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New sword variant discovered?

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Finding one is a fluke, finding a second is a coincidence, finding three is a trend. Photos are attached of three genuine late war WW2 swords, that have attributes of the 98 and type3, BUT ALSO unique parts common to all three. 

1. The handle wrap pattern and material is the same in all three . Under the wrap is a "drab olive" painted tape. 

2. The kabutogane is similar but not the same as a type3. The hole for the sarute is much smaller, see the comparison photo with type3. 

3. The fuchi and kuchigane are painted, plain pressed brass. 

4. The saya and ishizuke are drab olive painted, with no decoration. 

5. The blades are Katsumasa made from May to December 1944. (Coincidence?). 

6. One mekugi-ana.

In all cases the quality is poor, they look rushed, with only one coat of paint, and nothing to prevent corrosion.

What are your thoughts on this truant?  Are there any others out there?      

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Huh... that is *quite* the coincidence. I am inclined to say you've found something there! I wonder what Bruce will say? I am sure he's encountered these if you've managed to run into three.

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I imagine this is very much the same scenario you find regularly with 95s. They all look alike to a casual observer, but when you drill down into the detail, you find that the various makers all produced the same pattern of sword, but with small variations. I'd say that since the Rinji Seishiki gunto (commonly and incorrectly called 'Type 3') was a standardised pattern but very much produced through private enterprises, it would be perfectly feasible that there will exist subcategory variations, like the one you have here, Neil. Whether or not the fact the blades are all Katsumasa made is tantalisingly close to suggesting a link between the koshirae and blade, but it'd be better to see if a larger sample can be obtained before leaping to a premature conclusion.

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Thanks Steve, firstly I have only used the type3 nomenclature as that is what most use, I would normally use the Rinji name. To my eye this looks like an "economy" grade outfit, fitted with a low spec Showa blade. It would be interesting to find if Katsumasa had a supply arrangement with the koshirae maker. 

Yes, would love to see other examples.   

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I know mate, it's easier since most people learn the other name.

 

Remember that the Rinji were produced to a 'fixed price', so (conjecture) it's possible that for some producers, corners were cut for profit. Alternatively, it may simply be a case of available materials, skill or even the need to produce swords as quickly as possible.

 

You see a similar devolution with the 95s, in materials and craftmanship. Of course there are exceptions, with some swords (Seki 95s being a good example) maintaining a higher quality than others even late in the war, so it's a guess until something solid is proven.

 

It could just be a poor man's version of a poor man's sword. The Rinji were still pretty solid swords and I seem to recall Nick thinking the fixed cost was somewhat hopeful.

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Not much I can add beyond what you guys have said. I checked Fuller and Dawson - neither have this variant. I have never seen it myself. Dawson talks of "home defense" gunto which were lower in quality, but they have the uniformly styled kabutogane and sayajiri.

 

If I had just seen these on the market, and not in Neil's collection, I'd have written them off as Franken-gunto, pieced together, with recently poorly re-wrapped tsuka (except the one in the middle with clear hand-oil wear). But the poor quality from tip to stern indicates all original, and the fact that they are all 3 by the same smith. (I have a vague memory of someone else discussing his theory that a smith was using the same koshirae maker).

 

Dang, I'd sure like to see an updated Fuller or Dawson with all Neil's discoveries and all my stamps and all Steve and Ernie's 95s. Oh, it would have the news about the "NLF Gunto" being a post-war PX item; and all of Nick Komiya's charts and production data. I'd throw in some bits we've learned on the Mantetsu, too. What a great book that would be!

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Finding one is a fluke, finding a second is a coincidence, finding three is a trend. Photos are attached of three genuine late war WW2 swords, that have attributes of the 98 and type3, BUT ALSO unique parts common to all three. 

1. The handle wrap pattern and material is the same in all three . Under the wrap is a "drab olive" painted tape. 

2. The kabutogane is similar but not the same as a type3. The hole for the sarute is much smaller, see the comparison photo with type3. 

3. The fuchi and kuchigane are painted, plain pressed brass. 

4. The saya and ishizuke are drab olive painted, with no decoration. 

5. The blades are Katsumasa made from May to December 1944. (Coincidence?). 

6. One mekugi-ana.

In all cases the quality is poor, they look rushed, with only one coat of paint, and nothing to prevent corrosion.

What are your thoughts on this truant?  Are there any others out there? attachicon.gifzzz182.html     

Neil

Can you post some more photos-the whole sword,blade ,tang etc...

Thanks

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Hey Trystan, photos attached. The points of similarity that interest me are....

1. Of course the 1944 Kanemasa blades.

2. All the tzuka fittings, including the olive green tape "same", the orange ito colour and style, the rinji style kabutogane, and the plain pressed brass fuchi and kuchigane.  

3. There are variations in the saya fittings to some extent, where you wonder if the manufacturer was using the pieces he had available. 

 

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... where you wonder if the manufacturer was using the pieces he had available.

 

Neil, my feelings exactly! Just look at the NCO production for 1945 - they went from an average of 2,500 guntos/month to Jan 45 - 5,000 and Aug '45 - 10,000! This was the final year of the war when materiel shortages would have been at their highest level, yet the Govt was demanding that production be increased due to their fear of a looming Allied home invasion. They must have been scrambling to get their hands on any piece of koshirae they could find.

 

As a side note: My early feeling that the mysterious NLF gunto (mixed navy and army) was late-war pieced together parts - falls apart in light of your collection. Your 3 are how things would look when peicing things together in desperation. The "NLF" gunto were to precisely uniform and really good looking. It's clear in comparison that they were newly produced for souvenirs.

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Hey Trystan, photos attached. The points of similarity that interest me are....

1. Of course the 1944 Kanemasa blades.

2. All the tzuka fittings, including the olive green tape "same", the orange ito colour and style, the rinji style kabutogane, and the plain pressed brass fuchi and kuchigane.  

3. There are variations in the saya fittings to some extent, where you wonder if the manufacturer was using the pieces he had available. 

Neil

I think I saw one sword has bamboo wrap scabbard like yours  awhile ago,very special!

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I'm afraid I can't post a link, but check out ebay item number 333171112364 for another of these swords.

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I'm afraid I can't post a link, but check out ebay item number 333171112364 for another of these swords.

Steve, looks like a standard, rusty Rinji/Type 3/Type 0/'44 model missing the ito.

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I think you're right, Bruce. I had a look and compared a few. I thought the kabutogane hole has a little smaller and the fact the saya was wooden... However, the rest of the koshirae looks rather typical rinji.

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