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Mike T

please help with information on my grandfathers sword

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Hello my uncle brought me a sword today that my grandfather acquired during World War II. From the research I've done in the past hour I see that it is a Shin-gunto sword.  I would appreciate any insight that anyone has as to a possible year that it was made and any other interesting information like who would have carried this as far as rank. I know the hilt is missing and I would assume that it is not a good idea to try to find a replacement and keep the sword as it is. Also just for my own knowledge if I can have any input as to the swords current value in its condition that would be great. Thank you very much

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Yes, it is a Type 98 Shin Gunto, and a nice one at that. The handle and fittings are of the good quality type, especially the handle wrap (Tsuka-Ito), the tassel is a plain brown example with no rank differentiation, usually you have blue & brown tassels for LT. - CPT, red & brown for MAJ - COL and orange & brown with yellow tassels for Generals (see picture). If you check the pommel there may also be a silver family crest.

 

If you can carefully take off the handle and take pictures of any writing on the tang of the sword it will tell us who made the sword and when if there is a date. As for the Tsuba (sword guard) there are many original replacement parts available but as these swords were all handfitted you may have to make sure of your measurements and use some shims to make it fit. There should be a small button and catch on the other side of the handle that passes through the Tsuba and locks the sword into the scabbard, we will need some more pictures of all of these things to help you further. Please also sign with your real name so we can properly address you per forum rules 👍

20200830_123346.thumb.jpg.0eb9532e8f83a8fae11c4c1446d9efa9.jpg

 

 

 

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Hi, name please,

Here is a care and handling brochure you should read:

http://nbthk-ab.org/cleaning-maintenance.php

If the pin in the handle is missing, be sure to replace it ASAP.  The point (kissaki) of your sword appears to be longer than usual for Shin Gunto; there is a chance your blade is older than the mounts.  A good picture of the tang (nakago) should tell us.

Pelican Rapids in Minnesota?  I spent summers as a kid on Pelican Lake.

Cheers,  Grey

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Anxious to see pics of the the nakago, too. 

 

I began my collecting when my dad died, and I got his sword.  It was missing the tsuba/seppa (hand-guard and spacers) like yours, and parts on the saya (scabbard).  It is quite acceptable to buy authentic WWII parts to re-fit your sword.  I paid $200 for a complete tsuba/seppa set from a Japanese dealer on ebay.  It didn't fit my sword well (too tight) but guys reassured me that it was ok to file the insides of the openings to make them fit.  It is, after all, exactly what the fitters did for each sword when they were made during the war.

 

Here's how mine looked originally

A1.thumb.JPG.25ad7c5fac29759f962f3baa5907fc5c.JPG

 

Then with the newly purchased tsuba & seppa.  They wouldn't slide all the way onto the nakago:

NewTsubaNoFit.thumb.jpg.938f5b2ea1568f1f90a734a83eb78d06.jpg

 

After filing:

NIceFit.thumb.jpg.58a1ccafc863ff1891d2e20ded76a1a7.jpg

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The all brown tassel is for Gunzoku,   a uniformed civilian employee of the military.  They were given ranks equivalent to those of the military and if high enough required to carry a commissioned officers sword. Often they were technical and admin specialists with a higher education level than most soldiers. 

 

 

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Looking a little closer it seems this is one of the rare examples with silvered fittings. A very fine sword, probably Gendaito. It will be mighty difficult to find a silver plated Tsuba to match this sword in that case.

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Your sword has the "potential" of being quite valuable judging from special order fittings and upgraded Tsuka. However, really need to see pictures of sword, particularly  the nakago ( part beneath handle.)

 

Dave M.

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On 8/29/2020 at 9:34 PM, PNSSHOGUN said:

Yes, it is a Type 98 Shin Gunto, and a nice one at that. The handle and fittings are of the good quality type, especially the handle wrap (Tsuka-Ito), the tassel is a plain brown example with no rank differentiation, usually you have blue & brown tassels for LT. - CPT, red & brown for MAJ - COL and orange & brown with yellow tassels for Generals (see picture). If you check the pommel there may also be a silver family crest.

 

If you can carefully take off the handle and take pictures of any writing on the tang of the sword it will tell us who made the sword and when if there is a date. As for the Tsuba (sword guard) there are many original replacement parts available but as these swords were all handfitted you may have to make sure of your measurements and use some shims to make it fit. There should be a small button and catch on the other side of the handle that passes through the Tsuba and locks the sword into the scabbard, we will need some more pictures of all of these things to help you further. Please also sign with your real name so we can properly address you per forum rules 👍

20200830_123346.thumb.jpg.0eb9532e8f83a8fae11c4c1446d9efa9.jpg

 

 

 

is there a technique I should know in order to remove the handle? 

 

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On 8/29/2020 at 10:35 PM, Grey Doffin said:

Hi, name please,

Here is a care and handling brochure you should read:

http://nbthk-ab.org/cleaning-maintenance.php

If the pin in the handle is missing, be sure to replace it ASAP.  The point (kissaki) of your sword appears to be longer than usual for Shin Gunto; there is a chance your blade is older than the mounts.  A good picture of the tang (nakago) should tell us.

Pelican Rapids in Minnesota?  I spent summers as a kid on Pelican Lake.

Cheers,  Grey

I will see if I can remove the handle and post some pics. yup I am just north of Pelican Rapids. 

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The hole you see in the handle should have a bamboo peg (mekugi) that can be puched out.  The tsuka (handle) slide right off after it's removed.  If there isn't anything in there, then the tsuka is just wedged on because of the missing tsuba/seppa, and can be convinced to come off.  The official way is to hold the sword upright in one hand and firmly smack your wrist with your other hand to jar the tsuka loose.  I have had mixed results with this method depending upon how tightly rusted or jammed it is.  If it doesn't work, tapping with a rubber mallet seems to do the trick.

Peg1.jpeg

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Be sure to replace the pin.  Without a pin, the blade can fall out of the handle and shatter its point on the floor or slide down inside the scabbard and shatter its point in the scabbard bottom.  Either way you just lost a lot of money.

Grey

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Mike here, 

Thank you everyone for the help so far. here are some closer pictures of the handle and I was able to get the handle off. it was missing its bamboo pin so with a little force I got it off. Anymore information would be great. thank you

20200831_184311.jpg

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Hi Mike,

The sword is dated Showa Ju Go Nen Hachi Gatsu Hi (Showa period, 15 year, 8 month day.  Or: a day in August of 1940.)  The signature is Masa and then all I can think of for that 2nd character is Moto (odd way to write Moto; I may be mistaken).  Masamoto, if I'm correct, is the smith's working name.

Now go whittle a new pin.

Grey

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14 minutes ago, Grey Doffin said:

Hi Mike,

The sword is dated Showa Ju Go Nen Hachi Gatsu Hi (Showa period, 15 year, 8 month day.  Or: a day in August of 1940.)  The signature is Masa and then all I can think of for that 2nd character is Moto (odd way to write Moto; I may be mistaken).  Masamoto, if I'm correct, is the smith's working name.

Now go whittle a new pin.

Grey

Thank you so much Grey. I appreciate the information very much. I will put a new pin in for sure. do you have any insight if this might be a silver plate or not? thanks again

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It was a form of electro plating from memory. Whatever you do please don't consider having it replated, these are quite rare and special. 

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Bruce, I don't think hiro works.  There are only 6 kanji with radical 10 and 2 extra strokes and moto is the only one that makes sense in this context.  Mike, I'll leave it to those who know more about the military swords to answer the silver plate question.

Grey

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1 minute ago, PNSSHOGUN said:
2 minutes ago, PNSSHOGUN said:

It was a form of electro plating from memory. Whatever you do please don't consider having it replated, these are quite rare and special. 

 

Oh yeah I would never get it replated. I will display it as it is now. I also have a Japanese family flag my grandfather brought back. From what some have told me the way its signed it seems to be a gift flag and not one a soldier carried. I have all the letters my grandfather sent home while in the war so I'm hoping I find somthing in there referencing both the sword and flag. 

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5 minutes ago, Grey Doffin said:

Bruce, I don't think hiro works.  There are only 6 kanji with radical 10 and 2 extra strokes and moto is the only one that makes sense in this context.  Mike, I'll leave it to those who know more about the military swords to answer the silver plate question.

Grey

Thanks again Grey. I have a Japanese family flag by chance would you be able to read it if I take pics? 

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Sometimes the guys that can translate cruise through.  If they don't in a day or so, bring the mei over to the Translation Assistance Forum.

 

Your metal parts have some residual "silver" in the crevasses, and have that same dark look you see on the plated ones.  Neil (IJASWORDS) posted some that have that same look, on another thread.

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They are silvered, and the Saya is the usual colour that goes with them.

It is an uncommon find, so please don't restore or paint. 

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