside Japan.
    Mentors such as Dean Hartley Jr. and Dr. T.C. Ford, both now deceased, owned extensive collections and shared their knowledge with me unselfishly over many years.

    In turn I have shared my knowledge with others and helped many first time buyers with finding a genuine Nihonto that fits their budget.


    Are there some recommended sources here for Nihonto? I am not aware of any. There are modern knife makers, dealers, etc., but no one who deals in genuine Nihonto (that I have seen).
     
    MichaelWestwood likes this.
  2. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    The point I was attempting to make was perhaps we katana neophytes like the op and myself would be better off not owning antique swords if we do not know enough to appreciate said sword. You never know when we might try our hand at tree lopping or getting out the wire wheel to shine her up....
     
  3. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    I thought it was you, lol.
     
  4. Rich S

    Rich S

    Sep 23, 2005
    Try googling the Nihonto Message Board. More info and knowleable folks then anywhere. Need to register, but safe, no spam, ads, etc.
    Rich
     
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  5. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort Gold Member Gold Member

    488
    Dec 8, 2011
    Ahh, gotcha. It is hard at times to convey or fully understand the meaning behind writings on the web and I wasn't sure if you were giving good advise to the OP (as was the case) or taking a jab at me. I suppose I wasn't sure due to the fact that this is a knife forum and I am an antique collector/dealer and no one here really knows my credentials. It would be understandable, which is why I provided a little information regarding my background. Still, don't take that wrong, I don't consider myself an expert. I was fortunate enough to live in close proximity to, and become close friends with a couple of truly devoted Nihonto scholars which allowed me to become more knowledgable than the average bear perhaps, but there are many individuals out there that far exceed my knowledge in this fascinating field.

    LOL, I appreciate that. But seriously, I have never seen recommendations for anyone who specializes in Nihonto on this forum, other than the occasional link to Rich Stein's site for information. i looked under resources and found nothing. ??
     
  6. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Ever since I've been on the site, anything Nihonto is pretty much addressed thusly:

    Step 1: Someone asks about a katana's value and/or origin and/or authenticity
    Step 2: One of the three or four people who know about Nihonto asks to see clear photos
    Step 3: OP gets answers which leads to the following outcome(s):

    Result 1: OP responds to hearing that his/her katana is fake with the 7 steps of anger, denial, etc. and (not always) finally gains acceptance
    Result 2: OP begins to question whether or not his/her grandpa was even in WW2 Pacific theatre at all
    Result 3: OP realizes there is more to this than realized, and wants to learn more
    Result 4: OP gets confirmation that katana was fake, thanks board members for info
    Result 5: OP has authentic Nihonto, gets slightly irritated that he/she is instructed not to try to restore it
     
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  7. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007

    Not a source on this forum..... reliable sellers of genuine Nihonto....recommended by members here.
     
  8. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007

    I have seen sites listed as reliable sources for fitting, polishing, full swords, etc.

    Recommended by more knowledgeable people here.
     
  9. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007

    This is one of the sites I've seen recommended on this forum.
     
  10. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort Gold Member Gold Member

    488
    Dec 8, 2011
    "Ever since I've been on the site, anything Nihonto is pretty much addressed thusly"
    "Not a source on this forum..... reliable sellers of genuine Nihonto....recommended by members here"

    Yes, I understand that. This is a big site and I thought perhaps I had overlooked an area or forum which specifically addressed reputable dealers.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  11. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    No worries. As you say sometimes we lose the nuance we are trying to convey. I don't even know enough about antique katana to be dangerous. I do, however, know what I think I know, and I do know what I don't know. :D

    In the ops case if he thought the sword pictured could possibly be genuine then he did not know what he did not know. His resources would be better spent on resource material than swords at this point.
     
  12. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort Gold Member Gold Member

    488
    Dec 8, 2011
    I agree wholeheartedly that one should study and learn at least a few basics before buying a Japanese sword.
    Personally, I studied for probably 5 years or so before ever buying my first genuine Nihonto. Of course I was lucky to have full access to two enormous and incredible collections for study or I may not have been able to hold out that long. :)

    This thread is a perfect example of why people should study.
    Anyone who thought like the OP; that the sword in question was Japanese, genuine, old, beautiful, etc., etc., needs education and guidance. Even if you read a few books, look at some sites and gain some basic knowledge, guidance by someone you can trust is still a very valuable asset when it come to purchasing a Japanese sword.

    However, another side of that coin is the reality that many individuals don't want to invest the necessary time studying. I have had so many guys write and say they don't want to read, study, learn. Or wives who want to buy their husbands a sword as a gift. They have no inclination or time to study, they simply want to buy a legitimate Japanese "Samurai" sword. They generally come to me via recommendation, for guidance in obtaining a genuine antique Japanese sword. So, I do my best to help.

    I do this because I enjoy helping people get into this hobby. And I do, do it as a hobby, not as a means of income.
    Plus, I hate to see people get ripped off (think OP). If the OP had come to me in the beginning, or posted here prior to buying I/we could have prevented him from spending his money on junk whether he bought anything or not.

    Alternately, while I am based in the "Study & Learn" camp I do feel that any individual has the right to proceed in whatever way he chooses whether or not any of us feel that is the best method.
    In that scenario, trusted guidance is paramount.

    The following is an excerpt from a recent transaction which is a good example of my point that not everyone wants to study or buy resource material.

    Dear sir,
    You were recommended to me by _____ who assures me that you can help me acquire a real samurai sword. ___ told me he has done business with you for a number of years and that you are well known in the Japanese sword community and well regarded. Being a complete newbie I know literally nothing about Samurai swords other than they are beautiful and have fascinated me since childhood. Now that I am financially able, it is my desire to adopt and care for one of these fascinating weapons. My biggest fear is purchasing one of the fake Japanese swords I have read about.
    >Time passes, and many questions are answered.
    I have read most of "The Samurai Sword" by John Yumoto as you sent me but truthfully all of the terminology and everything is a bit overwhelming. If possible, I would like you to help me purchase a nice sword now and I can continue reading as I go. I have a budget of approximately $$$$.
    >Time passes, and more questions are answered.
    The sword arrived home today… safe and sound.
    As for the blade… WOW! You were right that it is much nicer in person. And you were also dead on that it is a hefty blade. Very stout.
    Summary…
    Thank you for the exceptional transaction and the opportunity to care for such a fine piece of history. I am very pleased!
     
  13. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Tell ya what, I had the chance to closely inspect some very fine real Japanese swords, a bunch of them at once, and they were really friggin' nice, soooo much different than a knockoff. I thought calling tamahagane "jewel steel" was appropriate, as they looked like sword-shaped steel gems.
     
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  14. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort Gold Member Gold Member

    488
    Dec 8, 2011
    Yes indeed, being able to do that give you a much better insight than all the books and photos combined. Bet you never mistook a Chinese crapper for the real thing again. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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  15. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    Yep, I hear you. It's fortunate that this particular individual came to you. Unfortunately, many like minded people fall prey to the unscrupulous out there. To me understanding the history behind the item and its methods of construction etc. Are just as important (if not more so) than simply owning stuff. To each their own I guess.
     
  16. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort Gold Member Gold Member

    488
    Dec 8, 2011
    Me too! But the principles which form the foundation of knowledge required for serious collectors seems to be fading fast. Today, everyone wants instant gratification.

    Despite my regret, that pretty much sums it up.

    Best.
     
  17. MichaelWestwood

    MichaelWestwood

    12
    Oct 12, 2019
    I called the Knife Shop that sold me the fake sword. They had sold it on consignment. I told them it was fake. I thought the chances of me getting any money back were slim to none...

    Amazingly, today they gave me a 100% refund! ($963!) Very honorable of them!

    When I am in the market again for buying a sword - in addition to doing some more research, more importantly I will buy through a recognized knowledgeable dealer.

    Maybe like this one:
    https://yuhindo.com/

    Thanks again for everyone’s help.
     
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  18. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Well, these swords weren't mounted (just blade + habaki) but as far as that goes -the steel, the blades- they were incomparable to any modern knockoff.
     
  19. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Grats! :D
     
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  20. SouthernComfort

    SouthernComfort Gold Member Gold Member

    488
    Dec 8, 2011
    Glad to hear that you have received a refund. $963, wow.

    You better save a whole lot of money if you plan to buy from Yuhindo! Darcy is a friend and he only sells the highest quality, top name swords. BIG money items!!

    Like I said, give me a shout: Yakiba.com
     
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