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Gunto with NBTHK Hozon


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Kojima Kanemichi made high grade Showato, if you look carefully you can see activity in the Hamon, but also the characteristic dark peaks of an oil temper. This all points at a "Hantanren-To" - half forged sword. Although the stamp is obliterated, it is probably a Sho stamp which are often on swords like this (especially by Kanemichi). Perhaps there are some limitations at the NBTHK in terms of identifying Gendai from higher grade Showato.   

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I think with each passing year the distinction between weapon and "art sword" is becoming increasingly tenuous. What was once a hard line drawn between traditional nihontō, and WW2 swords, is becoming blurred. There has been no public change of policy, but maybe there has been a subtle, and perhaps a "quiet" change of policy, to allow guntō to be registered, and therefore issued with Hozon papers. Maybe there are some clerks in the Boards of Education (the registering authorities) who are telling people that if they get rid of the Shōwa or Seki stamp they will allow the sword to be registered. 

 

I can understand why there might be such a change of heart. I think we'll see more and more of these types of swords appear; fully registered and some with Hozon papers. 

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Previously the NTHK-NPO had papered Koa Isshin and a few other Showato in original mounts, the explanation being they are valuable historical pieces (the original mounts playing a key part). So why did the NBTHK paper something like this, with basically all historical ties removed and not even in original Gunto mounts? It all seems very strange to me and cheapens the value of the Hozon paper to this sword.

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I think this is likely a case of "don't ask, don't tell" meaning if no-one mentions it is a Showato, and no-one makes a fuss about it, and the person submitting is of a certain "clique" then papers are issued and no-one discusses it. I think these are by far the exception rather than the rule, and Steve has it best.

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Adding pictures for future reference.  The removal of the stamp and date are very obvious.  I understand shinsa teams that ignore mei removal as there are so many gimei blades, but why would they ignore the removal of a stamp/date?  And I don't even understand why the owner removed the date.  There were multitudinous gendaito during the war that would easily paper. 

 

https://www.aoijapan.com/img/sword/2021/21295paper-1.jpg

21295-2.jpg21295-4.jpg

 

Looks like it was a showa stamp, for the record.  I have kanemichi with both stamps, but most were showa.

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How cheap is polishing in Japan, that they can spend on a polish more than what we would pay for the Showato? :dunno:
I'm also betting that the (horribly-done!) removal of the date gives the shinsa team plausible deniability.
Why such a lovely polish and then the stamp and date removal is a butcher job? Sheesh.

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Most of the time in situations such as this, it's about the attempt to open a new market.

 

For years the bar stock Showato and Hantan remained (somewhat) the lower tier of the Japanese sword world. Illegal in Japan, and for many knowing at least a little about Japanese swords realize "Showato" were accepted to be simply machine made stamped out blades with little or no custom work involved. A generic weapon of war...hence, less value.

 

As per remarks above, many of us are resistant to this "opening up" to a new or different way of thinking, myself included. In the case of this particular sword, I fail to recognize how it could be a profitable product at $3 K usd ... Cost of sword, cost of polish, cost of nice korshirae, cost of Shinsa. Hmmm.

 

I own Showato, Gendaito, and Nihonto. I consider them all equal in respect of the individual historic value.

 

The market will be the determining factor as the whether polishing, papering, marketing Showato will be successful.

 

Will it ever be accepted by the Japanese sword collecting community???

 

Again, simply an opinion,

 

Dave M.

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3 hours ago, Brian said:

I'm also betting that the (horribly-done!) removal of the date gives the shinsa team plausible deniability.
Why such a lovely polish and then the stamp and date removal is a butcher job? Sheesh.

I was thinking that too. The obliteration looks almost like a grinding wheel, and not file marks. Horrible job. They could have at least performed the grinding in the same direction as the surrounding yasurime.

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Looks like plausible deniability to me... and the testing out of a new market. Times change, greed doesn't. If they can argue that showato can be appreciated and sold as low-end art pieces, then the law regarding them may start to change in shades of grey until they are accepted.

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As an aside, the removal of the markings and the fixing up of the sword are more than likely two different events.  This stamp and date and/or mei removal has been seen before, sometimes done by the original owner, immediate family, or dealers, after the war.

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This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one, unless your post is really relevant and adds to the topic..

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