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WWII officer's sword ID and info?


Mad Dog
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I have a sword that I acquired years ago as part of a WWII US Marine vet's estate. I got it along with other items identified to this Vet. ( don't know why family would part with these things, but???) Sword was still in it's WWII wooden shipping case from Japan to his mother. I would appreciate any info from you guys that know about these. I can see no name on it. It is excellent condition and still has grease (cosmoline? on blade). I will try to attach photos, but I am new here so..., Thanks for any help, Mad DOg

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Thanks for comments guys. However, this sword was sent back to U.S  (as far as I can see by label) in June 1945. I know very well that the Chinese can copy anything, and do so freely (I lived in China for a while), but at the end of the war, I think they had more worries than copies of Jap swords. I attach photos of the labels on the old box that the sword came in. Were these things being copied and sold that early after the war. Again, I am looking for info, but do not trust quick rejections. Cheers, Mad DogDSC_0169.thumb.JPG.6d3260cfea8e9cfe2156fa28f7a736a4.JPG

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Can you tell me why you feel this is not original? Details!...  I  am not hung up on whether the sword is original or not, I would just like to know why, with some good evidence. I Have serious doubts that this sword, original or not, found it's way into a shipping crate, in 1945,  that I know is original. Thanks Cal

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Cal,
Remove the handle and post pics of the tang. That will confirm 100% that this is a fake.
But the features that indicate this mainly are the kissaki (tip) which is very typical of Chinese fakes and VERY un-Japanese. The wrap is totally wrong or poorly done. The fittings (pressed brass?) are not Japanese.
Post more pics of the parts disassembled though, and we'll be able to tell more.

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Hi Cal, there are a few key points we look at with authentic vs fake swords, a few of them can be found here and should be easy to identify for anyone: http://www.jssus.org/nkp/fake_japanese_swords.html

 

Now with your example the main points are the metal fittings are crude tamped brass on the scabbard (a common feature on these Chinese fakes), poor quality cast fittings on the handle along with a crude handle wrap. Then we come to the blade which appears to have a acid etched Hamon and straight cut Kissaki or tip. These are both features you won't really see on real Japanese swords, even the machine made ones produced in WW2. The documents you provided are real and authentic, there is no doubt about that, but the sword must have been swapped out at some point. Here are genuine WW2 Shin Gunto, you can clearly see the difference between these and your example:

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 It looks to me like someone took the real sword out of the box and dropped a fake in there. This could have been done anytime in the last 20 years or so when the Chinese wall-hanger industry went full on. Bloody annoying I know, especially if you paid for a real WW2 bring back!

 As to how we know, we see and handle real Nihonto and Gunto all the time, and see Chinese fakes all too often. 

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Cal,

Is the cosmoline hard and dry?  If so, that would added weight to the idea this sword was the item shipped.  But it's still a Chinese fake.

 

There were fakers, even U.S. and Aussie G.I.s making faked flags and swords DURING the war.  So it wouldn't surprise me if the Chinese had their own element in the game.  Or like Dave said, someone long after the war, even the Vet himself, could have traded the sword for another.

 

The hamon (temper line) is clearly artificial

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And the blade tip is classic Chinese

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Here's a Japanese-made blade tip

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i agree it is 100% fake,  and the type you see that have been made in the past 20 years not 80 years ago,  You mention " I got it along with other items identified to this Vet. ( don't know why family would part with these things, but???) " -- maybe they are more savvy than you think. Maybe they kept the real item and managed to off load the box with a modern fake they purchased for the purpose.  Or maybe one of the relatives took the real sword and substituted this and the ones who sold to you were not aware.   either way it is not what was send back 80 years ago....  --- this is my opinion

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Hi Guys,

Thanks for taking time to answer my inquiry with detail and photos. I can now see that this sword is not near the quality of the real thing. While disappointed, I prefer to know the truth. Knowing nothing about these swords, but having collected other WWII stuff for a long time, I knew the shipping crate was original. Never considered that the sword in it was not!!  ( I acquired this collection 10 -15 years ago). The other items that I mentioned in this collection I also believe to be authentic, including Sgt. Day's uniform, campaign hat and dress hat, two knives (a K-BAR and  PAL), leggings (with his name), and a silk Japanese Good luck flag, profusely signed. I did not acquire these to resell for a profit, but in my old age now thinking about what to do with them. Thought about another collector or a museum for the personal stuff of Sgt. Day. I was toying with trying to return the flag and sword to Japanese family, if possible. Glad I contacted you guys about the sword. Would have been embarrassing to try to return a fake sword!! One final question and maybe not appropriate for this site,,,, Concerning the flag, does anyone know of a "reliable" source  to help identify and possibly return the flag. I can send photos if this helps. 

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3 hours ago, Mad Dog said:

possibly return the flag

Cal,

Be sure to read these threads on the subject:

 

and

https://www.warrelics.eu/forum/Japanese-militaria/government-Japan-will-now-act-intermediary-case-you-wish-return-war-relics-families-679338-2/

 

I am no expert on the subject, but while the effort is good-hearted on your part, I've read mixed reviews on returned items.  Sometimes the effect is healing, providing closure; but sometimes it causes anger and more pain.  Sometimes the guy sees his item on ebay the next week after going to great pains, time, and expense to make the return.  But in the end, I suppose it's like the story I heard - 2 guys walking by a wino-beggar.  One guy gives him $5, and the other questions him about it.  He says "It's in my heart to give.  It's up to the beggar how he uses my gift."

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The idea of given the flags back is noble. But in reality it doesn't work. The oban society stores hundreds or thousands of these flags which was given to them in boxes. And the chance for given back to the family is Zero. So after a long thinking about this. I came to the conclusion too it is better to hold and preserve it as a collector.

 

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Cal - I have reached out to Michael Bortner in the past regarding flag info (translations, authentications, etc) and he is most personable and helpful.  He has his own website if you google his name.  Photo of his book cover attached  -  Regards, Dan 

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