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#1 IJASWORDS

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 12:26 AM

Pictured is a 1943 Hiromitsu that has a leather combat cover and suspension ring. 

The fittings are Showa period (not that common). 

Would this have been a sword from a public servant of the time, or a sword from a military administrative personnel who through rank or position was entitled or required to carry a sword? 

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#2 PNSSHOGUN

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 12:31 AM

Civilian employee under military contract does seem right for these swords, but this is one area of WW2 swords that is still fairly mysterious.


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#3 Austus

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 02:45 AM

Is this a trick question, or just a tease?   The leather cover would seem to point to a combat environment.  What kind of saya?   And can we please see the blade??


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#4 IJASWORDS

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 03:10 AM

Austus, no tricks or tease, legit question. Wood saya under the leather, and photo of keisho polished blade. 

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Neil

#5 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 05:23 AM

Neil, according to Nick Komiya’s research the civil forces, Gunzuko, were authorized to carry full Type 98s like the army. So as far as I know about the refitted civilian swords - anyone with one could carry it, or anyone could buy one refitted.
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#6 Austus

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 05:38 AM

Thanks, Neil, for the pic of that lovely blade!   Looking forward to the rest of the story.

 

This made me realize that koshirae is a lot like lingerie.


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#7 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 03:37 PM

From Nick's discussion on Warrelics (with Nick's trademark crude remark unedited):


"1940 Sword regulations for Gunzoku
The reason they had to update in 1940 was because of the China Incident. Gunzoku also had to serve in the war zone and required appropriate attire and gear for that reason. Another reason was the establishment of the civilian uniform of 1940 and the army wanted to incorporate those into the Gunzoku uniforms.

The background info says "currently Ko-in class are required to be in business suit even in the war zone, putting them at a disadvantage and inconveniance. Therefore it was decided to establish field uniforms like those worn by Hanin-kan and also permit them to wear swords." "Hanin-kan currently wear swords identical to company grade officers, but not to confuse them with army officers, the rear of the sword belt and tassel shall now be in brown as differentiation."

Now, that is the REST of the story.

Some additional sources for possible myths here are---

1. Old saber fittings/accouterments for Hanin-kan were identical to army company grade officer specs, but lacked cherry and vines in the metal fittings. Check whether your books have this right.

2. Hanin-kan would have worn swords, belts and tassels identical to company grade army officers (with blue backing) until the brown backed belts and tassels came in 1940


As you see, having Gunzoku wear army officer swords was a longstanding army tradition. Claiming that the sword features shown in post 10 of this thread were special designs for army civilians is simply stupid. Why would they expend such effort at a time they couldn't even produce enough swords for combatants?"

Found here: http://www.warrelics...words-701783-4/
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#8 Austus

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 03:56 PM

Good job, Bruce, as usual.   Just an observation on this nice looking sword... I have never seen a Japanese sword without menukis.


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#9 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 04:04 PM

Neil,
I fully agree with everyone - quite gorgeous rig!

Austus - I believe it's there. The angle of the shot makes it hard to see. Neil, could we get a shot of the menugi?
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#10 Dave R

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 06:31 PM

Good job, Bruce, as usual.   Just an observation on this nice looking sword... I have never seen a Japanese sword without menukis.

 

 They do turn up, I have an Edo period Wakizashi or Tanto Tsuka, lacquered Ito, and no menuki.


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#11 Austus

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 10:12 PM

Thanks, Dave and Bruce. Having fun with this mystery and learning.   Don't know if it will help, but this is from Dawson's Cyclopedic Edition, page 207:

 

"Civilian swords (katana and wakizashi) were carried by officers and enlisted men in the army and by gunzoku (uniformed civilian employees of the army). Civilian swords can be identified as having served a military function by their leather covered wooden scabbards. Sometimes those scabbards were made new for military use, and sometimes they were made from the old wood katana and wakizashi saya by adding a carrying ring and covering them with leather. The leather is an integral part of the scabbard and is not an optional combat cover. Suspension rings are fastened with either leather straps or metal bands fitted between the wood and leather of the scabbard. Swords are held in their scabbards by means of a leather tab and snap retention system mounted at the fuchi."

 

The several examples shown had non-military fittings, including the menuki. One of them looked to have similar color ito and rayskin(?) as Neil's. But most of the leather covers had a triple-snap closure versus a laced closure like this one. And they all had a looped snap fixture on the tsuka; whereas this one has a seppa style attachment. Couple of other minor differences with the leather cover; but couldn't see the whole thing so never mind.  Given all the differences found in the purely military swords, it could be hard to nail this one down.   Nice specimen!


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Austus M.


#12 vajo

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 11:22 PM

Ohmura has another view on this than the guy from warrelics.



#13 Bruce Pennington

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 11:38 PM

Neil,

I also find interesting the ashi. Bolted together.

#14 IJASWORDS

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 09:57 AM

Photos of menuki, no idea what it is. The ashi is a steel band wrapped around the wood saya with a leather protector between the steel and painted wood saya. The ring holder is secured with a bolt and nut. I have other civilian koshirae with the same "add on " ashi. So my guess is an army adaptation of an otherwise civilian sword . 

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Neil

#15 IJASWORDS

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 10:55 AM

Bruce , thought I would pull another civilian out to photograph a bolted on ashi. This is on a 17th century blade, with old saya. Saya has provision for the Ko-gatana and Kogai accessories. It had a leather combat cover.

My take on this was a family sword, taken to war, and when the Japanese won, the sword would be taken home, the ashi removed, with no damage to the saya due to the leather gasket under the steel band. 

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#16 Dave R

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 01:22 PM

 Not at all uncommon, and there is probably something of a survival bias in that old "Samurai"  swords would be seen as more desirable as souvenirs, and also saved from destruction by the concept of being an art or traditional sword, rather than a weapon of war.

 

 The sword shortage as covered in detail by Mr Komiya, and I add a couple of pic's, one of which explains their existence and the other shows one in wear.

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#17 Dave R

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 01:31 PM

Photos of menuki, no idea what it is. The ashi is a steel band wrapped around the wood saya with a leather protector between the steel and painted wood saya. The ring holder is secured with a bolt and nut. I have other civilian koshirae with the same "add on " ashi. So my guess is an army adaptation of an otherwise civilian sword . 

 

 Interesting and germane to another thread. Here we have a koshira with Showa stamped and cast f/k and tsuba, but evidently very nice and old menuki.


Dave


#18 IJASWORDS

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 02:00 PM

Like in Dave's article, a Koto blade in a saya with the kurikata left on and the suspension ring fixed on by tacks. And in leather cover. 

I will try and dig out a sword in a leather cover, that has a label stuck on the wood saya that has the owners details written on it !! Not discovered until I gently peeled back the combat cover. It looks like an official printed label with the details filled in. Guess the owner wanted to get it back after the war. Only ever saw one . 

 

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Neil

#19 Bruno

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 09:01 PM

I am looking for a set or partial set of this civilian gunto fittings. If anyone has something, he can contact me.

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#20 vajo

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 11:41 PM

I'm searching for bamboo grass mallow-shaped Tsuba for a restoration project.  :)

 

tsuba_gesucht.jpg

 

If anyone had such a Meji/ Showa Tsuba for a civillian koshirae i would be happy.



#21 IJASWORDS

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 06:53 AM

Hi Bruno, I have a couple of spare tsuba. If you can find another F&K set, I will swap you. And we can both have a complete set. 

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#22 vajo

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 06:26 PM

I would really appreciate to see more pictures of civillian mounted swords.  :)


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#23 Dave R

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 10:35 PM

I would really appreciate to see more pictures of civillian mounted swords.  :)

 

 Do you mean Showa era civilian, rather than earlier? I have an example I own myself, and pictures of others I don't. Some of them garnered from here. And, here is my own example...... The menuki look to be nice old ones though.

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#24 IJASWORDS

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 12:03 AM

Hi Dave , I have the same menuki on full military mounts. It is a dragon wrapped around a ken, which I believe has some religious significance .

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Neil

#25 David Flynn

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 12:42 AM

The Dragon stands for wisdom and the Ken is the blade that cuts through ignorance.


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David




First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is.

#26 vajo

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 01:39 AM

Yes from the showa period wartime 33 to 46.

Thanks for showing pictures.

#27 David Flynn

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 08:03 AM

The Showa wartime period was, 1937-1045


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First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is.

#28 vajo

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 09:40 AM

Yes David, but they start 1933 their politics and after declares end of war they need 3 month to stop all activities.

Thats i meant by 33 to 46.
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#29 David Flynn

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 11:48 AM

1932 was the Shanghai incident.  Then war proper with China, in 1937.   Japan surrended in August 1945 and signed the surrender in Sept. 1945.   So not 1946.


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First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is.

#30 Dave R

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 12:06 PM

Shōwa (1926–1989)

         https://en.wikipedia...ōwa_(1926–1989)


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