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sbf

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About sbf

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  • Location:
    Fantasy Island off the coast of New England

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  • Name
    Steve F

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  1. This guy is a tanker, wearing the standard winter field hat instead of the winter tank helmet.
  2. Shimazu Kiyoshi, Major General; Chief of Medical Department of 15th Army, Siam, by 1945. Surrendered a sword to Major General G. C. Evans, GOC 7th Indian Division, at Bangkok, Siam, 11 January 1946. From the book Shokan, by Richard Fuller. I recommend it to any collector of Japanese swords. Steve
  3. Swords in Japan were required to be turned over to the occupying forces because they were weapons. Didn't matter if it was a gunto or a National Treasure. Steve
  4. This guy is a tanker, not a pilot, at least according to the helmet he is wearing. Steve
  5. I have done this as well. I live on an island, and am struck by how much a cloud formation on the horizon over the sea resembles a hamon. Many times. Steve
  6. Interesting topic. I can see two sides to this issue. When I obtained my first swords in the seventies, there weren’t many references commonly available in English, basically Hawley, Yumoto, and Robinson. No internet. Most of the swords I came across were in gunto mounts, and there was no information or interest in them in the “serious” sword world. Somewhere I have dealer price lists from the early eighties listing Yasukuni Shrine swords in the $250 range. I taught myself to read mei because I got tired of depending on others. Japanese swords were not and still aren’t my main collecting interest, but I’ve owned a fair number over the years. After groping in the darkness in the early days, I understand the thrill a newbie has at finding a site like this. And make no mistake, we were all newbies at one time. All of us had help along the way, and we have an obligation pay it forward. From that point of view, the original post sounds a bit snobbish. On the other hand, I am a member of another forum in a completely different field of collecting that is very well run, serious, and friendly. Great sharing and building knowledge. Yes, a few egos as there always are (mine’s bigger than yours) but not bad. A newbie joined, very enthusiastic, very active collector, but ended up almost dominating the forum and becoming a pest. He used the forum as his private vetting service, and never seemed to learn. All his posts were “is this one good?”, “what do you guys think of this one?”. Got old after a while, and some of the serious collectors drifted away. I don’t know the answer, maybe the internet age is also the age of instant gratification. Just some thoughts. Steve
  7. It caught my eye, but I was put off by the poor photos of the blade, no photos of the nakago, and the no return policy. Not for me. Steve
  8. Sad. I was at gun shows in the 70’s and 80’s where there were piles of swords like that, except they were real. Steve
  9. In the US, the popular online auction site Gunbroker (like ebay except it’s for firearms and accessories) has a “15 minute rule”. All auctions have an ending time, but that time is extended 15 minutes every time there is a bid at the end of the auction. I once battled another bidder for 1 1/2 hours after the original closing time of the auction. In the end he wanted the item more than I did. Steve
  10. Let me first say I make no claim to be an expert on anything. I have however been looking at gendai swords for a while now. Bought my first one, a Kasama Shigetsugu in 1983. Information on gendaito was pretty hard to come by in those days. I do not and have never owned a Minatogawa sword. One thing I was taught, was that the blade’s the thing. Always look at the quality of the steel first. Then the other qualities, with the signature coming last. In the discussions regarding the sword at hand all I have seen are comments about the mon, the signature and the seppa. It’s as if we’re discussing a signature that has a blade attached to it. What about the blade? What about the steel? How do these qualities compare to other Minatogawa swords? Steve
  11. No, the seller was a private individual in upstate New York. He didn’t know what he had, just said it was a samurai sword brought back from Iwo Jima, and that some of the proceeds were going to be donated to some charity. He was clearly an inexperienced ebayer, and I knew the sharks would be circling bombarding him with lowball offers. Although I wasn’t in a position to buy it at the time, I wrote the seller urging him to resist the offers and let the auction run its course, simply because I hate to see anyone get fleeced. He responded, thanking me and explained the whole story. The sword was brought back by his brother(a Marine) from Iwo Jima. He had recently passed away, and the seller was selling it for the widow. He had no idea it was so valuable. He sent me a copy of a photo showing the guy cutting his wedding cake with it after the war! It ended up going for 15k. After the auction he again thanked me. He clearly idolized his brother, who went on to a career in the Secret Service. I had no reason to doubt his story, and still believe it had a very real chance of being Kuribayashi’s sword. Regardless, it was a beautiful Gassan in high end mounts with a general’s tassel. Steve
  12. I’m sure many officers, especially higher ranking ones had more than one sword. Years ago I was researching a sword that was for sale on ebay that very possibly belonged to General Kuribayashi. The sword was a Gassan made in the 1930’s in beautiful gunto mounts with a general’s tassel. I discovered a reference where his wife said after he left to take command at Iwo Jima, she discovered he had taken his new sword with him instead of his old family sword. This made her realize he didn’t expect to return. Steve
  13. An outstanding book on the Pacific war is Shots Fired In Anger. The author, Lt. Col. John George, fought on Guadalcanal and had an uncommon interest in Japanese weapons, tactics, and culture. Has had this to say about the swords: “Maybe that accounted for the craze to carry these useless items in the front lines. Certainly, toward the latter months of the battle of Guadalcanal, the Japs came to realize the uselessness of the sword as a weapon. But they still carried it; often enough the blades found on freshly killed would be so wrapped with protective cloth or chamois hide that they could not possibly have been drawn for use. Sometimes, in assaults, officers were killed with pistol in hand and sword sheathed- even at close quarters.” He has a lot more to say about swords and other Japanese weapons. Steve
  14. The sword Yamashita actually surrendered at his capture is on display at the USMA museum. It’s a shinto blade by Fujiwara Kanenaga in gunto mounts with a leather covered scabbard. Steve
  15. I too sent a note. I have bought from this seller and found their service to be outstanding. They once did some nice follow up research for me. They always have quality items so I was surprised to see their reluctance to cancel the auction. Ultimately they did cancel it, which was what I expected. Of course the prodding from our members is what did it, but it’s always nice to see someone do the right thing. A small victory for the good guys! Steve
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