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hbaubele

Need Help Identifying Blade And Sword

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Hello, someone messaged me saying they have this sword for sale. the problem i have is identifying the age and if the blade is original or not. the tsuba is large and the tang doesn't look right to me. also, the pictures are not the best. any help would be great thanks.

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hbaubele,

the photos lack details and are not very helpful, tang photos are upside down.

As far as I can see - and I am not a military sword specialist - the TSUBA could be o.k., the O-SEPPA probably not so. The TSUKA (handle) seems authentic. I can't say if one of the painting layers of the SAYA is original. The blade and its HABAKI are very probably not Japanese, so my guess is that some authentic military parts have been mixed with a fake blade to deceive lesser informed buyers.

My advice would be to stay away from this, no matter how cheap it is offered!

Please add your first name and an initial to every post, it is a rule here.

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For me the blade looks not legit. The nakago looks worse. The Tsuba looks strange. The Fuchi and the clipper does not look genuine. Maybe the sword is mixed from parts. Overall i would not buy it.

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I agree, I’m very sure this is a fake. Even If real and this is not, a standard gunto in this condition isn’t much to hang in the Christmas tree...

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 Frankly, it never occurred to me that anyone would think it worth putting original mounts on a fake blade, but this looks to be the case here. I suppose it makes a sort of sense given what even a half way decent Gunto fetches on the market nowadays.

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Look closely at the tsuba, guys.  The advice to stay away is very sound but I do not think that too many genuine parts are involved here.

 

All the best.

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Look closely at the tsuba, guys.  The advice to stay away is very sound but I don not think that too many genuine parts are involved here.

 

All the best.

I agree with Geraint it’s a well made fake. Blossoms have points rather than rounded. Boar’s eye (heart shape) holes are just drilled out holes. The same blossom problem on the fuchi. I own a fake probably made by the same shop.

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OK, I'll be a stick in the mud, and go on to say that i have seen some late war stuff which IS Japanese,- and it looked worse than this piece.

 

I agree the photo's could have been better quality to show more detail, and maybe you should ask for them.

Without them i wouldn't condemn this one to the definitely 'fake' catagory just yet.

 

The tsuba also appears to be the 'thick' version which i've seen a couple over the years. they're not very common, although this one does look a bit rough.

Mixture of parts is most definitely a possibility, but lets not forget the IJA/IJN concoctions of fittings that we've all seen before.

 

just my 2 cents worth..

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 In the end, it's all about the blade, and that nakago is not good. A definite wobble in the ridge line where the shinogi runs into the tang. Something you never see on even a cheap factory made blade, but common on the Chinese fakes.

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OK, I'll be a stick in the mud, and go on to say that i have seen some late war stuff which IS Japanese,- and it looked worse than this piece.

 

I agree the photo's could have been better quality to show more detail, and maybe you should ask for them.

Without them i wouldn't condemn this one to the definitely 'fake' catagory just yet.

 

The tsuba also appears to be the 'thick' version which i've seen a couple over the years. they're not very common, although this one does look a bit rough.

Mixture of parts is most definitely a possibility, but lets not forget the IJA/IJN concoctions of fittings that we've all seen before.

 

just my 2 cents worth..

Which is why I've hung onto the horrible one I have - I can't tell if it's a fake or just a really poorly made gunto, late in the war, etc.

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Bruce i don't belive that there was poor made blades at the end of war. Thats my personell opinion. 

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 In the end, it's all about the blade, and that nakago is not good. A definite wobble in the ridge line where the shinogi runs into the tang. Something you never see on even a cheap factory made blade, but common on the Chinese fakes.

 

Admittedly, this would not be my first choice for an example of gunto, however, there are late war Japanese swords that have such poorly finished tangs.

 

Better pictures are a must here, if we are to come to a definitive answer on it being a fake.

 

Things i personally don't like about it are the habiki and tsuba, but i would hope that the 'jury' has as many facts presented to it as possible before it passes it's verdict, otherwise we're just members of a lynch mob in the end. 

 

Here's one i owned and passed on, i know the providence of it and it came back post war, it is a civilian model with the features you highlighted Dave. I was purchasing an 'Ujifusa' in gunto mounts at the time and the owner wouldn't sell unless this went with it.. an all or nothing package deal so to speak.

The tang had been cleaned up a bit and reshaped to give it better form i believe, so it would have been even rougher to look at originally.

 

I think i have some photo's of others which were in military mounts but cannot find them at the moment.

 

The Kanji stamp has some Buddhist meaning from memory.

 

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Stegel,

amazing! You are sure that this is Japanese? NAKAGO, TSUBA, TSUKA-ITO (can't see the FUCHI), all looks non-Japanese to me. Even the KASHIRA is not necessarily Japanese! 

 

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Picking up on Dave R's point, in my early years of collecting I bought a beautiful type 3, complete with sword bag. I was so exited about the purchase, I didn't check the tang, thinking even if it was a Showato it looked great, and a bargain. 

When I got home and inspected the tang, I found a Chinese copy blade cut down to fit the WW2 koshirae. Bummer!!! As Dave says, its about the blade, I keep it to remind me to always check the blade. 

By the way, do you know any one who wants to buy a great type3 complete with sword bag?  

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Jean,

The fellow i bought them from, was selling out his late fathers home and clearing out his belongings. His father brought these back from Japan after the war ended. He knew nothing about them as a collector would have, so i have no reason to doubt him.

 

The Ujifusa which is what i was originally interested in, is still in my collection and one of my favourite pieces.

 

Yes the tsuba looked poor to me aswell. The ito wrap material was of lesser quality than you would find in a military issue, but not un-similar to the late war type-3 low end types. The scabbard cover is the composite leather instead of being real leather aswell.

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Stegel,

I cannot comment the ITO quality, but it is wrapped in a wrong manner. That is usually a give-away for non-Japanese production. The cast TSUBA has nothing to do with military, so I have my doubts. You might know better as you had it in hand.

I always remember the saying "Buy the sword, not the story"!   

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The sword is a civilian sword, not military, the tsuba although poor as mentioned, was not claimed to be military.

Yes the actual ito wrap is done differently, but it is wrapped much better than any reproduction one i have seen.

 

Having had it in hand, i can say it was not of modern or recent manufacture, definitely old and i believe it to be a period piece

The blade tip is usually a major give away with fakes, as well as any form of damascus forging. This blade had none of these. It was dull and out of polish. See below.

 

Yes, you're quite right about buying the sword and not the story, as i said before i had no reason to doubt what he said.

If the general concensus here, is that this is a fake, then i'll live with that.

 

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I thought this would be an interesting discussion, so I'll add my own piece.

 

There are far lower quality fittings than the sword in question which are genuine. I admit the seppa are ugly and look modern, but who knows. The main thing I don't like is the blade. The kissaki is not well formed. In even the worst Japanese swords I've seen, the kissaki is still (by all standards) beautifully shaped and proportioned.

 

So I'm going to be on the fence. Fittings look okay, but blade is not what I'd call Japanese quality.

 

I've added in a few pictures of a very low quality Japanese 98. The fittings are ugly casts, but the blade is well made (again, I say this understanding it is not an art blade by any standard). Unsigned, unstamped, only got painted numbers. Well formed kissaki.

 

The police katana in Dawson's is basically identical quality, and most of the swords with the Seki sticker are in low quality mounts (yes, the same sticker as the one I have pictured, not the gold foil one).

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Stegel your sword has a chinese ito binding. No Japanese would wrap the ito like this.

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Picking up on Dave R's point, in my early years of collecting I bought a beautiful type 3, complete with sword bag. I was so exited about the purchase, I didn't check the tang, thinking even if it was a Showato it looked great, and a bargain. 

When I got home and inspected the tang, I found a Chinese copy blade cut down to fit the WW2 koshirae. Bummer!!! As Dave says, its about the blade, I keep it to remind me to always check the blade. 

By the way, do you know any one who wants to buy a great type3 complete with sword bag?  

Nice Type 3 Koshirae with "high quality" tsunagi ;-)

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 Regarding nakago, a Japanese smith sees the nakago as having the same importance as the blade, and makes it as a continuation of such. He knows that normal maintenance  will reveal it regularly, and it's where he places his signature. With a Showato factory blade the tang is made in one with the blade, often with rollers, and then the machi cut or ground, and the nakago finished so the habaki slides over it easily to a snug fit. With an  osuriage the nakago is literally part of the original blade. The nakagojiri is one of the marks of his lineage or school, as is the yasurime,.... (which I think possibly also helps it grip the tsuka).

 

A Chinese or even Western smith sees the tang as the bit hidden by the grip, never to be seen again, and puts as much work into it as it will need in such a situation. With a lot of earlier Western blades, the tang is even a separate welded on piece, and of a lower grade metal.

 

A lot of veteran "bringbacks"  were made by Allied forces engineers to sell to American servicemen who arrived too late to pick them up from the battle field. The Australian army were downright notorious for doing this, and I suspect that this is the origin of most "Island Swords".

 

With the Ito, the overlaps alternate so that if one strand is cut, it will not unravel but will be held at the next overlap. It's a working feature, not decorative. There are lots of articles about these features scattered through the Shin-Gunto posts, on a number of militaria forums.I have posted nothing original here. 

 

(Apologies if this looks a bit ranty, or holding forth it's not meant to).

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