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tanto in gunto mounts


rich j
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first time on this board so please be patient with me. i've had these mounts for over 30 years and this last year had a sword smith friend of mine build a tanto to fit the mounts. the blade, habaki and the ito are new and the rest is as I got it back in the 80's. the leather and stitching do not appear to be altered the fittings look like last ditch effort quality . the tsuka was made for a hira-sukuri form . I was told when I got the mounts that the blade was sold to one of the traveling buyers that were common in the eighties and he left the mounts behind so it must have been a nice old tanto. has anyone seen anything like this before because I have not

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Funny little mounts... Richard?

 

My wakizashi is in very high quality naval mounts which have a very superficial resemblance. I used to think it was a tanto, but it is just slightly too big to qualify. Otherwise it's pretty unique looking to me. Hard to see if it is cut down mounts with an acquired a patina or was originally constructed that way.

 

Your friend made a nice little blade to fit. A tidy package but such a shame you don't have the original blade. That would have answered a lot of questions.

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Interesting item... you did a good job with completing it. How long is the new blade?    It's fun to have something unique.

 

The name question is a hint to check out the posting rules, which require a first name, at least.  Welcome to the Forum.

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Rich,
No-one doubts you didn't put this together, but you have had it for 30 years, and the war is 75 years ago. Lots can happen since then. Almost impossible this is wartime production. Just the handle wrap alone shows it was done by an amateur, not a professional. Nice interesting piece, but likely just a project piece. Lovely blade!

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I did state that the blade , habaki and ito were new. seems to me if someone was going to throw something like this together to deceive now or then they would at least match the fittings up . it also seems likely that if it was put together as a project piece say for the tourist trade that it would have had a poor blade at it's core and that it would still be there. richard

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Rich, no disrespect to you or your little piece. And I agree 100% with Brian, many an owner before you could have cobbled together pieces, without the knowledge of what goes with what. I thought of knocking out an example for you to see from my bits and pieces, but nah, why waste original stuff made in WW2 on what's only value is a fishing knife, and of no value to militaria collectors. Nice blade and habaki by the way. 

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I agree that it was most likely post-war hobby project, since the tsuka is army and the saya parts are navy. There are documented examples of kaigunto with white same' and army-style leather saya cover over 1 haikan (ashi) like used on land with joint forces, but all the metal fittings were kai.

 

My view on the value of this is a little broader than most. These are real WWII era parts made by Japanese hands in shops for the war. As such, I believe they all deserve to be preserved. Like the gunto with Bubba paint jobs, or other mods, it is still "the life of the gunto" (ok, Koshirae) and many preserve them even in their bubba condition.

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Rich J.

I have found the knowledge base of the members here to be very extensive and by and large factual.   Given their experience as collectors and researchers, they openly and freely will share their knowledge and opinions.  Sometimes the answers and opinions the O.P. gets are not what they were hoping for.  But the answers and opinions given are not typically disrespectful, they are just bluntly honest.

 

As for your tanto, I think it looks nice.  If I found it for sale at an agreeable price I would likely buy it.  In all probability I would use it to cut my sandwiches at backyard gathering, just to enjoy the conversations it would spark.

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in my original post i mentioned the condition of the leather and sticthing as being un-altered. i assumed it obvious that the saya started out as a longer piece but I contend that the modifications are Japanese in origin . the first picture shows the saya was narrowed to accept the metal fitting but this modification of the wood HAD to be done before the leather was installed . the second picture shows uninterrupted and typical Japanese leather and stitching that runs the length of the saya. in the 40 plus years that I've been addicted to this hobby I have seen a ton of "bubba" work as have we all, some worse than others but always detectable . even under magnification I can detect no western workmanship in these pictures. the leather has not been altered . I do not know why this piece has mixed fittings and I obviously could have installed matching fittings before bringing it before this group but I did not because that would have been dishonest. we all I am sure have seen some odd things that came out of the arsenals towards the end of the war. I ran into a second gen kanemoto waki in sand cast mounts with canvas under the ito . I think these mounts fall into that group of oddities ….. all comments about april fools jokes and cutting sandwiches aside.... please, I came to this forum to share and learn not to be entertainment for the masses

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Rich, this is a great place to learn about military swords. There are some knowledgeable collectors here. There are also some of us with a sense of humor.  

I think the comedy comes after the authenticity is determined and the topic keeps running with nothing more relevant to discuss. 

 

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Some years ago when first looking for a Shin-Gunto I found something similar from an online dealer in the US. It was a well made cut down 98 I think, metal saya and all with fittings. It was being sold as a WW2 souvenir, probably made to fit in a GI kit bag.

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the only real point i'm trying to make here is that the refitting of the mounts into this configuration (length) had to be done by the Japanese and I think that the last two pictures I posted prove that . I have believed for many years that the arsenals either out of opportunity , convenience or necessity would have refitted and or reused some parts. if this is "bubba" work then my point is that it's Japanese "bubba" work.... aw come on can't somebody out there agree on this.....  see i do have a sense of humor. richard

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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..

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