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Type 98 Gunto


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Perhaps some final thoughts. If this sword was captured on the battlefield, it would have made it back with the veteran, stamp intact? 

 

The images you find online of piles of surrendered swords, would they have been typically destroyed?

 

I am curious, how this sword potentially might have came to be in a position different than the situations above? What generally would happen with swords post war in Japan?

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8 hours ago, Bull McCabe said:

 

The images you find online of piles of surrendered swords, would they have been typically destroyed?

 

 

 

Speaking of Australia...several of my uncles (and fellow collectors also) fought the Japanese in New Guinea, Borneo etc. When the surrender came large numbers of swords were surrendered (laid out on the ground )at "important" surrenders. These were often awarded to senior/middle/junior officers afterwards, then (I presume) allowed to be gathered into a heap for gifting to less important personnel such as NCOs and ORs to have a pick. Anything left over was (I am told by an ex-landing craft gunner mate of mine), taken out to sea from Bougainville Island (Solomons) and dumped .

One of my uncles was at a "lesser" surrender (only a few hundred Japanese) came. At these there were usually more of us than them and so, usually not enough swords to give one to everyone...after the officers etc had taken their pick, the ORs were allowed to "draw straws' to 'win' a sword (maybe 5 swords for 20 men?).

I know my uncle told me for years that he had had to chase that Japanese soldier 20 miles through the jungle before he could get his sword - he only told me about the "straws" years later (why are soldiers such "fibbers"?).

His sword was in Type 98 mounts/leather scabbard cover....handmade gendaito, but not signed....good sword. My cousins still cherish it.

Hope this helps?

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3 hours ago, Bruce Pennington said:

Dave,

If you're referring to my remarks about someone defacing the stamp - no worries my friend.  After your updated photos, it's clear that it's simply corrosion.  A great many gunto have corrosion as they spent a few years in wet, tropical climates.

Certainly not "clear" at all. My opinion differs. Looks like a removed stamp, and then the area was repatinated to hide the modification. You can see where a stamp may have been Don't trust isolated corrosion in one spot only.

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Thanks Bruce. I get that possibility, but it does indeed look like very local pitting, whereas the rest of the tang does not have it, and the rest of the sword is pristine. It is certainly curious.  As Brian indicated, it does have a slightly different patina in this specific area. I am just wondering how it came to be removed. If its a bring back, I would assume the stamp remains as a vet would have no motive to deface it. Nor a dealer to make it appear as an older blade, as the signature is a Showa smith. It is unusual to say the least.

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19 hours ago, Bull McCabe said:


Hi George, cheers for that extra information. All the surviving swords that were not dumped, I presume Japanese were not allowed keep them after the war? Could the stamp have been removed for that reason?

I think it would be virtually impossible for a Japanese officer to retain his sword after the surrender....but, having said that, I seem to remember reading that in one or two cases an officer who had helped the allies after the surrender was permitted to keep/had his sword returned....don't ask where I read that but I think it did happen.

I don't think any stamps were removed at that time...almost certainly a modern crooked seller.

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Thanks for the inputs. I believe it was sold in good faith, it was sold as a Type 98 showa and not as a nihonto or ancestral blade in Type 98 mounts. Who can say what happened. It is a showato in 98 mounts regardless. Ill live with that. 
 

It is frustrating to the extreme, that historical collecting is abound with an inordinate amount of fakes, frankensteins and replicas. I do not just mean nihonto but everything in general. As renowned poet, philosopher and kung fu practitioner Eric Cantona wisely stated, the seagulls always follow the trawler.

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There have been a couple or 3 attempts in the reference books to estimate the total number of swords confiscated after the war.   According to Richard Fuller, "official American estimate of swords and sabres taken in the south-west Pacific and Japan gives 661,621 captured and surrenederd. ... Some 372,609 were disperesed as trophies, to museums and technical use.  The remaining 289,012 were destroyed.  The true figure for swords of all types, taken by the Allied nations must be well inexcess of 2,000,000 (but excludes those kept hidden and retained by the Japanese population).  Destruction was normally by furnace after cutting in half.  Another way was to dump them at sea from barges or garbage scows." Japanese Military and Civil Swords and Dirks, pgs 248-249

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I can imagine a huge amount were hidden by Japanese families, particularly if ancestral, or they spent a large amount on a gunto for their son. Equally, after reading of the souvenir collection in “With the Old Breed”, certainly a lot of items found their way home to the other side of the Pacific. For sure, the official figures have to be a guesstimate.

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