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Arsenal Mark on RJT sword Fittings


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5 hours ago, george trotter said:

These are what I have found for NIIGATA

Thanks George.  That will give me plenty to search for, for now.  One thing I just realized is that these katakana stamped numbers only show up in 1943 and '44, with most of them, currently, in '44.  So that will really reduce the pool of blades to find others.  Well, off to the searches.

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12 hours ago, george trotter said:

Igarashi      Akimitsu      NIIGATA  star      1943   'ta' 1246

Yamagami Munetoshi* NIIGATA  star  3/1944    'ta' 2353    (*his later mune mei kanji)  and BTW, don't know where the error crept in, but its  fittings are not Type 98, they are Type Rinji (see montanairon pics above).

Got my first hit:

Sadaroku, 1943, Ta 1361; fittings not shown but only 1 mekugi ana; thread by our own @vajo

So 3 in the Niigata area with the same katakana.

 

Like much of this kind of work, I went through several Sadaroku with no numbers at all, but the few I've seen like that were dated earlier than '43.  I haven't finished the search on him yet.

 

Edit: Make that 4: Feb '44 Sadaroku, 2383.

Update: No luck on numbered blades for Sadakiyo and Yoshimitsu

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Great stuff. Yes, I looked at that original pic you linked to Bruce, so now you have three from Niigata...all " ta ".

Seems it might be a Prefecture mark....lots of research still needed...

Life never gets boring with RJT.

Regards,

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Found a Star-stamped Kiyokatsu, 1943, number 86, but no katakana.  Don’t know what to think about that.

 

I am finding blades by these guys with no numbers, with numbers but no katakana, and with katakana and numbers.  Regardless of what that means, if the katakana that do show up seem to be from particular areas, then we still have something to work with.  haven’t finished the Kiyokatsu search.

 

edit: finished, no luck in him.  @george trotter if you can give me some names from one of the other provinces I’ll run a search on them.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.e9309584724c8c29268dcf91c82c2d13.jpeg

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On 4/13/2021 at 9:54 PM, Bruce Pennington said:

Found a Star-stamped Kiyokatsu, 1943, number 86, but no katakana.  Don’t know what to think about that.

 

I am finding blades by these guys with no numbers, with numbers but no katakana, and with katakana and numbers.  Regardless of what that means, if the katakana that do show up seem to be from particular areas, then we still have something to work with.  haven’t finished the Kiyokatsu search.

 

edit: finished, no luck in him.  @george trotter if you can give me some names from one of the other provinces I’ll run a search on them.

 

 

I think it a bit early to make any conclusions beyond saying (it seems) that "ta" is Niigata. and seems to be only on RJT swords.

But whose code...is it RJT code? RJT contract mounter shop  code?  

This "ta"/ number system seems to come in maybe late 1942 and is in use by 1943, already at 1000+

About names from other provinces Bruce, will all keep our eyes open for any katakana/number coded swords for sure, but maybe best to stick to the Niigata ones for a while and see what turns up?

I mean...See if they appear consistently on RJT tangs and fittings, or just fttings ...or tangs with different marks on fittings...or? (my head hurts).

regards,

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1 hour ago, BANGBANGSAN said:

"阪“  mark

Yes, thanks though.  Saka of the Osaka Army Arsenal.  Yours and @Ed Hicks Sadakatsu are the only 2 I have from our postings.  I have 5 others from books and Richard Fuller's survey.  The 3 from Fuller's survey are "unknown mei" and the 2 from the Cillo/Slough book are Masayoshi and Sadashige.  All dated in 1943-1944.

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I was just reading an older post about  RJT and saw this...can't remember if we've discussed this before, but it may be the answer to the katakana mark....sorry if I'm repeating...

Looking at a post by vajo titled "Informations about the RJT" Oct 25 2017.

I looked at response post #11 dated Aug 4 2019. In this Bruce, you quote Chris Bowen about how the RJT system was set up, worked etc...

Again in your  response post # 13 Aug 4  2019 you mention inspections etc.

 

The basic fact is that the RJT sent inspectors into the regions to check/stamp or reject the swords produced by each RJT contracted smith...

So I was thinking....COULD IT BE that the katakana mark is simply the mark of the RJT inspector...not so much the province? If the inspector was reassigned to another province the mark would turn up on tangs from there also.

Or am I going loopy again....

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7 hours ago, george trotter said:

COULD IT BE that the katakana mark is simply the mark of the RJT inspector...not so much the province? If the inspector was reassigned to another province the mark would turn up on tangs from there also.

Or am I going loopy again....

I have long wished for some real-world insight into the inspection process, or a directive about it, or an old interview with one of them.  Why do some star-stamped blades have no other stamps at all, while others have a single, double, or even triple additional stamps?  Why do some have, for example, a Na & Se, while others have double Na or double Se?  But now you're going to make my head spin, too!

 

What you propose very well could have been the truth.  It would take finding 2 different katakana on blades from the same prefecture, to verify that idea. Along that line though, I recall @Kiipu pointing out that the Tenzoshan anchor was a military inspector stamp specific to the Tenzoshan production.  Same thing for several of the Army arsenal branch offices.  The marks were specific to the operation being supervised.  My gut feel, until we see evidence otherwise, is that these are tied to the area.  Hopefully we will find other katakana-marked blades to point one way or the other.

na

名古屋陸軍造兵廠監督課

Nagoya Army Arsenal Supervisory Section

seki

名古屋陸軍造兵廠関監督班

Seki Supervisory Unit of Nagoya Army Arsenal

saka

大阪陸軍造兵廠監督課

Ōsaka Army Arsenal Supervisory Section

ko

小倉陸軍造兵廠監督課

Kokura Army Arsenal Supervisory Section

yama

小倉陸軍造兵廠松山出張所

Matsuyama Branch Office of Kokura Army Arsenal

matsu

小倉陸軍造兵廠大阪監督班

Ōsaka Supervisory Unit of Kokura Army Arsenal

e

小倉陸軍造兵廠松江監督班

Matsue Supervisory Unit of Kokura Army Arsenal

kuma

小倉陸軍造兵廠熊本監督班

Kumamoto Supervisory Unit of Kokura Army Arsenal

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Yes, I think it is a matter of recording marks/numbers/provinces/smiths until maybe we'll see a pattern emerge that is firm enough to make a bit of a judgement on.

Keep up the good work Bruce....we'll keep sending you stuff as we come across it.

Regards.

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George & Bruce, for interest I have been chasing WW2 (actually any Showa period) smiths from Tokushima, on Shikoku.  Turns out to be a challenge as not many and little info.  But of note many were RJT and they had a close relation with Osaka Arsenal.  So many of them had star stamps, plus some other stamps.  Attached some examples: 

Masaharu  looks like "saka" stamp?, cant see a star, Nov 1944.

Shigefusa star and "ko" Aug 1942.

Shigefusa star and 'ko" Nov 1942.

The "ko" looks odd for him as used by Kokura, but he was an Osaka RJT also lived there for a while.    I am still trying to compile info, so if any members have ANY material on Tokushima tosho, I would greatly appreciate it.   2098250578_14Masaharu.thumb.JPG.952e50f0e8a039e90b102cc698234996.JPG

 

29 Shigefusa.JPG

30 Shigefusa.JPG

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1 hour ago, mecox said:

Shigefusa star and 'ko" Nov 1942.

 

The First Factory of Kokura Army Arsenal only made blades that were shipped out to the various swordsmiths for finishing.  These blades will normally have two inspections marks on the nakago mune.  The top one is the final inspection mark and the bottom one is the factory inspection mark.

ホ = 1st Factory of Kokura Army Arsenal.

 

One can see how these blades were distributed for final finishing and assembly by looking at this post linked below.

Arsenal Stamps., Post #384

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Thomas, that is interesting aspect, but Shigefusa was from Tokushima, he also set up his own forge there, and he was an appointed RJT at Osaka Arsenal and lived at Osaka for a while, and was ranked in exhibitions.

You seem to be saying that this blade was made in Kokura and distributed out, and that he "finished" it.  Very hard to believe that. However,  I have not examined the blade...maybe I misread the stamps, also there was some discussion over the original  post in 2011. cheers  Mal

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15 hours ago, mecox said:

You seem to be saying that this blade was made in Kokura and distributed out, and that he "finished" it.  Very hard to believe that. However,  I have not examined the blade...maybe I misread the stamps, also there was some discussion over the original post in 2011.

 

I tracked down the sword in question and it is a strange one for sure.  It is an early "star" stamped blade coming via the RJT program.  Unfortunately, little is known about the early days of the RJT program.  It has only one marking on the nakago mune, a katakana ホ.  I think it is safe to say that the blade was not made by the 1st Factory.  It could well be that the finished blades from this region were simply forwarded to Kokura for inspection.  In which case, the 1st Factory could have carried out the inspections.  Kokura Arsenal did have a sword making forge, as did the other arsenals as well; but, I do not know the location of this particular forge.  I would stick with what you have written for this one with the exception of changing the translation from KO to HO.

Help with Star stamped shingunto please.

 

Looking forward to seeing your next missive about sowrdsmtihs.

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I wish I had a better memory. ... I read somewhere, recently, that Army RJT inspectors went around to the forges and collected blades, packaged them, and sent them to Tokyo for storage and distribution.  Could this process account for the stamps on this blade?

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On 4/22/2021 at 7:44 PM, mecox said:

Thomas, that is interesting aspect, but Shigefusa was from Tokushima, he also set up his own forge there, and he was an appointed RJT at Osaka Arsenal and lived at Osaka for a while, and was ranked in exhibitions.

You seem to be saying that this blade was made in Kokura and distributed out, and that he "finished" it.  Very hard to believe that. However,  I have not examined the blade...maybe I misread the stamps, also there was some discussion over the original  post in 2011. cheers  Mal

Mal,

I'm going through my Star-stamped files and the first one I found with Star and Ko is of Hidehiro.  Slough says his "last known residence" was Okawa city, Sakami.  My google search says that is in Fukuoka.  Assuming he did his work there, that's nowhere near Tokyo.  So I'm thinking my "collecting, packaging, and shipping to Tokyo" might be the answer to these inspection marks.

 

But wait!  (idea just hit me) - these blades are from 1942.  We don't see Osaka, Nagoya, or other arsenal stamps show up until 1943 and 1944.  Maybe the inspectors that traveled all over the country carried Tokyo Arsenal inspector stamps because they were from Tokyo!

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15 hours ago, Bruce Pennington said:

I wish I had a better memory. ... I read somewhere, recently, that Army RJT inspectors went around to the forges and collected blades, packaged them, and sent them to Tokyo for storage and distribution.  Could this process account for the stamps on this blade?

Bruceie boy...look at post #39 above....we were talking about vajo's post of "Informations about Rjt' - ref your post #11  where you quote Chris Bowen quoting Enomoto Sadayoshi about travelling inspectors and work outside and inside arsenals.

It's OK mate, we all have "memory" days.

Regards,

 

Edit to add:

Speaking of Enomoto Sadayoshi --- on the matter of RJT production statistics, there is a mention in Tsuchiko "New Generation of Japanese S/smiths" p.161 that quotes RJT smith  Enomoto Sadayoshi as saying that under the RJT quota scheme a swordsmith had to to supply "more than ten swords every month".

This seems to fit the statistics I have for my RJT smith Tsukamoto Masakazu who supplied 62 swords to the RJT scheme for the 6 months 14/8/1944 - 25/2/1945 and his brother (Tsukamoto) Kasama Kiyokazu supplied 59 for the same period.

Hope this is useful info...

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6 hours ago, george trotter said:

Bruceie boy...look at post #39 above....we were talking about vajo's post of "Informations about Rjt' - ref your post #11  where you quote Chris Bowen quoting Enomoto Sadayoshi about travelling inspectors and work outside and inside arsenals.

It's OK mate, we all have "memory" days.

Ahhhh.  A mind is a terrible thing to waste!

 

10 blades per month - 1 blade every 3 days!  That's quite amazing for traditionally made blades, and that assumes no days off.

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Finished looking for RJT blades made in the Kukuoka area - none found with numbered nakago (for the record, the ones I searched were Hiromitsu, Hisakuni, Kazusuke, and Kunimitsu).  I'm working on the Gumma area now, but not finding many blades made by Kiribachi Kanemune.  If anyone has examples, please post, whether numbered or not.  The lack of numbers might wind up telling us something useful as well as the numbered ones.

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Looking at arsenal & inspection stamps, this is my take:

(a) all arsenals had their own stamp which is a kanji and an abbreviation of the arsenal name:  Kokura "KO"  小  , Nagoya "NA"  名    ,  Osaka "SAKA"   阪.

(b) these are mostly on RJT blades with STAR stamp.

(c) usually stamped on nakago mune with arsenal stamp at top and "HO" below it.

(d) the "HO" stamp  ホ  is katakana, and has been described as "inspection stamp of Kokura Arsenal first factory".  OK, but that does not mean specific to, and I think more likely applies to arsenal "first factories" in general.  I made a note in my article on Taguchi Masatsugu page 8 (NMB Downloads):  

( ホ “ho” which is katakana (shorthand for non-Japanese words) and its use has been translated to mean “first factory” of Kokura (see Ohmura website). It is likely this “ho” comes from 本部 “honbu” which means "main / primary / headquarters" (for example, as in “Rikugun Heiki Gyōsei Honbu” 陸軍兵器行政本部 [Army Ordnance Administration Headquarters] ). [for summary of inspection stamps, see Bruce Pennington paper on stamps, page 13 table, NMB Downloads])

(e) this indicates to me that "HO" is a head office stamp, and a common stamp carried by inspectors who were based at the various arsenals, plus visited forges in their local region.  Inspectors visiting forges has been confirmed.

(f) however, there are some RJT STAR blades with a "HO" stamp but no arsenal stamp.  This suggests the tosho is local to, or afffiliated with, that arsenal.

(g) also it appears to me that the bulk of the traditional blades with a STAR and made by RJT were made in forges outside of these arsenals.

(h) we have many examples of blades from the various arsenals that have their arsenal stamp plus "HO".  They cannot have all come from Kokura.  

How do these points  all fit with the evidence?

Mal

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16 hours ago, mecox said:

[for summary of inspection stamps, see Bruce Pennington paper on stamps, page 13 table, NMB Downloads]

 

If you are referring to page 13 of Stamps (v.5.5), I did the translation and created the table which you are talking about.  It is based upon the 1943 inspection mark regulations.  The citation can be found in post #6 in this thread.  I forwarded the table to Bruce so that he could include it in the stamps document.

 

16 hours ago, mecox said:

How do these points all fit with the evidence?

 

Are you aware of the fiscal year 1944 planning document entitled 昭和19年度鍜錬刀軍刀生産計画表? If not, see frames 2 and 3 of the document for 鍜錬刀 [tanren-tō].

15.昭和19年度鍜錬刀軍刀生産計画表 昭和19年4月15日

 

For those that prefer English, Nick has already translated the document and it can been seen at the link below.

Why did the army revive the Samurai sword design in 1934 for officers?, Post #16

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On 4/22/2021 at 5:14 PM, Kiipu said:

The First Factory of Kokura Army Arsenal only made blades that were shipped out to the various swordsmiths for finishing.

Arsenal Stamps., Post #384

 

This statement now appears incorrect.  Some of the blades that I linked to in post #43 are "star" stamped (and some are not?).

 

The document 昭和19年度鍜錬刀軍刀生産計画表 that I linked to above indicates that Kokura Arsenal did not supply finished military swords [完成軍刀].  They did transfer sword blades [刀身] though to the Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal.  Presumably, Tōkyō would then farm out the blades to the sword shops to be fitted out.

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Ok, I know - too much stuff all at once!  But this one blew my socks off.  A Miwa Kanetomo, June 1942 with a "Wa  Ho  1" on the mune.  It doesn't seem to have a star, but he was RJT at some point in the war.  Best I could find on his location was "Seki".

post-3254-0-57342800-1435500182_thumb.jpg

post-3254-0-79130300-1435500175_thumb.jpg

post-3254-0-88291600-1435500287_thumb.jpg

post-3254-0-98207600-1435500187_thumb.jpg

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