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JimS


JimS
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Hi All,

I am hoping to get some translation assistance on this WWII katana. It’s been in the family since the end of the war brought back by my great uncle. It is marked in a cursive style that is impossible for me to decipher. Any help would be most appreciated. 

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Would I be correct in saying that the 'teardrop' shape at the top of the mei is a tama, in this case as drawn it represents the Jewel of Knowledge with flames rising from it???  This is the same tama as in tamahagane...  Any more 'enlightenment' on this???  A very interesting signature indeed.

 

BaZZa.

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Thanks to all responding to my translation inquiry! The knowledge and expertise of this group is really impressive and it’s been exciting to learn so much regarding Nihonto culture and art. 
I’m not sure if I’d be better off posting a new thread in the general Nihonto question area but I would like to pose it here for feedback. 
Just to check my understanding-my interpretation of the mei translation is that what I have is a Showa era, Gendiato blade. I surmise this from the fact that there is no arsenal stamp and no date on the tang. Although I was initially excited to see Kanemitsu as the smith this is really not significant given the location (Owari/Asai) and the Bishu designation on a Showa era blade. 
Finally, my intent is to keep the blade in the family and hand it down. The blade has not been maintained and shows signs off oxidation in some areas and the dowel (meguki?) holding the handle has disintegrated. Is it worth having the blade polished or would maintenance with oil be sufficient? Any references for trustworthy restoration would also be appreciated, especially any on the US east coast as I am in the Philadelphia metro area. 
Thanks in advance for all the fantastic information!

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2 hours ago, JimS said:

Although I was initially excited to see Kanemitsu as the smith this is really not significant given the location (Owari/Asai) and the Bishu designation on a Showa era blade.

 

Knowing the maker is always good and important, and in this case the maker seems to be a smith of some skill, so I wouldn't say this is insignificant. 

Also, the unique design on the tang, and even the "good luck" inscription on the reverse side, will all be interesting to collectors. 

 

For sure get a new mekugi. Many of us here on the board just whittle down a piece of bamboo chopstick when a new one is needed. (Nobody is a purist regarding the menuki...any piece of bamboo will do as long as it stays in place and holds the sword in). Regarding restoration, for now I wouldn't be in a rush. Just keep it oiled very slightly (so that a film covers the sword, but not enough to allow the oil to collect and pool and potentially drip inside the saya). With Shōwa blades, restoration is always a dicey proposition because the cost of restoration may not be recovered when reselling. I know you are not considering reselling, but it is a data point that someone will eventually consider. I don't know too much about Kanemitsu, but the inscription is unusual enough, that the sword may well be worth spending the couple of thousands of dollars on restoration. Think about this for a while, get some more opinions, show to some collectors or dealers in your area. 

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