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Please help with identification of WWII Japanese Sword.


Peter [C]
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G'day all,

I've just joined the forum and posted an introduction in the new members area.

First a bit of history. My father served in the Australian Army in New Guinea during WWII and managed to aquire 2 x Japanese swords. One ...he took to Japan when he went there with BCOF (British Commonwealth Occupational Forces). I have never heard of what ever became of this sword but I don't think it returned to Aus with him.

The other, he sent home to North Queensland in Australia. This sword has been in our family ever since and now I am the custodian. I will pass it on to my grandchildren, and hopefully it will stay in my family which was my Father's wish. I would like to learn as much as possible about this sword so its history can also be passed down through my family.

 

Lets get to the sword.

From my limited research I believe it is a Katana in military mount. (Gunto) Possibly manufactured in late 1944-45. It has Mei on both sides of the tang and also a "star" stamp which I believe is a RJT (RIKUGUN JUMEI TOSHO) stamp. There is also a number stamp (406) stamped on tang and other fittings. (looks like 408 in the photo but it is 406) Is this an arsenal No. stamp?

I'll refrain from using the Japanese terminology until I'm a little more knowledgable.

Blade : KATANA

Length : 68.6 cm (27")

Condition : Good. (it has been kept with a coating of vaseline (petroleum jelly) for as long as I can remember. The blade has a couple of stain marks on it, probably from finger prints. No rust I can see and only a very small chip half way along the blade. You cant see the chip but you can feel it.

Handle : Timber, with cross hatch wrapping and at some time painted black.

Scabbard: I think timber, with either a thick lacquer coating or maybe ray skin covering. Dark brown in colour. It has a cloth wrapping which I think may hide some damage. i don't know who put on this wrapping.(ie: before or after my Dad aquired the sword) It has never been removed to my knowledge.

Fittings : Iron (slightly rusted)

Tassel : None.

 

 

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Any infomation, opinions, translation of the Mei, where it was made and by whom would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

 

Peter C.

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The blade is signed Horikawa Chikamitsu saku (made by Horikawa Chikamitsu)

and dated a lucky day in August,1942. There is a star stamp which identifies the blade as being accepted by the Army from a contract smith (Jumei Tosho).

 

The owner's name is scratched into the saya; Suzuki.

 

A traditionally made blade.

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The blade is signed Horikawa Chikamitsu saku (made by Horikawa Chikamitsu)

and dated a lucky day in August,1943. There is a star stamp which identifies the blade as being accepted by the Army from a contract smith (Jumei Tosho).

 

The owner's name is scratched into the saya; Suzuki.

 

A traditionally made blade.

 

Wow! That was quick! Thanks for your reply Chris. You have told me in a few minutes what I have been wondering for years.

 

Some more questions:

- From my recent reading, is it possible the blade is made from mill steel or traditional Tamehagane as I believe the RJT swordsmiths produced both types.

- What is the sword Type?

- Was it NCO or Officers sword?

 

I also believe it is in original polish as it was made in 1943 and my Dad aquired it at the end of 1945 or early 1946. Would the owner have polished or sharpened it in the field?

 

- Also, does anyone know how these military swords were distributed to the Japanese troops? I understand it would have been a great event for an officer to receive his sword.

- Do they have sword meetings/events/displays in Australia? If possible I would like to have it appraised by someone knowledgable in Nihonto!

 

Thanks again

 

Peter C

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":3hzke5kv]

Wow! That was quick! Thanks for your reply Chris. You have told me in a few minutes what I have been wondering for years.

 

Some more questions:

- From my recent reading, is it possible the blade is made from mill steel or traditional Tamehagane as I believe the RJT swordsmiths produced both types.

- What is the sword Type?

- Was it NCO or Officers sword?

 

I also believe it is in original polish as it was made in 1943 and my Dad aquired it at the end of 1945 or early 1946. Would the owner have polished or sharpened it in the field?

 

- Also, does anyone know how these military swords were distributed to the Japanese troops? I understand it would have been a great event for an officer to receive his sword.

- Do they have sword meetings/events/displays in Australia? If possible I would like to have it appraised by someone knowledgable in Nihonto!

 

Thanks again

 

Peter C

 

RJT used tamahagane, not mill steel.

 

Type 3

 

Officer's sword

 

Officer's purchased them from the military.

 

This smith worked in Northern Japan (Akita).

 

See this link for a nearly identical signature and date:

 

http://legacyswords.com/fs_ant_daito21.htm

 

Curiously, the smith forgot to cut "day" 日 at the end of the date on the linked sword...

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See this link for a nearly identical signature and date:

 

http://legacyswords.com/fs_ant_daito21.htm

 

Curiously, the smith forgot to cut "day" 日 at the end of the date on the linked sword...

 

That is incredible. the signature and date match almost exactly.

 

Must have had a bad day to forget the "day" ehh?

 

Any chance of breaking down the Kanji into sylables so I can get a better understanding of how its all written?

 

Thanks again for your input. I've learnt more about this sword this morning than in the last 25 yrs.

 

Peter C

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Hi,

Yes,the signature of the sword is Horikawa Chikamitsu (real name Horikawa Gosuke) as Chris described.

 

I think that Horikawa Kunitake 国威 (real name Horikawa Jiemon) was probably a relative or an elder brother.

Kunitake's former smith name was also Chikamitsu.親光

Probably,Horikawa Jiemon let Gosuke use his former smith name-Chikamitsu, when Horikawa Jiemon beginning to use the mei-Kunitake. :D

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