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Informations About The Rjt


vajo
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I'm searching for informations about the Rikugun Jumei Tosho. Was ist only a office in the headquarter of the Japanese army or was ist an own building. Who works there? How did they shinsa and proof all the swords becoming a star stamp? How did a smith or a company become a RJT licence. Which test they must pass?

Is there some photos of that.

 

I know now many about the yasukuni-to (there a tons of informations) and the minatogawa shrine. But the RJT is a secret for me, because i didn't know much about it.

 

Thanks

 

Chris

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http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/forum/17-articles/

Around the middle of the list, look for the RJT docs.

Amazing what we have here when you search ;-)

It doesn't answer all of your questions, but is a very useful insight into the program.

Brian,

 

Thanks for that link, I had not seen those articles before! The one on gunto requirements was interesting. It states that a hamon is optional. Also interesting in the cutting test that a steel plate was to be cut as well as the usual bamboo role.

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  • 1 year later...

Chris,

 

I ran this question by Chris Bowen and got the following info. I forgot to pursue the question of exactly how the smiths were trained to meet RJT standards (or if they were simply given written specs). I'll update if I get more.

 

From Chris: "The RJT program was more than just a set of rules and regulations specifying the parameters of construction of the sword blades- it also laid out the procedures for acceptance and participation in the program, the testing to gain acceptance, the smith’s obligations, the army’s contribution, etc. As for how it was administered, I do know that the army had both arsenal smiths and contracting smiths working all over who made blades for the program. The Tokyo Dai Ichi Rikugun Zoheisho, for example, had several smiths making blades for the program. There were similar arsenals employing RJT smiths in Kokura and Osaka. Conversely, as you theorized, correctly, there were Army admins who supervised field inspectors who made the rounds inspecting and collecting swords from smiths working at forges outside those owned and operated directly by the Army. Enomoto Sadayoshi, who was a RJT smith working in Mishima, Shizuoka, told me that during the later war years, Yoshihara Kuniie, who was both the head supervising smith at the Tokyo Arsenal, and a field inspector for the program, would come by once a month and inspect Sadayoshi’s monthly output. Those blades that met the standards were stamped with a star and bundled up and taken by Yoshihara to Tokyo. I imagine this is how things worked across the country."

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Thanks Bruce,  that is great info from Chris.

While I knew that there were some arsenal smiths working within the existing army system, I think this might be the first time I have seen a first-hand account from a former RJT smith of the monthly tour type system and the on-site inspecting - stamping - collection of swords from regional RJT appointed smiths. I feel pretty sure that the army RJT system would naturally utilise existing network groups of regional swordsmiths, such as the "NIHON TOBU TANREN TOKOGYO KUMIAI" (North Area Swordmakers Association) which included about 40 smiths working in the regions north of Tokyo. There was another association in the Aizu-Wakamatsu area that included about a dozen? smiths also and this is written about in detail in a book called "GUNTO KUMIAI SHIMATSU" (Gunto Association Management).I would have looked it up for you but my copy is packed away, but from memory, members of this group were supplied material and made swords in their region and the inspectors came and took swords...just like Chris said.

As for a RJT headquarters building in Tokyo I can't say, but I think it more likely there was simply an office  somewhere in HQ building that simply had a sign on the door that said "RJT Office".

Great stuff Vajo, Bruce, Chris.

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Thanks George! I ran the training question by Chris, and here's his reply: "Outside of the Army’s arsenals, as mentioned previously, the Army did not train smiths. The Army provided a set of specifications and the testing protocol for acceptance into the program. Applicants submitted 2 blades for testing. If the blades passed, they were contracted with and were supplied charcoal by their prefectural governor and tamahagane by the military. Their blades were to be made according to the Army’s specs, as mentioned, and inspected as I related earlier. Anyone could apply- you simply completed the application and submitted your 2 blades for testing."

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Thanks Bruce,  that is great info from Chris.

While I knew that there were some arsenal smiths working within the existing army system, I think this might be the first time I have seen a first-hand account from a former RJT smith of the monthly tour type system and the on-site inspecting - stamping - collection of swords from regional RJT appointed smiths. I feel pretty sure that the army RJT system would naturally utilise existing network groups of regional swordsmiths, such as the "NIHON TOBU TANREN TOKOGYO KUMIAI" (North Area Swordmakers Association) which included about 40 smiths working in the regions north of Tokyo. There was another association in the Aizu-Wakamatsu area that included about a dozen? smiths also and this is written about in detail in a book called "GUNTO KUMIAI SHIMATSU" (Gunto Association Management).I would have looked it up for you but my copy is packed away, but from memory, members of this group were supplied material and made swords in their region and the inspectors came and took swords...just like Chris said.

As for a RJT headquarters building in Tokyo I can't say, but I think it more likely there was simply an office  somewhere in HQ building that simply had a sign on the door that said "RJT Office".

Great stuff Vajo, Bruce, Chris.

Just happened to re-read these posts and AAARRGGHH!!!! I noticed I said NIHON TOBU meant "North Area". Must have had a brain freeze as TOBU means "East Area"...that is those smiths working in the greater Tokyo area extending also to the east/north...not sure just how wide it was but it included Niigata on the coast north-east of Tokyo. I suppose if someone went through the 40+ membership list we could work out quite accurately how far it extended..

Sorry for the mistake.

Regards,

 

(edit to add) I don't want to labour the point, but a quick skim over some Japanese sources says that the Tobu system was conceived in late Sho 15 (1940) and by 1942 had 30 members in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi, Fukushima, Shizuoka and Nagano. By late 1942 smiths were engaging with the RJT scheme (I can't tell if they "changed" membership over) and by now numbered 46 smiths. From my own knowledge this now included smiths from Niigata ken.

If the smiths were members of both systems I would assume that the collection/inspection system would stay the same...only the supply of raw materials and the payment system would be modified.

This info is from "Dai Nihon Token Shoko Meikan" 1942 p.148.

Hope this helps.

(maybe one of our Japanese speakers could translate in more detail?)

Regards,

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  • 4 months later...

I am in the process of cleaning up the Showa/Seki/Star discussion on the Stamps Doc and in recent emails with Richard Fuller, have received from him a chart. Richard surveyed over 900 oshigata (wow!) and discovered that ALL star-stamped blades in the database observed were dated.

 

Question - does anyone have actual examples (or oshigata) showing the non-dated, but star-stamped blades discussed in item 2 below:

 

George Trotter provided the following:

"From the above, it seems that true gendaito appear with

1. tosho mei and small logo stamp, eg "saka", and "na" etc (eg Ichihara Nagamitsu with "saka").

2. Blades with mei (no date?) and star stamp made "on-site".

3. Blades with mei, date and star-stamp made "off-site" by Rikugun Jumei Tosho."

 

You'll see his data in the center column of this chart:

 

"DATED SHŌWA BLADES WITH TANG STAMPS

Compiled from approx 920 shōwa period oshigata.

(Many oshigata are stamped but are not included because they are undated. The Shō and Seki stamps are, by far, the most numerous. Star stamped blades always seem to be dated."

(from Richard Fuller)

Japanese sword stamps-4.doc

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Being dated was one of the requirements to receive the star stamp.

Read George Trotter's statment above.

 

"2.Blades with mei (no date?) and star stamp made "on-site"." I don't know why the question mark is there, but the idea was that some RJT blades were made in the arsenal, while some were made in local shops. The blades without date were supposedly made in the arsenal.

 

I don't know where George got this information. But if there are examples inline with this Item 2, then it would lend credence to it. The whole reason I bring this up, is because of Richard's observations showing only dated blades with star stamps.

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I read it, it doesn’t change the fact that the RJT document provided by Chris clearly lists the blade must be dated among other requirements.

 

Could there be examples that slipped through? Maybe. I have traditionally made blades by RJT smiths that aren’t star stamped but not sure I’ve seen undated star stamped blades.

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I read it, it doesn’t change the fact that the RJT document provided by Chris clearly lists the blade must be dated among other requirements.

 

Could there be examples that slipped through? Maybe. I have traditionally made blades by RJT smiths that aren’t star stamped but not sure I’ve seen undated star stamped blades.

 

Yes.  There are sometimes differences from Ohmura-sans claims and what we are seeing in other sources.  The post from George Trotter came from his translation of an Ohmura post on the subject.  http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/5392-star-stamped-swords/

 

Maybe we will see someone come up with an example.

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As the original link no longer works in the "Star Stamped swords" thread, I have provided the current Ohmura san link below. This page is in both Japanese and English.

造兵刀 Army Arsenal blade

http://ohmura-study.net/206.html

I had few of these 造兵刀 and like them a lot。Many people in the US Confuse them with 村田刀 Murata to though.

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Ok, got word back from George Trotter about that list. It came from his translation of the Ohmura pages. The way the text was written it sort of implied a "undated" but didn't actually say it. George feels the regulations provided by Morita-san, that clearly specifies that RJT smiths must sign AND date their blades is the definitive source. So, if anyone shows up with an undated, star-stamped blade it will actually be a surprise to us all.

 

Although, Ohmura DOES show one on his site: http://ohmura-study.net/206.html

post-3487-0-22725400-1578353629_thumb.jpg

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Please don't forget, RJT swords were made as weapons, not art swords.  Saying that, I have seen some beautiful Star Stamp swords.   Now here is something to be discussed.   Most fully accredited Gendai Smiths, made three levels of swords.  1.  swords nocked out for the war effort ( equivilent now of making lower level swords for Martial Arts) 2. Swords made with more care for general sale. 3.  Special order blades.   I had a lengthy discussion with a friend about this.  It actually began by him saying, he believed Gendaito had rather thin skins, as observed by flaws showig up after polish.  This intern led us to discuss why?  The concensus at the end was, there are three levels of sword quality.  I would personally put RJT blades between  low level and medium level in quality.  This is a generalisation and I realise, there are always exceptions.

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Hi Neil, generally speaking yes.  But as we all know with Japanese swords, there's always exceptions.  Sometimes swords with a full signature can be lower quality, whilst Niji Mei ( 2 character sig.) can be good quality.  However, this can also be reversed.  Which is why it is hard to tell.   A Gendaito in good condition will show the Smiths work, however not until it's polished will it reveal it's true quality.   An Okimasa  with a star stamp sold on the MB a few years ago.  If I remember correctly, the seller was asking 8k for it.  This sword had some kizu and Kite ware and eventually sold for (I think) 7k.   A good Okimasa polished, is worth about 15-20k.

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