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john

Wood With Showa Stamp...handmade?

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Hello all, I am a newbie here but am happy I found it. Forgive my terminology but I am looking for info on this. It has signatures on scabbard and blade and appears to be handmade. There was more significant rusting but I had to wipe to see markings. Have seen that showa stamp = garbage? It is sharp all the way down to handle. Thanks in advance

John

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Hi John

there are many who specialise in Gunto and are better able to answer than I am however as a start

Showa stamp is an army acceptance stamp. While it is generally seen on non traditionally made blades, i.e. blades made not using tamahagane (traditional produced sword steel) there is a wide range of techniques employed to make them, some hand made some partially hand finished and so on. One thing for sure is that having a showa stamp certainly doesnt= garbage. While it may not be an Art sword it is still an intersting piece of history.

I am sorry I cant translate the signature on the nakago or the sayagaki (writng on the scabbard) but I am sure others will help

regards

Paul

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If you hop across to the Military Swords of Japan section you will get some useful information. The Showa stamp means a non traditionally made blade, my guess is for a han-tan-to or tanren-to or something like. The Army acceptance stamp is the star stamp. More information on Showa forging types here.  http://www.ksky.ne.jp/~sumie99/sunobe.html

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Sorry Dave I dont think your answer is correct, or at least it doesnt tell the full story. The star stamp was specific to the RJT and as you rightly say this was an acceptance stamp for the Army Officers association.

There has been debate for some time as to whether these were or were not traditionally made but there have been examples of such blades being papered suggesting they were made using traditional material and technique.

Showa, seki and other such stamps were for a long time called arsenal stamps but in Fuller and Gregory's books on Showa-To they suggest they were actually collection point and acceptance stamps rahter than specific to a given arsenal.

Again you are right that they weren't, or at least the vast majority weren't, traditionally made.

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I think it is at least some what interesting that the Governor General of Korea did not warrant a traditionally forged blades.  It is somewhat telling to the relative value that they placed on swords created traditionally vs. non-traditionally at the time.  I would have thought that someone of that relative stature would have received something forged by a better known smith than Kanekuni (No disrespect intended to the OP), but perhaps our (mine included) current derogetory view of showato is somewhat unfounded - at least compared to their value at the time.

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I think you are right Joe. If you read some of the letters published in the previously mentioned volume you see a number of officers speaking with considerable affection for and regret at losing their swords, which they regarded as the embodiment of their honour. This seemed equally true of both family blades and those made in the sword factories.

I think our own view has become confused as we have mixed up appreciation of a craft with the symbolism of the sword in WWII. All nationalities have held swords as a symbol of rank and attitude (honour). This had little to do with how they were made or their effectiveness as a weapon.

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Wow, Great info so far. Thank you very much for taking the time. I will take some more photos and post. So if my research is correct, for a sword to be traditional, it is required to be a certain metal, be hand made and of a certain period? Is there a way to decipher metal from photos?

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Wow, Great info so far. Thank you very much for taking the time. I will take some more photos and post. So if my research is correct, for a sword to be traditional, it is required to be a certain metal, be hand made and of a certain period? Is there a way to decipher metal from photos?

Also water quenched rather than oil quenched. Period doesn't matter. No there is no real way to tell what type of steel was used without destroying the blade. The best (only real way) to know if it was traditionally made is the activity and hada. In no way trying to self promote - and literally only for educational purposes - I have a lot of swords listed from showa and Heisei eras. Look at the activity in the hamon, the well defined, easily viewed hada. The nie crystals. It will give you a hint of things to look for. Pics start at the bottom of page 1 and into page 2.

 

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/18419-sword-and-tsuba-sale-last-chance-before-consignment/page-2?do=findComment&comment=194259

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Hi John

for a sword to be regarded as a "true" Nihonto it should be made using tamahagane which is steel refined from sand iron in a traditional way. It should then be constructed by welding steel of diffent carbon content through a process of heating and hammering numerous small pieces together. This is then folded and drawn out in to a sword. It is then differentially hardened in water. This methodolgy has been used for over 1000 years so the material and methodology are the key factors not necessarily when it was made.

Once a sword is made it is not possible other than through destructive testing (even if then) to determine whether a blade was made from tamahagane. It is possible to see if it was hand forged and folded and whether it was differentially hardened in water.

As Dave mentioned there were numerous methods employed to make swords for the second war. Some employed using traditional methods but imported steel, some partial hand finishing and then ffinally quenching the blade in oil rather than water. This was much more forgiving and didnt produce the high rejection rate water quenching did.

Determining how your sword was made will be a worthwhile learning curve for you. As said before it is most likely not traditionally made but you can still see if it has been folded and try and determine how the hamon was created either with oil or water quench.

 

Edit Hell I am getting slow! sorry Joe I am repeating your post due to incompetent typing.

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I think the writing indicates the sword was presented from the Governor-General (not a present to the Governor-General). The recipient is unnamed. 

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Hi Joe, Those are beautiful examples. I do see evidence of movement on my sword. To see well you need to hold it approx. 18" away from face. Would anyone recommend a polishing? Last question. Across from the showa stamp is what appears to be an oval punch of some kind. To be honest I thought it was damage but it seems too accurate. Any ideas. I possibly mistakingly wiped off too much rust when I disassembled but the signature was not discernable.

John

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I live outside of Washington dc  in the northern Virginia area. I would gladly travel a bit to show someone who might lend some thoughts

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