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george trotter

Mon on Showato?

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Just wondering about whether mon appear on the fittings of showato?

 

By this I mean that while I have seen many mon on the kabuto gane of gendaito in military mounts and koto/shinto/shinshinto blades remounted for WWII use, I can't recall seeing a mon on your usual seki made showato (but maybe my old memory just isn't working amy more).

 

For example...I currently have 10 swords, all used in WWII. 8 are gendaito, one is shinshinto/gendaito (c.1890) in gunto mounts and one is a koto blade in samurai mounts fitted with a leather scabbard cover.

Of these 10:

1 is private order gendai blade in Type 98 mounts - no mon.

2 is private order gendai blade in Type 98 mounts - has mon (torn off).

3 is private order gendai  blade in Type 98 mounts - has mon (torn off)'

4 is RJT blade in Type 98 mounts - no mon.

5 is private order blade in private order Rinji Seishiki mounts - no mon.

6 is RJT blade in Rinji Seishiki mounts - no mon.

7 is RJT blade in Rinji Seishiki mounts - no mon.

8 is RJT blade in Rinji Seishiki mounts - no mon.

9 is shinshinto/gendaito blade in Type 98 mounts - has mon.

10 is koto blade in samurai mounts/leather cover - no mon.

 

So:

5 are in Type 98 mounts and of these 3 have mon (2 taken off on surrender). 

4 are Rinji Seishiki mounts and none have mon.

4 are RJT blades - none has a  mon.

1 is koto  in samurai mounts and has no mon.

This tally says 3 out of 5 Type 98 mounted gendaito/shinshinto have mon, No RJT gendaito or Rinji mounts has a mon.

 

I know this is a very small / distorted sample of gendai blades, but just wondering what members have seen regarding showato? Over the decades I have owned probably 6-8 showato and seen maybe 100 more and cannot remember ever seeing one with a mon...just wondering what members have seen?

 

Regards,

 

edit: if this should be in the MON topics, please move it there Brian.

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I've got an Asano Kanezane sword with a mon; but it's made with Yasuki steel, so is not considered to be traditional. Kanezane worked in Seki; but your term "usual seki made showato" may not apply.  Maybe insert "arsenal blade" in the definition?

 

Supposedly, 70% of the wartime blades were made in Seki. I'll be surprised if you don't end up finding many with mons. Especially since there didn't seem to be any requirements for mon use or meaning. Anybody could use any one they wanted. I found that surprising, even a little weird.

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My only gunto with a mon is on a Muromachi era gendaito.

 

Interesting question George! When I get some time, I'll search the mon threads to see what's out there, unless someone beats me to it.

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They're out there for sure, I like to pay particular attention to listing with mons as they often are a little bit special. Your list does seem about right, they are definitely more prevalent on Type 94/98 with old or good quality blades. One that sticks in memory from eBay was a Showa-To in standard midwar Type 98 mounts with the Mon on the Ishikuze/drag! Now all of my swords with Mon are good quality Type94/98 with old blades but that combination is exactly what I try and buy so there's some real bias there.

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This one might be George. No one responded to his post of additional blade shots. To my non-nihonto eyes, it seems oil tempered, but I'm not a good judge of that.

 

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/29587-gunto-pedigree-id-requested/?hl=kamon&do=findComment&comment=300569

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I think the responses/links so far are a bit uncertain...I sorta knew there were many possibilities for mon use, but so far no definite answer... let's keep looking.

So far, one answer seems to show a mon on a showato..I assume that that Kanenori shown is a showato, but maybe it is a gendaito? (looks like showato seki mei to me).

That Rinji shown is the only one known with a mon (none of mine have mon) so it would be good to find another one.

I sort of expected I would be shown a dozen RJT blades with mon but so far not...so keep checking.

 

You'd think that this board with its huge number of showato/Rinji//RJT etc owned by members would easily have produced a mon in each category by now, but since we haven't, it seems to show that this is not an easy question to answer,  Maybe there are 'barren' areas in mon use? (hard to believe).

Keep trying guys, if I find any examples I'll post them.

Regards,

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George,

I'm not done with my search of NMB posts, so more may be coming. But I haven't been posting gendaito I find with mon, so there may have been some RJT blades I've crossed in the search. If it was gendai, I skipped by it as I was only looking for showato

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Hi Bruce...I've got a bit of news,

 

I just spent an hour looking through the web for showato with mon.

I must have pulled up 25-30 swords with mon and all were in Type 98 mounts with either pre-showa blades or showa period gendaito. None were RJT stamped or in Rinji Seishiki mounts.

BUT, I did find one Seki stamped blade in Type 98 mounts with a mon (removed). Blade by Kaneshige. You can see a description of sword and maker and removed mon and a (poor) overall pic if you type in AWM REL 36469 (this is the Australian War Museum site with object number).

 

Sooo...one showato with mon found! There must be more...just not as common as on "good" swords. No Rinji mounts with mon and no RJT blade mounts with mon were seen.

 

BTW while searching I noticed there is someone advertising/selling silver mon that "are ideal" for attaching to a Japanese sword (saw two different types...one is "that" anchor!)...I don't want to be negative, but I have a sneaking feeling that maybe that Rinji sword we have all seen with the anchor mon is...well...maybe...not quite right? If so, we are back to Rinji mounts having no mon. Must keep looking!

Regards,

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I have this seki stamped showato or semi-traditional(since it's stamped) by Kiyomiya with the 'sakai' mon.

 

Might be of interest for the thread? :)

 

post-5015-0-73620900-1580066385_thumb.jpg

post-5015-0-46033300-1580066597_thumb.jpg

post-5015-0-55098300-1580066610_thumb.jpg

post-5015-0-45069700-1580066686_thumb.jpg

 

 

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Ah, now we're getting some responses!

 

Austus - I saw that one, but didn't notice the showa stamp at the top. I just saw the hotstamp and assumed it was traditionally made. It was likely similar to David's example where it was semi-traditionally made, and thus got a stamp.

 

David - thanks for the example.

 

Too early to say with only 2 examples, but so far, it seems like they still were blades that cost more or were commissioned, at a price, and were "better" quality over standard showato. Someone with money wanting to put their name on their gunto is either going to show up with his own family blade, or spend the money to get a higher quality blade, in my opinion.

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Wow, now 3 showato with mon. So, it looks like it did happen, maybe the floodgates will open Bruce and we'll wonder how come we never saw them ourselves over all these years.

Well, great to get the beginning of the answer...maybe just a few showato had mon...maybe a lot?

 

Now, about those Rinji Seishiki mounted blades - no mon, ever?... and those star stamped blades? I have not seen one with a mon.

Thanks for looking guys...need more examples to get a clearer picture.

Regards,

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For me the rarest swords with Mon are the Rinji of which I recall one with Kiri-Mon menuki that may have been post war (think it's in that naval mon thread) followed by Kai Gunto.

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Just for the "Hitori Geiko" practice and a bit of a simple quiz:

 

Kamon shown in Austus's posting is Maru Ni Yotsu Ishi (Four stones within a circle) a rare one, sometimes confused with the famous  hishi24.gif

 

Kamon shown in David H's posting is Maru Ni Ken Katabami (Creeping wood sorrel and swords within a circle) katabami3.gif

 

Can you spot the difference between it and this katabami8.gif which is called Maru Ni Hanare Ken Katabami?

 

:)

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Never paid attention to it whether or not the mon were on showato.  Have had many swords come and go.  Have had great blades you would have never guessed would have been in plain Type 98 mounts w/ no upgrades (e.g. pierced tsuba, mon, etc.) and had total junk seki blades in mounts I was certain was going to have something spectacular.  I want to say I've had/seen mantetsu-to w/ mon.  I think I had a mantetsu-to that was missing the mon, it was dated 1939.  Maybe it had the mon, maybe not, have had a dozen or two of them and let them go while they were hot and hard to keep them all straight.

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Just typed in "WW2 Japanese sword with star" on google search and looked through about 60 swords with stars.

About 40% Type 98 and the rest Rinji Seishiki.

None had a mon.

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Well, George, this is an interesting yet surprising thread. I've learned quite a bit about my sword, Thank You very much; but it seems to be an exception in many ways. I might add that its furniture all has matching numbers: #1. I'd like to think that it belongs in the Gendaito category; but then there's that Yasuki steel. Wish we could ask Kanezane what he thought.

 

Malcolm, what a valuable resource you are!  Thank You for your continuing input to this Forum. 

There's a small difference in the spacing between the other mon. Very small. Is that the answer?  (If you respond, could you tell us your martial art, too?)

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Hi Austus, absolutely correct.

 

The trick is in the wording Hanare, which means opening or expanding, it's also used in Kyudo (Japanese archery to express the moment that the arrow, held at highest tension is released).

 

And the answer to your question is: Tenshinsho Den Katori Shinto Ryu under Otake Risuke Shihan and his son Otake Nobutoshi Shihan at the Shinbukan Dojo in the countryside near Narita City.

 

Otake Risuke Shihan is almost 94 years old, and an inspiration to behold, a true Gentleman in both an ethical and social sense.

 

His contribution to the dissemination of true Japanese martial arts is beyond measure, as his first non Japanese student, the late Donn F Draeger stated.

 

If you have not encountered him, or the school, please allow me to share these visual explanations:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzkH7GqGSTI

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRfQjj8ltEg

 

 

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Well, George, this is an interesting yet surprising thread. I've learned quite a bit about my sword, Thank You very much; but it seems to be an exception in many ways. I might add that its furniture all has matching numbers: #1. I'd like to think that it belongs in the Gendaito category; but then there's that Yasuki steel. Wish we could ask Kanezane what he thought.

 

Malcolm, what a valuable resource you are!  Thank You for your continuing input to this Forum. 

There's a small difference in the spacing between the other mon. Very small. Is that the answer?  (If you respond, could you tell us your martial art, too?)

Austus san,

I am glad this has been of interest.

About your Kanezane. It is a showato IMHO as it is made from yasuki steel (not tamahagane). There is also the sho stamp. I think there is mention of him in various books and sites? Try pp.111-112 of Fuller & Gregory "Military Swords of Japan 1868-1945"  Arm & Armour Press 1986.

There may be other references/photos around.

Regards,

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Hi George , 

I checked my records and find that I have had two swords with mon on them and Showa blades . The first was a Kai gunto . Its handle had large same ,a beautiful flat wrapped ito and a mon on the kabuto gane . I expected something pretty good to be in it but when I pulled ithe blade out it was a showa piece signed Noshu seki ju takayama Yoshinao complete with a showa stamp !

The second piece was a shingunto with the owners name Yoshida on the kabuto gane . It came with a tag giving his details !st Lt Yoshida South East Artillery HQ . The blade by Kanekuni was dated 1941 and was complete with a Seki stamp .

It seems to me that they are an unusual combination as if you had enough money to have a mon added you would probably want a better blade in your sword .

 

There was a thread show us your top gunto or something to that effect  . Davids example above looks to have some real quality about it and leaves many that were posted there way behind it .

Regards 

Ian Brooks

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Thanks Ian. I think your findings and some others here lean us towards showato having mon (not that common maybe) but good info.

I agree with you...as a gunto collector I would be "less happy" to pull out a blade on a mon fitted gunto koshirae  and find a showato inside....much prefer it to be on a gendaito.

Maybe I have seen mon on some showato over the last 50 years but the shock has shut down my memory banks (just kidding).

 

Now of course we need examples on RJT and Rinji Seishiki too.

Regards,

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I have mons on swords made in the Showa period. For example on a Masafusa with a hot stamp, made by the Kobuse method. And on an average mumei Showa blade with no stamps or date. Both in '98 mounts. 

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George, is it too late to find out if these exceptions are also accompanied with pierced tsubas?  I bet they are. 

 

Is the jury really out on signed showa blades being low quality?  Sure, they're not Traditional, but...

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Mon on mumei showa period sword.

Dang Neil. That's gorgeous and I'm just seeing 1% of the gunto! I've always like the crossed arrows.

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