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Chromed And Fullered Type 98

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I was excited to pick up this item because it's almost identical to the one depicted on Dawson's book, pages 156-158! Sadly, the chrome is coming off in isolated spots. Nakago has small inspector stamp, probably a Seki.


My impression is that these were made during the gunto shortage of the mid-to-late '30s. It seems to be made by the same process as the NCO Type 95 blades, but chromed to "officer-ize" it, and obviously no serial number. The whole thing seems to have quite a bit of wear as the tsuka ito is fully darkened by hand oil and the saya paint is heavily worn off in most areas.












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Sorry for the bad pics, guys! It arrived as I was heading out for a work trip, so I snapped a few shots and posted before I had to head out.


I'll do a better job when I get back, which means it'll be Sun/Mon before I can do it.


Dave, I don't know how to tell if the chrome was done post-war. Is there a way? I kind of doubt it, though, since the blade in style and weight feels like a Type 95 in manufacture, and it looks idendical to the one in Dawson.

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Hi Bruce,

Congratulations with your new sword. It’s a nice sword. I don’t have Dawson's book but what is the story about this type of sword? Why is the blade chrome plated? I can’t figure out why. Protecting the blade with oil should be enough. Also, the chrome hides all the beauty of the blade and it’s no longer possible to sharpen the blade. This makes it almost useless.

It could be chrome plated post-war. Dave already mentioned this option. I have seen a lot of bayonets threated this way, all post war.

Regards, Ed

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Dawson doesn't identify the left sword (the one matching Bruce's) as chrome plated, only the right side one, which is the dress sword. The left hand sword matching Bruce's certainly looks chrome plated in the photo, but I wonder if that's just the picture. Dawson states "A Type 98 shin-gunto (left) and a rarely encountered shin-gunto dress sword (right)... The dress sword has a copper handle, a chrome plated blade, and a chrome plated scabbard."


Recent research has suggested that at one time all NCO swords were considered for chrome as a means to preserve the blade and prevent the process of sharpening and blunting of the blade during wartime:


"And the reverse outcome of dulling the blade as well as rust-proofing was hoped to be achieved by chrome-plating the sharpened blade and thus sheathing the edge in a layer of chrome, which they had been trying since 1932.


This dulling by chrome-plating was meant to be a reversible process, in which the blade was supposed to be returned to a sharp state by removing the plating at the edge at times of war. However, this plan of killing two birds with one stone (rust-proofing and dulling/sharpening) was not successful in the end."


Full credit to Nick Komiya.


Something similar?

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Back when i set up at local gun show a fellow brought in a wakizashi that someone had chromed entire blade and tsuba, the next time i seen it he had it dipped to remove chrome. problem was it removes all patina from nakago and tsuba. It did reveal a nice hamon that over time uchiko'd out to ok condition. 

Just a heads up if you want to remove chrome be sure the dipper does not  include nakago.

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I've taken better picutres and compared it to a Type 95 blade. It's definitely different and not made the same way. It is more koshi sori than the NCO, slightly shorter, slightly narrower. The weight feels quite close, with the difference only due to the dimentional differences. The bo-hi goes under the habaki, and stops sooner than the NCO. Obviously the nakago is shorter. So, while this may have been made from a single piece of steel, like the NCO, it was made specifically to be this kind of gunto.














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 To me, this looks like a custom order rather than a refurbished NCO blade. Face it, serious research into Shin-Gunto is in its infancy, we have a lot to find out. Also I would quote the old phrase used in the UK whenever there was a complaint or question about something odd or substandard, " haven't you heard, there is a war on!"

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 years later...
On 8/8/2017 at 6:56 PM, Bruce Pennington said:

Nakago has small inspector stamp, probably a Seki.



Better late, than never!  If the sword is still at hand, I would like to see a picture of this nakago marking.  Also, there appears to be some sort of marking on one of the seppa.  It looks like a square but the resolution is poor.  Are there any other markings on this sword?

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22 minutes ago, Stegel said:

Just saw this thread and had a thought.

It looks like the blade shown as the modified type95 (from type 32)

Are you able to get some dimensions on this? (width, thickness, bohi and it's position to the mune)


I had that thought too mate. I got excited for a second at first glance, seeing the picture and thinking it was a 95, but a bit sad to see it was in the LW 98 mounts. The official conversations were from 32s to 95s, but it sure looks like it could be a converted 32 blade. Sadly it's not the holy grail we are looking for as 95 collectors but if it is a converted 32, it gives us a REALLY good idea what to look for in a clone 95 (should any still exist).

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8 hours ago, Kiipu said:


Better late, than never!  If the sword is still at hand, I would like to see a picture of this nakago marking.  Also, there appears to be some sort of marking on one of the seppa.  It looks like a square but the resolution is poor.  Are there any other markings on this sword?

Sorry to say, that nakago mark is something square and indistinguishable, not a "NA" like I thought originally.




What looked like something square on the seppa was just a shadow of some hammer-work or imperfection:




The only thing I found identifiable on the nakago was an "11" matching the numbers on the fittings.



6 hours ago, Stegel said:


It looks like the blade shown as the modified type95 (from type 32)


I haven't had time to get any dimensions, but these pics should give some perspective.  I really don't think this was a re-purposed 32.  The sori is deeper than the 32; the bohi begins and ends differently and the blade is simply much smaller.






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19 minutes ago, Mister Gunto said:

Wow, really unique find Bruce!


I wonder if the blade was chromed in an attempt to make it rust-proof for duty overseas? The added "bling" factor of carrying a chromed weapon would also have been pretty popular at the time. 


 A lot of swords in various armies  had chromed blades in the early 20thC . One of those things that was popular for a time and then the problems made themselves apparent. As a collector I avoid them because you never know what is going on under the plating. Stainless is now the go to for parade swords..... and I avoid them as well. 


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