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Gold Painted Gunto


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I've been hijacking @Shamsy's Type 95 Black Saya thread for too long, so I'm starting a Gold-painted gunto thread to track the gold ones.  I considered labeling it "Painted Gunto" to gather all the colors, but the discussions of each can get quite lengthy, so I'll keep this one just on the gold.  But for reference, Steve's thread also has several examples of officer gunto painted black as well.  And we have the thread on Mottled Green paint on Type 95s.

 

I've had examples of all 3 colors and regret stripping the 2 gold-painted 95s and the mottled-green 95.  I still have one black-painted 95.  But back to the gold!

 

My interest started with the acquisition of 2 Type 95s, one totally painted gold (even the blade) and a late-war 95 painted black and gold:

IMG_2767.thumb.JPG.4582e2a045ffb69a8ea39099d418fa50.JPGimage8.thumb.JPG.9c90a7d63a91d3976fe124db2c8e6a23.JPGimage4.thumb.JPG.06b5307ccfdf1f83052ace7fbe0cd92d.JPG

I believe this one might have been post war as the paint come off relatively easy using acetone, and the blade, once cleaned, had lots of scratches and marks as if used plenty prior to painting.  Also, there was no original paint underneath.  It had been completely stripped before re-painting with gold.

 

The late war 95:

118108674_2014-11-2216_19_51.thumb.jpg.c432b63947cba9d50c11557e1feb67d7.jpg20171003_082005.thumb.jpg.565465f2835141dcdc0c3e672e216c46.jpgIMG_1305.thumb.JPG.94c26a30a1809c9096a49b55e7e908eb.JPG

In hindsight, I now believe this one to be a wartime personalization.  The paint was hard to get off with acetone, and the original color was underneath. 

 

The following are other examples that I've filed, beginning with a primo one just posted by @Arty A on this thread HERE.  The  paint is old and abused from use, and is covered with patina inline with the rest of the gunto:

 

IMG_2039.jpeg.827b9361ca6ee7878f77f3721611aed5.jpeg.6dc73c5b00f7aef271ef00cea35e0594.jpegIMG_2036.jpeg.1cee6b222be8d2adf62d0cf85ea74bd7.jpeg.d833e9baa523917053f3222ca661d1bb.jpegIMG_2038.jpeg.779c0b7636d8ee1e389c93ebec5b5fc6.jpeg.62b388a0486f02e94e03dc52eee88e03.jpeg

 

(out of time for now.  Will update and continue later)

 

 

 

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Was it likely re-painted gold post-war? If not, why would they chose the color gold for a re-paint (during the war, or post-war)? Would there have been a shortage of regulation standard paint? And why would there be a need for repainting? This topic raises many questions.

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1 hour ago, Kolekt-To said:

why

That is the operative question, Geoff.  No one knows.  And it wasn't until recently that some of us began believing that some of this strange paint was done during the war.  Obviously, none of it was factory.  But I'm growing to believe that individual soldiers, officer and NCO, had personalized their gunto with a paint job - black, mottled green, white, gold, and there are some other colors coming that I'm aware of. 

 

The blacks, whites, and green seem understandable as a guy would want to reduce his detectability in the field.

I believe these are in @Shamsy's collection:

camo2.thumb.JPG.b7c3e5f5058eac5cca3101cf01df46c5.JPG

 

But I haven't come up with a reason for gold.  But then, who doesn't like gold, right?!

 

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Some of the early copper-handled Type 95s had brass/gold painted scabbards.  See this thread started by @IJASWORDS back in November 2020 for more details.

Brass Scabbard NCO Copper Handle 

 

Below are two links to another example, serial number 1227, that show remnants of the brass paint.

Copper Handle Type 95,low Number 1227 Excellent Condition

Coppper Handle Type 95 Nco #1227, Excellent Condition

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I have considered this. I don’t believe the gold is random or insignificant. It is normally a sign of royalty, wealth, respect, worship. I don’t want to speculate yet, even though that is some thing I do regularly! Ha! But I think it is intentional.

 

In our culture today, it represents the highest of prosperity.

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I have no sources at all, but maybe one of the long time members (my gut says @Dave R) will remember something about swords being painted gold for the Emperors birthday? I can't even remember if it was literal or figurative and have no idea the source, just that it was raised years ago. My gut is that it was a wartime article from Japan and goes to the effect of 'soldiers raising golden swords in salute' or something similar.

 

Another idea was post war repaint for theatres, so swords would stand out.

 

From my own experience, I spoke to a lady at a military show who told me about her father bringing back a Japanese sword and painting it sky blue. Because he liked the colour. So could be that.

 

Here is a picture of my own golden sword. The original paint is perfect underneath and acetone barely did a thing to the gold.

20220105_073421.jpg

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Wow. That's definitely interesting. Is it opaque or translucent? There are some U.S. knives that came with a protective coating, that over time turned yellow, making the blade look gold. Mainly saw it on Collins Machetes.

 

See something new every day here!

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1 hour ago, Shamsy said:

I have no sources at all, but maybe one of the long time members (my gut says @Dave R) will remember something about swords being painted gold for the Emperors birthday? I can't even remember if it was literal or figurative and have no idea the source, just that it was raised years ago. My gut is that it was a wartime article from Japan and goes to the effect of 'soldiers raising golden swords in salute' or something similar.

 

Another idea was post war repaint for theatres, so swords would stand out.

 

From my own experience, I spoke to a lady at a military show who told me about her father bringing back a Japanese sword and painting it sky blue. Because he liked the colour. So could be that.

 

Here is a picture of my own golden sword. The original paint is perfect underneath and acetone barely did a thing to the gold.

20220105_073421.jpg

 

  I remember the conversation, that was on here and I think on Japanese Militaria as well, but had nothing to contribute to it. I remember that one lead turned out to be about the unique Japanese anodisation process for aluminium that gave a yellow or golden finish.

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1 hour ago, Dave R said:

I remember that one lead turned out to be about the unique Japanese anodisation process for aluminium that gave a yellow or golden finish.

 

That one I remember and it was called アルマイト, alumite, or almite.  As it fits the theme of this thread, I will post the links below.

Type 95 Brass-colored Tsuka - A Discovery!

Wikipedia Japanese: アルマイト

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2 hours ago, Shamsy said:

something about swords being painted gold for the Emperors birthday

The original post was on this Sword Forum International thread but he didn't know the context.  I thought I had a copy of the actual book page, but cannot find it for the moment.  If memory serves me, it was the coronation of the Showa emperor in 1926, and the observer reported "a large gathering of Japanese with silver blades held high and gold sheaths glistening in the sun . sure it was rallying for a final last stand.."

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Hello Bruce,

                    I remember this topic from the past......I talked to a veteran many years ago who painted his nco gunto silver ,luckily his son managed to get off with acetone without damaging the remaining paint...I know have the sword......also, many years ago I turned down a white painted copper hilt nco only to find out it was 100% and probably painted for winter use...

Regards,

              Paul.

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If we consider the 1943 IJA camouflage document for static and mobile weapons (which also includes Small Arms) as posted and explained by Nick Komiya on the Warrelics forum, i think you can see that of the 4 basic colours mentioned,  the 'Hay' (Dead Grass 枯草色 Karekusa-Iro), is the closest to resembling the 'gold' that we are talking about here.

 

Perhaps it was the only available paint, close enough to the dried grass/hay, and was therefore used instead.

This colour was used in the grassy plains environment especially during the summer months.

 

The top 4 colours were used prior to 1943, the black (not shown) was now no longer able to be used as an outline colour as it had been in Manchuria proir to the 1943 manual update.

White (also not shown) got mentioned for the winter/snow environment, particularly with relation to reflective factors.

 

 

 

 

CAMO .jpg

Here you can see several different colours used on the type 95 scabbards, and sometimes even on the handles.

Note the black outline used on the 3rd last sword. The RS scabbard was included as an example of colour used only.

The 'Grey' at the end was only used in Naval colour schemes.

 

Saya Colours 2.jpg

Saya Colours 3.jpg

Bruce, the winter camo swords you posted in post#3, are all mine except for the second one down.

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NCO swords are not my thing, but I remember seeing 2 way back in the early/mid 1980s and both, owned by different returned soldiers, had gold painted scabbards - can't remember now if they had brass or flat steel tsuba. I just though these guys had painted them to hang them over the fireplace, but based on this info above it  looks like they both may have come back from the SW Pacific already painted.

Makes one think....might be a reason for it.

Hope this helps....

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8 hours ago, Stegel said:

Perhaps it was the only available paint, close enough to the dried grass/hay, and was therefore used instead.

This colour was used in the grassy plains environment especially during the summer months.

Interesting idea, for sure.  It would make more logical sense than a guy simply "blinging" out his sword, and would fit better considering the increasing numbers we're seeing of them. 

 

That black-tipped one sure matches the ones I've posted. 

 

@george trotter - thanks for the info, it certainly adds weight to the whole idea of them being war-period painted.

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