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Help identifying a WWII-era sword


ELK
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Hello,

 

I came across this forum while looking for information on Japanese swords, having recently been gifted what I understand to be a WWII-era sword. I have very little information about it beyond a few pictures (and I am not actually in posession of it yet), so I was hoping that the members here might be able to offer some help figuring out who made it. There is a signature, which I'm fairly certain says "Seki ju Fujiwara Kane-?? saku", but that one last kanji has me completely stumped. There is also a stamp just below the habaki (Showa?). A picture of the nakago is attached here, along with a couple more images of the blade that that were sent to me.

 

I thank you for any help you can provide.

 

Kind regards,

Etienne

 

IMG_2184_small.JPG

IMG_2172_small.JPG

IMG_2169_small.JPG

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Thank you for the response, Bruce, very much appreciated. I don't think there is anything written on the other side, but I can already ask to get that confirmed. I will get back to you.

 

Just out of curiosity, would there be any particular reason to sign Fujiwara Kanenao instead of Ishihara Kanenao, or does that matter at all?

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Fujiwara is a name that has historical, aristrocratic connotations, and so people of importance often claim descendency from the Fujiwara clan.

It is very common on swords, but even historical figures, like IeyasuTokugawa, claimed connections to the Fujiwara clan as it gave authority and legitimacy to their administration.  

 

It doesn't add or detract from the sword. In this case, its just way of signing a name. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fujiwara_clan

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Thank you Steve, good to know. I guess I was hoping that might say something, like roughly when the sword was made - especially since I have now confirmed that there is no additional writing on the other side of the nakago.

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Hello again,

 

If I could ask your help once more, my brother was also gifted a sword at the same time I was - would you be able to help with this one as well? It has what looks like a Seki stamp on the nakago.

 

Thanks,

Etienne

 

 

 

IMG_2198_small.JPG

IMG_2197_small.JPG

IMG_2206_small.JPG

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4 hours ago, Bruce Pennington said:

Hopefully a someone will get this for you, but I'm leaning toward

敏光 (Toshimitsu)

toshimit.jpg

 

The mei style is different, but seems to be the same name.  During the war, there were often more than one guy using the same name.

 Bruce

It's 備前國赤崎住俊光作(今泉俊光)not 敏光

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9 minutes ago, Bruce Pennington said:

I thought about that, but the Japanese sword index.com spells it with 敏光 (Toshimitsu) So it didn’t look right.

Yes, it's a little confusing, Both 俊光and敏光 pronouncing Toshimitsu.

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On 1/2/2021 at 8:35 AM, ELK said:

Hello again,

 

If I could ask your help once more, my brother was also gifted a sword at the same time I was - would you be able to help with this one as well? It has what looks like a Seki stamp on the nakago.

 

Thanks,

Etienne

 

 

 

IMG_2198_small.JPG

 

 

It looks like 濃州住良光鍛之

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  • 10 months later...
On 12/28/2020 at 2:04 AM, Bruce Pennington said:

Improved the pics a bit.  Just got to my computer, and you are right about it being a Showa stamp.  When you get the sword, check the other side for a date, if there is one.  I'd appreciate it.

 

 

Hello,

 

With apologies for the delay updating this, I now have the Kanenao sword in hand, so I have been able to take some new pictures of it. It now looks to me like there is some very faint writing on the opposite side of the nakago, and possibly also something just below the signature itself:

 

DSC_0252.jpg

DSC_0253.jpg

DSC_0251.jpg

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I don't see anything under the signature. 

The reverse side has painted markings on it - we usually call them assembly numbers, probably used to help match the sword with its intended furnishings. In this sword it looks like it says 白八 (white 8).

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Thanks for the added photos Etienne!  I noticed your dating question from back in Dec of 2020, sorry no one tried to answer yet, but both blades were made during the war.  As they are not dated, it's really not possible to pin them down to a specific year.  The Kanenao, with a Showa stamp COULD be in the 1940 plus/minus range.  Most dated blades with the Showa stamp, in my survey, are 1940/41.  I'll post my chart below.  The problem lies in that out of the 176 Showa-stamped blades I have on file, only 42 of them are dated!  So, when were the non-dated blades made?  No one can say for sure.  You'll find the same issue on old Nihonto.  There are far more undated blades than dated. 

 

The mostly likely year for the Yoshimitsu blade would be 1942.

 

STAMP SURVEY

Stamp

1935

1937

1938

1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

No Date

Showa

1

1

1

4

20

13

1

 

 

1

130

Seki, large 5mm

 

1**

 

 

3

9

43

3

3

 

108

Na

 

 

 

 

 

3

3

43

5

 

1

Seki, small, 3mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

14

7

 

Gifu Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

15

32

2

Gifu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

5

17

2

Se & Gi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

9

 

Fuller Gifu*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

6

See note

Saka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

5

 

8

Kokura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 (Kyu)

KO

1

 

 

 

 

 

2

2

1

 

 

江(E)

Kokura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

熊Kuma

Kokura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Nan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

Tan

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

4

TO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4(zoheito)

1

Yama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

HE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Matsu#

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

#

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

1##

 

 

 

1 +

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

Toyokawa

Anchor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

21

Tenzoshan

Anchor

 

 

 

1

1

 

4

4

 

 

5

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