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Arsenal Mark on RJT sword Fittings


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Yes, Bruce. 

The essential aspects are that the RJT scheme was formulated and "enforced" by the Army.

Tatara iron supplied to "approved" swordsmiths. Swords traditionally made in smith's regional forge. Polished locally, mounted locally, sent to regional centre for collection (inspected/stamped there) sent to various Kaikosha for sale.

From sale price the smith, tatara, polisher, mounter were paid.

I don't know what more we can say to doubters on this RJT system...the facts are clear...to get the star stamp the sword HAD to be made to strict Army guidelines...of tamahagane, HAD to be tradititionally forged and tempered...that is...a Gendaito. In fact, this RJT star system is actually a "guarantee" of a true gendaito. If a sword exists with a star stamp but is a showato...it must be a fake.

 

just a comment on some other comments in Nicks posts at warrelics that may be unclear...I have said elsewhere that the Yasukuni had its own tatara on site from 1933-1945 and a second tatara was established in Shimane Pref. c. 1933-1945....this one (I think) was mainly supplying the RJT scheme...Checking my sources however, I am in fact not sure if there was a tatara on the grounds of the Yasukuni shrine or if they too used the tamahagane made at the Shimane tatara...maybe someone can add info here.

Good stuff Bruce,

 

Edit to add....the Yasukuni Shrine tatara seems to have in fact been in Shimane Prefecture - see Yasukuni Swords pp84-93. I think I said it was in Yasukuni grounds because it is referred to ar Yasukuni tatara even though it was halfway down the country away. sorry about that.

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13 hours ago, george trotter said:

Edit to add....the Yasukuni Shrine tatara seems to have in fact been in Shimane Prefecture - see Yasukuni Swords pp84-93. I think I said it was in Yasukuni grounds because it is referred to as Yasukuni tatara even though it was halfway down the country away.

 

Ditto!  I am glad that I am not the only one that made this mistake.

Rikugun Jumei Tosho (RJT) Star Stamped Blades - Documentation?, Post #26

 

I think my mistake prompted Nick to expand on the whole matter as seen in post #31.

Rikugun Jumei Tosho (RJT) Star Stamped Blades - Documentation?, Post #31

Quote

Thus the Army launched the initiative to revive Tatara steel smelting by having the Nihon-to Tanrenkai 日本刀鍛錬会 Japanese Sword Forging Association raise money to open a new Tatara to be named the Yasukuni-tatara, which was located nowhere close to Yasukuni Shrine, but far away in the current Okuizumo-cho, Nita District, Shimane Prefecture.

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  • 2 weeks later...

New addition to the Niigata smiths, a second Akimitsu, 1943, with 1261 on the nakago, just 15 numbers apart from the other Akimitsu on file.  Important addition, as well, to the blades marked with both stamped numbers and painted numbers.  I'm checking with the owner, Leo2018 at THIS WEHRMACT-AWARDS THREAD to see if the fittings have any numbers.  So far, I haven't found any of these with numbers on the fittings.  But, to me, it doesn't make sense that the stamped numbers come from a fitting shop.  There would be no known purpose to painting a different number on the same blade.  But of course, I realize that I'm still just speculating.

PAINTED & STAMPED NUMBERS

 

Year

Smith

Stamped #

Paint

Notes

1942, Dec

Akihisa Star

Matsu577

“42”

Quality RS fittings

1943

Akimitsu Star

1261

“651”

Quality RS fttings

1943, May

Hiromasa Star

61; paint “60” date side

“19” on mei side

Low quality (Late?) RS, custom leather saya wrap

1944, Mar

Munetoshi Star

2353 star

“678”

Late RS possible re-fit, no 2nd ana

1944

Kanemitsu RJT (no star)

24 stamped

“22” paint

Mid-quality RS fittings; “1” on tsuba/seppa

image_5015235.jpg

image_5015242.jpg

image_5015737.jpg

image_5015740.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/28/2021 at 1:29 PM, Kiipu said:

The katakana characters タ TA, オ O, ク KU, マ MA, フ FU, and ア A, appear to be a numbering system used by an association (or arsenal) that had jurisdiction over northern and central Honshu.

 

I thought I would elaborate a little more on this prefecture numbering system.

 

北海道 Hokkaidō

ホ HO = Hokkaidō 北海道.

 

東北 Tōhoku Area

ア A = Akita Prefecture 秋田縣.

オ O = Aomori Prefecture 青森縣.

フ FU = Fukushima Prefecture 福島縣.

? = Iwate Prefecture 岩手縣.

? = Miyagi Prefecture 宮城縣.

マ MA = Yamagata Prefecture 山形縣.

 

@Bruce Pennington There are two swordsmiths in Iwate, namely 國安 Kuniyasu and 助廣 Sukehiro.  Could the Sukehiro below be a イ prefix for Iwate?   

Three Gendaito For Sale, Post #2

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12 hours ago, Kiipu said:

 

I thought I would elaborate a little more on this prefecture numbering system.

 

北海道 Hokkaidō

ホ HO = Hokkaidō 北海道.

 

東北 Tōhoku Area

ア A = Akita Prefecture 秋田縣.

オ O = Aomori Prefecture 青森縣.

フ FU = Fukushima Prefecture 福島縣.

? = Iwate Prefecture 岩手縣.

? = Miyagi Prefecture 宮城縣.

マ MA = Yamagata Prefecture 山形縣.

 

@Bruce Pennington There are two swordsmiths in Iwate, namely 國安 Kuniyasu and 助廣 Sukehiro.  Could the Sukehiro below be a イ prefix for Iwate?   

Three Gendaito For Sale, Post #2

Thomas, that's fabulous!  I think you've broke the code on that.  If so, it backs my theory that these kana/numbers are Army not fittings shops.

 

The イ prefix for Iwate is certainly possible, but unless I've missed one, I don't actually have a numbered blade marked with that, in the standard way.  All I have are:

ND                 Fukuoka  Nagamitsu (RJT)  イ313 on mune                                      Ooitame; NMB, RS

1943             Niigata     Akimitsu (RJT)         2138 (イ536 fittings)                         TimBlackburne, RS

1943, May    Niigata     Munetoshi (RJT)    松 1080 RS star (イ403 on fittings)  Trotter Collection

 

In you example of the "Three Gendaito For Sale, Post #2" I don't see a number.  Is there one?  Also, the Slough reference page lists Sukehiro as "Tokyo".  Any idea why the conflicting prefecture attributions?

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I think there is enough information at hand to create a thread just for the "Star Stamped Prefecture Serial Numbering System."  It would be a good place to discuss and post links to examples as they are located.  How about it Bruce?

 

I relooked at the Sukehiro and it looks like 1525.

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33 minutes ago, Kiipu said:

タ1369

Just checked it and I agree.  I've changed my records. 

 

As for a new thread, I could go either way.  I just cruised through the first page of this thread and can see that George's original intent was to discuss just what the title says.  Yet, the discussion is in one way or another interlinked as we pursue the question "Are these fitting shop numbers or Army RJT numbers."  The examples of blade numbers matching or not matching fittings, along with stamped numbered blades with painted numbers, are both important investigations into the overall question.  I'm happy having these intertwined discussions on one thread.  But if somebody wants to spin off the discussion of the kana/number stamping, I'm good with that too.

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On 7/25/2021 at 11:01 PM, Bruce Pennington said:

New addition to the Niigata smiths, a second Akimitsu, 1943, with 1261 on the nakago, just 15 numbers apart from the other Akimitsu on file.

 

Do you a have a picture showing the entire reverse side of the nakago?  Also, are there any markings on the nakago mune?  And finally, I will need your shoe size and blood type!

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2 hours ago, Bruce Pennington said:

These are the closest he posted.  I can ask him for full shots if you like.

 

Thanks Big Feet!  I was missing some of the kanji characters for that side and the photograph above filled in the blanks.  The only followup is to ask if there are any inspection marks on the nakago or nakago mune.  So far, the answer seems to be no on the early star-stamped blades?

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On 6/12/2021 at 7:25 AM, Bruce Pennington said:

On the other hand, a pre-RJT program blade by Munetoshi, July 1941, from Slough, stamped "106", so probably a fitter number but no fittings shown to find out.

 

More likely an example of an early Type 100 serial number.  Note that the serial number is stamped upside down compared to the early serial numbers that appear on star stamped blades.  For an example of another one, see @Windy illustrations.

Timeline Type 3 Gunto, Post #9

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2 hours ago, Kiipu said:

early Type 100 serial number.

Have you been tracking numbers on Rinji vs 98 blades?  I'll look through my files fully tomorrow, but a quick scan shows some pre-RJT blades stamped both ways.

 

This Kanetsugu is May '42, but no star, yet numbered the "RJT" way.

kanetsugu rjt smith date and no..jpg

kanetsugu RJT smith no star date 17.5 #1220 brass menuki.jpg

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9 hours ago, Kiipu said:

the answer seems to be no on the early star-stamped blades?

Interesting point Thomas.  A quick scan shows that most blades stamped with numbers on the mune aren't star-stamped, although I have 2 in 1944 with stars and mune numbers, but that fits your point about "early" blades not having them.  Looks like the practice began in 1942, which coincides with the Army assuming control of sword production.

1944, Jun

Masakuni (RJT) – Osaka

75 on mune Star

Volker62, NMB  RS

1944, Jul

Tomonari (RJT) – Kobe Hyogo

24 on mune Star

 

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Concerning the question of the orientation of numbers on the nakago of non-star RJT blades, Thomas was correct in that the 1941 blades are oriented with the mune down, cutting edge up like this:

566.jpeg.3862448e2d2b62c24c58974754220fce.jpeg

While the 1942 and later blades are oriented with the mune up, cutting edge down like this:

1220.jpg.ddd8228a05141f241ee84d42730289b1.jpg

 

While my database is still quite small, I found this to be true, with rare exception.  All star-stamped blades were marked with the mune at the top.  But the timing of the switch seems to also coincide with the official take-over of Japanese blade production by the Army in 1942.  So the reason may simply be due to that.  Also, the idea of the numbers being a Rinji serial system could have merit as the massive majority of the numbered blades in the survey are in RS mounts, however I found 5 numbered blades in Type 98 mounts and a few others with only oshigata to go by, but showing only 1 ana.  So, I don't think the evidence is very strong to support the idea, though, again, certainly possible.

 

Number Layout (RJT, no star)

 

1941, Jul

Munetoshi

106

Bottom

RS

1941, Dec

Akihisa

566

Bottom

RS

1941, Dec

Tomomaru

535

Bottom

RS

1941, Dec

Tomomary

621

Bottom

RS

1942, Apr

Masakazu

1129

Top

RS

1942, May

Kanetsugu

1220

Top

RS

1942, May

Ryuu

1301

Top

RS

1943, Jan

Shigemasa

2118

Top

Slough, no 2nd ana

1944

Kanemitsu

24

Horizontal, tip up

RS

 

 

Non-RJT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1943, Jan

Katsumasa

168

Bottom

T98

1944, Oct

Kanetsuna

506

Vertical

RS

1944, Dec

Katsumasa

254

Bottom, above ana

Unknown fittings

Type 95, Late

Jensen Arsenal

1551

Bottom

 

 

Type 95, Late

Jensen Arsenal

260

Bottom

 

 

 

 

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The following is coming from pages 114-115 of Military Swords of Japan, 1868-1945, by Fuller & Gregory.  It has a serial number of 383 which might be unique to the star-stamped blades made by the Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal.

Obverse: ☆ 東京第一陸軍造兵廠 勝信  = Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal Katsunobu.

Reverse: 昭和十八年八月吉日 383 = A lucky day in August 1943 383.

Nakago mune:  unknown.

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On 6/7/2021 at 6:00 AM, Bruce Pennington said:

Came across a second Gunma prefecture smith with the "Ku" + number.  It's on page 167 of Ohmura's new book entitled 真説 戦う日本刀―“最高”と呼べる武器性能の探究 .

Tsugunobu (RJT), Gunma, July 1944 RS fittings. ク70-5

 

Below are the characters for those that do not have access to the book.

Obverse: ☆ 継延作 = ☆ Tsugunobu saku.

Reverse: 昭和十九年七月日 ク705 = A day in July 1944 KU 705.

Nakago mune:  markings unknown.

Tang holes 目釘孔: = 2.

 

Edit: It can also be seen over at Ohmura's website.

無銘・「継延」(群水刀)・池田國忠

Edited by Kiipu
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4 hours ago, Kiipu said:

The following is coming from pages 114-115 of Military Swords of Japan, 1868-1945, by Fuller & Gregory.  It has a serial number of 383 which might be unique to the star-stamped blades made by the Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal.

Obverse: ☆ 東京第一陸軍造兵廠 勝信  = Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal Katsunobu.

Reverse: 昭和十八年八月吉日 383 = A lucky day in August 1943 383.

Nakago mune:  unknown.

I have 2 造兵廠 made Gunto,both has star.

One is Type 98- 東京第一陸軍造兵廠 尚武  昭和十八年九月吉日  #453。

One is NS  -東京第一陸軍造兵廠 宣威 昭和十七年十二月吉日 #47?

 

WechatIMG2500.jpeg

WechatIMG2501.jpeg

WechatIMG2502.jpeg

WechatIMG2503.jpeg

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There are four swords of interest in Modern Japanese Swords by Leon & Hiroko Kapp, and Leo Monson.  One is an early serialized Type 100; two are unserialized, star stamped 98s; and one is a prefecture marked Type 100.  The last one has been mentioned already and the details are at the link below.

Arsenal Mark on RJT sword Fittings, Post #12

 

Early Type 100, Serial Number 798

Pages 76-77.

Obverse: 昭久 = Akihisa.

Reverse: 昭和十七年一月 798 = January 1942 798.  The serial number 798 is upside down.  See post #136 above for additional examples.

Nakago mune: Unknown.

Tang holes 目釘孔: 2.

 

Masatsugu Star Stamped Type 98, Unserialized

Pages 82-83.

Obverse: ☆ 肥前國正次 = Hizen kuni Masatsugu.

Reverse: 皇紀二千六百二年八月吉日 = A lucky day in August 1942.

Nakago mune: Unknown.

Tang holes: = 1.

 

Hiromitsu Star Stamped Type 98, Unserialized

Pages 136-137.

Obverse: ☆ 筑前住梶原廣光作 = Chikuzen jū Kajiwara Hiromitsu saku.

Reverse: 昭和十八年八月吉祥日 = An auspicious day in August 1943.

Nakago mune: Unknown.

Tang holes: = 1.

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4 hours ago, Kiipu said:

The following is coming from pages 114-115 of Military Swords of Japan, 1868-1945, by Fuller & Gregory.  It has a serial number of 383 which might be unique to the star-stamped blades made by the Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal.

Obverse: ☆ 東京第一陸軍造兵廠 勝信  = Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal Katsunobu.

Reverse: 昭和十八年八月吉日 383 = A lucky day in August 1943 383.

Nakago mune:  unknown.

Thanks Thomas!  Just goes to show that I need to be re-reading my reference books!  There's bound to be stuff in them that meant nothing to me the first time I read them.  I didn't have this one in the files, but now I do!  On that note, I do have two other:

1943, Jun

Nobutake (RJT) – Tokyo 1st

283 Star

Ammad, NMB RS

 

1943, Jun

Nobutake (RJT) – Tokyo 1st

218 Star

Jim Manley, NMB

6B4A4B7E-2FF8-4628-A675-AB7AE45FCB2C.thumb.jpeg.8dbb8b4de8de38574cd30655705a83e8.jpeg2944FA63-417E-49A9-9862-3011E95FCB87.thumb.jpeg.e02a1cdd079e81bbcefc1c46a816986e.jpeg901311A2-4FCA-4176-ABF7-25DB7E2E7062.thumb.jpeg.f3fca20fdda20def4b668edfbbc5fa11.jpegDFD17C05-777C-4464-BFFB-74B8DC304114.thumb.jpeg.79f0f6cb359bef2e25f29a4bb3db12c6.jpeg

 

 

screenshot.jpeg.3327ee4e478e75c405cd7b914edc9102.jpegscreenshot2.jpeg.c85b46d8c14f0449ecc3b7bce74d9016.jpeg

[Second blade added in Edit]

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24 minutes ago, Bruce Pennington said:

Thanks Thomas!  Just goes to show that I need to be re-reading my reference books!  There's bound to be stuff in them that meant nothing to me the first time I read them.  I didn't have this one in the files, but now I do!  On that note, I do have one other:

1943, Jun

Nobutake (RJT) – Tokyo 1st

283 Star

Ammad, NMB RS

6B4A4B7E-2FF8-4628-A675-AB7AE45FCB2C.thumb.jpeg.8dbb8b4de8de38574cd30655705a83e8.jpeg

 

 

 

Bruce

The Smith is Nobutake,same one who made my sword.Not 勝信 Katsunobu.

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20 minutes ago, BANGBANGSAN said:

The Smith is Nobutake

Yes, I simply meant that I have 2 other Tokyo 1st Arsenal mei, with numbers, like that.

 

BTW you're killing me with the Japanese only translations!!! GRRR.  Either I have little time to look this stuff up, or like now, lots of time, but fuzzy-headed from a good strong beer on an empty stomach!

 

So check my here.  Your 2 are:

Nobutaka Dec 1942 #47

Naotake Sep 1943 #453

 

??? I seriously think I've jumbled that all up!

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22 minutes ago, Bruce Pennington said:

 

 

So check my here.  Your 2 are:

Nobutaka Dec 1942 #47

Naotake Sep 1943 #453

 

That's correct, both swords have Tokyo 1st Arsenal mei and star.

And I'm wondering how many smiths use Tokyo 1st Arsenal mei? I knew there are more than a few smith work at Tokyo 1st Arsenal.

Now we have 3,勝信 Katsunobu, 尚武 Naotake, and 宣威 Nobutaka.

Tokyo Dai Ichi Rikugun Zoheisho (東京第一陸軍造兵廠)
These smiths made swords at the Imperial Army's arsenal factory
in Akabane, Tokyo (1943-45).  These swords are usually inscribed
'Tokyo Dai Ichi Rikugun Zoheisho'.  Others may have also worked
here on a part-time basis.
     1.  Nobutaka (宣威) 
     2.  Kanemasa (兼正)
     3.  Katsunobu (勝信)
     4.  Morikuni (守国)
Other
The following smiths include:
1.  Those working in the late Bakumatsu period on into the Meiji
Period.
2.  Smiths not formally affiliated with any of the above groups
who nonetheless made swords in Tokyo.
3. Smiths which have not yet been proven to be connected with
any of the above groups.
Akimi (昭美) (Denshujo?)
Akitaka (昭高) (Denshujo?)
Akiyuki (昭通) (Denshujo?)
Genji (源次)
Hisahiro (久弘)
Hidetoshi (秀俊)
Hidemori (英守) 
Hirotsugu (広次)/ Hirotsugu (寛次) ( Sokanユs son )
Hironaga (寛長) (Enshin ?)
Hisayoshi (久義)
Ishinsai (一心斎)
Kiyokane (清兼) (Denshujo?)
Kunihide (国秀) ((kodai Tsunatoshi)
Kunimitsu (国光)
Kunimune (国宗)
Kunihiro (国博) 
Kunitada (国忠)
Kunitaka (国隆)
Korehide (是秀) (kodai Tsunatoshi)
Korekazu (是一) (kodai Korekazu)
Kunimasa (国和)
Masatada (正周) ( Suzuki Masaoユs group)
Masanori (正則) (Joukeishi Masaakiユs student)
Masakazu (正一)
Masanobu (正与)/Masataka (政賢)
Masayoshi (政善)
Masatsuna (聖綱) 
Masasuke (正助)
Mitsukazu (光一)
Miyotaro  (三代太郎) 
Morikuni (盛国) 
Morimichi (守道)
Moritoshi (盛俊) ( Kurihara Nobuhideユs student) 
Morotaka (師敬)
Muneshige (宗重) 
Nanta (楠太)
Nankoku (南国)
Naokatsu (直勝)/ Naomune (直諒) (Sandai Naokatsu; Naomune is
early mei)
Naohide (直秀) (Naokatsuユs student; Naotane group)
Naohiro (直広) 
Naotake (尚武)
Noriyuki (則行)
Saneoki (真興)
Saneyoshi (真義) (Kato Ichitaro (加藤一太郎); Hanazawa
Tanrenjo?)
Sanezumi (真澄)
Senshu (仙綉)
Shizukuni (鎮国) 
Sukenobu (祐信) 
Tadakazu (忠和)
Takaoki (高興)
Takeshi (武)
Tokiyoshi (時吉)
Tsuguesuke (継え助)
Ujiyori (氏白)
Yasufusa (康房)
Yasushige (康重) (12th generation Shitahara)
Yasumoto (康元)
Yoshisaburo (与三郎)
Yoshihiro (義広)
Yoshisada (義定)
Youichiro (興一郎)
Yoshitame (義為)
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3 hours ago, Kiipu said:

Early Type 100, Serial Number 798

Pages 76-77.

Obverse: 昭久 = Akihisa.

Reverse: 昭和十七年一月 798 = January 1942 798.  The serial number 798 is upside down.  See post #136 above for additional examples.

Nakago mune: Unknown.

Tang holes 目釘孔: 2.

 

Masatsugu Star Stamped Type 98, Unserialized

Pages 82-83.

Obverse: ☆ 肥前國正次 = Hizen kuni Masatsugu.

Reverse: 皇紀二千六百二年八月吉日 = A lucky day in August 1942.

Nakago mune: Unknown.

Tang holes: = 1.

Thanks Thomas!  I have a Kapp book but it's not this one.  Any chance of getting some phone photos of those pages for my files?  I've logged them into the charts from your post, and can use screenshots of your post, if photos aren't likely, though.

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42 minutes ago, BANGBANGSAN said:

Found one more smith with Tokyo First (東京第一陸軍造兵廠)

正武  Masatake 昭和十九年六月(1944 June) #644,Type 98,no star.

That's super, Trystan, thanks!

 

You know, these blades made by RJT smiths directly for the Tokyo 1st Arsenal remind me of something Chris Bowen said, quoting one of the smiths - that blades made at the factory didn't get the star.  It was blades made elsewhere and brought to the arsenal that were inspected and stamped with the star.  Hmmmmm, maybe he was right.  If so, these blades are likely gendaito.

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15 hours ago, BANGBANGSAN said:

That's correct, both swords have Tokyo 1st Arsenal mei and star.

 

Professor BangBangSan, thank you for the additional 東京第一陸軍造兵廠 nakago pictures.  There was a NMB post from 2013 that pictured the Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal swordsmiths from the 1943 exhibition.

Notice anything interesting???, Post #7

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4 hours ago, Kiipu said:

 

 

Professor BangBangSan, thank you for the additional 東京第一陸軍造兵廠 nakago pictures.  There was a NMB post from 2013 that pictured the Tōkyō 1st Army Arsenal swordsmiths from the 1943 exhibition.

Notice anything interesting???, Post #7

Thomas

Thank you much for that info, it's just what I was looking for.

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