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Short gunto


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Usual Gunto have a 66/67 cm nagasa, so short gunto won't be very much less long since under 61 cm, it would be a wakizashi.

 

I have seen several about 62 cm and I think a short 61 cm star stamped Nakata Kanehide belonging to George Trotter.

 

WW2 wakizashi are very rare BTW (not older wakizashi in Gunto koshirae, real WW2 made wakizashi).

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I know the idea of scarcity is subjective, but I my humble opinion, very rare is a stretch. Uncommon bordering on rare I think is more likely. However, tanto mounted in full military sword koshiare, now that is very rare.

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Dave, can I be cantankerous and suggest that the koshirae is a cut down '98, that at sometime it was modified to fit someone's wak? Evidenced by the out of proportion shape, and no hanger. Just my opinion of course. 

 

 It may very well be, and your comment is not cantankerous, but it's worth following the link and seeing the discussion. Face it, any very short blade in Gunto mounts is going to have a modified saya. There is another very short blade in Gunto mounts that was posted here I think by Vladimir (Fumei), hopefully he will chip in at some point.

 

 It's probably worth considering how we are going to define "short Gunto" though. Blades, koshirae, which type of koshirae. I have loads of "Pilot swords" on file  in wood and leather saya, and Mr Komiya posted a load of information on repurposed wakizashi here... http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/Japanese-militaria/family-short-blades-gunto-688110/

 

 But if we are looking at radically altered Koshirae.......

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After derailing the original intent of the thread, thought I'd better post a couple.

 

The first is a otanto in naval mounts. Cord sarute, high quality koshirae, the tsuka being much smaller and thinner, appropriately sized to the tanto. Some of the metal components aren't magnetic. Can't exactly test it, but I suspect that the habaki, seppa and maybe the carrying rings are silver. The blade was translated as Yoshisuke by Ray and Peter Bleed provided some additional info. Late Muromachi era hirazukuri otanto. Almost certainly an old family sword that would have been carried proudly by a relative.

 

Second is in the possession of someone who was on the board for a time after I passed it on. It is a Seki stamped wakizashi, nicely but minimalist mounted. Another nice little detail is the false saya extension you can see where the leather has bent. The saya ends and a block of wood has been fitted under the combat cover. As alluded to by Brian, it is very rare to find a wakizashi that was made specifically for the war.

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Thank you. It's a beautiful old piece and clearly was held in high esteem by whoever mounted it for military use. As was pointed out to me, the exact classification of what was considered a wakizashi and tanto changed over time, but this was a tanto when it was made and should still be considered such. As far as my experience goes, I've never seen another military mounting like it. Just a gorgeous blade and lovely (for military) fittings of great quality.

 

I don't really collect outside of 95s now, but this is something I've never been able to bring myself to part with.

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Brian's post #7 finally puts the last nail in the coffin of the so called "crew or tanker or pilot" sword. If a short crew sword was required, then they would have been made by an arsenal for standard issue or sale to officers during the war. 

They are all old blades remounted when the standard length for family blades sold to the war effort was reduced to 21 inches. And yes, you will find short blades in full size koshirae as well .

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Older wakizashi in Gunto mounts...plenty.

But factory/arsenal blades that are shorter than regular? I think those would be rare.

 

But they do turn up, with Seki stamps no less! Nota bene this is not a defence or promotion of the "Pilot Sword" legend, I think some of them were made for shorter officers, and others as a homage to Samurai times ( and probably in Buke zukuri koshirae originaly), and some for men who just preferred a shorter blade. Regarding heights of officers... 

 

http://nbakki.hatenablog.com/entry/2014/05/30/173407

 

I have already posted one such above, and I remember a Mantetsu Wakizashi turning up on here one day. They are rare, and reused old blades are greatly in the majority for the shorter Shin-Gunto.

 

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/23002-mantetsu-wakizashi/

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Dave, interesting attachments. I favor a short sword may be the result of a full length forging failure, where a wakizashi is preferable to no sword at all.  

I can remember reading some where the shorter swords were given to desk bound administrative officers that through rank required a sword, and the longer swords issued for field use. 

Can't remember seeing anywhere a Banzi charge with little swords being brandished. 

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If an officer wished and had the money anything was possible. Either abnormally large or small good quality Gunto are highly interesting in that regard as they both were likely custom requests by a well to do and eccentric officer.

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Older wakizashi in Gunto mounts...plenty.

But factory/arsenal blades that are shorter than regular? I think those would be rare.

 

Perhaps this Kai gunto falls in the category of shorter than regular factory/arsenal blades. The longer Kai gunto has a nagasa of approx. 26 inches and is signed by Hiratoshi with a Toyokawa arsenal stamp. The shorter is also a Toyokawa arsenal sword and is approx. 21 inches signed by Kiyomichi.

 

Dave M.

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I have one up for sale right now.  Unfortunately, as is oftentimes the case, the leather combat cover didn't last the years since the War.  

 

Here is the link to the listing and photos:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/362947947448

 

 

As can be seen in the photos, this is not some post-War made-up 'pilot's sword'--you can see the ito is original.  Not a fabulous blade, but this is definitely another example for this thread on short gunto.  

 

 

 

 

--Matt Brice

 

 

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This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one, unless your post is really relevant and adds to the topic..

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