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Type 98 Gunto


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Hi guys,

 

It is through circumstance that I find myself here. Long been a collector of military history, with a decent and varied collection of WW2. I decided it would be a good idea to add some Pacific to my collection, specifically by a Type 95 arsenal sword, and am now down 4 tsubas, a 1943 Nambu 94, a "Good Luck" flag, a parade and cavalry sword, a Type 95 and 98....and then I found this site.

 

In any case, it is still a new field to me, been a long time lurker here and enjoyed learning from all the various posts. I specifically enjoy the open mindedness, fairness and respect demonstrated on this forum. 

 

So I finally bite the bullet and try contribute, despite that I am an absolute beginner in what has proven to be very deep waters from my original desire to simply have a Type 95.

 

I would like to post my Type 98, and generally ask opinions on it, and how best to preserve it. I have some issues, looseness around the seppas, a slight "lack of tightness" on the tang in the tsuka, you can feel it. Likely millimeters, but curious on opinions.

 

Some thoughts - a rewrap is likely, but am curious about how it clips into the saya. It catches onto the metal guard rather than the wooden saya - this piece likely lost? Am I mistaken? There is also some movement on the sword in the saya, likely due to the lost of piece of saya pictured? The seppas and tsuba can also move very slightly if pressed upon. 

 

Many thanks for any insights that may help me understand this Type 98 better. 

 

Good weekend all.


David

 

 

 

 

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I'll let other more experienced collectors answer your questions, as I am new to Gunto collecting, as well. I do have to compliment you on your Type 98 - looks like a very nice example! The Mon on the kabutogane is something special, too.

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David,

Just looking as the photo of you tsuba (guard) and seppa I can say:

You have 6 seppa...there should be 8 here. The two larger "4 lobe" seppas that match that design on the tsuba are missing.

Get 2 of these 4 lobe seppa and I think you will probably find the assembly will become tight on the tang.

Regards, 

IMG_6584 mumei koto tsuba.jpg

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Hi guys,

 

Thank you for the comments and information so far. Very much appreciated.

 

John, I will upload a photo of the tang. I am presuming it is a Showa smith. I found no other stamps on the tang.

 

If you want any other images, happy to share.

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Hi George, that is very helpful. I was not aware that 8 seppas were standard for a Type 98. Something new learned here wherefore my thanks. Where can I buy the right parts? What do you think about the catch mechanism? Should it catch in the wood or against the metal? Many thanks again.

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7 hours ago, Bull McCabe said:

It also appears a piece of tsuka is missing so the mekugi only grips effectively on one side. I am wondering how best to repair this. Any thoughts anyone?

A common issue unfortunately, beyond fashioning a better fitting Mekugi I'm not sure of a remedy for this. 

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9 hours ago, Bull McCabe said:

I was not aware that 8 seppas were standard for a Type 98.

David,

There was no "standard" seppa configuration.  Most of the time, you'll see 4 or 6.  Getting into 8 or a grouping with the "fat" seppa, often comes with custom or upgraded fittings.

 

For the menuki fit, I think once you add the missing seppa, the whole thing is going to tighten up enough that you won't notice it.  One side, tightly fitted should work sufficiently.  I have a gunto (or 2) with a menuki so short it doesn't go through all the way out the other side, and the fit is tight.

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Thanks for all the tips guys! Getting a couple of these seppas, EBay would be the right place for that?
 

Ill give it a try and see how it goes. First Type 98 so everything is new.

 

If buying a new tsuka, I presume it is a trial and error exercise based upon sharing measurements beforehand? I note koshirae are often for sale on this site.

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Hi david,

The guys have answered this question on seppa on your ISHIHARA YOSHISADA SAKU showato (I'm surprised it has no "sho" or "seki" stamp on the tang)...let me just add that 4 o 6 seppa is the most commonly found, but 2 of them are always the "4 lobe" large seppa...they are missing on yours, so yours happens to be an 8 seppa set. You should search on-line, you'll find some.

regards,

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Thanks again for all the tips. Ill try get one online and update with the results. Need to get a decent kake display at some stage too.

 

About the showa stamp, this is new to me, possibly I overlooked it. I will recheck the tang in finer detail.

 

Best, David

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A quick question on the showa stamp. I read previously this means a non- traditional manufacture through military logistics, such as the machine made Type 95s? Is this assumption correct?

 

Is this blade not a traditionally smithed blade? If so, it would still be expected to have that stamp?

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Stamped swords are still a cut above the NCO ones. Showato are often still made by a smith, hammered and shaped and tempered although in oil. In other words, not fully traditionally made, but far more work than a mill steel NCO blade.

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David,

I could be wrong about the stamp, but to me, it looks like a showa stamp at the top, mei side, that someone tried to obliterate.  This isn't uncommon.  Either the owner or a post-war owner didn't want the "showato" label (nihonto & gendaito sell for higher prices).  The age of the area looks old, so it might have been the owner of the gunto.  Not sure why an owner would do that though.

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Hi Bruce,

 

That is an interesting spot you have mentioned. My curiosity piqued, I have tried to get some better images in the early morning sunlight to create some contrast.

 

There is certainly pitting there that extends around to the other side of the tang. 

 

Any further thoughts very much appreciated.
 

 

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The new photos show that the area is corroded/pitted.  I thought it was defacing, that is seen on some blades to hide a stamp.  Whether there was a stamp there or not, who can say?  If you want to pursue the question of whether your blade is gendaito or showato, you might take a look at some of Ray Singers photos - HERE - to get an idea of how to get good shots to reveal details.  Otherwise, simply enjoy your nice gunto, as start looking for the next one to add to your collection!

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Thanks again for sharing your expertise Bruce. As this field of collecting is new to me, I had never heard of defacing arsenal stamps. Fake signatures - that I can see the crooked logic behind. But to remove a stamp, and have a signature of a Showa smith, I cannot see the logic. But then you could also bring the signature into question. 

 

I think I will just get a couple of seppas and enjoy it as a showato - this was the reason for purchase in any case :-)

 

But I can feel an itch to have an ancestral blade beginning 😉

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To me it looks like an obvious arsenal stamp removal. But your mileage may vary.
They would be removed when sourced in Japan. An arsenal stamp would be a certain destruction. Whereas if there is no stamp, they will often err on the side of caution and pass it with a torokusho so that it may be owned.

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