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Help with a ID of an odd-looking Japanese-style dagger found in Micronesia

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Hello all,

I recently came across a strange looking dagger in Palau, Micronesia.
The dagger looks somewhat like a military tantō in certain aspects, but the overall design seems a little odd for a Japanese artifact.

I was wondering if anyone had any leads as to what this dagger could be, and where it could possibily come from.

Could it date back to pre-WW2 Japanese administration of the area (1914-1945), and be a mixture of local and Japanese knife making styles?
Palau was also the scene of fierce fighting in WW2 (Peleliu), but I've never really seen anything like this.

The blade was initally covered in a layer of rust which was roughly scraped away, revealling most of the blade. The end of the scabbard was reinforced by modern duct tape...
I have no further context for the moment, unfortunately.


Looking forward to your insights!














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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting - thanks for the input.

It's definitely local though.
Palau was under Japanese administration from 1914 to 1945, which is why i was wondering if there might be a connection. Interestingly enough, the blade / handle style looks nothing like locally made machette either.


I'll try to get in touch with the Japanese guy who was keeping this, see where he found it.
It could be something that was brought in from the outside, and reworked locally.
Blade design is really odd, and the patterned string weaving on the handle is unusual as well.

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2 hours ago, bga said:

and the patterned string weaving on the handle is unusual as well.

It does rather resemble (vaguely!) the style of Japanese wrapping called Jabara string wrap often found on quite nice items. I think that’s what it’s called. Quite complicated to do. 

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