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WWII Blade translation


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Hey everyone,

 

Got a blade here that belongs to a local police officer; his father had brought it back from the war. The blade itself is pretty grimy and the nakago had some red rust present. So while I did some work to remove the grime as gently as possible and oiling the blade/removing the red rust, I also took some pictures of the signature. I am unsure if the blade is a showato or gendaito. The hamon was impossible to see. The mounts themselves appeared to be early war: the tsuba was fairly thick, and it had a chuso-style retention clip, with the remains of a fairly nice wrap. Double mekugi-ana. So I am betting on the signature being the best way to tell.

Any ideas guys?

20210717_113146.jpg

20210717_113157.jpg

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Hmm... Gifu Shinoda Ujifusa then? As the Mino Ujifusa only did 2-kanji signatures according to Hawleys. Being that the Gifu Shinoda Ujifusa was a student of Watanabe Kanenaga, it seems there is a high probability that the blade is gendaito.

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Hmm.. that just makes it a bit more confusing.  I suppose my question is now: if this blade was made as a Takayama-to by Ujifusa, does that mean its more likely a showato or did he receive training by Kanenaga before working at Takayama and therefore a gendaito?

The problem with it being a Takayama-to is that this blade is in army mounts and is very decidedly original to those mounts as it took quite some effort to dislodge them from said mounts. I can't imagine why a naval sword would be moved over to very well-fitting early war army mounts during the war.

 

Edit: to also clarify, there was no showa/gifu/arsenal/inspector's stamp of any kind to be found on the blade. Just the signature above. A date would have been very helpful; but sadly, no such luck.

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I did my best to remove the red rust. The mei was even harder to read after I had dealt with it and I didn't want to remove the patina, but I'll give him some pointers on how to care for it too. Thanks Stephen!

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Hi Chris, 

 

Looking again, I’m pretty sure it’s Takayama to. The yama kanji is vague but the others are there. 
 

I know next to nothing about military blades so I’ll leave it to you guys to debate. 

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I see what your saying John...i dont think its from that forge. They usually have who made for and and polished by and list of all ther cousins family members etc okay okay I'm exaggerating but the nakago is usually full of kanji.

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Chris and friends,   it looks to be Shinoda Ujifusa.   Have a look at the Naval Swords (part 1) in the NMB Downloads. 

About the smith on p. 9 and many examples of mei pages 49 to 62.  Page 49 very similar cut mei.

Mal 

 

Mei:  Takayama To Ujifusa saku kore    高山刀氏房作之

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Thanks Mal!

So what explains it being mounted in very early war army mounts? The officer's father brought it back from the war mounted in said mounts and it even had a GI leather wrap job done on the handle to protect it from wear as you see from time to time. Did Takayama sell swords to the army?

And my other question is: does that confirm this blade as showato?

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The pic with tsuba looks early war and he looks to have done some blades then with 2 holes.  Early on he did produce for Takayama forge, but he was probably working in Seki.  I think he was likely working independently, filled orders and sold other work.  Probably after blades were made they could have been fitted in army or navy mounts.  A number of these tosho also moved to different forges/companies.   Does your sword have a stamp e.g. Sho/sakura?   But I think pretty sure to be Showato ....but I havent seen it.

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The blade has no identifying marks on it that would automatically make it from Gifu/Seki, etc. Only the signature is present; I looked over that blade closely with a jeweler's loupe to make sure when I had it in hand and I am confident that there was none. I checked both flats of the nakago, spine, etc. The habaki wasn't able to slide down fully, but I was able to check under it as well.

 

Edit: in regards to this guys history, did he train under Kanenaga before or after working for Takayama? If it lacks arsenal marks, even if made for Takayama, I wonder of the possibility of gendaito. Or does it being marked as a Takayama-to mean it is 100% going to be showato? This is pretty interesting stuff, I never knew how much interaction could exist between different forges during the war. I am starting to think that without the opinion of a togishi, it would be impossible to know but I would much rather know either way!

One other thing that I just realized while researching Takayama-to. Apparently they all have what is known as a wide tip at the yokote. This one did not, it was a very slender boshi while looking down the mune. So Mr. Ujifusa did not made that aspect of the blade in the typical Takayama-style.

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I cant add much more.  But even without stamps, say 1940, it is likely to be Showato.  If it was an actual "Takayama-to"  it would have a rather long nakago, likely with a curve in it, plus a short and thick kissaki, and often suguha hamon.

But it is signed Ujifusa, and this one was from Seki.

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Comparatively speaking, the nakago is fairly long and slender with a gentle curve but it lacks the thick kissaki. It does not have the "Tanrensho ni oite" that he would have put on there while working at the Takayama forge. So perhaps after he left, he made more to be given over as part of a contract the Takayama forge had? That doesn't explain the odd fact that it is in early-war army mounts though..

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