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Significance of Silver Plated Type 98's


PNSSHOGUN
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As the happy new owner of one of these I'm curious to know if there is a certain reason for these splendid Type 98's? From what I have gathered so far we can determine these few points:

 

1: They chiefly contain good quality Gendaito blades

2: There are two known examples that were Royal Gifts (one published in Swords Of Imperial Japan, p.165, another in a museum in Europe)

3: They appear to mostly be in Type 98 regulation mounts of superior quality and finish

 

Were these specifically a certain kind of special gift or presentation sword? Obviously they are special order but the fact that there are two known gift swords is highly intriguing, or perhaps just a coincidence and they were just a flashy upgrade for officers desiring that extra touch of flair. If anyone has any further information or documentation about these interesting swords please share so we can solve the mystery! Naturally feel free to share any examples you have in your collection or have encountered over the years.

 

 

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Example from Ohmura:

post-3926-0-57529700-1585988482_thumb.pngpost-3926-0-21434200-1585988491_thumb.png

 

 

 

Imperial Gift from Swords Of Imperial Japan:

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John, good questions. One thing I have noticed is that the type you have is normally in pristine condition. Like they never saw battle. So a presentation sword, that was kept in a safe place is not out of the question.

For comparison I posed one of mine to look like your third photo.

This blade is Ichimonji Minamoto Amahide, and is pristine like the koshirae.

post-3858-0-94147700-1585990774_thumb.jpg

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You're right, virtually all examples have very little wear or signs of being carried in the field. It goes without saying that an officer would already have a sword, if he was the recipient of a fine gift sword like this it would be sent home for safe keeping. 

 

Here is another, with blade by Amahide: http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/14389-special-order-shingunto-koshirae/?hl=%2Bblackened+%2Bgunto&do=findComment&comment=151276

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Considering the variation between some of these (and similarities) it raises some questions:

 

1: Were these made at multiple sword shops?

2: Were the silver plated fittings made by individual shops or was the process unique and other shops sourced them from one supplier?

3: How were Gunto shops making Koshirae, did they outsource to many small shops or did the larger ones (Suya) have everything made ensuite?

4: Given at least three were Imperial Gifts could there possibly be records of these commissions?

 

It's a shame only very few sword shops marked their fittings otherwise we have a better idea of which shops these were being commissioned from. Perhaps this kind of information is now long forgotten or lost and will send collectors on wild goose chases for decades to come.

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 There is  an article by Chris Bowen about Amahide and his factory. My take away from it is that he pretty well specialised in custom order swords. No surprise to find that he produced them with silver plated mounts.

 Dave,

 

Do you have a link to this article please?

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Reading Dave's extracts, Ray Singer kindly translated this Amahide. No date no stamps. Ichimonji Minamoto Amahide Kore O Kitaeru. Or, Amahide forged this. It is similar to but not the same as the 10 inscriptions' in Dave's article. 

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Reading Dave's extracts, Ray Singer kindly translated this Amahide. No date no stamps. Ichimonji Minamoto Amahide Kore O Kitaeru. Or, Amahide forged this. It is similar to but not the same as the 10 inscriptions' in Dave's article. 

 

 What I took away from Mr Bowen' article was that "Amahide" is as much a trademark as a Mei, and that the variations probably had some meaning within the shop, that we are unlikely to ever understand. 

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One thing I have learned from WW2 swords is that if the Nakago is well finished and the Mei has been skillfully carved by the smith then it has a good chance of being superior quality, no matter if Gendaito or Showato.

Agreed. Some IJA/IJN Flag Officers carried "Showa-to" with very nice hamon, fittings, shape, etc. I remember seeing one in an auction in Va. in modified "civilian" koshirae with Edo period tosogu. A very fine suguba that moved toward a choji-style hamon towards the end of the blade. Sometimes we have to remember that just because a wartime blade isn't fully traditionally made, that doesn't mean they couldn't be custom ordered.

 

As for the fittings, there are quite a few good pieces! I missed out on a gendaito in Type 98 koshirar a year back. The field grade tassel was nice, the blade truly eluded Soshu characteristics. Didn't have a big gendaito smith name, but was very nice and cheap. But ehat had me researching was the tosugu were mostly silver-plated. Thought it was a joke or a very dull old nickel finish. Boy was I wrong. Thought long and hard before it sold! People will know a good smith and sword, even if not famous.

 

Unfortunately it seems those circles have now eluded us in time as such smiths and their main histories are forgotten!

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