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Attention Mantetsu Owners: A Survey


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  • 2 months later...

Found a 1940 Koa Isshin being displayed at the London National Army Museum, online museum.  # Chi 128.  Strangely their translation said the blade was made by "Okitsugu Isshin" and was made of rail lines in "Britain" .... well read it for yourself.  The curator was kind enough to respond to my initial contact and we're getting it straightened out.  I'm still a bit shocked that such a prestigious museum would have someone translating swords that clearly doesn't know WWII Japanese swords.  I understand how many kanji have multiple sounds/meanings, but this one is pretty bad.

 

Pages provided by the curator:

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renditionDownload.thumb.jpg.b1b6cf2237c93f7634c5bd1e4cc46720.jpg

 

Survey update - Over 250 blades recorded, 237 of them with date, mei, & serial number (the rest are missing serial number or date, etc).  Lion's share of blades are in the 1941-1943 years. 

YEAR

1937

1938 – 12

1939 - 18

1940 - 35

1941 - 55

1942 – 53

1943 – 59

1944 – 16

1945 – 7

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Bruce , no later than a couple of weeks ago I spotted a Shin Gunto in a Scottish  auction , asked for a condition report as the pictures were poor , they did respond and sent me a lot of more crap photo's   , to the point,  they had a  Japanese studies group who will remain nameless  , who submitted   a translation  of the tang  :-)

 

1. the large  panted Kanji =  is a magic phrase to got war  , i.e. assembly numbers

2. the date they  actually got right as Showa 1943  

3. the two Kanji for the smith  - Mitsu Masa   - translated  as the swords name as the gem of light .

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  • 5 weeks later...

Bruce,

 

I am really new to Japanese swords in general, but I recently purchased a Koa Isshin Mantetsu, without initially even knowing it was one. If you are still creating a database I thought I would contribute. I have attached a couple pictures (sorry the quality isn't the best) and if you need any other/better pictures to help, please let me know.

I believe the date would be 1943.

 

I am not sure what the three "dashes" mean on the mune before the what I believe is 288?

 

Thanks.

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A commercial Mantetsu from the 41st (ミ) series, serial number ミ 二八八.  Yours is the third one reported from this series.

ミ = katakana character mi or in uppercase MI.

Nakago mune:ミ 二八八 = MI 288

Obverse: 昭和癸未春 = Spring 1943.

Reverse: 興亜一心 満鐵作 = Kōa Isshin Mantetsu saku.

 

Edited by Kiipu
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48 minutes ago, Kiipu said:

A commercial Mantetsu from the 41st series, serial number ミ 二八八.  Yours is the third one reported from this series.

ミ = katakana character mi or in uppercase MI.

Nakago mune:ミ 二八八 = MI 288

Obverse: 昭和癸未春 = Spring 1943.

Reverse: 興亜一心 満鐵作 = Kōa Isshin Mantetsu saku.

 

 

Thank you for all the information! Just curious because I would like to dive into the history more, but how do you go about determining that it is from the 41st series? Also, does there happen to be a link to the database that is being compiled?

 

Thanks again!

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16 hours ago, KuraiValo said:

 

Thank you for all the information! Just curious because I would like to dive into the history more, but how do you go about determining that it is from the 41st series? Also, does there happen to be a link to the database that is being compiled?

 

Thanks again!

Jake,

Thanks for the pics of your gunto.  Looks like it has some decent fittings too.  You'll really enjoy it!

 

You can read all about the Mantetsu sword in an article compiled by @16k, @Kiipu, and I.  I checked and we haven't posted it in the Member Articles section yet (I'll have to see about that!), but I'm attaching it.  It summarizes the info available from both a book and the Ohmura Website Mantetsu pages. and adds new discoveries we've all made in our investigation into the whole subject.

 

Thomas is referring to the fact that Mantetsu used a Japanese poetic numbering system, called I RO HA, in numbering their blades.  Similar to our using "A 1-100, B 1-100, C 1-100, etc".  I'm attaching the chart that shows the flow.  The chart only shows the lowest number of each kana, and doesn't include every blade in our survey.

 

Serial Numbers Plotted in Iroha order

(only 1st number of each group)

KANJI

1938

1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

 

 

376-S

 

 

 

 

 

 

RO 

 

 75-S

 

 

 

 

 

 

HA 

 

 24-A

 

 

 

 

 

 

NI 

 

 57-A

 

 

 

 

 

 

HO 

 

123-W

546-S

 

 

 

 

 

HE 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to 

 

 

 41-S

 

 

 

 

 

CHI 

 

 

 66-S

 

 

 

 

 

RI 

 

 

108-S

 

 

 

 

 

NU 

 

 

 65-A

 

 

 

 

 

RU 

 

 

 16-A

 

 

 

 

 

wO 

 

 

433-S

 

 

 

 

 

WA 

 

 

 20-S

158-S

 

 

 

 

KA 

 

 

 

 89-S

 

 

 

 

YO 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

TA 

 

 

 

181-S

 

 

 

 

RE 

 

 

 

6-S

 

 

 

 

SO 

 

 

 

 66-S

 

 

 

 

TSU 

 

 

 

198-S

 

 

 

 

NE 

 

 

 

144-s

 

 

 

 

NA 

 

 

 

  5-S

 

 

 

 

RA 

 

 

 

 

  7-S

 

 

 

MU 

 

 

 

 

 87-S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 20-S

 

 

 

WI 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO 

 

 

 

 

 34-S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KU 

 

 

 

 

326-S

 

 

 

YA 

 

 

 

 

 79-A

246-W

957-S

 

 

 

MA 

 

 

 

 

 

360-S

 

 

KE 

 

 

 

 

 

731-S

 

 

FU 

 

 

 

 

 

624-S

 

 

KO 

 

 

 

 

 

115-S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

537-S

 

 

TE 

 

 

 

 

 

 71-S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

105-S

 

 

SA 

 

 

 

 

 

 1-S

 

 

KI 

 

 

 

 

 

144-S

 

 

YU 

 

 

 

 

 

479-S

 

 

ME 

 

 

 

 

 

 87-S

 

 

MI 

 

 

 

 

 

206-S

 

 

SHI 

 

 

 

 

 

304-S

 

 

WE 

 

 

 

 

 

299-S

 

 

HI 

 

 

 

 

 

 41-S

1155-S

 

MO 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 104-S

 

SE 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1143-S

 

SU 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 219-S

 

I  ()

 

 

 

 

 

 

556-S

 

i  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

622-S

 

S - Spring

R - Summer

A - Autumn

W - Winter

 

       
       
 

The serial numbering began with English letters in 1938 and continued through 1940, overlapping the start of katakana in 1939.  1944 ended with an overlap of the first katakana , but in parentheses (). 1945 began with the first letter , but in hiragana.

 

MANTETSU DISCOVERIES.pdf

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On 8/7/2021 at 6:46 PM, KuraiValo said:

if you need any other/better pictures to help, please let me know.

 

Can you post a picture of the entire tang, either side, from top to bottom?  This is just to verify the number of mekugi-ana (tang holes).

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11 minutes ago, Bruce Pennington said:

OMG, those are just too cool, Trystan!!!  I've started a file for your foraged items!  I have the fork & spoon, and the manhole cover, but I can't find the pocket watch.  Do you have the post # where you showed it?

Bruce

I will find you more Mantetsu related stuff.

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Hi Bruce, looking at my 1945 mumei MANTETSU, with mune stamp 1170, in MRS mounts, the seppa are also stamped also 1170. 

Although stained (no rust, no pits), the HAMON is still visible. 

So it is an interesting animal, being mumei with correct file marks, a very late mune stamp, matching stamp on seppa, hamon and MRS mounts. 

Bruce, from the mune stamp, do you think it is one of the very last made? Given they probably had no time to cut a mei?  

a16.jpg

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a19.jpg

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Neil,

I can say positively that this is the latest Mantetsu we know of.   They were dating blades on a fiscal year starting in April 15th each year.  So, the '45s existed in April 15-August 15, four months.  If the '43/'44 production rate of 500 blades per month was maintained in '45, they they could have made 2,000 blades, putting this one right in the middle (end of June '45).  But we don't really know.

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24 minutes ago, Stephen said:

how do we know this is Mantetsu?

Stephen,

It's a number of clues.  The fittings are found on a few known gunto and all of them have Mantetsu blades in them.  We think the fittings might have been made by SMR.  Also, the blade itself, and nakago, match Mantetsu work.  Finally, the serial number on the mune is "い 1170".  The katakana "い" is the one Mantetsu used in 1945. 

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7 hours ago, PNSSHOGUN said:

what is unusual is there is a Mon

Thanks John.  A little too unusual, me thinks!  Turns out I already had KA 89, and it appears to have been recently re-fitted.  Amazingly good job, whoever did it.  It was sold on the same site too, as they used that long string of photos that are all one when you download the image.  Here's the original.  You can see there's no mon.  The chuso is different, and the belt rings are different. 

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Also, the original fitters had used the "89" as fittings numbers, which are gone on this re-fit:

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201049491_Screenshot2021-08-24073218.thumb.jpg.17e28647bd79c3e18c7afc1e1c080910.jpg

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