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Ww2 Blade With A Seki Stamp And Kikusui Crest


LakeBum
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https://www.ebay.com/itm/SPECIAL-ORDER-Japanese-WW-II-Army-Sword-KIKUSUI-CREST-Old-Antique-WW2-Samurai/362254859846?hash=item5458127e46:g:~-sAAOSwluxalf1V

 

Granted I have not been looking all that long but this blade has a seki stamp and a kikusui crest.  My question is, does this make it not traditionally made?  It looks like a decent sword to me, or maybe the crest was added later and i'm fooled?  Special note, I'm not going to buy it, this is just for personal curiosity. 

 

Thank you for your time!

 

Jason

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Hi Jason.  This is Matthew Brice, the owner of that sword.  Take a look at the reference pages provided.  23rd Generation Kanefusa, according to the online Japanese Sword Index as well as Jim Dawson's Swords of Imperial Japan 1868-1945 -- Cyclopedia Edition, made a few of his swords with a kikusui crest by Special/Custom Order.  These swords are difficult to find.  

 

Thank you for posting your question, Jason.  Good luck with your studies!

 

 

 

--Matt

 

www.StCroixBlades.com

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With a Seki stamp you can be 100% sure it’s non traditionally made. Some people say there’s always exceptions to the rule but I haven’t seen one and never heard of one from any experienced collector. So once again. Yes it’s Showato.

 

Regards

Daniel

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Jason,

 

Stamps on nakago have created multiple discussions on multiple threads. The "general" fact is they were intended to identify blades made in non-traditional ways, including non-tamahagane gendaito. but there have been enough confusing blades found, clearly gendai, even STAR stamped, with stamps that have caused confusion.

 

The Seki stamp is one of the most confusing, because it was originally designed by a swordsmith guild to mark their work. It was commandeered around 1942ish by the Nagoya Arsenal inspectors. George Trotter, a very knowledgable collector, says it was a guild mark and not a sign of showato:

 

"from about 1941 the Seki swordmakers factories banded together in an association and insisted that they put on their own mark, "Seki". This was done...it is technically not an acceptance mark, but an ID mark for showato/gunto quality produced by the Seki Association." But even here, Trotter is saying the mark is for showato.

 

I have also read (and could kick myself for not copying the discussion into my records) a discussion of the difference between "large" Seki stamps and "small" ones. His claim was that the large, like the one on this blade, was a guild mark, vs the small stamps that is a Nagoya inspector stamp on showato. This seems to fit this blade, if you ask me. However, this blade still COULD be "non-tamahagane gendai".

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Bruce I’m certain you know more about military swords than most and certainly more than I know. As said before I’ve seen the combination of a miniature Seki stamp and a star stamp. These swords are for sure Gendaito. As for regular Seki stamped blades. No not many confusing blades around, these ARE Showato. I don’t know If its an inspection mark a guild mark or anything else but they are all non traditionally made. I’m pretty sure Joe Kraninger, Chris Bowen and George Trotter agree with me. Don’t fool youselves or others. Seki and showa stamped swords=Showato, period!

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Gentleman, there is no claim made by myself that this is a Minatogawa Shrine sword--it most certainly is not a Minatogawa sword.  The thread got off track somewhere with a forum member's Minatogawa reference above--not mine, but by a member who hadn't read the entire thread likely.  Honest mistake, but off-track.  

 

Please read the listing, and the thread above.  This sword is only exactly as I have stated--the sword was made by 23rd Generation Kanefusa.  It is a Special Order blade--as noted in the online 'Japanese Sword Index', as well as in Jim Dawson's book Swords of Imperial Japan 1868-1945 -- Cyclopedia Edition.  

 

Swords by 23rd Generation Kanefusa with the kikusui crest were made as Special Order/Custom Order swords.  They are known to advanced collectors, and are noted in both refererences mentioned above.  

 

Here is the link to my listing:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/362254859846

 

As for the showato/gendai debate, I see the Seki stamp, of course.  This is the second sword I have owned by Kanefusa with a kikusui crest.  I sold the other, and used the description from the first listing and made a few changes--I missed the 'gendai' phrasing in my original listing when listing the current sword.  Yes, of course, generally a sword with a Seki stamp is a showato/oil-tempered, semi-traditionally made sword.  

 

Sincerely,

 

 

--Matthew Brice

 

www.StCroixBlades.com

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...after reading the showato/gendai debate above, I re-read my listing--then removed the old 'gendai' text from the first Kanefusa Special Order sword with kikusui crest listing.  As I said, missed those words when re-using most of the description I wrote on the original sword--that first sword did not have a Seki stamp.  

 

 

--Matt

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Super funny though that I seem to be being 'scolded' above for listing a known antique Kanefusa sword--a smith that is documented in at least two Japanese references to have put kikusui crests upon receiving Special/Custom order requests from Japanese Officers--with no claim to being linked to the Minatogowa Shrine.  I made no Minatogawa claim.  

 

Please read the full thread before trying to 'light me up' guys!   :)

 

 

--Matt

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Hello:

 I made no ascertion that there was a Minatogawa reference in the posts above mine, though it would be interesting to know why exactly that version of the image was put on that sword. That mon is so often misdescribed and abused that I thought the post might be useful. I didn't mean to sidetrack the thread.

 Arnold F.

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I Have a  Gassan Sadakatsu with a Kikusui mon engraved on the blade, dated 1933.   The Minatogawa Shrine commissioned him to make several dedication pieces to give to Senior Naval Officers.  My thought is, that this may have been the inspiration for setting up their own forge.  As far as I have researched,  these Sadakatsu and The Minatogawa Shrine smiths, were  the only ones I believe were officially sanctioned by the Shrine.

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Bruce I’m certain you know more about military swords than most and certainly more than I know. As said before I’ve seen the combination of a miniature Seki stamp and a star stamp. These swords are for sure Gendaito. As for regular Seki stamped blades. No not many confusing blades around, these ARE Showato. I don’t know If its an inspection mark a guild mark or anything else but they are all non traditionally made. I’m pretty sure Joe Kraninger, Chris Bowen and George Trotter agree with me. Don’t fool youselves or others. Seki and showa stamped swords=Showato, period!

Ha, here we go, just like I said - stamps almost always lead to lengthy (and already held on other threads) debates!

 

So a Seki stamp on EVERY (caps simply because I don't know how to underline on this format) blade means showato? I personally own, and have seen other guys' blades that are Star stamped, yet have a seki stamp on the nakago mune. So Showato? If so, what good is the Star stamp?

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Little seki stamp + star = gendaito. Anything with a star is gendaito. Period. Bigger seki stamp and no star= showato. There is an obvious difference between the small and larger version. The small stamps are stamps indicating where the sword was forged. Examples of "small" stamps are: "na" "ko" .. "seki".. etc. The larger stamps indicate non traditional methods. Examples of "large" stamps are: "showa" .. "seki" .. "anchor" etc. Guys, size friggen matters.The end.

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And not to say every Seki Showato is oil quenched and mass produced. Sometimes it is just the steel that is not tamahagane, or some other small process that is not fully traditional, and leads to it being a Showato. That is why we see some with nice hada, hamon, hataraki etc etc.
There are some very well made Showato out there too.
 

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Fully agree with Brian. Calling a sword showa-to did not mean a bad sword. It is not made full traditional, thats all. A Mantetsu is a showa-to and the price go much higher than for a some traditional made swords. Every sword must be judged for itself.

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Dear David,

 

I can see why you think that, it seems as though the kikusui overlaps the mei doesn't it.  However it might be unlikely as the blade has been published and papered as it is, unless the text says that it's ato bori.

I suppose the idea that the mei was cut and then the kikusui added by the smith would allow both for it to  have been added and still genuine.

 

All the best.

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