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WHY is it never simple?

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15+ Years of Japanese swords, and I still know nothing. :(
WHY is it always complicated? I am used to looking at a sword and instantly knowing it's either a fake or it's real. Works that way 999 times out of 1000.
But every sword I come across lately is one of these "what the hell" cases where there are some ok features, and then some features that just don't fit.
And I HATE that "Occupied territory" or "Post war souvenir" call. Because it is just so.... unresolved.

Anyways, one that was first shown to me (pics, I have not seen it in hand yet) a looong time ago just popped up again, and frustratingly I can't make a 100% call.
So I am here asking for other opinions to see if we have any consensus at all.

Wartime indicators: That knot-work looks dead on for the type done by a sailor on the way back from Japan. We have seen it before, and it is a soldier's style of work that is known. So probably done by a returning serviceman. Can't see it done in Japan. So +1 for a wartime sword.
"Combat cover" is crude, but could be a field done pigskin one?

Tsuba is crude, but could be original. It's not terrible.
BUT....nakago is not good. Shape is a bit crude, and that extra lower ana has no place being there. Nakago jiri is odd at best.
Poorly shortened, or badly made? Patina isn't terrible.
Blade is poor. Lots of nicks and the shinogi is polished away if it's there. I'm told the shape is shinogi zukuri....need to see it in hand.

I don't see a Chinese fake here. But don't see a wartime Gunto either. I'm told the nagasa is 63cm.
So, back to the original comment. Occupied territory sword (argh!) or soldier souvenir made from jeep spring (argh!) or something else.
Only seen the pics on my phone, so will see them larger here as I upload them.

Comments....aaaand...go!  :)


















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Well, I'm going to ask the lady owner to come read the comments here tomorrow so she doesn't just have my opinion :)
Looking at the pics on pc rather than cell, the blade does have a chance of being genuine...maybe....but very abused. Post war "sword fights" by kids as we see so often, and the shinogi line polished away. I agree, it's poor. That nakago bothers me though. If it had a nice Gunto tang...I'd be happier making a call as a poor Showato.

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Well on that vein here is something I  am going to bid on at auction.

I am no high end collector and I actually preferer Ethnic items.

I will be bidding blind on the one picture, 

I reckon Thai Mounting of a Japanese blade

Might be something nice/interesting ????

regards to all



PS as for your sword Brian it depends on the price, everything has value.

item 1.JPG

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Just to clarify, I'm assisting the owner with info. Not posting it because I'm pursuing it.
Just trying to get her a decent description that can be used. She's dealing with the usual assorted collection left behind without good info. There is a variety of stuff.
The knotwork is nice :-)

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2 minutes ago, Kmad said:


I reckon Thai Mounting of a Japanese blade

Might be something nice/interesting ????


I try to not tell people how to spend (or don’t spend) their money or what should make them happy… but I might in this case… :-?  

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Brian, IMHO very definitely a field made sword that ended up as someone's souvenir and of truly minimal worth.  As a 'pretend Nihontou' it is the worst of the worst.  Geraint said it, the habaki is the tell-all, as is the tsuba, as is the nakago finish.


As for Ken Maddock's piece, Ron Hartman once found a wakizashi dressed up and used a a Filipino cane cutting 'knife'.  There might be something in Ken's piece if cheap enough to see if the nakago is signed, or even a halfway decent mumei piece.



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Never seen a skin saya cover like that!  Can even seen the hair dimples. 


Everything about this matches what we are seeing in the island-made swords.  Same lower quality steel, with no polish, flat look; typical nakago.  Tsuka wrap is unique, and like you said, Brian, could have been a returning G.I./sailor, but it looks like someone was imitating a ratan look fitting of the Philippines or somewhere in SE Asia.

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The knot work is humble but lovely. Reminds me of the old timer's sea bags I'd see in the service years ago that were covered with the most ornate knotwork, and crown knots similar to what this has. Maybe a sailor's property? 

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Ive seen  it written about decent blades that were signed copies (kuwana) and ok tourist pieces in mediocre koshirae


Ive never seen anything written and quite put my finger on it but think at the end of the Edo period, a boat load of blades were knocked up just to confuse :laughing:


Thin, not much material used.

Crude nakago

Lack of detail and dodgy lines.

Dont fit any school


Not talking about the blade that started the thread, just something Brian mentioned.


Maybe someone knows more about these oddballs

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My ten-pennyworth is that it's a theatre made fake, either by the CB's or the Australians, both groups renowned for this activity. Made to be sold to the  second wave of troops who wanted a "reel samury" sword to take home.

 These were even mentioned in the 1960's war comics I read as a nipper.

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