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David Flynn

Gimei Showato.

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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. 

 

"A good polish will immediately reveal"... and there's the rub. As I understand it, there was a shortage of good polishers around in the early Showa, That's also assuming that the polish was done to reveal rather than deceive....

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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?

 

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.

I'm pretty certain the Type 94 began the mass-produced, oil-quenched showato we are discussing that COULD be seen with a gimei, so 1934 onward. My point about increased Army control and supervision, is that the order to stamp blades didn't happen until 1938. Army total control of all blade production didn't kick in until 1940 or later, with increasing control/supervision (think Jinsen & Mantetsu) in 1942 and beyond. This increased supervion, over time, would make gimei showato harder to get to the customer as time went on. SO, if we see a gimei showato, it is my guess it would come in the early years that generated the govt's need in 1938 to institute the stamping requirements.
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Bruce,

 

I have a related question. My very first blade was an obvious seki oily remounted in civilian koshirae. No signature, no stamps. So does it necessarily mean it was made before 1938 or do you think some still escaped control after that?

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 I have reason to believe that some Seki "oily's" started life in civilian mounts! Cheap(er) blades for Iaido possibly.

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Agree with Dave.  Help me clarify "remount".  Does the blade have 2 mekugi ana?  Or are you assuming that it was made for military mounts, since it was a Seki-made blade?  

 

Kevin Jone's (Ryujin Swords) article states that both swordsmiths and collectors were the people agitated by the gimei showato, so sounds to me like civilian collectors were buying swords.  There is no reason to believe that ALL blades made during the war were sold to the military.  Like Dave said, there is evidence that some swords were made and sold on the civilian market in civilian koshirae.

 

HOWEVER, the article's other implication is that ALL blades, no matter how fitted, or who sold to, would be stamped if non-traditionally made.  So, all I can tell you is that, to me, the odds are in favor that this blade was made before 1940 (when stamping became the norm).  Realistically, could a smith have made a sword for a private purchace to a civilian and not stamped it, regardless of the year?  Well, yes, that is possible.  We all know about the exceptions to the rule in this world of collecting we are in.

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 I have Showato in Buke Zukuri in my files, and they have to be pre 1945, and given the sword shortages I doubt they were made after 1938. Below a pic. from a sellers site of a rather nice example, and Sho stamped as well.

 And of course a lot of them got a rapid makeover, field cover on the saya and etc, and went off to war. We see them all the time.

post-2218-0-23974300-1580845704_thumb.jpg

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 I have Showato in Buke Zukuri in my files, and they have to be pre 1945, and given the sword shortages I doubt they were made after 1938. Below a pic. from a sellers site of a rather nice example, and Sho stamped as well.

 And of course a lot of them got a rapid makeover, field cover on the saya and etc, and went off to war. We see them all the time.

 

 

Agree with Dave.  Help me clarify "remount".  Does the blade have 2 mekugi ana?  Or are you assuming that it was made for military mounts, since it was a Seki-made blade?  

 

Kevin Jone's (Ryujin Swords) article states that both swordsmiths and collectors were the people agitated by the gimei showato, so sounds to me like civilian collectors were buying swords.  There is no reason to believe that ALL blades made during the war were sold to the military.  Like Dave said, there is evidence that some swords were made and sold on the civilian market in civilian koshirae.

 

HOWEVER, the article's other implication is that ALL blades, no matter how fitted, or who sold to, would be stamped if non-traditionally made.  So, all I can tell you is that, to me, the odds are in favor that this blade was made before 1940 (when stamping became the norm).  Realistically, could a smith have made a sword for a private purchace to a civilian and not stamped it, regardless of the year?  Well, yes, that is possible.  We all know about the exceptions to the rule in this world of collecting we are in.

 

I say remounted because the blade is in an older koshirae, at least the saya, and several Seppa were added to make the mekugi ana match the hole on the tsuka, so I’ve always been tempted to think it was a postwar job. The saya was split open because the Habaki was too large for it.

 I have Showato in Buke Zukuri in my files, and they have to be pre 1945, and given the sword shortages I doubt they were made after 1938. Below a pic. from a sellers site of a rather nice example, and Sho stamped as well.

 And of course a lot of them got a rapid makeover, field cover on the saya and etc, and went off to war. We see them all the time.

That said, it looks very much like that. Brown itto, copper fuchigashira, an old tsuba and a saya in bad shape that is definitely a later addition/replacement. The blade itself is typical sawtooth Seki and the yasurime is rather sloppy but otherwise, it’s a sound blade.

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   Because of the vast amount of differnent types of swords produced in Japan, during their Military period,  late Meiji through to early Showa,  I believe it would be totally impractical to paper non- tradional swords.

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I absolutely agree.   But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be respected, appreciated, studied, catalogued, and treasured! 

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A system that authenticates a Gunto as being original would be nice but too impractical. It would have to be a Western organization and probably focuses on the sword as a whole, rather than the blade specifically. 

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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.

Jean,

 

I can assure you it has been done.  Where there is a demand a market springs up.

 

Many, many years ago I once had a sword signed (AOI MON)  MONDO no SHO MASAKIYO   Something wasn't right about this sword and in the end I concluded it was a Showatou.  Another time, again decades ago, I had a sword signed (I forget the mei) that when looked up was a 17th century smith.  Again, this sword was clearly a wartime production.  A sword friend has also seen blades of this sort.

 

Anyone else???

 

BaZZa.

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I know David's thread is mainly about gimei done during the war, but a modern threat that has arisen is the gimei of Mantetsu.  I have a couple of examples, made in Japan and sold through Komonjo, that could be wartime, mumei blades that have had the Mantetsu mei added recently.  Additionally, we have heard of Chinese efforts to create fake ones.  I could see the need for future shinsa teams to identify real/fake showato.

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Just as a bye the bye,  I know of a Gimei Takahashi Sadatsugu, that was made during the war.  It was submitted and pinked at the Sydney Shinsa.  The 2009 one, I believe.  I actually saw this sword before it was submitted to the Shinsa.   I believed it was a lower grade Gendaito.

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