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Yamakami Akihisa Late War (Type 3) Gunto


MacTheWhopper
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Recently purchased this sword and really like the way it looks and feels. It was made Yamakami Akihisa is what the seller had said. When i looked that name up, i got Yamakami Akihisa and Yamagami Akihisa. It looks like he made alot of these type 44 late war swords and seemed to be a pretty good swordsmith. Anyone have anything else to add in from these pictures of the sword or opinions on it.

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Clean example of a Rinji Seishiki. I really love these swords. A question for collectors; this particular Rinji has the 'standard' mounts. Are they typically associated with the non traditionally made blades? Most of the gendi Rinji Seishiki I see have custom fittings, though of the same style.

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The second chuso (scabbard locking clip) is missing, but originally, this was a double-chuso set of fittings, which we have come to exptect on star-stamped gendaito in Rinji Seishiki (Contingency) mounts.

 

Kenny,

For the record: Japanese Officer gunto (gunto - "Army sword"), Contingency model of the Type 98 officer sword. Sometimes called a "late-war" model, or "Type 3", but they were originally ordered up by the Army in 1938. Yet, they are almost always seen with blades made in the '40s. Yours was made in December of 1942.

 

The blade is what we call a gendaito, or nihonto, which means traditionally made. The star stamp attests that the smith made it in accordance with strict Army regulations/specifications, with Japanese steel (tamahagane), and using tradional methods. The "matsu" stamp and serial number on the tang (nakago) are often seen on Akihisa blades. It's not really known the reason, whether a tracking system for the smith or for army contract.

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Hi Kenny,

Nice find. As has been said, it is a star stamped RJT blade (trad. made) and in upper quality Rinji mounts.

The maker is Akihisa Yamagami (personal name Shigetsugu) of Niigata Prefecture. He was born 15 Feb 1910. He and his elder brother Munetoshi  Yamagami (Wakakichi) worked together in their forge in Karimagun, Nishiyamamachi, Oazawada in WW2 and made good quality gendai gunto. Later, both became RJT smiths for the army. Both worked after the war. I have two swords by the brother Munetoshi (one Type 98 no star, the other Rinji mounts with star and matsu stamp). I have seen a Akihisa locally (also in Rinji mounts). but haven't managed to get my mitts on it so far.

Both brothers studied under Kasama Shigetsugu in Tokyo.

Regards,

 

Edit to add....I notice your Akihisa blade is "shortish and straightish". I say this as my Munetoshi in Type 98 mounts (pre RJT) is "long and elegantly curved with medium/long kissaki...but my Rinji mounted RJT Munetoshi is like your blade, "shorter and straighter with much shorter kissaki". I wonder if this "change" in style was their decision or there were RJT orders given about shortening and "thickening" of blades as dictated by battlefield experience?

(seems to ring a bell...Bruce?). Just wondering.

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I too must protest, because this is nihonto, which should only be polished when necessary. Every beginning collector wants to polish their sword, but they don't seem to appreciate that every polish means that someone else in the future will miss out on their turn as custodian. It seems as though everyone wants a perfectly polished sword, but I really believe that a polish should be a last resort for a badly neglected blade.

 

I can't see the rust you've mentioned, but a wipe with cotton and oil should sort that out. I can still see the ham on on the first photo, so I think there is plenty to see.

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To polish or not to polish, that is the question. 

It is senseless to polish if you don't get a shira-Saya made, as pulling it in and out of WW2 koshirae may scratch it. If polished, it is probably the right time to get it papered. A good polish, shira-Saya and papers are not cheap, and the sword may be away for a couple of years. Then you must calculate your sunk cost, you may never be able to recoup your costs. So unless you think you are going to uncover great hada or hataraki for study, then in my opinion let it be, in the knowledge that you can one day get it polished, and as Steve says, no shortening of its life. 

But all those things considered, you may want to have a nice shiny blade once in your life, and hang the cost. A polish in 2020 will certainly look different, and better than a war time polish, but if decide to do it, use a professional Japanese trained polisher . 

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I see red rust on the ha of the kissaki...the future polish is not the question now or when. Its to stop the rust eating away any more steel.

Id get some qtips and three small cup.

Diluted water vinegar mix, one with baking soda water mix one with soapy water... remember small Qtip application. Vinegar water rubbing till red is gone if you have bone or old piano ivory works well. Onece red rust is gone swab with soda mix...then soapy. Rinse with hot water it will help dry dry it good. Then oil. Youll have black patina where red rust was to let a future togi take care of.

Remember what Neil Young said rust never sleeps.

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While we are on the topic of this sword. I was wondering if someone could help me with like a fair market value for something like this. I have a person that might be interested in it and for my own knowledge it would be nice to know.

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Kenny to safe the live of the sword it must be polished. The boshi had a lot of heavy red rust. Sell it only to a true collector of gendaito who is willing to spent the money for a polish. I think the sword in that condition is fair priced around $2000 - $2500. With a polish it would be priced around $4000 - $5000

 

Akihisa is one of the top gendaito swordsmiths. No question. And it is a good investment to the future.

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4 hours ago, David Flynn said:

I don't believe one should give valuations here.  Too subjective.  Via Pm, though.

Thats reasonable. If anyone wants to pm me on what they think a fair value would be on this sword, please do so. It would be greatly appreciated. I am considering trading it for something else that interests me.

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I dont see a problem with members providing their own personal opinion on what they think a value (range or specific) could be.

 

For most, pricing is a big part of collecting and I cant believe one members opinion could  be construed as being the 'collective opinion of the Board'.  This type of information is particularly helpful for new collectors and members.  

 

Having said that, the NMB should not be a general pricing sounding board for commercial gain ...like everything these days (unfortunately),  the provision of this 'information or opinion'  just needs to be balanced and provided in the good faith by the member on a case by case basis, if they choose to do so. 

 

Just my view.

 

Rob

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Considering that the people who ask the value of their swords are usually beginners,  this could cause problems.    First, we're going on photo's,  next, depending on where one lives, there are variances.   I believe,  it would be better to just ask for this via PM, because,  as said earlier this is subjective.   For an example,   Say I go to all the sword and gun shows and only look for absolute bargains.   I pick up a Akihisa for say,  1500 and I comment that the sword in my opinion  is worth 1500!   People would probably jump all over it.   Then  after opinions are given,   the range would probably be something like,  1500 - 3500.   Then there would be opinions on condition, location etc.  In my opinion, it would just open a can of worms..   However,  by using the Pm,  the Poster,   will see the differences  and then  make up their own mind.  

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Valuations from photos can never be reliable. Estimates can be given based on sale prices of similar swords, in similar condition and in different locations. But then you are basically valuing the sword smith without having a close look at his work. 

Not saying this sword has any problems, but how do you tell from a photo if a sword has had an a back yard polish and irreparably damaged the geometry. Or other fatal problems. 

One thing I have learned from collecting, it is about the blade, not the signature. 

So if a valuation is asked or given, it must be with certain conditions, and a "range" of values to account for the actual properties of the individual sword. 

So in a case like this, it could be from USD1000 if the bade is stuffed, to USD3500 if the bade geometry if original, shows potential (hada, hamon, hataraki), but at the end of the day, a sword is worth what someone wants to pay.      

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Without knowing the general price range of the pieces you will be terrorised by collectors which want to jump in to get it low as possible. I know enough stories. And i know the dramas when someone did not get  it.

 

You find general pricing for everything. Nihonto is not something special.

 

 

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