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Hello everyone and thank you in advance for your time. I hesitated to post this question that is would seem totally off the wall, but here it goes. Can a Japanese sword be judged with a mostly destroyed Nakago or for that matter a Nakago that has been majorly altered or completely cut off? I know that there is a lot to learn from the Nakago but what if we can’t see it? How would the NTHK or NBTHK deal with something like this? Can the blade by itself be examined enough to give someone good information or without a Nakago would it only be a good guess?  Thank you all so much.

   MikeR

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Yip. There are many cases where katana are shortened to wakizashi length. O-suriage often leads to the loss of most of the nakago. They should still be able to attribute it to a school or smith. But hopefully the nakago is at least reshaped properly and not just a mess.

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1 hour ago, Michaelr said:

Can a Japanese sword be judged with a mostly destroyed Nakago or for that matter a Nakago that has been majorly altered or completely cut off?

 

 

In short, yes. In kantei a sword is judged by the workmanship, the workmanship confirms the "mei (nakago)" and not the other way around. But, as we can see from O suriage papered swords there is a wide range of possibilities from almost definitely, yes, this person made this sword, all the way to a general school/tradition attribution. The better the sword the more likely the answer will be more specific.

 

1 hour ago, Michaelr said:

Can the blade by itself be examined enough to give someone good information or without a Nakago would it only be a good guess?  

 

see previous answer.

 

1 hour ago, Michaelr said:

I know that there is a lot to learn from the Nakago but what if we can’t see it?

 

Then there will always remain questions about what exactly was the original nakago. One adage from a collecting point of view says "half the value of a sword is in the nakago."  

 

1 hour ago, Michaelr said:

How would the NTHK or NBTHK deal with something like this? 

 

The sword would (almost undoubtedly) get bounced at shinsa. A trained professional could refinish the nakago, but that's a whole other conversation in itself. 

 

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Thank you both for the quick responses. I will add some pictures of the sword that originally got me to this questions as soon as I get home. I will also be bringing the sword to the Orlando show this coming weekend. Thanks again. Hope to post pictures before the show.

     MikeR

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Looks like the nakago has been reduced to a threaded rod to secure the pommel.  This is a rather different case to any of the normal modified nakago that we expect to see, more extreme even than the re shaping done to some swords to fit Kyugunto koshirae.

Pretty much all the comments we have made fall away, I have no idea how NBTHK would regard this but if it were mine I would be tempted to get rid of the hilt and put it in shirasaya as I really like the blade.

 

All the best.

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