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Thank you! It's very kind of you to help me with this, and the least I could do was take a shot at it! You are probably right about the emergency mounts, I recall the Tsuba being cast iron. I will see if I can get some photos of it from him and post them here.
Hi Everyone, I'm just a humble enthusiast here, and I have been attempting to help a friend identify this katana. His grandfather was a Marine in WWII and sent this home to his father with a letter that he still has, stating that it was taken from a Japanese soldier during an island raid. It is in Japanese Army Gunto NCO fittings, the blade is not numbered or stamped, and I have attached photos of the kanji on the nakago. I believe that I have been able to effectively translate one side: "A day in the 12th month of the 18th year of Showa", which would be December 1944. On the reverse side of the nakago is where I'm running into trouble. I've been looking at the resources on japaneseswordindex.com, and have reviewed all of the indexes there over several hours of analysis, but I'm just not there yet. I think the 2nd kanji may be "Haru", but I haven't been able to identify the first (and I'm not extremely confident on the 2nd). The "X" in the circle is something that I haven't been able to see elsewhere. My friend thought that the katana was not notable, and when I saw that it was a gendaito I told him that I would try to figure this out so that he could find some peace on this. Could you help me? Thanks for your expertise. Nate