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/