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Significance Of A Kanji On Kyu Gunto

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Wondering if anyone knows what the significance would be of having "prize" or "reward" written on a kyu gunto? Is this common or maybe custom to this sword? See pics of the kanji in the first pic below. 


I have been told this is a Kyu Gunto parade saber with an etched hamon, but not sure why it has this kanji on it. I'm a novice on military sword history. Anyone able to help with the background story maybe? 







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Common for officers who graduated top of their classes to be awarded swords for their efforts. I suspect this may be something like that.

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