Jump to content
Bruce Pennington

Attention Mantetsu Owners: A Survey

Recommended Posts

Here are close ups of the suspension rings.... 

First one is a Spring 1944 Mantetsu Tanzo Kore, SE2340.

Second is the 1945 mumei, I1170.

Although late war, the detail is still nice. Note the cherry blossom motif. 

post-3858-0-24010300-1585907752_thumb.jpg

post-3858-0-85374200-1585907764_thumb.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see. The angle of the original photo made the blossom look different. But it is flatter than the earlier version. I'm just not familiar with that style ashi and didn't realize it's the style of the late-war Rinji fittings. Thanks Neil!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, looking back on Thomas's work, it appears that these Mantetsu type 100 were fully made in 1944/1945 at the Nan-Nan arsenal in Manchuria. Why are they called type 100? They have 2 mekugi ana, but only one hole in the tzuka. 

Up till Thomas's work, I have seen them called prototypes or late war Japanese home defence swords. This to me doesn't ring true. 

One of my 1944's is pictured. It is a Mantetsu Tanzo Kore, stamped, SE2340. It has Nanman stamp, and a rail stamp. So these swords are unique models, not a rinji prototype, or a last ditch home defence sword. Were they only made for officers serving in China? This may explain their rarity, and to my knowledge why none were seen in photos of swords captured in the Pacific or Japan. 

I think these are important questions in the search for knowledge on Mantetsu. 

post-3858-0-71064700-1585973011_thumb.jpg

post-3858-0-82732500-1585973027_thumb.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why are they called Type 100?

 

Type 100 Officer's Contingency Sword

It just refers to the year they were introduced by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA).  The design began in 1938 and was finished in 1940.  The IJA used Type 100 for items introduced in 1940 while the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) used Type 0.  Keep in mind though, at the end of the day it just another collector term just like Type 94 (IJA), 97 (IJN), and 98 (IJA).

"Introduction of the Type 94 Gunto"

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/29659-introduction-of-the-type-94-gunto/

 

It appears that these Mantetsu type 100 were fully made in 1944/1945 at the Nan-Nan arsenal in Manchuria.

 

It is my opinion that the blades were made by SMR and the assembly and polishing was done by Nan-Man Army Arsenal. By far the best photo-essay of a likely Nan-Man Army Arsenal assembled Type 100 Contingency Sword can be found at the link below.

"One Of The Rarest Imperial Japanese Late Type 44 Gunto"

https://www.artswords.com/one_of_the_rarest_imperial_japanese_late_type_44_gunto_090718.htm

 

For those that are hopelessly lost as to what is being discussed, read the posts between 402 and 411 in this thread.

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/26165-attention-mantetsu-owners-a-survey/page-14?do=findComment&comment=315715

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, but the only other stamps are "6 2" matching the tsuba & seppa. No "M".

 

Thank you for looking into this.  So the highest army contract Mantetsu 満鐵鍛造之 with a M partial inspection stamp is ユ 二〇九 [YU 209] and the lowest without an M inspection mark is メ 八七 [ME 87].  As an aside, the M partial inspection stamp appears on the obverse side of the nakago.  Is this correct?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, looking back on Thomas's work, it appears that these Mantetsu type 100 were fully made in 1944/1945 at the Nan-Nan arsenal in Manchuria. Why are they called type 100? They have 2 mekugi ana, but only one hole in the tzuka. 

Up till Thomas's work, I have seen them called prototypes or late war Japanese home defence swords. This to me doesn't ring true. 

One of my 1944's is pictured. It is a Mantetsu Tanzo Kore, stamped, SE2340. It has Nanman stamp, and a rail stamp. So these swords are unique models, not a rinji prototype, or a last ditch home defence sword. Were they only made for officers serving in China? This may explain their rarity, and to my knowledge why none were seen in photos of swords captured in the Pacific or Japan. 

I think these are important questions in the search for knowledge on Mantetsu. 

 

Very nice fittings! Someday i will pick up such a type.  :)  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  As an aside, the M partial inspection stamp appears on the obverse side of the nakago.  Is this correct?

 

I checked a few and all the M/W stamps were on the date side, yes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, looking back on Thomas's work, it appears that these Mantetsu type 100 were fully made in 1944/1945 at the Nan-Nan arsenal in Manchuria. Why are they called type 100? They have 2 mekugi ana, but only one hole in the tzuka. 

Up till Thomas's work, I have seen them called prototypes or late war Japanese home defence swords. This to me doesn't ring true. 

One of my 1944's is pictured. It is a Mantetsu Tanzo Kore, stamped, SE2340. It has Nanman stamp, and a rail stamp. So these swords are unique models, not a rinji prototype, or a last ditch home defence sword. Were they only made for officers serving in China? This may explain their rarity, and to my knowledge why none were seen in photos of swords captured in the Pacific or Japan. 

I think these are important questions in the search for knowledge on Mantetsu.

 

Thomas reminded me of Fuller's discussion of these. On pg 82, he discusses just such a gunto as yours, Neil, and shows a picture. He was aware of 2, one mumei and the other Mantetsu mei, both with serial numbers. He was the one speculating that they were Home Defense, but doesn't name his source or reason.

 

I also like your link, Thomas, to Doug's example and his observation that he has ONLY seen Mantetsu blades in these.

post-3487-0-70491900-1586034829_thumb.jpegpost-3487-0-86388700-1586034839_thumb.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Bruce/Thomas, do you think with this evidence........

Only Mantetsu blades, signed or mumei.

Dates of 1944/1945.

Nan-Man and SMR stamps.

Fuller's work is speculation, and Dawson echoes this. Based on the limited examples they saw. 

No photos of surrendered examples in Japan or Pacific.

That we can now call these a unique model (albeit very rare), made in Manchuria, not a rinji, not a prototype, not a type 44, and not a "late war home defence sword"?  

And what would be an appropriate designation for these? 

It would be nice to set the sword records straight. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Bruce/Thomas, do you think with this evidence........

Only Mantetsu blades, signed or mumei.

Dates of 1944/1945.

Nan-Man and SMR stamps.

Fuller's work is speculation, and Dawson echoes this. Based on the limited examples they saw. 

No photos of surrendered examples in Japan or Pacific.

That we can now call these a unique model (albeit very rare), made in Manchuria, not a rinji, not a prototype, not a type 44, and not a "late war home defence sword"?  

And what would be an appropriate designation for these? 

It would be nice to set the sword records straight.

 

Neil,

Lacking any documentary info, I would personally lean towards calling these a official variation of the RS (Rinji Sheishiki), just as there are variations of the Type 95. There are too many similarities to the RS. Like the steel tsuba was to the sculpted tsuba (95s), I would consider these variants simplifications to the "fancy" original plan. But, in the end, you could very well be correct. Hope we find out some day. Maybe we can nudge Nick K. in that direction and get some papers on it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bruce, plain oval tsuba were used on the Navy swords from day one. So the simplification may or may not be the case. If you look at the ashi/suspension ring design construction and materials, this is definitely not a simplification. It is big ornate, and made in 4 pieces, where if simplification was the criteria, a one or two piece band would have sufficed.  

I will certainly agree with you that the RS model may have inspired the design, but they are different in every way. 

Remember reading how certain Japanese made blade's were failing in the cold of Manchuria, and the SMR developed Mantetsu blades to withstand the cold brittleness. 

Please confirm with Nick K, but my theory is.....

"This unique model sword was designed and developed at the Nan-Man arsenal, with a Mantetsu blade made at SMR, for officers fighting in the Manchurian campaign. The blade would withstand the cold, the canvas same wouldn't crack in the cold like celluloid or ray skin, it was relatively light but still had ornate features befitting an officer.  It shares nothing with the RS pattern, including a sarute which the RS lacks".

Bruce, like you wished there was documentation, but the Russians and Chinese who liberated Manchuria, probably didn't think preserving records was a priority.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neil,

 

You may very well be right. I posted the following request to Nick Komiya:

 

"Komiya-san,

 

I'm wondering if you've done any digging into the topic of the Homeland Defense efforts at the end of the war? The reason I ask is there is a version of Officer gunto that seems to have appeared in 1945, similar to the Rinji Seishiki model, yet distinctly different. Both Fuller and Dawson opined that it was a Homeland Defense model, yet all known examples have Mantetsu blades in them. Rapid/mass produced Home Defense items don't tend to have such high-end characteristics.

 

So, I'm wondering if there were any mil specs put out for swords in 1945 for Home Defense? If so, we can compare these gunto to the specs. If not, we are left with speculation for the time being.

 

Respectfully,

Bruce Pennington"

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In April 1945, Nan-Man Army Arsenal 南滿陸軍造兵廠 was renamed Kwantung Army Arsenal 関東軍造兵廠 and placed under the control of the Kwantung Army 関東軍.  Prior to this transfer, the arsenal was under the control of Army Ordnance Administration Headquarters  陸軍兵器行政本部 located in Tōkyō.

"Kwantung Army"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwantung_Army

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bruce, plain oval tsuba were used on the Navy swords from day one. So the simplification may or may not be the case. If you look at the ashi/suspension ring design construction and materials, this is definitely not a simplification. It is big ornate, and made in 4 pieces, where if simplification was the criteria, a one or two piece band would have sufficed.  

I will certainly agree with you that the RS model may have inspired the design, but they are different in every way. 

Remember reading how certain Japanese made blade's were failing in the cold of Manchuria, and the SMR developed Mantetsu blades to withstand the cold brittleness. 

Please confirm with Nick K, but my theory is.....

"This unique model sword was designed and developed at the Nan-Man arsenal, with a Mantetsu blade made at SMR, for officers fighting in the Manchurian campaign. The blade would withstand the cold, the canvas same wouldn't crack in the cold like celluloid or ray skin, it was relatively light but still had ornate features befitting an officer.  It shares nothing with the RS pattern, including a sarute which the RS lacks".

Bruce, like you wished there was documentation, but the Russians and Chinese who liberated Manchuria, probably didn't think preserving records was a priority.

Neil,

Without digging through my photos, do you know if ALL Mantetsu in '44, '45 in non-standard 98 fittings are in these unique style? In other words - are there '44/'45 blades in "regular" Rinji fittings?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Went back over the files - I have 6 '44s in Rinji fittings and they are ALL Neil's tyle fittings! As mentioned in a earlier post, 2 other '44s have the double ana (made for Rinji) but mounted in standard 98 fittings. There are other '44s in standard fittings, but they don't have the double ana. All blades observed in the "SE" serial group seem to have been made for the Rinji fittings, and all observed are of Neil's style.

 

Here are two others:

 

Trystan's:post-3487-0-13729300-1586182421_thumb.jpg

 

And one from the web: post-3487-0-39019300-1586182476_thumb.jpg

 

This one (SE 1310) has leather saya cover:post-3487-0-75647500-1586182654_thumb.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is my opinion that the blades were made by SMR and the assembly and polishing was done by Nan-Man Army Arsenal. By far the best photo-essay of a likely Nan-Man Army Arsenal assembled Type 100 Contingency Sword can be found at the link below.

"One Of The Rarest Imperial Japanese Late Type 44 Gunto"

https://www.artswords.com/one_of_the_rarest_imperial_japanese_late_type_44_gunto_090718.htm

 

For those that are hopelessly lost as to what is being discussed, read the posts between 402 and 411 in this thread.

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/26165-attention-mantetsu-owners-a-survey/page-14?do=findComment&comment=315715

 

I've been thinking on this lately. In light of Nick Komiya's '44 production chart, I don't see how that is possible. It shows that SMR was making 500 blades/month = 6,000/yr. It also shows that all 6,000 were to go to the Tokyo Arsenal. If this happened (and we know things didn't always go according to orders), but if it were fulfilled, where did the blades come from to go to Nanman for finishing?

 

I suppose Tokyo arsenal could have contracted with Nanman to do the finishing and had them sent to Nanman. But we're getting seriously into speculation-land.

 

Update: After rechecking the chart, Thomas, I REALLY need your Japanese skills to clarify this thing!!! One line says "Tokyo completed Koa Isshin Gunto .....6,000"

The next line says "Mantetsu Koa Isshin Gunto completed back-up production....500"

The next: "Partly completed blades back-up production ......................5,500"

With Nick's note at the end "For back-up supply to Tokyo Arsenal"

 

I had assumed the 500 + 5,500 accounted for the 6,000 above but that is NOT what it says, as the first line, of 6,000 is "Tokyo completed Koa Isshin"!

 

If I'm seeing this right, there were 6,500 Koa Isshin made in '44 (6,000 Tokyo, 500 Mantetsu) and an ADDITIONAL 5,500 unfinished blades for "Tokyo Arsenal back-up" (which COULD have been sent to Nanman for finishing?).

 

This is why I need your skill, Thomas. What is this chart really saying? Because if I am now reading this right, then the SMR factory cranked out 12,000 blades in '44 - 1,000/month - not the 400-500 were have always read about.

post-3487-0-73922100-1586184723_thumb.jpg

 

As a final note, of the 15 '44 blades we have record of, only 4 were Koa's. The majority are NOT Koa Isshin. You'd think with these proportions we'd see more Koa's. Yet, 15 is not a very good sampling to make such a call, I realize.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been thinking on this lately. In light of Nick Komiya's '44 production chart, I don't see how that is possible.

 

The translation you are asking about was done by Nick Komiya and you will need to contact him in regards to it.

http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/f216/very-unusual-konan-essei-mantetsu-713654-post1911277/#post1911277

 

The translation that I did of the same document can be found at the links below.

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/26165-attention-mantetsu-owners-a-survey/page-13?do=findComment&comment=311787

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/26165-attention-mantetsu-owners-a-survey/page-13?do=findComment&comment=312437

 

See also my reply to your previous inquiry about the matter at hand.

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/26165-attention-mantetsu-owners-a-survey/page-13?do=findComment&comment=312670

 

As of April 1944, army contract Mantetsu (SMR) swords and blades were being forwarded to Japan.  My opinion is that sometime after April 1944, this practice stopped and Nan-Man Army Arsenal took over the assembly of the army contract blades.  Keep in mind that Manchukuo, more specifically Nan-Man, did not have the sword making resources or the personnel that Japan had, and came up with a design that fitted the available machinery and the experience level of the workers.  The end result is a sword assembled from a Type 100 blade fitted to Nan-Man's own unique design of fittings.  Or in other words, a collector's dream come true!

 

As an aside, both editions of F&G and Dawson illustrate and to some degree describe this sword design.

1986, MSoJ, page 44, Army Shin-Guntō Home Defence Pattern.

1996, SoIJ, page 55, Late War Officer's Shin-guntō.

1996, JM&CS&D, pages 81-82, 1945 pattern Army (Officers) Home Defence sword.

2007, SoIJ, pages 180-181, Late-War Army Sword for Officers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got word back from Richard Fuller and he doesn't own that one. He does have a '41 Koa, NE 414, that I didn't have though!

 

Thomas,

My real question is about the production numbers. After re-reading the chart, I feel like it's saying that SMR was producing 1,000 blades per month, not 500. Am I reading this right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where Thomas has underlined machinery, it mentions 11 presses. Probably explains why this model has it's components made of pressed metal, and not cast like Japanese made RS swords.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thomas,

My real question is about the production numbers. After re-reading the chart, I feel like it's saying that SMR was producing 1,000 blades per month, not 500. Am I reading this right?

 

Fiscal year 1944 planned production of military Kōa Isshin-tō came to 6,000 swords.  The monthly average was 450 semi-finished blades and 50 finished military swords.  All were to go to Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal and Nan-Man Arsenal was responsible for arranging the transfer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fiscal year 1944 planned production of military Kōa Isshin-tō came to 6,000 swords.  The monthly average was 450 semi-finished blades and 50 finished military swords.  All were to go to Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal and Nan-Man Arsenal was responsible for arranging the transfer.

So, is:"Mantetsu Koa Isshin Gunto completed back-up production....500"

and "Partly completed blades back-up production ......................5,500"

a breakdown of the 6,000 "Tokyo completed Koa Isshin"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it possible Neil's Unsigned Mantetsu is one of the semi-finished blade?

 

 

Fiscal year 1944 planned production of military Kōa Isshin-tō came to 6,000 swords.  The monthly average was 450 semi-finished blades and 50 finished military swords.  All were to go to Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal and Nan-Man Arsenal was responsible for arranging the transfer.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, is:"Mantetsu Koa Isshin Gunto completed back-up production....500"

and "Partly completed blades back-up production ......................5,500"

a breakdown of the 6,000 "Tokyo completed Koa Isshin"?

 

Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal received 450 semi-finished blades and 50 finished military swords from Nan-Man per month.  [More than likely the manufacturer of these blades and swords was Mantetsu.] The 450 semi-finished blades were then completed as swords by Tōkyō.  Add the 450 completed swords by Tōkyō to the previous 50 finished swords received from Nan-Man and the Tōkyō total comes to 500 finished military swords per month.  500 swords per month times 12 months comes to 6,000 swords per year.

500 x 12 = 6,000

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, thanks Thomas! I felt I might be misinterpreting the English translations of those lines.

 

As to the late-war fittings all having Mantetsu blades, Nick's response is here: http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/Japanese-militaria/1945-rinji-seishiki-icu-ventilator-762330/

 

 

I felt the issue was relevant to both the Mantetsu discussion as well as Neil's original thread on these fittings, so I've posted the links on both threads.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...