Jump to content

Island Sword Option


Shamsy
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm after some opinions or confirmation of my own. A sword arrived today for me to look at. I posted it in WarRelics a long time ago, but only had some second hand photos and would appreciate more opinions.

 

The sword was acquired from Balik Papen. It was apparently one of two left behind in a compound. It also narrowly avoided the sea, because the soldiers did not think they would be allowed to keep Japanese items. It then dodged a second death when it was thrown into a rubbish heap during a house cleaning. It was rescued by the current owner who's brother/uncle (not sure which) had thrown it out. He then got the stories of where both items were obtained.

 

I carefully got the handle off, but there's not much past a fairly crude nakago. No markings. Having had a good look at everything in hand, the sword looks somewhat reminiscent of other islander swords. It's certainly not badly made by any stretch. But I wouldn't say it was the standard of the Japanese. I therefore conclude that the sword is likely made in theatre. Perhaps a collaboration sword, or one of the swords we've read about made by the Japanese (but reflective of local conditions).

 

Thoughts please?

 

Oh, any idea what the diamond stuff under the ito is? Looks like snake skin??

post-3293-0-18683800-1571047405_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-80323100-1571047416_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-08295100-1571047435_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-96687200-1571047455_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-61399300-1571047479_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-38472200-1571047503_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-88205400-1571047517_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-75066400-1571047541_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-81613700-1571047565_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-84297500-1571047577_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-35890700-1571047595_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-92045800-1571047616_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-60217300-1571047628_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-96814200-1571047640_thumb.jpg

post-3293-0-42717400-1571047653_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 My first thought was that it was from our old friends the Pembela Tanah Air , but the blade shape and habaki etc are too good.  A real katana repaired after serious damage to the hilt? Or a decent job copying such for a new made officer?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To Dave's comments, the kissaki is shaped really well,too. But I can't make out any hamon.

 

Dave, what do you think of the kabutogane? I have almost no knowledge of civilian fittings, does this look like a Japanese civilian kabu? The rivet through the top makes me say, no. If I'm right about that, I would add the really course material the ito is made of, and the course leather work on the saya, and say - island forces sword.

 

Steve, I agree the same' looks shark. It's just not sanded smooth like we see on Japanese gunto, which again, says non-Japanese work, or it could mean a job done in the field. But the nakago is typical for occupied lands workmanship.

 

All in all, I'd say a really well done occupied forces sword.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, gentlemen. There's no chance it's a knock off job, since there's an actual verifiable history attached. I agree that the sword is too good in some regards, but then parts of it are rather poor for me to think they could be anything other than theatre made. I think all suggestions both plausible and valid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To Dave's comments, the kissaki is shaped really well,too. But I can't make out any hamon.

 

Dave, what do you think of the kabutogane? I have almost no knowledge of civilian fittings, does this look like a Japanese civilian kabu? The rivet through the top makes me say, no. If I'm right about that, I would add the really course material the ito is made of, and the course leather work on the saya, and say - island forces sword.

 

Steve, I agree the same' looks shark. It's just not sanded smooth like we see on Japanese gunto, which again, says non-Japanese work, or it could mean a job done in the field. But the nakago is typical for occupied lands workmanship.

 

All in all, I'd say a really well done occupied forces sword.

 

 The Kabutogane looks to have been made from copper pipe, so definitely a field made piece in that regard. I am wondering about     O-suriage, or very bad corrosion to the tang.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Kabutogane looks to have been made from copper pipe, so definitely a field made piece in that regard. I am wondering about O-suriage, or very bad corrosion to the tang.

In the very first picture, Dave, you can just make out where the tang has been cut. It is not a smooth cut; I'd say it looks to have been cut with... Sheers, or maybe cut hot on an anvil?? The tang is also quite coursely filed and is not smooth edged. It could very well be that the old tang was removed and the current iteration crudely formed. It could also just be crudely made. It's somewhat reminiscent of the Chinese swords (edit to clarify :Chinese collaboration swords, not eBay junk). Good quality blades, but crude tangs. In terms of corrosion, it is pretty bad, but there's no evidence of markings of any kind. I also couldn't get the habaki off. The handle was very tight with the rust expansion, and the rust has welded the habaki on. The habaki is quite crude though, at least not what I'd say was expected from makers in Japan with proper tools.

 

The only real 'fact' I have is that it is genuine wartime and was taken from a Japanese compound.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...

Hi Steve , one of my swords was carried by Naval Captain Endo who was a senior officer in the 22nd Naval base force . This was the main Japanese unit at Balikpapan . In the course of my research on  the 22nd base force I came across a reference to a Japanese arsenal at Sangasanga . This is up the coast near Samarinda. It was described as a foundry and engineering works . Among other things that it was manufacturing steel helmets , bayonets swords and hand grenades . 

I think your piece is of too good a quality to be one of the famous Aussie made jeep spring swords . My guess is that the Japanese themselves made many of the Island made pieces. 

Ian Brooks

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the information, Ian. I too think there were a number of swords made in the theater by the Japanese. It's just very difficult to know which, though I suspect it's probably the nicer examples with better blades.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 I would suggest that the tang might be diagnostic. A Japanese artificer would be well aware of homeland tradition, particularly that the nakago would be seen on a regular basis during normal care and maintenance.

 To the rest of the World, the tang was something hidden by the hilt and of no importance.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do you guys think,is this island made gunto?

Gee, that's a hard one (though they usually are). It has a lot of elements of several sword models, like the RS kabuto gane, but then the thin tsuka reminds me of the pattern 7 tsuka. If the wrap was different I'd say probably go down the RS path two, but I don't think there's enough there to relate it. Like 95s, there are a lot of swords with a few 95 characteristics, but that doesn't make them close enough to be 95s.

 

Ultimately, I think the nakago and odd habaki probably pushed me to say it falls into that very broad range of swords known as 'island'. It definitely has the look of genuine age though, so I doubt it is a Chinese knock off.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve

I don't think it's a Chinese fake either. The shape of the blade doesn't look bad at all. But the Bohi and Nakago are a little unusual, never saw any island swords have two holes on the Nakago like Rinji before. It has better looking and quality than most of the Island sword. Could it be one of the swords made in the theater by the Japanese?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll just clarifying something, which may just be something I'm doing.

 

When I refer to an 'island sword', I've come to consider this a catch all phrase for;

Collaborator/PETA swords

PoW camp made swords

Souvaneer swords

Japanese made field swords

Field repaired or field made koshirae

 

The only thing I don't include is post war Chinese fakes. So when I'm saying 'looks like an island sword' I'm saying I have no idea exactly what it is, but I don't believe it is fake (as in post war deception).

 

The sword you asked about, Trystan, I would call an island sword.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Steve! When I see a sword like the one shown by Trystan it exhibits to me "Island made/Occupied" characteristics. An attempt by Japanese, or local area metal smiths to reproduce a quasi type Shingunto with the limited materials they had available.

 

I also suspect Island swords made by the Japanese (with at least enough formal training to produce a sword) would be the ones found with a better finished nakago, where as local area smiths would most likely see no logic in spending time making something hidden beneath a handle look nice.

 

Dave M.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one, unless your post is really relevant and adds to the topic..

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...