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Help Identify Katana


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I understand this is an old family blade.

It came with a ww2 field scabbard and surrender tag.


The blade length is 77cm

The cutting edge is 62.7cm


There is some pitting on the nakago and some nice file marks.

I can see the faintest of straight 'ish hamon, it looks like the blade has been over polished.

The blade only has a slight curve , and the tsuka seems short for a katana.


Any thoughts ?







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Hi Craig,


Unfortunately I can't make out a great deal of detail from the photographs so the following comments should be taken in that context.


For me, I don't think that the tang or file marks are well done. Also, though it might be a shadow on the photograph, I think I can see ubu-ha (the portion of blade near the nakago is sometimes left unsharpened on a sword's initial polish) and this would indicate that this is not an old blade. These points would indicate either a fake or at best a war-time blade to me.


Furthermore, the kissaki looks to be in a poor state: whoever did the polish looks from the photographs to have messed up the geometry as the ko-shinogi does not run parallel to the edge of the blade at the tip. This too is reminiscent of the Chinese fakes that one sees and might be another point to put you on your guard.


Hope that helps, I'm sure you'll get some other and probably better advice shortly.


Best regards,

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I believe the blade to be late Edo, I am not sure if it has been reshaped.

It does look over polished or under polished, which one I am not sure.

The fittings (Menuki) and (Fuchi Kashira) are genuine Edo period, unsure about the tsuba though it seems ok.

The tsuka looks to small,

and does not seem to be the original for the blade as there is only one hole in it and two holes in the nakago.

I am not sure about the saya , though I have seen them before on ww2 swords.

The sword also came with a surrender tag and an officers sword knot.


Given all this ,

I believe it has been put together during ww2. Or after from various swords.




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you may well be right. It looks as though the nakago has been greatly (and poorly) reshaped to fit the tsuka. When this was done is anyones guess. There is little or nothing that can be seen in the blade itself to give any indication of origin and age.

I dont think it is a chinese copy but am far from sure.

Sorry to have something more positive to say on it



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the TSUBA could be the best part of the package, but we would need good enlarged photos for a comment. The TSUKA is about the size of the short NAKAGO which has obviously been messed with as already stated. The TSUKA ITO has not been wrapped in the correct way which is food for the thought that the whole set has been put together. The blade might have suffered from a broken KISSAKI and a subsequent amateurish try to fix the damage.


Just my thoughts, not an evaluation.

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The close up pictures help. The fittings (tsuba, fuchi, kashira, menuki) seem to be decent quality. I can't say the same about the blade, though. Although the blade is not a Chinese fake, but it is nothing to write home about, either.




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Thanks for the replies,


Lee - I note there is some debate on here about cast iron tsuba, not wishing to further that debate, I am happy with whatever I have. I will note that I found original iron examples identified as (Kyo Shoami Mon sukashi tsuba from middle Edo) (see photo) they are identical in nature to mine except that mine is cast iron.

I also found Chinese fakes that are cut steel, that are allot rougher than mine, and do not have the detail that mine does (see photo) I found no other examples of mine (being cast)


The fuchi and kashira are genuine, no doubts - The Kashira definitely does not have those 'cast in place' shitodome. They slide in and out ‘as per normal’. Obviously I could not remove the ‘end cap’ to take photo’s (you’ll have to trust me on this one) I have attached a photo of the inside of the Fuchi, ‘which has a stamp of a triangle and two squares’ (see photo)


Finally I have assembled the fittings onto an early Edo period wakizashi - which required little adjustment , I just had to lightly file the Fuchi, that was all. The tsuka was a perfect fit and looks right, which suggests to me that it was originally from a wakizashi and not a katana. Very happy with the result (see photo) The mekugi-ana in the nakago does not line up with the mekugi-ana in the tsuka by an inch, A job for later on down the track.


Many thanks,







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Hi Graig,


I take back what I said about the fuchi/kashira. I have a zinc alloy wakizashi with fittings that look very like yours which have the cast shitodome but, of course, I'll trust your word and if your shitodome are removeable, then the set is likely genuine. The visible seam in the new picture backs that up. The triangle and two square stamp makes me wonder at their age, though, and they could be modern but made 'traditionally'. I've never seen that stamp though, so it is mere speculation on my part.


The casting flashes on the new pictures of the tsuba are very visible now so I'll stand by my cast call on that.

Obviously, your call on what you do with it but I'll post these pictures of mine that show the problems with cast tsuba.


This one was an obvious cast that I broke with a single, light hit with a hammer.



This one was part of a daisho set that a friend bought on ebay. In the pictures, they looked good.

In hand, I thought them cast but they were finished very well with no casting flashes anywhere. I was asked to add sekigane to them so I warned him that they might not survive. One survived, one burst apart when I started to peen the copper sekigane into place. As you can see, the grain size in the broken piece is very large, hence very brittle.

The 'survivor' -



The 'splitter'(for Monty Python fans) -




That said, I have a modern cast tsuba that withstood some serious abuse with a hammer and is solid.

Modern cast steel will take the punishment needed to be a useable tsuba.

Telling the difference without a destructive hammer test?

That's the question...

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