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Ideas On A Presumed Shin-Gunto?

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#1 fschwep

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 01:02 PM

Hi,

 

I'm a newbie here, have lurked a bit on sword forums to get some ideaof what I have here. This sword was handed down from my father, who brought it home in 1949 as a war souvenir from the Dutch colonial war in Indonesia (then the Dutch Indies). Indonesia had been occupied by the Japanese and premuably, many Japanese swords were recuperated  by allied soldiers and Indonesian fighters after the Japanese capitulation. My father served three years in the colonial war from 1946 to 1949. 

I assume this is a shin-gunto officer's sword, but it has been very badly treated by a former user (maybe an Indonesian freedom fighter, they did a lot of chopping and beheading in those years) and neglected afterwards. It sat in the attic for decades without even a saya or any other form of blade protection. It is terribly scratched, I can not find the location of the peg that holds the tsuka to the tang as it seems to be hidden beneath the ray skin (which thus may have been added after the wooden handle was fitted to the tang, not the other way around; strange). The tsuka-ito wrapping has almost entirely gone but must have been kaki coloured. 

I can not find any serial numbers or other markings on the blade or the tsuba or other places, and I am afraid to damage the ray skin in order to find the peg and take the handle off. Thus it is not easy to identify this. 

Given its age and the fact that my dad took it home himself in 1949, I guess it is not a fake, but just a badly treated gunto. There may have been a hamon but in this condition, it is not visible. There are some flaws in the blade, it is convex, as is the spine (not flat) so I am not sure if this was a machine-stamped or a manually made blade. There is no decoration on the pommel but the tsuba has some decoration. Altogether, a weird combination. 

It balances well, with the centre of gravity about 13 (a bit over 5 inches) cm in front of the tsuba, and the sword balances on a narrow piece of wood in spite of its beveled (non-flat) spine, without falling sideways or oscillating. It feels like it would swing properly. 

I want to try and do some mild restoration, without changing its 'rough war sword' aspect too much. I don't care what it's worth in financial terms, just want some opinions on its possible qualities/identification (if any), as a family keepsake. 

 

Comments from the experts here? Is this thing cr... or aything meaningful?

 

Thanks.

 

photos (see if this works):

 

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#2 Geraint

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 01:15 PM

Hi Frank.

 

Welcome, (just for forms sake add your name to your posts so we know who we are talking to please.)

 

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there is nothing about this sword that is Japanese.  If it came home in 1949 then it is possibly a locally made copy.  There are several web sites that will show shingunto as they should be and if you look at these you will soon see the signs that this one isn't.  This does not mean that it is of no value to you and your family, simply that it wasn't what you thought it might be.

 

If you are interested have a look at this site. http://www.guntoartswords.com/or have a browse through the sites under Links at the top of the page.

 

All the best


Geraint

#3 Stephen

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 01:28 PM

Welcome 

Agree with Geraint. Outside chance its last ditch but i havent seen enough LDs to make the call. BTW when handling Japanese swords in the future please dont hold with bare fingers, oils and acids will cause problems. Not that it would matter with this blade, but a good habit to get into.


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#4 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 06:09 PM

Hi fschwep!

Your blade is not Japanese but it is a nice one made in another nation, maybe during WWII. Many nations made their own swords during the war. Some of them during Japanese occupation, and were used by indigenious soldiers fighting for/and against the Japanese.

Here is a link of a thorough discussion of this very subject: http://www.militaria...ava#entry197457

I consider it an honor to be the caretaker of these weapons. Many men gave their lives selflessly to fight for their people. These weapons represent the honor and sacrifices they lived by.
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#5 fschwep

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 10:26 PM

Thanks for your comments guys. I have just found some of the same or similar comments on Wikipedia in English concerning the Dutch Indies/Indonesia, and this quote through one of the threads here that led me to Gunboards and a rather sharp discussion there... 

 

"Quoted from Wikipeadia:

"The Japanese military also provided Indonesian youth with military training and weapons, including the formation of a volunteer army called PETA (Pembela Tanah Air – Defenders of the Homeland). The Japanese military training for Indonesian youth originally was meant to rally the local's support for the collapsing power of Japanese Empire, but later it has become the significant resource forRepublic of Indonesia during Indonesian National Revolution in 1945 to 1949, and also has leads to the formation of Indonesian National Armed Forces in 1945."

and:

"PETA (IndonesianPembela Tanah Air - Defenders of the Homeland) or Kyōdo Bōei Giyūgun (郷土防衛義勇軍?) was an Indonesian volunteer army established on 3 October 1943 in Indonesia by the occupying Japanese. The Japanese intended PETA to assist their forces oppose a possible invasion by the Allies. By the end of the war, there were a total of 69 battalions (daidan) in Java (around 37,000 men) and Sumatra (approximately 20,000 men). On 17 August 1945, the day after the Indonesian Declaration of Independence, the Japanese ordered the PETA daidan to surrender and hand over their weapons, which most of them did. The Indonesian Republic's newly declared President, Sukarno, supported the dissolution rather than turn the organisation into a national army as he feared allegations of collaboration had he allowed a Japanese-created militia to continue in existence.[1][2][3] During the Indonesian National Revolution, former PETA officers and troops, such as Suharto and Sudirman, formed the core of the fledgling Indonesia armed forces."

If you zoom into the pictures, you will see they are not the official IJA ShinGunto issue, but are 'Japanese' like in appearance. I hope this helps you to appease you a bit in your request, and generate some healthy constructive debate."

*** end of quote**

 

This actually would make this sword more valuable to me from an emotional point of view. If it was a decent copy of a gunto supplied to PETA troops (presumably an Indonesian officer) who went on to fight against the Dutch colonial forces as rebel forces, this would be the perfect explanation of how it ended up the hands of my father, *without* a scabbard (let's not call it a saya at this point). I know from his firsthand accounts that he participated in some pretty heavy fighting. Three years is quite a long time to be in a jungle war, and for Dutch troops, Indonesia with forward fire bases and patrols in the jungle was a lot like Vietnam later for US soldiers. I know my dad has held dying comrades in his arms, and has been forced to kill enemies at close quarters to defend his life (something he was very definitely not proud of, and for most of his life refused to talk about). It is entirely possible that the sword was drawn in battle by a rebel soldier against my father's unit, and it fell from his hand as he was killed or wounded. My father is now suffering from advanced Alzheimer so he will never be able to tell me what happened exactly.

 

The sword being of decent quality as such is not surprising if it was made by an Indonesian swordmaker. The Indonesians have always had a pretty strong local tradition in the making of knives and swords, machetes and mixtures of both (parang, klewang, sikin, pedang, kris, golok and dozens of others...). In their jungle country, a single blade would often be used as a machete and serve as a weapon. That may explain why there is no visible peg holding the handle to the tang: the Indonesian maker may not have intended to make a sword that could be disassembled, he might have considered that too weak if the intention was to chop wood a lot as well as to slash people occasionally... But he still used a real rayskin to cover the handle so it would be a proper sword for forces trained and armed by the Japanese. So, an Indonesian homage to a gunto ? I can certainly live with that, and I have learned something, which is the most important. 

 

And just for fun, see the image below of a real Indonesian short sword/machete, a Golok, also brought back by my father. In that case, no question about its authenticity. 

 

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Just one note. The Japanese did horrible things to many civilians in Indonesia and other countries they occupied, and particularly to the 100,000 or so Dutch civilians they imprisoned in concentration camps in Indonesia. My mother was imprisoned in such a camp, lost a sister there, and has always carried that trauma with her. Several of her family's friends and neighbours were beheaded by Japanese officers using katana-style swords, in other words, guntos. The picture of sword-wielding Japanese officers and NGOs in the minds of people who were imprisoned and abused by them during WW2 is wholly different from the image that martial artists and sword collectors of today have of the samurai. As symbolic objects and examples of steelmaking, Japanese swords are of great interest; the image of slashing people with them is not something I would personally glorify. 


Frank S.

#6 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 11:16 PM

Frank (sorry I missed seeing your name the first time!),

I agree fully. There are other forums that specialize in swords of other countries that might be able to lock in the ID of your sword, but I'd say you nailed it down pretty good!

I'm sure I can speak for everyone here when I say that we agree with your horror at the things done in the name of war. Anyone who cares about right & wrong, about humanity, would. But to say that one loves the craftsmanship of a sword or gun or a crescent wrench, isn't saying that they agree with terrible things done with them. But I wouldn't lump all soldiers of any war into a cookie-cutter mold. It is well known today, that most German and Japanese troops were just trying to serve their country and the people they loved (and many weren't there by choice). There were evil people doing evil things, but there were plenty of good people serving right next to them. Try reading "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep," "Flyboys" and "Unbroken." You will see examples of both.

#7 fschwep

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 08:31 PM

Thanks Bruce, 

Meanwhile I have been looking at some photos from the Dutch national archives and found one or two that show gunto style swords in them during the colonial war. Although it does not seem that the Indonesian national army (or revolutionaries, or whatever you want to call them depending on your point of view) were using swords as a standard kit for their officers after the Japanese capitulation, one may assume that most of these people kept their swords at home - it took 3 months before the Dutch troops returned to the Indies and so there was a lot of time to stash stuff. I read one post where someone noted that much later, he saw old and obviously mistreated swords being used to cut weeds in the fields!

Anyway, if one assumes that local Indonesian swordmakers produced gunto-style swords for the Indonesian collaborating army, one can do a back-of-the-envelope calculation: about 50,000 such troops trained and armed by the Japanese; say one in 5 was an officer or NCO, that would make 10.000 swords. One in 5 being an officer, this would make 2000 officer-style swords (truly wrapped/rayskin covered hilts instead of metal cast hilts, NCO style). I assume that the Japanese would not have accepted anyone not truly an officer carrying an officer-style sword. Hence, if my father's sword is an Indonesian-made sword for the PETA army, there can not be many of them around. I still wonder how it could have been separated from its scabbard, but there are too many ways that it could have ended up with my dad. Not quite impossible that it happened during a battle, but just as likely just a find while inspecting homes of suspected rebel fighters, or whatever. But very likely not bought as a souvenir. 

Anyway, I don't mind it not being worth anything to collectors as I don't intend to sell it. I do like the idea of it being a real and unashamed 'Indonesian interpretation' of the gunto instead of an attempt to produce a fake including markings and decorations to pretend being the real thing. 

When I can find the time I will probably try to freshen it up a bit. Try rewrapping the handle, clean and polish the blade some (there's a challenge...). Maybe build my own wooden scabbard for it. First get a decent sword bag with a padlock so I can transport it legally if I need to. And I'll be back lurking here now and then. Try not to get too absorbed... ;-)

 

All the best,

 

Frank


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#8 fschwep

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 07:11 PM

Just some more detail to add to this thread. I found a text on a site concerning the history of the Indonesian army.

Quote from the site theindonesianarmy.com:
 
“Initially established under the Giyugun banner, the Japanese 16th Army raised the first thirty-five Javanese Peta battalions during October 1943, adding twenty more in August 1944 and another eleven in November 1944 – for a total of sixty-six geographically-based Peta battalions on Java. Three more battalions were formed on Bali during June 1944. The Peta units were patterned after a standard Japanese infantry battalion, with only half the normal strength – initially between 500 and 700 men in most units. Officers were issued samurai swords (katana), while noncommissioned officers carried the short blade (wakizashi). Peta troops wore old Colonial Army uniforms with Japanese rank insignia. Officers wore high black leather jackboots, enlisted men canvas shoes with leggings. Most units were armed with captured Dutch weapons.”
And I found some more photos that show PETA officers carrying katana-style swords. OTOH, from the same site one reads that the PETA batallions were smaller than regular Japanese. The number of officer-style Indonesian-made katanas/guntos ever made may be smaller than the 2000 I calculated above. If most of those have always stayed in Indonesia and their owners are now long dead, as must be the swordmakers in question, there is another bit of history that has vanished in the chaos of a war. 
 
The Dutch East Indies did not have a substantial steelmaking industry in those years (or before the war), the Dutch officers of prewar times had sabres manufactured in the Netherlands (some in Germany). Most likely, if Indonesian craftsmen made somewhere between 1000 and 2000 gunto-like swords for PETA officers and two or three times that number of wakizashi-sized blades for NCOs, they must have used existing steel ransacked from things like railway bars. That would also explain a total absence of hada or hamon: no folding needed as such steel is already good enough, and no differential tempering either. It also seems conceivable that, wherever they were made, the Japanese occupying army did on the one hand demand swords made technically to a gunto spec as they had to be functional as weapons for hard use, but would prohibit any decoration or markings that might give the bearers the false impression of being real Japanese officers. 
 
This is all pure conjecture and slightly educated guesswork, based on the assumption that the sword in question is a genuine Indonesian item made during the Japanese occupation or at least a 'sterile' sword issued by the Japanese to a PETA officer. Anyhow, doing some research on the web taught me more about the history of the Dutch East Indies, a country that was very important to my family, so even if only in that sense, that old sword has proven valuable. And when one is talking about ancient weaponry, it is after all about the stories attached, not just about the rusty, pitted or beautifully polished steel. 

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#9 fschwep

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 12:11 PM

I gleaned some more details during web searches. There is a PETA museum in the city of Gobor on West-Java, with various displays of officer's kit and with rather martial monuments outside showing PETA troops in action or generals standing at attention. Indonesia's second and long-time president/dictator Suharto started his military career as a PETA officer, which is why he personally inaugurated the museum, which is situated at the location where PETA troops were originally trained and equipped by the Japanese. 

I found that there were, at full strength by the end of the war, 922 officers in the PETA militia. Hence 922 long samurai swords (not really katanas if one wants to split hairs, as they were carried with the edge down, so they were, like all guntos, tachi mountings). 

it seems that the Japanese 16th army that occupied Indonesia used prisoners of war with blacksmith skills to forge these swords. I found a text in a book on the Sumatra Railway (after the famous Birma railway, the second 'railway of death' built by the Japanese, with a similar number of victims), where a Dutch POW blacksmith relates how he and his colleagues forged 'many samurai swords' from (I assume) railway steel. According to this former POW, those swords were sold by the Japanese to officers of the native PETA militia. The forced labour blacksmiths were paid for their samurai work in extra food rations and some money which they immediately used to buy more food.

There were 17 forced-labour camps along the Sumatra Railway and the period corresponds with the period during which the PETA batallions were formed and trained (spring 1944 to autumn 1945). Hence it is very likely that all of the PETA swords were hand forged by POW blacksmiths in forced-labour camps, mostly along the Sumatra Railway. Looking at some web photos of displays in the PETA museum one sees fittings very similar to the one on the sword I inherited from my father - dark, angular tsubas and very sterile, undecorated black pommel caps. They seem to have been carried in gunto-style sayas. 

Suharto himself, like many former PETA officers, later became an officer in the TNI, the fledgling Indonesian national army, and of course became a general and commander in chief of the Indonesian armed forces before he ousted Sukarno and became president/dictator for 31 years. It explains why PETA, in the rewritten history of Indonesia, has a heroic martial image. 

Anyway, I am now 99% certain that I have inherited a true PETA officer sword, confiscated during one of the many 'kampong sweeps' and house searches my father's platoon performed during the colonial war. 

I now wonder how to restore this somewhat. The sword has literally been standing in an attic corner for some 60 years, unprotected and 'naked'. The first thing I have done was to improvise a hardfoam sheath and get a decent bag to store/transport it in. I am not going to have this sword professionally polished as it is not a traditionally made blade anyway - no multiple foldings and no hamon. Nor do I want to entirely polish away the aged and field-used look it has, as it is a historical object. I will try to rewrap the tsuka with an ito band that corresponds with remains of the dark-sand coloured band I found.

The sword lacks a saya, and I wonder whether I should either buy a basic, undecorated generic saya (these do exist in web stores) or try to make one myself - I am reasonably well equipped to work wood and getting one or two additional tools would not be a bad investment. Does anyone here have any experience with the fit of those generic sayas sold by certain web stores like SwordParts etc. ? I am afraid that it would not fit properly as the sword likely does not correspond perfectly with the shape, size and curve of a traditional nihonto blade. 


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#10 fschwep

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 12:28 PM

Some pictures to illustrate the use of samurai swords by the Indonesian PETA militia, and a citation from a book on the Sumatra Railway where a POW blacksmith told about forging swords for the PETA militia. 

 

Sumatrarailroad_closeup.jpg

text from the book

 

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Display of a PETA officer's kit, uniform, boots, swords... in the PETA museum in Bogor, West-Java

 

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PETA monument showing several officers carrying/wielding samurai swords

 

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Detail of a display in the PETA museum in Bogor, West-Java

 

PETAmuseum_Sidarho_sword.jpg

Detail of another display in the museum, showing items that belonged to one of the PETA officers/later army generals/national hero. Note the lack of decorations on the black tsuba and pommel cap of the sword. 

 

I hope this adds to the general knowledge here on various military swords made locally for the Japanese or their auxiliaries during WW2. 

 

Frank

 

 

 

 


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#11 fschwep

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 12:44 PM

I know everyone here wants to look at pictures of swords, so here are a few more of the old PETA sword I inherited. Very rough workmanship, which corresponds with the conditions mentioned in the POW story, where he talked about an open-air forge along the Sumatra railway. The prisoners probably did not get much time to do any careful detailed finishing, or they lacked the tools. 

 

PETAsword_bag001.jpg

The old sword now protected in a good bag.

 

PETAsword_pommelcap_closeup.jpg

Pommel cap; rough workmanship and no decorations at all. 

 

PETAsword_same_closeup.jpg

Same seems to be ray skin. BTW, it completely hides the mekugi peg, which means the handle can not come off unless one takes it apart entirely. 

 

PETAsword_Tsuba_closeup.jpg

The tsuba is also quite rough and from what seems to be cast iron. The cherry blossom logos seem to have been stamped by hand using a drivel of some sort. I assume these were intended to indicate a weapon produced for/issued by the Japanese army. 

The ito wrapping band is almost entirely gone but must have been dark sand or kaki coloured. 

 

Have fun,

 

Frank

 

 


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#12 Stephen

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 01:47 PM

Frank 

 

I hate to say it, its a very bad reproduction of a Japanese sword.


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#13 Brian

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 02:35 PM

Stephen, given the age, same, and article presented, I think it does have a good chance of being one of the territorial-made swords issued to the Indonesians under Japanese occupation. While most would just be fakes, this one seems to have an air of age and authenticity to it. Seems to have copied the NCO Gunto blade in shape and style. Perhaps it was forged using basic tools in an outlying area. :dunno:


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#14 Stephen

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 03:02 PM

OK i quit


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#15 Kai-Gunto

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 08:35 PM

Made by locals , sold to GI's to fool them.

Dont quit, Stephen , Im with You.
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#16 Hamfish

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 01:55 AM

me three.


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#17 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 03:22 AM

We are all aware that there were war swords made for PETA and other nations during Japanese occupation, and these swords look like the ones in legitimate period photos, so I'm honestly curious to know how you are differentiating between the real and the replica? Honestly from the skill and labor that went into both these examples, they are worth a fair price as accurate representations of These kinds of weapons even if they came after war's end.
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#18 reeder

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 07:18 AM

Also with Stephen on this one.
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#19 fschwep

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 11:45 PM

Made by locals , sold to GI's to fool them.

Dont quit, Stephen , Im with You.

Just this. Why make a bad copy of a Japanese sword if you can just make what you are used to and sell that ? Given the long colonial history of the Dutch with the East Indies, decent kris knives especially were far more popular and you can find quite a lot of them on walls in Dutch homes. 

Furthermore, anyone presenting a large blade like this to a Dutch soldier hoping to sell it as a souvenir would simply see it confiscated as an illegal weapon. So no market there to produce fakes for. 


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#20 fschwep

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 12:31 AM

Bruce, Brian, thanks for defending my dad's old chopper. He would turn in his grave (which is still fresh) if he knew that his confiscated blades were considered fakes by anyone. Primitive, yes, but a fake with the intention to fool GIs, no. 

This sword (Bruce, just one, not two, I just made a few new pictures of the same sword after removing 62 years of dirt and dust from standing, sans scabbard, naked, in the attic) is certainly not a gunto, not even a copy of anything, but a rough war sword almost certainly made in primitive conditions by a POW forced labourer. Bruce is right that given such circumstances (open-air forge meant to produce railway spikes, undernourished workers) these western prisoner blacksmiths, who were no swordmaking specialists, actually did a fair job. It's not decorative or ceremonial in any way, but my guess is that the Japanese preferred it that way for their auxiliaries. Ordinary Japanese soldiers had the right to slap a PETA officer in the face if they wanted to (and they sometimes did); of course the PETA officers were not to be supplied with swords as good looking as those of their masters. 

Anyway, this is about the (likely) history and not about the intrinsic value of this particular sword. 


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#21 Brian

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 11:56 AM

Frank,

Without a half believable story to go with it, I would have said the same as they did. I'm not 100% convinced either way. They were making souvenir swords already during the end of the war.
But it could go either way, which is why I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Stories are just that though, we have all lost count of the number of swords that "dad brought back from the war" that have turned out to be fake. Sometimes dad's memory isn't as good as it should be.
Anyways, no way to prove it either way, so just enjoy it as a sentimental item from your dad and something as part of history. At least no-one argues that it is a Japanese made blade.


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#22 fschwep

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 02:05 AM

Hi Brian,

I have no hard evidence as my dad is no longer there to explain, unfortunately, and nor is there written material. Given his collection of blades brought back with his military kit, which corresponds quite a bit with bundles of confiscated weapons on historical photos of the Dutch army during their 'police' actions, and the diaries from my Dad's unit, the most likely scenario is not a souvenir weapon but a war sword taken from a TNI officer (formerly PETA) or found during the search of the house of a suspected guerilla in a kampong. 

The sword itself aside, I feel I must point out that in Indonesia, the war had not ended with the Japanese capitulation. The worst there was yet to come. Especially on Java, where many of the civilian concentration camps were and where the Allied forces only ever occupied a few small secure areas around towns like Balikpapan. For months after the capitulation, the Japs had to retain control and secure roads etc.and kept their weapons to be able to do so; the guards of the camps had to turn their guns outward to prevent hotheaded Indonesian fighters from murdering the Duch colonist women and children which those same guards had beaten, undernourished and generally left to die slowly during the occupation. These people (including my mother who was just 13 at the time) had to remain in those camps for months after the 'liberation' until the few Allied forces managed to organize transport for them by truck over hundreds of kilometres back to a secure area. En route, those columns were often attacked by rebel fighters who threw hand grenades in the trucks and when anyone staggered out still alive, chopped them to pieces with bladed weapons.

The operations to 'restore order and peace' lasted until the end of 1949 on Java, and about 6000 Dutch soldiers were killed in action. That is not 'the end of the war', it was 'brutal violence' - my father's words (he was a forward scout/radio operator in a fighting platoon who saw a lot of action for 2 years and 8 months). 

 

Souvenir fake swords were, I gather, mostly produced in areas/countries that had been liberated from the Japs, were 'free' and where a sufficient 'market' of glassy-eyed GIs was present, often around transfer bases where they were looking for souvenirs to bring back home. That was definitely not the situation on Java. 

 

Regards,

 

Frank

 


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#23 hxv

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 03:34 AM

Frank,

 

I believe the proper term is "Japanese," not Japs.

 

Respectfully,

Hoanh


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#24 Stephen

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 03:52 AM

Yes in respect to many of our friends we do not shorten the word, Thanks Hoanh


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                                  Stephen C.

                      USMC      DEC 63      APR 73 

                        ​"Resident curmudgeon  "


#25 Johnny Barracuda

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 12:51 PM

I actually use the shortened version a lot with a Japanese friend, but it is strictly on the basis of a mutual berating agreement.

Cheers,

 

Thibault


#26 fschwep

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 02:36 AM

You are right guys, I was just caught up in the terminology directly taken from war and camp diaries. In our home when it concerned the war/camp period, my family always used the short form (in Dutch). It's comparable to distinguishing 'nazis' from normal German people, I guess. I'll try to think twice next time. 


Frank S.

#27 hxv

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 03:15 AM

Frank,

 

All is well. It was not done in malice. No worries!

 

Hoanh


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#28 Brian

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 09:46 AM

No worries Frank, as Hoanh said, it is how you use it. And there was nothing bad intended. We just like to remind folks.


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#29 fschwep

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 12:30 PM

Hi guys, just one factual correction to my own story. Balikpapan is, of course, not on Java, it is on Borneo. It is where most of the allied forces had their Indonesian headquarters after the Japanese capitulation as they had not managed to actually invade Java before the Bomb fell. The concentration camps where most Dutch civilian prisoners were kept were on Java, as were most of the PETA militia troops who later joined the Indonesian revolutionary army in the colonial war(s).

I made the mistake as my granddad, who fought with the American-Australian forces as a Dutch volunteer, traveled from Balikpapan (Borneo) to a concentration camp near Semarang (Java) to liberate his own wife and children, and I underestimated the distance - he actually 'chartered' a US bomber plane to get his family out, flying about 1000 kms sitting in the bomb bay, from Java back to Balikpapan on Borneo, while practically all Dutch prisoners stayed on Java and many were killed there by Indonesian rebels once they left the concentration camps (my granddad was also apparently the first allied soldier to walk into that camp, all alone, where blade-waving Indonesians outside were threatening to kill the Dutch former colonists and where machine-gun toting Japanese were still guarding the place. To say he was determined was rather an understatement... He was an impressive man.)

 

Anyway, corrected. Balikpapan is not on Java. 


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