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NCO Katana

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Japanese WWII NCO Katana. I have a legitimate one that has the habaki and saya(by the hanger) stamped that I would like to sell for a friend of mine. He has owned it thirty+ years. The legend has it that when the occupied forces destroyed the swords, they had stamped a few before throwing them into the sea or giving them to the U.S soldiers. It has been confirmed legitimate by a NZ collector who remembers seeing a similar stamping on one in the UK at auction many many years ago but didn't purchase. Sadly google is not very helpful so I'm reaching out in search of greater minds. I'd really appreciate some references to this legend if any one can help. Blade and saya throat are 29483. Habaki and stamp beside saya hanger are 37884.








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Quite an interesting story.  I have not seen this on 95s before, but I recall seeing an officer sword or 2 with numbers put on by the Japanese personnel working with the Occupation forces, labeling swords for storage or disposal.  I think it was at a navy base?

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Thank you very much for the reply, that is interesting and sadly(for me) the closest I've come yet to confirming the story.

Numbers on the habaki for an NCO sword just reek of fraud, when questioning my friend about the extra numbers

he told me the story. Finding references to it have proven difficult, which will make a hard sale.

The difference in a proven stamp and a story is a few dollars especially if it's rare.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Genuine sword, but the additional habaki and saya numbers... great story, which without a reference to back it up, a story is worth nothing. Not something I would like to try and explain were I hoping to sell the sword. With a primary source to confirm the stamping of swords by the occupation forces, it would increase value. As it is, it greatly detracts. Afraid I can't recall ever hearing of this or seeing another 95 like this. There are some 98s with numerical habaki stamps, but I don't recall them having corresponding saya numbers. So even were you to try and tenuously create a link there, it doesn't add up I'm afraid.


Good luck on your search to verify the occupation force practice. Please do keep us up to date if you do find something as every little bit of extra information is invaluable to researchers and collectors.

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Thank you very much for the reply Shamsy, much appreciated.

My friend and I have searched many articles and books, no links can be found at this stage.

I'm working on a sales pitch worthy of folklore and legend, but I agree, it's a hard sell.

Just one glimpse of it being true, would make life a lot easier.

In saying that, I have had offers to purchase, it's just how much one can get I guess.

Thank you again

Best regards. 

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The ones Shamsy mentioned are what we believe to be swords made in occupied China for Japanese forces.  Could this simply be a Type 95 used/issued over there?  Who knows.


I wish, truly, that I had a good memory.  On this NMB site there is a discussion, or a document in the records, discussing the Japanese officials that were in charge of inspecting and sorting confiscated swords, looking for the nihonto/gendaito that could be saved.  In the report, it stated that the inspector put a number on the item.  That particular discussion came on the heels of painted numbered blade, so I don't know that this one is the same as that.  But considering your story, it very well could fit the practice, although after reading what I just wrote, a Type 95 would not qualify for a "National Treasure" nihonto.


Just brain-storming ideas.

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1 hour ago, Bruce Pennington said:

The ones Shamsy mentioned are what we believe to be swords made in occupied China for Japanese forces.


I was referring to this thread specifically, which may be of interest to you, Paul:


I find the idea plausible, Paul. I'm not sure why they would do it though (since the swords already had numbers) and seeing that this is the only example, if it was a practice they employed even temporarily, I would expect to see a handful of these pop up by now. Intriguing, but I am remembering how much money I wasted chasing stories over facts and restraining myself from trying to buy the sword for my own collection.

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Wow, thanks for that, I had a perusal of the site when I joined for a thread, I can't have looked hard enough.

Similar style numbers as the civilian sword pictured in there. 

It's a puzzler, even post war if the numbers were done to 'up' the value, they'd match the numbers surely.


It'd be much easier just to find a replacement habaki!


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