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Attention Mantetsu Owners: A Survey


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I agree Thomas, I've made the correction to 367.

 

Trystan,

 

Are you in contact with the owner? I'd like to see if there is anything under the habaki. With that much pitting in the nakago, it is very easy to be misled. Plus, what looks like "Nu" to me is way too close to the first 8. Usually there is a bit of space between them, and often the katakana is just under the edge of the habaki.

 

Can you ask him for a picture without habaki?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I need to get back the Nan and Ren stamps, and the Nan-man Arsenal connection. Been getting educated by a very patient Thomas, on the arsenals. And he made the following statement:

 

"The [Mantetsu] Sword Factory 刀剣製作所 was located at the Dairen Railway Workshop 大連鉄道工場. It is a civilian factory.

 

At some point in time, Nan-Man Arsenal established a supervisory unit in Dairen. It used the 連 stamp for inspections."

 

I believe, for a long time, my mind had melded the SMR Mantetsu factory operation with the "South Manchurian Arsenal" otherwise known, now, as the Nan-man Army Arsenal. So my head had decided that Mantetsu was an arsenal. Therefore I couldn't comprehend why another arsenal would be inspecting Mantetsu blades.

 

Well, LIGHT-BULB-MOMENT!!!, I now realize that Mantetsu was completely a civilian factory and that it makes complete sense that an Arsenal would be put over them for supervision and inspection. I'm now surprised that it took Army HQ as long as it did. The Nan stamps don't show up until 1943 and the Ren in late '43 through '44.

 

Knowing this, it is now not necessary to postulate that Nan-man was making Mantetsu blades to explain the presence of the stamps on the blades. If Nan-man inspectors were stationed at the factory, it is completely logical that the stamps were put on blades made by Mantetsu in Dalian.

 

On the other hand, we now know that, for a fact, some Mantetsu blades were being polished by workers in Mukden, the city where Nan-man Arsenal was located. SO, it is still possible that Mantetsu blades were being made there from '43 onward, or simply as postulated earlier, that a certain quota of unfinished blades were being sent to Nan-man for finish work.

 

It is starting to fall more into place for me. I hope I haven't led too many others astray with my misconception of the SMR/Arsenal issue.

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That’s very interesting Bruce, but There is still some stuff that isn’t clear in my mind, so maybe I’m just too dumb to understand, so, if I missed something, could you clarify (or maybe this isn’t established yet):

 

-why shift from Nan to Ren?

-we still see some late Mantetsu with the Koa Isshin, while most drop it. Does it mean that both could have coexisted because some were still made in Dalian while others were made in Mukden?

-we know some blades were finished in the Tokyo arsenal because of the W stamp, so the question is why all those blades (I mean every Mantetsu blade, whatever their origin) supposed to be unfinished, still were similarly signed by the same person? I mean, it raises the question as to what “unfinished” actually meant. Just polishing? Or Koshirae making? It doesn’t make much sense to sign a blade before it is polished.

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JP,

Yes, very little is actually known about the Mantetsu operation. So, speculation follows:

 

- Nan to Ren - We know that Nan-man arsenal began stamping the blades in '43. We don't know if they were supervising Mantetsu before that, maybe they were, maybe they weren't. But the stamping seems to indicate that in '43 the Nan-man inspectors began taking an active role in approving Mantetsu blades. According to Thomas' research, At some point, Nan-man established a dedicated inspector unit for the Mantetsu operation and they began using the Ren. So, speculating here - Perhaps the Nan of Nan-man was used as the arsenal began it's supervisory role and after establishing a permanent unit in Dalian, assigned them their own stamp, the Ren.

 

- Koa coexisting with non-Koa mei - this is still quite the mystery. The '44 chart found by Nick Komiya lables all the blades made by Mantetsu, and "completed" by Tokyo - "Koa Isshin"; 6,000 total (500 by Mantetsu and 5,500 by Tokyo. actually the chart is confusing because they state Tokyo completed 6,000, but the 500 and 5,500 add up to 6,000 so I think the 6 is a total of both figures). Yet, most '44 blades found today are NOT Koa's, though I have record of 2. The serial numbers of the '43 Koa's seem to be scattered through the year, so it appears they were being made simultaneously with the non-Koa blades. With this, and the '44 chart, it would seem to imply that non-Koa blades were being made by someone other than Mantetsu.

 

- The W, mei, and finishing - I have W stamped blades in '42,'43, and '44; on Koa's, Nan's, and a Ren blade. Using Thomas' info about the W being a midway/halfway inspection, all these blades could have been stamped at the Mantetsu factory by the Nan-man inspectors. It COULD be an indication of when Nan-man actually started overseeing the Mantetsu operation. It COULD be a stamp put on blades that were being shipped off to Tokyo (and yes, Nan-man/Mukden) for finishing, or even a stamp put on the unfinished blades as they were received, approving them for completion.

-- Mei - I don't see any reason to believe the mei were all cut by a single worker. There is enough variation to indicate otherwise. As to whether the mei was cut before leaving Mantetsu or at the finishing location - who can say? We don't even know what was actually meant by "unfinished."

-- From the school girl diary found in the book K. Morita discovered, we know for a fact that some Mantetsu blades were being polished in Mukden. But the fitting, even for Mantetsu blades, is unknown when and how that happened.

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Thank you Bruce, that’s very thought provoking, and digesting it, it makes be ask a couple more questions:

 

- if during 43 Mantetsu and Koa Isshin coexisted while the Koa became scarce in 44, can we assume the with the end of the war coming, Dalian was slowly stopping its production or that the “other manufacturer” was taking over?

 

- The W was a halfway inspection most likely, as you said. Nick Komiya’s chart had let me assume so far that the ones labeled Mantetsu and stamped W were finished in Tokyo while the Koa were still made in Dalian. At least that’s how I’d interpreted this but it seems that with the Koa Isshin being sold in the sales section and stamped W that both Mantetsu and Koa were sent to Tokyo. Unless the W was also used in Mukden too, of course.

 

- As fo the Mei, I don’t know. I’m not saying just one person was signing them, but it must have been a very small group as they seem pretty homogeneous and, usually, at least for traditional blades, the most common practice seems to be first polishing and then signing. But of course, with mass production, it might have been completely different.

 

Also, I found this article in one of my books. Now much have been discovered since that was published, but the end note is quite intriguing.

post-4745-0-41472800-1572973856_thumb.jpeg

post-4745-0-75362100-1572973902_thumb.jpeg

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Yes, SMR.

 

Bruce, when time permits, what is the nakago mune serial number for this combination SMR logo and Koa-Isshin 興亞一心 marked nakago?

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/26165-attention-mantetsu-owners-a-survey/page-9?do=findComment&comment=302258

 

Edit: Answered my own question.  It has no nakago mune serial number.

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/26165-attention-mantetsu-owners-a-survey/page-4?do=findComment&comment=274960

Edited by Thomas
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  • 2 weeks later...

Bruce

Posted in translation Sword ID yesterday.

 

 

Thanks Stephen! It's added to the collection!

 

I like this one because the "writing" of the Spring kanji is sloppy. It's a reminder that the Mantetsu mei aren't cookie-cutter copies of each other. Different workers will have variations from others, and even could have a bad day and his own work may get sloppy.

 

post-3487-0-60610800-1573767670_thumb.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

South Manchurian Arsenal 南滿陸軍造兵廠

Wen-kung-t'un, 10 miles north of Mukden.

 

Equipment for Manufacturing Sabres

Air Hammer = 2

Polishing Machine = 15

Drilling Machine = 3

Gas Furnace = 7

Air Compressor = 1

Press = 11

Ventilator = 2

Lathe = 1

Total = 42

 

The information above is coming from a 1946 American intelligence report.  No further information is available on sword production.

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South Manchurian Arsenal 南滿陸軍造兵廠

Wen-kung-t'un, 10 miles north of Mukden.

 

Equipment for Manufacturing Sabres

Air Hammer = 2

Polishing Machine = 15

Drilling Machine = 3

Gas Furnace = 7

Air Compressor = 1

Press = 11

Ventilator = 2

Lathe = 1

Total = 42

 

The information above is coming from a 1946 American intelligence report.  No further information is available on sword production.

That is interesting indeed! The "Mukden" arsenal (Nan-man) was known to make rifles too, so no telling what this equipment was used for. Seems pretty small - 1 Lathe etc - for making any weapon in substantial numbers. Could be for making some Mantetsu blades, couldn't it!

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There is still some stuff that isn’t clear in my mind, ... , so, if I missed something, could you clarify (or maybe this isn’t established yet):

-we still see some late Mantetsu with the Koa Isshin, while most drop it. Does it mean that both could have coexisted because some were still made in Dalian while others were made in Mukden?

 

Ohmura thinks the blades marked as 満鐵鍛造之 were from the Nan-Man Army Arsenal 南滿陸軍造兵廠 while the blades marked as 興南一誠 were from the Sword Factory of Dairen Railway Workshop, South Manchuria Railway Co., Ltd., 南満洲鉄道株式会社大連鉄道工場刀剣製作所.  So your question appears correct in that they coexisted.

 

 昭和18年以降の「興亜一心銘」の無い刀身は南満造兵廠製と判定する。

The sword blades without "Koa-Issin mei" after 1943 is judged to be made by Nan-Man Arsenal.

 

http://ohmura-study.net/222.html

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Ohmura thinks the blades marked as 満鐵鍛造之 were from the Nan-Man Army Arsenal 南滿陸軍造兵廠 while the blades marked as 興南一誠 were from the Sword Factory of Dairen Railway Workshop, South Manchuria Railway Co., Ltd., 南満洲鉄道株式会社大連鉄道工場刀剣製作所. So your question appears correct in that they coexisted.

 

 

 

http://ohmura-study.net/222.html

That’s a very interesting bit of information, Thomas! I don’t think I’d read it in the translated version, or maybe it is because the translation is so poor that it wasn’t made explicit.

 

Thank you, it clarifies things a lot for me.

 

EDIT: and it comforts Bruce’s theory expressed in that previous thread, before we knew more about the W. Everything is starting to fall in place!

 

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/27827-mantetsu-mei-question/

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  • 2 weeks later...

An update from a couple of other threads on the known smiths that worked the SMR Dalian operation.

1. We know of Hisakatsu, real name Takeshima Masao, who "directed the production of Koa Isshin blades"

post-3487-0-18741600-1575589287_thumb.jpg

2. Wakabayashi Shigetsugu, who instructed production workers (source: K. Morita - http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/7445-tang-your-opinion/?hl=%2Bshigetsugu+%2Bdalian&do=findComment&comment=73318)

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鈴木虹堂 Suzuki Kōdō

http://ohmura-study.net/998.html

http://www.japaneseswordindex.com/koa.htm

 

He also wrote a sword book entitled 在满洲日本刀杰作集 in 1937.

http://book.kongfz.com/89399/189042365/

 

Later on, Mr. Suzuki went on to design another sword called the "Tekkon".

Anshan:  Koodoo Suzuki, who has won a reputation in Japan and Manchukuo for his superior Japanese sword manufactured from sponge iron, will soon begin mass production through the aid of officials of the Manchukuo Steel Works.  Suzuki has been rushing the completion of various installations, such as the sword polishing laboratory within the company’s Research Department, so that production can be started soon.  His Japanese sword has been named the “Tekkon.”

[1944-10-13]

Edited by Thomas
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I'd like to share the story of The Last Mantetsu sword(finished but not yet give to the Army)-By Mantetsu swordsmith 若林重次's younger son 若林八州彦.

“昭和二十年8月15日战争结束那天的事情我记得很清楚……在“仙台二师”中可算得上精锐部队的若松联队驻地周围完全看不到军人的影子。等到半个月后,进入了9月份,有大约1000人的美国兵(纽约兵)进驻到若松来。当时大家都不知道是怎么回事,只能把不安的情绪隐藏起来,小心翼翼、提心吊胆地过日子,这个是事实……就在那个时候,我父亲花了很大工夫,把那些还没有拿到军方给予报酬的军刀,以及尚在运送途中的军刀都给弄了回来……至于缘由,是不想让好不容易才制好的军刀白白被美国兵没收,变成一堆废铁,还是他猜测这些军刀不久后会变得很值钱,还能卖出个好价钱呢?现在已经弄不清了。总之,当时弄回来的那批军刀就算没有100把,也有70把……”

 

"I remember the day of the end of the war on August 15, Showa ... I know that in the" Second Division of Sendai ", the Wakamatsu Alliancecan be regarded as an elite unit. After half a month, in September, there were about 1,000 American soldiers (New York soldiers) stationed in Wakamatsu. At that time, everyone did not know what was going on, and could only hide the uneasy emotions and be careful. It is a fact to live a life of embarrassment ... At that time, my father spent a lot of time to get back those sabers that had not been paid by the military, and those that were still in transit ... As for the reason, maybe he not want to make the swords that took alot of time to make been confiscated by the American soldiers, and turned them into a pile of scrap metal, or maybe he guess that these swords would become very valuable and sell for a good price later? I can't figure it out. Anyway, he got at least 70 swords back if there weren't 100 swords... ”

 

“因为美国兵非常讨厌日本刀,所以下了禁刀令,就连日本警察也帮着他们,凡是遇到名称里有刀的东西,一律全部没收,我说的就是那个时候的事情。古装的武打电影不准放,就连木头做的白虎刀,也因为名称里面有一个刀字,便不准制造和买卖了。局势就是那么的严酷,所以我家在经过商议之后,决定把那些军刀埋到后院的空地里去。”

“洞挖得非常深,就像挖坟一样……再把‘素灰一点点地慢慢撒下去。每把刀都用润滑油通体抹一遍,10把一捆用稻草绳束起来,埋到‘素灰中去,最后再把土填平。”

“虽说是把刀藏了起来,但是有很多人谣传,美国兵只要拿着电波探测器过来一查,马上就会发现了。我父亲一开始内心是非常恐惧的,但表面上还是装作若无其事地度日,平时就制作一些木匠刀具和机械刨什么的,就这样好几年过去了……”

 

"Because the American soldiers hated Japanese swords very much, so they issued a ban on swords, and even the Japanese police helped them. Anything that had a knife in the name was confiscated. I said that at that time. Martial arts movies are not allowed to be released. Even white tiger swords made of wood are not allowed to be manufactured and sold because of a knife in the name. The situation is so harsh, so my family decided to bury those sabers after discussion. Go to the open space in the backyard. " "The hole was dug very deep, just like digging a grave ... Sprinkle the plain ash slowly and slowly. Each knife was wiped with lubricating oil, 10 bundles tied with a straw rope and buried 'Go in the ashes and fill the soil at the end.' "Although I hid the knife, there are many rumors that the American soldiers just came over and checked it with an electric wave detector and found it immediately. My father was very frightened at first, but on the surface it was still pretending to be nothing. Every day, I usually make some carpenter's knives and mechanical planers, and so on, so many years have passed ... "

 

“昭和二十五年,日本政府和美国缔结条约之后,出台了一项允许持有刀剑的注册制度,时代变得在某些条件下又可以持刀了。在那样的情况下,我们忍不住想看一看那批刀变成什么样了,就想把它们重新挖出来。一方面抑制不住心里的那份雀跃,另一方面又担心刀会不会锈得不成样子了,怀着这种复杂的心情,我们终于去把地掘开了……我的父亲(重次)、哥哥(守彦)和我三个人拿着铁铲去挖,弄得浑身都是泥。但是结果呢,由于那块土地长期受地下水的浸泡,70把新刀被腐蚀得一把都没有幸免,全都锈得通红,甚至还变得破烂不堪。原本还期望至少有一半保存完好,但就连这个愿望也落空了。父亲浑身的力气好像一瞬间全被抽空,整个人都呆掉了……那一天的事情,现在想起来还历历在目。”

 

"In the 25th year of the Showa era, after the Japanese government and the United States concluded a treaty, they introduced a registration system that allowed swords to be held, and the times became able to hold swords under certain conditions. In that case, we cannot bear I want to see what the swords have become, and want to dig them out again. On the one hand, we can't restrain the caper in my heart, and on the other, I am worried that the swords will become rusty. With such a complex mood, we finally went to dig the ground ... My father (重次), my brother (守彦) and me took the shovel to dig, and it was all mud. But as a result, As the land was soaked by groundwater for a long time, 70 new swords were not spared from being corroded, and all of them became rusty and red, and even became dilapidated. My father was hopping at least half of them were expected to be intact, but even this desire It didn't work. It seemed like his father's strength was all emptied in a split second, and the whole man stayed ... The day's events are still vividly remembered now. "

 

 

In the last part of the story,he mentioned about the registration system that allowed swords to be held under certain conditions in Showa 25 year(1950).I think that backs up the story of why there were many papered Mantetsu and other Gunto in Japanese market.

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I'd like to share the story of The Last Mantetsu sword(finished but not yet give to the Army)-By Mantetsu swordsmith 若林重次's younger son

 

 

In the last part of the story,he mentioned about the registration system that allowed swords to be held under certain conditions in Showa 25 year(1950).I think that backs up the story of why there were many papered Mantetsu and other Gunto in Japanese market.

Trystan, that's some really good history! Where did you find this?

 

Also, we're talking about Shigetsugu, right? If so, this implies that he must have gone back to work at Mantetsu after his trip to Tokyo in '41? It also means his son - could you give us an English version of his name? - was a smith at Mantetsu.

 

Unless I'm taking the story wrong. The title makes it sound like all the blades he took back were Mantetsu, but the paragraphs don't specify where he made them or how he made them. Do you understand this story to mean he was working at Mantetsu, or at least making blades for Mantetsu at the end of the war?

 

Also, do you know where Wakamatsu was located. Google isn’t really sure!

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Bruce

I post how 若林重次 Wakabayashi Shigetsugu(若林重房 Wakabayashi Shigefusa ‘s son)   became Mantetsu swordsmith on the transtaltion fourm.I only has this stroy in Chinese,and it didn't say if his son making sword or working for Mantetsu.Yes,he still make the sword for Army after he went back to Tokyo on 1941 until end of the war,since he became 陸軍受命刀匠Rikugun Jumyo Tosho.About the last 70 or so swords  Shigetsugu bruied,the article only said those were made for army,completed,but not yet give to Army,he will get paid after Army receied the swords.But not sure if those Swords were marked as Mantetsu or not.

若林重次 Wakabayashi shigetsugu study under 笠間一貫齋繁繼(Kasama Ikkansai Shigetsugu)and his father 若林重房 Wakabayashi Shigefusa.

Here is a link mentioned  若林重次 Wakabayashi shigetsugu worked for Mantetsu 

 Two swordsmiths were invited to the Mantetsu facility to teach sword making; they were Takeshima Hisakatsu and Wakabayashi Shigetsugu. Shigetsugu came back to Japan before the end of the war and became Rikugun Jumyo Tosho.

 

http://www.japaneseswordindex.com/koa.htm

 

 

1931年“九一八事变”之后,日本全国弥漫着军国主义的气氛,人们对军刀的热情也日益高涨。重次也不例外,在制造刀具之余,经常前往东京的日本刀锻炼传习所,向笠间一贯斋繁继学习制造军刀的技术。繁继和他的交情非常好,有一次繁继不知怎么回事,居然把重要人物交其托管的名刀卖掉了,因此而闯了大祸,为此还到重次家里躲了一个月。为了感谢重次,繁继亲自制作两把刀相赠,并把自己的技术手把手地传给了重次。1937年,大八的儿子若林升成年了,重次也与当年他父亲一样,从若林家功成身退。但这时他的父亲早已去世,今市的家里也没什么人了。恰好此时,“满铁”株式会社的日下和治正需要会制作军刀的刀匠。而“满铁”有一名工务长,名叫武田,武田的夫人又和重次家是亲戚,就这样,通过武田的关系,重次被日下和治聘请到“满铁”做刀。

After the "September 18th Incident" in 1931, the atmosphere of militarism was permeated throughout Japan, and people's enthusiasm for swords was increasing,so dose 重次. He often goes to the Japanese sword training institute in Tokyo to learn the technique of making swords from笠间一貫齋繁繼. 繁繼's friendship with him was very good. One time 繁繼 didn't know what happened. He actually sold important knives entrusted to him by the celebrity. So he had a disaster, and for this reason he went to hide again for a month. In order to thank重次, 繁繼 personally produced two knives and gave his skills to重次.

In 1937, Nichita Kazuhiro of Manchuria Co., Ltd. needed a swordsmith who could make swords. And "Mantetsu" has a chief of construction, named Takeda, and his wife is a relative of 重次's family. In this way, through Takeda's relationship, he was hired by "Mantetsu".

 

日下和治研制出的钢材,与日本制刀所用的传统玉钢不同。因此,重次所面临的问题并不仅仅是做刀,而是要嘗试用一种全新的、从未用过的钢材来制造军刀,可以说,这是一个很具开创性的工作。事实证明,重次的工作相当成功,“满铁”军刀从外观看起来没有玉钢锻打时形成的地肌,但它带有像尺子量出一般的直刃纹,显示出制作者高超的技艺水平。实际上,它的性能并不比玉钢所造的军刀差,在中国东北这样寒冷的自然气候条件下,也能够不折不弯。

The steel developed by Niigata Heji is different from the traditional jade steel used in Japanese sword making. Therefore, the problem 重次 faced is not just to make a sword, but to try to make a sword with a brand new and never used steel. It can be said that this is a very pioneering job. Facts have proved that the re-work is quite successful. The "Mantetsu" sword does not have the ground muscle formed by the forging of jade steel from the appearance, but it has a straight edge pattern measured by a ruler, showing the superb craftsmanship of the producer. Level. In fact, its performance is not worse than that of the sword made by Tamahagane, and it can not bend or bend under the cold natural climate such as Northeast China.

 

昭和十五年(公元1940年)秋季,恰好是日本皇纪(神武天皇即位纪元)2600年,侵占中国东北的日军举行了一场庆祝盛典,重次被授予勋章,还获得了一对落款重次的玉制印章作为纪念品。另外,日本著名刀匠栗原昭秀曾经到“满铁”做过短期技术指导。除此之外,再没有找到其他刀匠参与“满铁”军刀制造的记载。但根据常理推测,重次在自己制造军刀的同时,必定也在培养新的刀匠。重次于1941年返回日本,而“满铁”军刀的生产依旧正常进行,那时,应该有很多刀匠接替重次的工作。回国以后,重次继续做刀,直到战争结束。

The autumn of the Showa Fifteenth Year (1940 AD) happened to be the Japanese Emperor (Emperor Emperor Shenwu) in 2600. The Japanese army occupying Northeast China held a celebration ceremony, 重次was awarded a medal again and received a pair The jade seal was used as a souvenir. In addition, the famous Japanese swordsmith 栗原昭秀 Akira Kurihara once went to Mantetsu for short-term technical guidance. In addition, no other knifesmiths were found to be involved in the manufacture of the Manchurian Sabre. However, according to common sense speculation, while making a sword on his own again, he must also be training a new knifesmith. He returned to Japan again in 1941, and the production of Manchurian swords continued normally. At that time, there should be many knifesmiths to take over the job. After returning home, 重次 continued to do the sword again and again until the war ended.

Kasama Ikkansai

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About Wakamatsu,若松連隊Wakamatsu Regiment ,it belong to 第二師團仙臺師團Secound Divsion(Sendai Divsion),第二十九聯隊No.29 Regiment(若松會津 Aizuwakamatsu)defending 福岛县(Fukushima-Ken)若松會津 Aizuwakamatsu area.


I think 若松會津 Aizuwakamatsu is where 若林重次 Wakabayashi Shigetsugu live.


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Bruce

Yes,according to that article 栗原昭秀 Akira Kurihara went to Mantetsu as a  instructor for short-term.

Besids 若林重次 Wakabayashi Shigetsugu, another smith 竹島久勝 Takeshima Hisakatsu worked for Mantetsu as well.

I found a photo of 軍刀修理団 Gunto repair group stand infront of  陸軍刀修理所 Amry Sword reparing institute/Factory.

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Trystan, you mention 1937 as the start of sword making. I have a winner 1938 with the South Manchurian Railway Company Stamp if this helps.

 

'38 is the earliest blade I've seen. Ohmura says they started planning the blades in 1937, so it's possible there were some produced that year. He also states that the Koa Isshin came out in July '39, but I've got a Winter '38 Koa on record.

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Trystan, you mention 1937 as the start of sword making. I have a winner 1938 with the South Manchurian Railway Company Stamp if this helps. 

Neil
Please share the photos of your Winter 38 Mantetsu .
 
 
 
They Start to devolpe Mantetsu sword in 1936,and start the production line in 1937 December.
There were 100 swords ordered by Mantetsu President's office as gift for 華北駐屯軍(North China garrison army),these sword should be made by 若林重次 Wakabayashi Shigetsugu and 竹島久勝 Takeshima Hisakatsu .Before Mantetsu hired them,some Prototype has been made by steel workers not the profetional sword smith .
 
   昭和11年(1936年),中央试验所委托大连铁道工厂制造一把长2尺2寸名曰“利器”的日本刀。古时的日本刀锻造时,是在硬钢中加入相对柔软的铁芯。当时没有采用此法,而是使用了含碳0.2%较为柔软的日下纯铁,先将刀锻炼完成,再将其渗碳、淬火、打磨,最后装入木鞘。这就是最初在大连铁道工厂制造的日本刀。
   在此期间,该刀曾被设在大连辽东旅馆的刀剑俱乐部展出,有观者赞其为“名刀”且可与忠吉(江户早期的制刀名匠)的作品相媲美。事后得知此刀为大连铁道工厂的杰作时,众人在大为惊叹的同时,对我们的技术也给与高度评价。日下和治将该刀赠与中西理事,其后,这种刀的名声便在大连的刀剑爱好者中间不胫而走,随之而来的是纷至沓来的订单。
 
In the 11th Showa period (1936), the Central Laboratory commissioned the Dalian Railway Factory to manufacture a Japanese sword with a length of 2 feet and 2 inches, called a "weapon." Ancient Japanese swords were forged by adding a relatively soft iron core to hard steel. At that time, this method was not used. Instead, pure soft iron containing 0.2% carbon was used. The sword was first exercised, then carburized, quenched, polished, and finally loaded into a wooden sheath. This is the Japanese sword originally made at the Dalian Railway Plant.
During this period, the sword was exhibited at the Swords Club of Dalian Liaodong Hotel. Some viewers praised it as a "famous sword" and it was comparable to the works of Tadashi (Edo's early swords). After learning that this sword was a masterpiece of the Dalian Railway Factory, everyone was greatly amazed, and highly praised our technology. The Japanese ruler gave the sword to the directors of China and the West. Since then, the reputation of these sword has spread among the sword enthusiasts in Dalian, and the subsequent orders have followed.
 
   最初制刀都是利用制造工具的间隙,慢慢时间就不够用了。改变了制作方法和流程,需要把软钢加入到内部进而锻造成硬钢,制刀变得越来越费事了,而效率却没能提高。因为缺少技术精湛的锻工,只好从日本国内雇用了两位刀匠,其中一人后因亲属关联而辞职。稍后,由于总裁室预订了100把准备赠送给华北驻屯军的日本刀,使得造刀的工序愈发细化,最终实现了批量生产。
 
At first, the sword was made using the gap between the manufacturing tools, and slowly, time was not enough. The production method and process have been changed. The soft steel needs to be added to the interior and then forged into hard steel. The swords have become more and more difficult, but the efficiency has not been improved. Due to the lack of skilled blacksmiths, they had to hire two swordsmiths from Japan and one of them resigned due to family reason. Later, as the president's office ordered 100 swords to be donated to the North China Garrison, the process of making sword became more detailed, and mass production was finally achieved.
松冈总裁莅临工厂,对我说过如下的话,他激励道:“即便是正宗(日本古代造刀高手),单打独干,一辈子也造不出1000把刀。而满铁有资金有人才,一定能造出又多又好的名刀。日本目前军刀不足,就更应该加大这方面的研究力度,以适应战事的需要。研究过程中,难免有失败和困难,但绝不可悲观。”又经历多次失败,终于在半年后的昭和12年(1937年)12月,依靠流水线作业,日本刀的制造终于步入了大量生产的轨道。
 
President Matsuoka came to the factory and told me the following words, he inspired: "Even if it is authentic (the ancient Japanese sword making master), alone, it will not make 1,000 swords in a lifetime. And Mantetsu has funds and talents, There are bound to be many good swords. Japan ’s current shortage of swords should increase research efforts in this area to meet the needs of warfare. During the research process, failures and difficulties are inevitable, but they must not be pessimistic. After many failures, finally half year later in December of the Showa 12 (1937) , relying on assembly line operations, the manufacture of Japanese knives finally entered the track of mass production.
 
 
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While we're on smiths - I have a Winter '42 blade with a mei that says "Takanobu quenched this." The NMB discussion says he was Suzuki Takanobu, a Mantetsu manager in '38. Have no idea if he was an actual smith. If anyone is able to dig up more on him, I'd appreciate it.

 

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Bruce

鈴木鷹信 Suzuki Takanobu was Director of general affairs in Mantetsu Company.That sword wrote 鷹信焠之,焠 means Quench.I think Takanobu is not a real sword smith.He just participate one stage of sword making process,so he can wrote his name on the tang to make it specail ,he could keep it for himself or give to his friend as a special gift.It was just my thought.

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