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IJASWORDS

Manchurian Rinji Seishiki Sword

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This sword, the MRS model, has been discussed on other threads, so I thought I would pull it together on one topic. This can be a focal point for other contributions from interested collectors in this model. 

It appears that all examples examined have Mantetsu blades, some without a mei. 

It's basic design reflects the limited capability of equipment at the Nan-Man factory. 

The same on all known examples, is a heavy duty cotton fire hose material. 

Production looks like late 1944 through 1945. 

No paint is evident on the saya, but looks like a gun bluing or browning. 

Ito handle wrap colour, varies from brown to black . 

Small variations exist across the examples known to exist. 

I reach out to others to add more information, and photos of other examples .

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I had 8 of Mantetsu sword,2 are in Manchurian Rinji Seishiki mount. One of the MRS and one Wavy Hamon at my friends' place.

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For future readers that start here, and haven't followed the progression of Neil's investigation into this model, I'll re-post the following (current reference books speculated that this model is a "Home Defense" model created at the end of the war to prepare for Allied invasion.)

 

I posed the question to Nick Komiya, at Warrelics, if he had any data, or documents, describing the "Home Defense model" sword mentioned in several reference books. His response can be found here: http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/Japanese-militaria/1945-rinji-seishiki-icu-ventilator-762330/

 

Realizing that some have trouble with links, the majority of his evaluation is here:

 

"There is no chance that such a sword was made for civil defense units. Core members of civil defense were policemen and firefighters, but such personnel simply could not get swords, due to wartime shortages. This shortage got to the point of prefectural police chiefs receiving a nationwide memo dated 27th February 1945 saying that though huge efforts were being made to secure a supply of badly needed swords, no magic solution was in sight and that the only immediate remedy was to ask retired police and fire brigade members to hand in their swords for use by incumbents, should they still have them.

 

On the civilian front, the standard weapon of choice for Homeland Defense was the stereotype of sharpened bamboo poles, and there certainly was no plan nor intention to arm civilians with swords.

 

What Bruce is calling a Homeland Defense model can only be a last ditch effort to continue the Rinji Seishiki effort. As I already explained here, the heavy bombings of 1944 basically killed off the sword industry by spring of 1945. Manufacturing within Japan was in the process of evacuation and relocation to a remote area outside the normal target areas.

 

Reflecting this huge disruption to production efforts, two new weapon names suddenly appeared in the production volume plans for 1945 as published in May of that year. Those weapon names were 簡易銃剣 (simplified bayonet) and 簡易小銃 (simplified rifle). In the remarks column, the spreadsheet says of the bayonet “Without restricting the material or design, it should be outright simple, just enough to stab and hack with” Production planned for 1945 was as many as 1,200 thousand units. Remarks for the rifle said “Enhanced independence of the production locale”. When spelled out fully, that would mean “to get things done under one roof as much as possible without relying on parts suppliers all scattered around”. They had planned to put together 15,000 of these rifles. Both these simplified weapons were officially approved for production on 14th May 1945.

 

When mainland production was in such a stage of grasping at straws, continental facilities like Jinsen and Nanman were safe havens away from all the bombing, but unlike before, they no longer had the luxury of job distribution possibilities with the mainland and had to produce everything locally, lock, stock and barrel.

 

I am not enough of a sword fan to know how Mantetsu split jobs with mainland companies, but if they had been relying on Japan for the Koshirae, the tide of the times would have required all that to be Manchurian sourced as well.  

 

If they said of the bayonet "Never mind what it looks like or what it's made of, so long as it stabs and hacks", a Mantetsu blade with duct tape as Tsukamaki would have easily made the grade. Is that to be regarded as a new model? It would be more like the the Rinji Seishiki taking its last free breath before going on the ventilator."

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I like the right one Neil  :thumbsup:

 

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Trystan, when you see WW2 photos of troops with swords, many have a canvas or cotton cover for protection. Very few of these covers remain. I am leaving this on. But when I lifted it the handle looks perfect. 

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I saw most of them have white cotton on ,not many canvas though.

 

Trystan, when you see WW2 photos of troops with swords, many have a canvas or cotton cover for protection. Very few of these covers remain. I am leaving this on. But when I lifted it the handle looks perfect. 

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Trystan, when you see WW2 photos of troops with swords, many have a canvas or cotton cover for protection. Very few of these covers remain. I am leaving this on. But when I lifted it the handle looks perfect. 

 

 It's a tradition that goes back to Edo and probably earlier still, which makes sense when you have a silk wrap on the hilt. Very nice indeed to see an actual WW2 example. Thank you for the photo.

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Forgot this thread was started.  I'm copying my post from the other thread:

 

Couple of updates on this:

1.  Trying to find anyone, either here or on Warrelics, that has documentation or insight to the 連工, or Renkoh stamp (got the English pronunciation from Nick).  I'm starting to agree with Thomas (Kiipu) on the idea this was a contraction, like Mantetsu is for SMR, for the 大鉄道場 Dairen Tetsudō Kōjō Dairen Railway Workshop, who was the SMR shop making Mantetsu swords.  My reasoning is the location of the stamp on the end of the nakago.  It is not a normal location for an inspector stamp on Japanese blades.  Inspector stamps are found near the tsuba/seppa and on the mune.  The only inspector stamp found at the jiri of any blade is the M or W.  What we DO see is personal Kao and Hotstamps of  smiths, and we see stamped numbers which are either put there by smiths or by the fittings shops.  Either case COULD mean this Renkoh is the name of the shop, not an inspection stamp.

2.  I also think it's significant that the stamp is only found on the MRS fitted blades.  I wish it were true of ALL MRS blades, but it's not.  After perusing my files, I've found 6 1944 Mantetsu  and 2 1945 mumei Mantetsu in the MRS fittings:

1944

セ 1099

セ 1143

セ 1310 (with leather saya cover!)

セ 2430

セ 2575

?  199

1945

い 1170

Richard Fuller's mumei Mantetsu (unstated serial number)

 

Only 3 of those - 2430, 2575, and 199 - have the Renkoh stamp, although I don't have a full-length nakago pic of the 199 or 1066 blades (so they COULD be Renkoh stamped).

 

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That canvas protection is seen often on old ww2 soldier photos when the tsuka is shining white. Its very rare to have it. Neil has an outstanding collection.

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Chris, it is amazing how many WW2 photos show swords with white cloth covered tsuka. Not many survive today. This one has yellowed with age and use.  

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