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Attention Mantetsu Owners: A Survey


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It is a 10th ヌ series, serial number unreadable, and is dated Spring 1940 昭和庚辰春.  This would make it the 7th known from this series.

Edited by Kiipu
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It is a 24th series and the 8th one reported to date.  The observed 24th series range from ウ-20 to ウ-593.  In addition, it is an army contract blade prior to the change in markings to 満鐵鍛造之.  Above the 昭和壬午春 date, one can see the "M" partial inspection mark.  One will also more than likely find a 東 stamped on the kabutogane.

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34 minutes ago, Kiipu said:

It is a 24th series and the 8th one reported to date.  The observed 24th series range from ウ-20 to ウ-593.  In addition, it is an army contract blade prior to the change in markings to 満鐵鍛造之.  Above the 昭和壬午春 date, one can see the "M" partial inspection mark.  One will also more than likely find a 東 stamped on the kabutogane.

Barehand on that blade, likely will leave the fingerprint on it.:dunno:

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7 hours ago, Stegel said:

2nd and 3rd Kanji order is reversed

Yes, quite an amazing piece.  I have this one on record from the previous owner, and if he hadn't pointed it out, I never would have noticed.  The two kanji are similar enough at a casual glance and the rust obscures the rest.  Dyslexia exposed in the Japanese sword industry! HA!

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14 hours ago, Stegel said:

Here's a new addition to my collection. Notice the 2nd and 3rd Kanji order is reversed..... very strange.

 

Your Mantetsu is a 38th series army contract blade.  It is the second 38th series blade reported so far.  The other one being キ一四四 which is however a commercial marked 興亜一心.

Nakago mune:  キ 五三六 = KI 536.

Obverse:  昭和癸未春 = Spring 1943.  There should be a M partial inspection mark either at the top or bottom of the tang.

Reverse: 満鍛鐵造之 and the second and third kanji characters are indeed reversed!  At the top is the Nan-Man Army Arsenal final inspection mark 南.

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2 hours ago, BANGBANGSAN said:

ワ三七五 Wa 375

Thank you Trystan!  Matt sent me this one yesterday, too, but I'm glad to see your thoughts on the "2" or "3".  The center stroke is so slight, compared to the others, I was tempted to call it a 2.  But I think you're right on that. 

 

Such a sad sight!

 

The tsuba is quite interesting.  I've seen a small number of fittings with the kana/number system used, but this one has the extra kana next to the Suya logo.  Quite a puzzle.

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Purely speculation, but I wonder if something like this might explain one of the Mantetsu waki on file.  I have 2.  One was clearly cut down to make the waki, as the mei is cut, whereas the other was clearly made as a waki with intact mei.  Maybe someone had a damaged blade, like this one, and had a repair team or smith cut it down and make a waki from it.

 

Cut down

1825068340_s-l1600(2).thumb.jpg.16fc076fa45942850d7f40c7e97f3fcf.jpgpost-2510-0-16834600-1516952775.thumb.png.949950abc2a58f2bb632ba5fea9fd823.png20181121_095720.thumb.jpg.7ef6085e6ca5293d172dbc5f902bf28c.jpg

 

Original:

 

808446909_-1.thumb.jpeg.924af39fbb9429d3612d478749509b60.jpeg.5712beac0f1c0dbe9eb2abf691462432.jpeg920338273_-3.thumb.jpeg.2c28c3eda1098b04d59bf9444af8ad82.jpeg.95b3d7d8294671964e0cae9ac1069033.jpeg1318893866_-5.thumb.jpeg.8419bfdcc0e624fb6b67d1cbb36c7b40.jpeg.1556427a1cf86a7c7ea31f6e45317fd9.jpeg

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On 11/26/2019 at 2:35 PM, Kiipu said:

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.

 

Chief Editor Trystan has pointed out an error that I made in the quote above.  I cut and pasted the wrong kanji characters so change 興南一誠 to 興亜一心.  The Editor-in-Chief has reprimanded me and told me I was waaay overpaid for these kind of mistakes!  See below for the revised text.

 

"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 興亜一心 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."

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On 12/10/2019 at 4:10 AM, Kiipu said:

I have noticed two of the 1942 dated Mantetsu swords have the combination of a M partial inspection stamp on the nakago and a Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal 東 final inspection mark on the kabuto-gane.  I wonder if this holds true for the other 1942 M stamped Mantetsu blades.

ウ二〇  昭和壬午春  http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/29923-wts-w-stamped-koa-isshin-mantetsu/

 

Thomas

This link is gone do you know anywhere else I can find the photos of that ウ二〇  昭和壬午春 Mantetsu?

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On 2/18/2021 at 4:56 PM, IJASWORDS said:

Thought I would pull together Mantetsu/Koa Isshin swords from 1938 to 1945 inclusive (in date order).  The 1938 has a Manchurian Railway stamp, right through to the 1945, that only has a mune stamp.

 

Visually, the dimensions of these two swords are totally different.  Would it be possible to get nagasa and nakago measurements of the two swords on the right, serials セ2430 and い1170?  Also, what is the blade width and thickness at the ha & mune machi?

 

It looks like the fittings and scabbards are of different measurements as well.  Almost as if they are not interchangeable.  Not interested in measurements but would like your opinion whether they are or not.

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Just found this 1943 "WE 494" Koa Isshin on a past ebay sale.  It is only the second "WE ヱ" found to date, and the other ヱ 299 is a Ren-stamped non-Koa mei.  Which brings me to the reason for the post - I have been leaning toward the idea that the Nan-stamped, non-Koa blades were being made at/for the Nanman Arsenal.  But I've been tracking the Nan-stamped blades as well as the mixed Koa vs non-Koa blades in the same year groups.  It doesn't make sense to me that Nanman had made blade WE 299 and SMR Dalian made blade WE 494.  I can understand blocks of numbers being allocated to different arsenals/shops as we have seen in the Type 95, but this doesn't seem to be what's happening here.  In fact, all the other lines in '43 are intermingled as well.  BUT, if the other case was true, that SMR Dalian was making all blades with both mei, why then are the Nan and Ren stamps only seen on the non-Koa mei blades? 

 

I'm stumped.  Here are the charted blades for 1943, the yellow highlighted ones are non-Koa Nan stamped and the others are Koa Isshin (sorry if you are using a dark themed screen, the numbers are whited out)

1943

A 17-S

A 65-S

A 105-S

E 537-S

KI 122-S

KI 144-S

KI 347-S

KI 536-S

KE 731-S

KE 583-S

KE 805-S

KO 115-S

SA 1-S

SA 52-S

SA 361-S

SA 459-S

SA 520-S

Shi 304-S

TE 71-S

TE 224-S

TE 284-S

TE 337-S

TE 486-S

TE 567-S

TE 595-S

TE 699-S

TE 801-S

TE 835-S

 

HI 22-S

HI 41-S

HI 153-S

HI 226-S

HI 591-S

FU 48-S

FU 106-S

FU 624-S

FU 757-S

FU 758-S

FU 795-S

FU1008-S

FU1272-S

FU 960-S

FU 1196

FU 1385-S

Ma360-S

Ma373-S

Ma374-S

Ma381-S

Ma538-S

MI 206-S

MI 288-S

MI 505-S

ME 19-S

ME 87-S

YU 115-S

YU 209-S

YU 367-S

YU 432-S

YU 479-S

YU 543-S

 

WE 299-S

WE 494-S

? 76

?276

? 330-S

?361

?624-S

KA 242-S

A 601-S

 

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1 hour ago, BANGBANGSAN said:

1. 昭和戊寅秋 1938 Autumn M61

 

That is a first for the letter M.  It looks like Mantetsu was only using two (2) digits in the beginning?  Starting with the N-series, they went to three (3) digits?  This could indicate that other letters such as A, B, D, E, ... , could be encountered in the future.

C17 to C30

H14

M61

N1 to N408

 

@BANGBANGSAN, are there any other pictures of M61 available?  Sorry Bruce, I just had to ask first!

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3 hours ago, Kiipu said:

That is a first for the letter M.  It looks like Mantetsu was only using two (2) digits in the beginning?  Starting with the N-series, they went to three (3) digits?  This could indicate that other letters such as A, B, D, E, ... , could be encountered in the future.

That's an interesting question, Thomas.  Ohmura stated that SMR was making 400 blades per month in those first years, although there was a discussion of the engineering team figuring out some improvements at the first that enabled them to increase production.  So, I don't know if he meant that they were making less than 400/mo at first, then the improvements ramped up production to 400/mo.

 

If it was 400/mo across the board, there were 12 months, so 12 letters would be A - L.  Yet we now have N's and M.  So I suspect their initial production was something less than 400/mo. accounting for the letters running past "L".   We have numbers in the N line into the 400's.  Possibly that was the first line that the engineering improvements pushed production into that number.  But like you say, our sample is so incredibly small that we will never know if we don't get more samples.

 

Here's a new one @Ontario_Archaeology tipped me off to.  It's a 1942 "MA マ77", which now makes the 1943 "Ma" line an overlap.  Checking all the other years, they all overlap, except '41/'42, but we probably simply don't have an example yet.  I bet they all overlapped. 

 

Screenshot 2022-01-22 152809.jpg

Screenshot 2022-01-22 153027.jpg

Screenshot 2022-01-22 153120.jpg

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