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Bruce Pennington

Attention Mantetsu Owners: A Survey

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Anyone check your Mantetsu scabbard before? I never knew there is a number on the scabbard that match the number on the back of the tang until saw this photo today.

 

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Anyone check your Mantetsu scabbard before? I never knew there is a number on the scabbard that match the number on the back of the tang until saw this photo today.

Trystan,

I just checked mine and there is no number. I suspect yours is simply the practice of the particular koshirae shop that made your fittings.

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I can commiserate with that buyer. Mine came from him with scratches down the blade that looks like sandpaper. He's offered me a few options though to his credit.

 

On a side note mantetsu blades feel great in hand.

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Trystan,

I just checked mine and there is no number. I suspect yours is simply the practice of the particular koshirae shop that made your fittings.

Bruce

It's not one of my Mantetsu.

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I can commiserate with that buyer. Mine came from him with scratches down the blade that looks like sandpaper. He's offered me a few options though to his credit.

 

On a side note mantetsu blades feel great in hand.

Same experience, the blades look fine in photos but in person they have clearly been polished with sandpaper or other such low quality methods. Sometimes he has swords in original wartime polish or new professional Japanese polish and you can tell the difference immediately.

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An interesting tangent to the SMR discussion, coming from Gunboards forum. A German Mauser with what appears to be a railway stamp on it.

 

Posted here: https://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?1160751-South-Manchuria-Railway-pistols&p=10381215#post10381215

 

NMB thread here: http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/32656-mauser-c96-with-smr-railway-stamp/

 

It is similar enough to maybe be SMR railway police, but different enough it could be railway of any country's rail system.

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Thanks Bruno! I've messaged Komonjo and asked for pics of the mei, date, and serial number. I have 2 of his previous ones, both with wavy hamon, and both with accuarately marked katakana for the year (Ka). The two serial numbers are 228 and 232. We'll see if the pattern continues.

 

I'm posting the pictures below for the future when the fleabay link goes inactive.

 

the fittings are crude/fake and the ito is new

post-3487-0-50168000-1595772140_thumb.jpgpost-3487-0-87378000-1595772151_thumb.jpg

 

His Mantetsu hamon are always wavy

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Hey Bruce,

 

No date on this one which it makes it more suspicious imho.

 

He sometimes has good deals but you must better know very well at what you are looking at.

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Hey Bruce,

 

No date on this one which it makes it more suspicious imho.

 

He sometimes has good deals but you must better know very well at what you are looking at.

I had a brief conversation with him once, and he says he sells his stuff on commission from suppliers in Japan. So, it's possible there is a mix of stuff they are sending him. These fake Mantetsu likely originate from mumei gendaito (or shingunto) and someone is faking the Mantetsu mei to crank up the price. Some things never change!!! This is the first one with clearly fake fittings, that I've seen.
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Just got a reply back:

"Hi Bruce,

 

The photos of the blade I have in the listing shows all, no date, no serial number. I don't think this is a genuine Mantetsu blade. I've never seen a Mantetsu blade with hamon other than suguha, never notare or gunome like this one. Also, the nakago and markings look too "fresh," and the "Nan" stamp looks rather hand-carved than machine stamped. I think someone took a mumei katana, and turned it into a Mantetsu blade.

 

Regards,

 

Mike"

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That was my first impression. The stamp is so deep and perfect that it looks carved, not stamped. Also, that tang looks bright new. I believe what you said to be true, Bruce. Probably a real Showato and somebody filed the nakago to make it look like a Mantetsu tang then added a good looking mei (maybe a little too good and a bit large I think)

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Good eye JP the stamp is really carved. The whole sword is crude.

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Nick Komiya, Warrelics, made a full translation of the 1944 sword production chart we saw earlier. Points of interest:

 

1. It confirms what we've always heard that Kokura wasn't making/finishing blades, simply inspecting and tranfering them.

2. In the Koa Isshin block at the bottom, it lists "Nanman" not SMR or Mantetsu. The 50-60 finished blades per month is evidence that Nanman was at least finishing Mantetsu blades (Koa Isshin blades!). But as the supervisory arsenal over SMR, this list could simply be listing the Koa's supplied to them BY SMR and transfered (like Kokura). But, the rest of the chart shows the arsenals were making blades (except Kokura). Using that same standard, this chart must be showing than Nanman was making them too (50-60).

3. I find the Osaka block interesting. I had read that the Osaka arsenal was producing blades, but other than the rare "Saka" stamped blades, we almost never see them. Yet, they were making more blades that Mantetsu.

 

I wonder why the large number of blades were transfered to Tokyo? It might depend on where the new officer graduates were processed, or where the most clubs/shops were located for sale to officers?

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Perhaps Tokyo acted as a wholesale distributor. Perhaps was a way for the government to better monitor the number of blades produced and maybe a faster way to ship them where they were needed. Conjectures of course.

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Perhaps Tokyo acted as a wholesale distributor. Perhaps was a way for the government to better monitor the number of blades produced and maybe a faster way to ship them where they were needed. Conjectures of course.

I think you nailed it JP. Neil (IJASWORDS) just dug out an article from JSSUS that included a letter from a WWII era polisher to Robert Gregory. In it, he says swords were bundled and sent to an Army warehouse in Tokyo and distributed to the Army and Navy clubs for sale!

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A couple of other points from the letter:

1. NCO blades were "air" cooled, not water or oil

2. Custom orders were made to fit the height of the buyer, and wakizashi were used along with every other length

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That's really sad.  They're still not as good as those coming out of Japan, though, through Komonjo.  Still, some people are going to get burned.

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Those mei still dont look right and if they dont do some false rusting you can tell by a passing eyeballing.  Wonder what the hada and hamon on those look like and if they actually use any of the correct materials/metal.  I'm sure they didn't mimic the technique but you wouldn't be able to tell that without cutting it in half I suppose.  The nakago filing as well looks shallow or something, cant tell if they got the file design fully correct.  Either way....stop it China.

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Well, that's a bit disconcerting. Just got my first chance to look at a Mantetsu. I'll have to take some more pictures.  This one is numbered on the spine with ウ 四 六 六   - U 4 6 6 . Dated: 昭 和 壬 午 秋 - Showa Mizunoe-Uma Aki - Fall of 1942

7970mei.jpg

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7 hours ago, tbonesullivan said:

 ウ 四 六 六   - U 4 6 6 . Dated: 昭 和 壬 午 秋 - Showa Mizunoe-Uma Aki - Fall of 1942

David,

Thanks for adding your blade to the study!  Of the 9 " ウ" numbers, yours is the first "Autumn", the rest are all "Spring". 

Forgive me for being anal, but could I get a picture of the full serial number that would show the  ウ, please!?

 

Yours is interesting too, because it looks like the number was mistakenly marked "4 4 6" and realizing his error, struck over the second 4 with a 6!

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12 hours ago, Bruce Pennington said:

David,

Thanks for adding your blade to the study!  Of the 9 " ウ" numbers, yours is the first "Autumn", the rest are all "Spring". 

Forgive me for being anal, but could I get a picture of the full serial number that would show the  ウ, please!?

 

Yours is interesting too, because it looks like the number was mistakenly marked "4 4 6" and realizing his error, struck over the second 4 with a 6!

 

Here's a photo with the habaki off. I tried to get more detail but failed unfortunately. I did notice that the middle number was kinda 'overstamped'. I had a bit of trouble at first. I have included a picture of the handle as well, which definitely has got to be real, so I'm fairly certain this blade is not a fake.

 

Looking at it now, I think it may in fact bee a ク KU or a ワ WA instead.

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