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jt nesbitt

What In The Cornbread Hell Is This?

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Hey Y'all!

 JT Nesbitt here...I have a forenzic mystery on my hands, and thanks to the Virus, plenty of time to try and solve it.

 I am an industrial designer, and for the past couple of years, gotten infected with the Nihonto sickness. My journey has been a pure delight. I have been collecting mostly smaller insignificant, but papered and imported directly from Japan, legit Nihonto to train my eye and learn some of the language. I am a student without a teacher, just noodling around and buying stuff that appeals to me.

Last month I came across something that just didn't fit in with everything else that I have been looking at, so on impulse I bought it. Now this sword has become a real pain in my ass. I can't stand the riddle of it anymore so I signed up here to access greater minds and real expertise....here goes:

 This sword has a really short ha of right at 24", and it's shape is sorta like a mini-tachi that is wide and thick. More belly towards the nakago, saki-zori style. It came directly from Japan with Daimyo registration.

  The reason for my purchase is the jihada. It is masame/itame and so perfectly rendered that I reckon that it is either a saijo masterpiece (not at all likely), or was executed with a powerhammer sans tamahagane, using modern steels.

  There is only one tiny kizu in the kisaki (see crummy photo). That's it, only ONE in the whole blade.

  There are very faint file marks radiating from the shinogi towards the ha (see terrible oshigata by me) that appear to be done with a mill file by hand and not completely polished out.

  I think that the lack of a discernible hamon is due to being not properly polished because the steel in the ha-saki area seems to be denser and have a different texture.

 The Nakago is mui-mei and pretty featureless, except for two microscopic punch marks on the mune side, right at the end (very weird). Judging by the level of corrosion, I would believe it if you told me that this sword were 100-120 years old. It came in a nicely done shira-saya that was probably built in the 1950's.

 So that's about it...What the heck is this? Thanks for your kind attention!!! --- JT

 

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Unless I am mistaken, your torokusho is dated Showa 45 (1970) so it would not be considered a daimyo torokusho.

 

My impression is that this is a WWII era sword. Indeterminate if this is a true gendaito or one of the quasi-traditional swords made during the war. Sugata is spot-on for that time period.

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Katana-like proportions but small?

 

Perhaps a shichi-go-san sword or other sword made for the child of a wealthy individual/samurai?

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Thanks for the quick replies! I have a very nice Oosawa Showa Gunto in my collection and I have examined them side-by side. The quality of this sword is WAY beyond just weapon for common soldiers. That's the problem, it's too good to be a mass produced blade, but no way is it made in the traditional manner. -- JT

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Could we get some measurements for this blade? And a picture of aforementioned shirasay?

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Sure Chris - Width at the Mune-machi is 1.3"  Width at the kissaki is .830

 Thickness is .290 at the Mune-machi  .210" at the yokote

Nice custom copper hibaki and decent shirasaya...

 

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Could that be one of those Han-tan-ren we’ve discussed in the past? Looks very much like one of them.

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Yes, that is what I was implying above JP. I personally have little doubt that this is a war-era sword of non-traditional manufacture. The sugata, dimensions, appearance of the nakago, lack of a mei, increased thickness at the kissaki-mune, etc, etc are exactly what you would expect to see.

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I thought the blade was proportioned much smaller! I have to agree with Ray here, this looks like a showato.

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So has anyone ever seen the two little punch marks on the back of a nakago before? The are not a later addition as the age around and inside of them is consistent with the corrosion on the rest of the nakago.

 Forgot to mention that the mikugi-ana is way too perfectly round and crisp to be hot-punched. Definitely done on a drill press. -- JT

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 Just to point out that 24 inches is not a small nagasa, Shin Gunto regs give 22 inches as the minimum, and there seems to be a fair amount of leeway allowed.....

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Could be made for a tachi koshirae in the wartime era. These where very "modern" at the time.  :dunno:

Has a tachi shape indeed.

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Dave-

 Thanks for the length info-  I should have written "This sword is short compared to the only Showa Gunto that I have access to".

So is it your opinion that this is some kind of Gunto type blade?

 During your study, have you ever encountered a sword with the two little punch marks on the nakago (see photo)? Thanks for your help! -- JT

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To my eye, this looks like a mumei ww2 period gendai that's suffered from a acid polish.

 

Or maybe a hanten-to with what appears to be a habaki made by a person with no thumbs

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Dave-

 Thanks for the length info-  I should have written "This sword is short compared to the only Showa Gunto that I have access to".

So is it your opinion that this is some kind of Gunto type blade?

 During your study, have you ever encountered a sword with the two little punch marks on the nakago (see photo)? Thanks for your help! -- JT

 

 This is likely made for a Gunto. As for the punch marks, I have one with a dot punched nakago mune, but higher up, nearer the habaki. My guess is they are something done during manufacture as part of the production process and of no real significance.... Assembly marks or such like. I am open to suggestions though.

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I have one with a 3 centre punch marks towards the end of the nakago, not on the nakago mune.

Yours is now the 2nd one i have seen, looks like Dave's would be a third example.

Without knowing otherwise, i would tend to agree with Dave that it is something done during the manufacturing process

 

 

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This may or may not be relevant.... Helping out in the Royal Armouries Leeds (UK) I saw that every single Breast and Back from a 17C haul from France was marked inside with a varying number of "punch" marks in different arrangements, done to match fronts to backs. In this case the marks were made with the corner of a rectangular faced hammer. It's a quick and dirty way of marking to match!

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I will once gain start by saying that I really do NOT like to disagree with anybody - especially Ray, but... this does NOT look to me like a Showa gunto. There is lots of forging in this blade. And I think that rather few gunto were being registered in 1970.

What about a Bakumatsu/Meiji creation.

Peter

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My opinion, Unsigned Seki Gendaito, that has been acid cleaned. Look at the Kissaki and you can still see pitting.

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My guess is early Showa era, one reason being the long tang with just one mekugi ana and little in the way of patina. As for the forging, well they did a lot of original stuff at that time, and I wonder at how skilled the assayers were back in the day, or even if they were happy to judge anything with a hada as legit......

 

 Something of a clue here, where a Japanese site refers to old dealers using the term Han tanren to. Link to Usagiya here...http://www.ksky.ne.jp/~sumie99/sunobe.html

 

 

A highlighted sreen shot below. 

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I have an unsigned Toyokawa anti-rust blade with 2 punch marks on the rear of the nakago mune.

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