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David Flynn

Gimei Showato.

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Discussing the possible needs of some, to have their Showato "Papered",  what has not been mentioned is,  Gimei Showato.

I have seen Showato whith big name smiths, from Gendai to Koto. Whether or not, they were done purposely to deceive is another topic altogether.   However, the fact remains, they are out there.   So how do they fit into the Showato Collectors need for having a sub-section of papers?

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David, if you read my last contribution in Nihonto?, I tried to make the case for exactly that, but I used the word fake rather than gimei. 

Maybe if the Japanese are unwilling to do this, the USA through their NBTHK may be able to create a subset covering these in the shinsa.  

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That's a lot of low grade, uninteresting smiths to learn their style and signitures on....  I doubt anyone that spends their time studying nihonto is going to waste the time on blades that don't have much to offer.  We have Slough's & Stein's to compare the signatures to already.  Maybe folks can work with Brian to add oshigata to Stein's website?

 

Probably better served to set up a sticky or FB group than submit to a shinsa type team for in hand inspection & papers.  Seems plenty of people post stuff all the time as it is on all of the various platforms so what's the point?

 

Not sure if anyone collects pocket knives, but the fakes have gotten pretty much identical to the real ones.  I've heard that a lot of the fakes are mostly made from the left over parts to assemble & sell at a fraction of the price.  So essentially buying the same knife from the same plant, just 1 is approved and the other isn't.  So I've been told, pocket knives were never my thing.

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That's a lot of low grade, uninteresting smiths to learn their style and signitures on.... 

 

 Low grade and uninteresting to some, but ignoring factors like  plain curiosity, Shin-Gunto fetch decent money on the market now, and some people just collect militaria as opposed to nihonto . This is in fact the Militaria section of this website.

 

 There are members currently engaged in discussion and research here about the factory made NCO gunto, Showato officers blades, factory or smith made are at least as interesting! 

 

 The mere fact that there are Gimei Showato indicate that someone is or was putting their money into it, and it would be good to know if this is a current practice or just one engaged in in the past.

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I am not in this subject and would like to know what is meant by GIMEI SHOWA blades.

Have false signatures been applied to blades at the time of their production in the factory? Did MUMEI SHOWA-TO (?) receive a wrong signature later in their lives to deceive?

Or are you speaking of recent non-Japanese production to satisfy the buying power of a militaria market?

 

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... Well, that's the point isn't it! Who did this, when, where and why as Frank Harris would say.

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Yes, I have to admit I’m a little bit in the dark as well here.

 

...and let’s not draw hard lines between collectors. Some, like me, love both of them. They all have a significant historical value.

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Done at time of manufacture and usually withouth stamps.  Whether or not these swords were sold outside the norm, I don't know.

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Well, I cannot see a good reason to chisel the name of a famous smith into the NAKAGO of an obviously machine-made blade in war times.

I also cannot think of a criminal intent to deceive potential buyers some 70 years later, but perhaps the first wearer of such a blade wanted a famous name as symbol for a sword he had at home (but did not want to take to war).      

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From "Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths," by Kapp and Yoshihara, page 63:

 

"Fujiwara Kanefusa...who was working in Seki during this period, says that many of the better craftsmen could produce work of such a high standard that it was almost impossible for swordsmiths or experienced collectors to determine if the blade was traditionally made or was a Showa-to. Because of this, many of the better Showa-to aquired false signatures and were passed off as older traditional blades. This angered the army authorities and they jailed some of the people responsible. Kanefusa also speculates that there were makers who put very small, faint stamps on their swords that could be easily removed, allowing these swords to pass as traditional blades."

 

If a sword was good enough to pose as a traditional blade; I bet it was a pretty good sword.  But still not a Nihonto, right?

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......many of the better craftsmen could produce work of such a high standard that it was almost impossible for swordsmiths or experienced collectors to determine if the blade was traditionally made or was a Showa-to.....

I have problems to believe that. A good polish will immediately reveal if there is HADA, a HAMON and HATARAKI typically seen in water-quenched blades made with TAMAHAGANE.

 

And if you have all that, it is a traditionally made GENDAITO in my understanding. 

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Jean, if folded and quenched, it will show both Hada and Hamon I think. Activities, probably not. Then again, some traditionally made blades don’t always show much activities.

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Brandon wrote:

"Not sure if anyone collects pocket knives, but the fakes have gotten pretty much identical to the real ones.  I've heard that a lot of the fakes are mostly made from the left over parts to assemble & sell at a fraction of the price.  So essentially buying the same knife from the same plant, just 1 is approved and the other isn't.  So I've been told, pocket knives were never my thing."

 

I've been a knife collector for 65+ years. The above is true, also fakes from China are so good they easily pass as originals.

Example: VG10 steel was developed/patented by Takefu Specialty Metals of Japan. It takes and holds the sharpest edge I've ever seen. It is used for the top line Japanese chef and sushi knives. Mcusta of Japan has made VG10 core damascus laminated bladed folders for years - just outstanding. I recently saw a VG10/Damascus laminated folder on Amazon US that is made in China. I took a chance for $23! Received it and it is as near perfect as any folder I have. Good VG10/Damascus blade, mounted beautifully, works smooth, even the interior liners are polished. I guess the Chinese aren't to careful about patent law :)  Anyway the knife is top flight and will be my pocket EDC with my SAK on my belt. Sorry for the digression from the topic. How can anyone go without a pocket knife?? I feel naked without one.

 

Rich
 

post-5-0-47288600-1580757104_thumb.jpg

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I may have one of these swords. The mei was filed almost completely off; and there is what Brian called "the top of a showa stamp" which could be erased easily. The blade doesn't have that hada you mention; but has a real hamon and it's my prettiest blade by far. Might not actually be traditional; but I love this stunning sword. Have pics if needed.

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I have problems to believe that. A good polish will immediately reveal if there is HADA, a HAMON and HATARAKI typically seen in water-quenched blades made with TAMAHAGANE.

 

And if you have all that, it is a traditionally made GENDAITO in my understanding. 

Jean,

It is a fact.  The whole reason the Govt ordered the stamping of blades was precisely because showato were being produced, gimei, that could not be identified from the real thing.

 

"HISTORY

From Ryujin Swords Kevin Jones (http://ryujinswords.com/shostamp.htm):
“Tang stamps were introduced precisely because swordsmiths and collectors could not distinguish the best quality non-traditional swords (i.e. ‘mill steel’ gendaito) from traditionally made swords. It was discovered that, as a result, some smiths were forging replicas of older swords, giving them false signatures (gimei), and passing them off as the real thing. Several smiths were subsequently arrested. Amidst mounting concern, the government passed a law requiring all swords that were non-traditional in any way to be marked with a tang stamp, although the actual stamp used was left to the manufacturer."
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Thank you Bruce,

I will believe what you say, but I really would like to see such a blade, made of industrial steel and looking like a GENDAITO.

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I may have one of these swords. The mei was filed almost completely off; and there is what Brian called "the top of a showa stamp" which could be erased easily. The blade doesn't have that hada you mention; but has a real hamon and it's my prettiest blade by far. Might not actually be traditional; but I love this stunning sword. Have pics if needed.

 

Let me guess, Austus,

 

Is that the famous sword we’ve talked so much about? :)

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Hey, Jean, can we try this, first?  Please go to post #47 in "The Mysterious W Stamp", 8/15/19, in this Militaria forum for some photos.

I have only taken the tsuka off once, had to pry it off.  There seems to be gold leaf traces all over the nakago.  Could be something else; but this tang is a real mystery.  I'll save you the details; or will try and help in any way I can. 

Whenever I take out this sword, I don't wonder if it's traditional or not.  I'm just so glad it's mine.

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Austus,

thank you for your hint.

Yes, the condition seems really good, but what I can see from the photos looks like a SHOWA-TO with no features of a GENDAI-TO. But to be sure one has to see it in hand, of course.

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All the ones I have seen, were oil tempered.  The best one I have seen is, one that had quasi hatarake like Tobiaki.  This one, looked good, untill the Habuchi was examined.  Also, the cleaner the blade, the easier it is to tell.  As for Kanefusa,  I know someone in Oz who had one with the stamp removed, papered by the NBTHK.

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I am not qualified to discuss hada, or hataraki, or many of the finer points of traditional swords. I'm here partly to learn about that stuff; which is hard to do from books or pictures only. 

I'm a weapons enthusiast.  Luckily, I don't know enough about Japanese swords to only like the ones that I can't afford, and rarely see. I don't expect Showa swords to look like Koto masterpieces; and I'm okay with that. I feel fortunate to be able to see the beauty and lethality of 20th century swords without noticing what could be missing in someone else's eyes. Ignorance really can be bliss! But I don't look down on the things that other people like; or feel superior by not liking them. Life's too short.

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Like Austus, I know little about nihonto.  But from how I read the history of why the stamps were directed, I assumed "they" were making blades the traditional way, even water quenching, but were using other steel, not tamahagane - therefore non-traditional - AND faking mei (gimei).  Remember, this was becoming a problem in the mid-late 1930's.  Many of the showato we see today, in Collecting-world, were made in the '40s.

 

So, examples that would fit David's original topic would likely have come from the '30s, in my opinion.  I would think gimei showato would be harder to find after the Army grew in it's oversight and inspection as the years went by (obviously, not extinct, just less).

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Interesting point Bruce.  The actual dates of manufacture elude me.  However they would have to be post 1937.

Which date did oild tempered Showato  first appear? 

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Also with nakirishi-mei aswell as shoshin, how can one be confident of what is fake and what is real.

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Well oil tempered swords were around since Meiji/Taisho but the standard sort of Seki-To we see seem to have started in the mid-late 1930's. The demand for Gunto due to the Manchurian campaign ramping up coincides with the new techniques of semi-traditional forging using modern steel and quenching in oil to produce a hamon. Murata-To or Zohei-To from Meiji-Showa were through tempered with an etched Hamon.

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You know,

 

I've always wondered whether some swords made during the earlier periods weren't oil tempered too. I imagine that some insecure swordsmiths weren't tempted to use oil to avoid hagire. Now, I have nothing to base this on, just a thought.

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but were talking about  gimei, not the sword???

 

some one signing a false name to a sword that they didn't make, to gain finically 

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