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IJASWORDS

"Must Have" Showa Swords

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This maybe a bit like asking what is your favourite colour. But very early on in my collection and study of shin-gunto, I made a list of what sword smiths I thought would be a good representative of the period, that were available, and wouldn't break the bank. 

I used John Slough's book and other research material, and set my sights on 10 swords that make up a reasonable and affordable representative sample, one that most people would know, and be a good basis for future growth to maybe better traditionally made blades. So here goes......

1. Kanenori. 

2. Teruhide.

3. Kanezane.

4. Emura.

5. Nagamitsu.

6. Masafusa (kobuse). 

7. Kanemichi. 

8. Koa Isshin Mantetsu.

9. Masayuki.

10. Masakiyo. 

So ok, these were in retrospect maybe not the greatest choices, but they were relatively easy to find good examples, and were not overly expensive. This formed the basis of an ever expanding collection, and a lot was learned. 

My question is, what do other collectors think of my choices, what would you add or subtract from the list (remembering affordability) for a beginner, and do others hunt down swords or pick up what comes along? 

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I don't know which ones to substract, but for me Mizuno Masanori and Torio Hiromasa would have place in the list.

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Add a Yasakuni shrine smith.

 

Mantetsu are a given, but the shrine for me is quintessential WW2 and beautiful swords to boot.

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Indeed, and the whole point is...which are “must haves” that do not break the bank

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You're not looking hard enough then, or perhaps you simply 'must' have a perfect polished example? If you're happy to take an imperfect Yasakuni in old polish from one of the lesser rated smiths, you'll hardly break the bank.

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I have seen a couple of very good swords by Kuriyama Kaneaki for reasonable prices in the past

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Steve, a Yasukuni was certainly on my second tier list, but as a beginner, the examples I saw were out of my price range. 

It is interesting to note that in collecting my first list, there a mix of koshirae.... 98's, Rinji, and Navy Kais. This led to a fascination with the various WW2 mounts. 

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I like the list here.

 

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/13791-ebay-shibata-ka/?hl=%2Bakimoto+%2Bakitomo&do=findComment&comment=145445

 

Especially these 10:

 

  • Tsukamoto Okimasa
  • Kotani Yasunori
  • Kajiyama Yasunori
  • Ota Chikahide
  • Gassan Sadakatsu
  • Kasama Shigetsugu
  • Takahashi Sadatsugu
  • Miyairi Akihira
  • Horii Toshihide
  • Takahashi Yoshimune
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In retrospect. I did not read the original ask carefully enough. So my reply above focused on those that I felt were the best smiths of the time period without considering the budget-conscious aspect.

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I will put in Zohei-To or more commonly called "Murata-To" as you will find them in nice early Type 94 pattern mounts and they are inexpensive yet represent a very interesting and important part in Japanese military sword history.

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Looks perfect Neil. So glad you included Emura!  :clap: 

so interesting to see your list, because in my humble starter collection, half are mentioned. So you must be right on availability and price  ;-)

 

Denis

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I will put in Zohei-To or more commonly called "Murata-To" as you will find them in nice early Type 94 pattern mounts and they are inexpensive yet represent a very interesting and important part in Japanese military sword history.

Most of 造兵刀 are in Type 98 fitting though. like those 造兵刀 and have few in my collection.

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Most of 造兵刀 are in Type 98 fitting though. like those 造兵刀 and have few in my collection.

All I have seen listed are in early style mounts with pierced Tsuba, gloss Saya, curved Tsuka and generally high quality fittings consistent with Type 94/early Type 98 mounts. They may be missing the 2nd hanger but the other characteristics are more telling.

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I would definetly add Nakata Kanehide to the list. I've always felt he was underrated. I have a very nice example of his in original polish that actually has utsuri. 

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All I have seen listed are in early style mounts with pierced Tsuba, gloss Saya, curved Tsuka and generally high quality fittings consistent with Type 94/early Type 98 mounts. They may be missing the 2nd hanger but the other characteristics are more telling.

John

All my 造兵刀(one is Type 94) has pierced Tsuba, gloss Saya(two colors),middle position hole for lock, maybe Type 94/early Type 98 mounts is standard fitting for Zohei to? They still making 造兵刀 in 1945,and lot more than 95.

post-3887-0-86414400-1582832443_thumb.jpeg

post-3887-0-68137400-1582832574_thumb.jpg

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Wow, great collection Trystan, and in awesome condition too!

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Great collection Trystan, and yes that is my theory. Every one of these Zohei-To has been in the mount you have. It puzzles me they were being made in 1945 using these high quality mounts, I had assumed they were mostly made during the 30's.

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Great looking collection Trystan. 

just a general question to you guys; do you always buy your swords with tassel, or do you add it later on?

I see a lot of swords with tassels on the board, but personally  , I only have one in my collection which I bought with the swords... 

otherwise, lots of tassel-less swords out there. Well, at least in Belgium anyway...

 

Denis

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I like it when they are already with the sword, but I’m mostly looking for the sword and it’s condition. I have gone out and bought tassels for each of my swords, if they didn’t have one already.

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Denis

Same as Bruce, I like the sword with tassel, I'll buy the tassel if it has not come with one already. There are a lot of tassels for Type 98 for sale, the hard part is if you have many NCO swords and want all of them to have the leather tassel on.

 

Great looking collection Trystan. 

just a general question to you guys; do you always buy your swords with tassel, or do you add it later on?

I see a lot of swords with tassels on the board, but personally  , I only have one in my collection which I bought with the swords... 

otherwise, lots of tassel-less swords out there. Well, at least in Belgium anyway...

 

Denis

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A good question about tassels, for a start it's hard to tell if the tassel is original to the sword as we all like to add them. I have a few with original tassels, the easiest ones to verify are ones on cord Sarute. Anyway, I am very OCD and absolutely must have a tassel on every sword.

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John
You had many colonel's tassels, and general 's tassel, it's more expensive than a lot Gunto!
 

A good question about tassels, for a start it's hard to tell if the tassel is original to the sword as we all like to add them. I have a few with original tassels, the easiest ones to verify are ones on cord Sarute. Anyway, I am very OCD and absolutely must have a tassel on every sword.

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Trystan, I totaly agree. A good sword always looks better with a tassel. 

Unfortunately, tassels are so expensive. Also, fake swords are not always easy to spot, but a tassel is even harder. 
is there a way to distinguish a real from a fake one? Or does it just comes down to trusting your dealer?

 

Denis

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In the case of tassels, ironically, I've found fleabay to be honest. For some reason, the sellers of reproduction tassels on fleaby normally post them as reproductions, and you will almost always see that they are shipping from China. The place I tend to see weird tassels is when they come on the swords, themselves. The G.I.s seemed to have often put cords of any style and condition on their souvenirs. Of course some of that was done post-war by Bubba's too. But, the end of the long story is that I haven't seen much intentional deceipt among tassel sellers.

 

The key, like spotting fake swords, is to study the real ones, like on Ohmura's site or in books, or in hand, to know the fake when you spot it.

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I am working on a document that will help people identify tassels more readily. Sometimes it is very difficult to tell the originals from the high quality fakes.

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