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Arsenal Stamps.


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With the popularity of Gendai in mind, I would like to propose a permanent thread regarding Arsenal stamps. Their meaning and whether or not, swords with certain stamps would pass shinsa. e.g. Star stamps will pass shinsa. This would be a wonderful reference tool for the Seasoned as well as Newbie collectors. Any thoughts and comments welcome.

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If people would like to take close up pics of the various stamps found, along with any info, and post them in this thread..I will sticky it for future use. This assumes we have a decent number of submissions, and they are clear enough to use here.

Would be good to have a few examples of the Showa stamp, Star stamps, and all the others out there, no matter if Gendai or not. I doubt very many would pass shinsa anyways, and I think we have yet to see a verified star stamp blade pass NBTHK shinsa.

 

Brian

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I doubt very many would pass shinsa anyways, and I think we have yet to see a verified star stamp blade pass NBTHK shinsa.

 

Brian

 

I have had a star stamped blade pass NBTHK shinsa and I know of several others.

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Ok..I'm good with that. That settles the star stamped ones. Anyone have any other stamps that have passed shinsa?

It would be great if anyone can post a nakago here with a star stamp and with the papers too. So let's post some pics of various military stamps and make this a definitive thread?

 

Brian

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It would be great if anyone can post a nakago here with a star stamp and with the papers too.

 

Brian

 

I would be happy to post picts but unfortunately I no longer own the sword. I do remember it was made by Tsukamoto Okimasa, with clear star stamp, and received NBTHK Hozon kantei-sho....

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If for no other reason than to not let this die I will post these - only 2 pics I have of stamps and unfortunately one is - less than clear as it is only into the blade on 3 sides - must have been cold stamped ! I hope this goes on as a stickly under Military

 

1 is showa and I know there are hundreds better pics

2. is Gi gifu district from other members post

 

 

 

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George asked me to resize and post the following one:

"Mei is of RJT smith "Chikugo kuni ju Muto Hidehiro" with star stamp and dated 1943. He is of Fukuoka. The mune has the kanji for "Ko" (Kokura)...I don't know what the "ho" is...prob military accounting?

From my research and our discussions on this board, members will know that superior made gendaito will have the "Ko", "Na" (Nagoya) and "Saka" (Osaka) stamps which truly are "Arsenal" stamps, as that is where they were made....these can also have star stamps but not always. A star stamp without the additional arsenal stamp means they were made for the RJT scheme, but at the smith's private forge, not at an arsenal.

Sho and Seki stamps are not "Arsenal" stamps as such as they were put on in co-ops and private factories."

 

Keep them coming folks, there are still lots more. How about some of the railways ones? I know some have been posted here, and when I come across them, I'll add them here.

 

Brian

starstamp1.jpeg

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This is the stamp of the South Manchurian Railway factory, aka; Dairen Mantetsu blades as the factory was located in Dalian, Manchuria. This factory was the predecessor of the Koaisshin Mantetsu. Note the circular "M" over the cross section of a rail. Will not be accepted for Shinsa.

 

A small number of tachi were made with the same factory logo embossed on the fittings. They are rare and were manufactured as presentation pieces. Interestingly enough, of the three original of this tachi I've seen, all had blades that were marked with the later "Koaisshin Mantetsu" signatures and not this stamp.

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for those without a book or a blade

 

Ah! It was a bugger drawing those with Paint. :-( If I'd had any sense, I'd have drawn them by hand and scanned them. However, I had to do it the difficult way! :roll: :freak: And accompanied by much swearing. :? I really don't know how I managed the top half of the Minotogawa stamp :shock: - the bottom half though was fairly easy.

 

About time I updated them with a few more stamps.

 

Kevin

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Though it's not really an "arsenal" mark by definition, it is a mark of note in references. This is the Kikusui (floating chrysanthemum) of swordsmith working under the Minatogawa Shrine in Kobe. The forge was dedicated in 1940, and smith produced works until August of 1945. As a point of further note, the habaki that accompanied these sword also were supplied with the kikusui mon engraved on one side.

 

The sword in this image is a work by Masanao.

 

Detailed information regarding the shrine, it's history, and the smith working under it, can be found in Herman A. Wallinga's publication of Gendaito Made at the Minatogawa Shrine, September 2000.

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Here is an example of the very curious "Matsu" stamp. It is a very rarely encountered mark, and its origin and purpose seems to be unknown.

 

The pictured gendaito with this mark is a very nicely hand forged work by Munetoshi, who also signed Hidemune. He was a student of Kasama Shigetsugu. Other oshigata I have seen did not display this "matsu" mark, so it is inconsistently found on his works. My speculation is that this is an identifying mark for a particular shop or broker who may have ordered the blade on behalf of an officer. :dunno: The mark is documented in Military Swords of Japan 1868-1945 by Richard Fuller and Ron Gregory. It is noted in this book that blades found with this mark were mounted in late 1944 Shingunto koshirae. This blade is indeed mounted consistantly.

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Hi Brian,

 

My pleasure. Glad to help.

 

Here's another which although is not an arsenal mark, and also not actually on the blade, is rarely found on military tsuka and should be noted for it's special nature. These red kanji stamped on the fuchidai of the tsuka are important because it notes the work of a great tsukamakishi named Shukichi Yamaguchi, aka "Tsukahei". More about him can be found at http://www.bushidojapaneseswords.com/Di ... %20hei.pdf .

 

I thought it important to note because most times the tsukamaki is one of the first things to suffer from deterioration or damage and thus removal or rewrapping. If the tsukamaki looks particularly well done for a gunto, look for this mark. If it's there, then don't disturb the tsukamaki and preserve it however possible.

 

Please remove or prune this post if you feel inconsistant with the topic mission statement. :)

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I think it's completely relevant, and am happy to open this topic to all markings on Gunto that are related.

Great reminder. I have checked for that signature ever since reading Bob's write-up years ago. Very very rare indeed.

 

Brian

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Kevin,

Credit to you for making that pic it seems. I hope you will grant us permission to continue using it in the thread? Nice job.

 

Sure - no problem. I drew it to try and help folks. :-) Brian - don't mind a bit. :-)

 

Still think I was a bit of a numbskull to use Paint rather than drawing it and then scanning it. :-)

 

Kevin

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Hi all,

although I did post this pic some time ago, it may be interesting to include it with this thread. The sword is WW11 vintage by Fujiwara Kaneshige and is marked with the Showa stamp, but also includes a hot stamp that I'm lead to believe denotes that the sword was made using the Kobuse method of construction.

 

I would be interested in opinions as to wether this would pass shinsa?????

 

Regards Chris O

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Here is an example of the very curious "Matsu" stamp. It is a very rarely encountered mark, and its origin and purpose seems to be unknown.

 

The pictured gendaito with this mark is a very nicely hand forged work by Munetoshi, who also signed Hidemune. He was a student of Kasama Shigetsugu. Other oshigata I have seen did not display this "matsu" mark, so it is inconsistently found on his works. My speculation is that this is an identifying mark for a particular shop or broker who may have ordered the blade on behalf of an officer. :dunno: The mark is documented in Military Swords of Japan 1868-1945 by Richard Fuller and Ron Gregory. It is noted in this book that blades found with this mark were mounted in late 1944 Shingunto koshirae. This blade is indeed mounted consistantly.

 

 

Hi all, The Matsu stamp I have seen also...almost the same as Ted says here...on a sword in Type 3 fittings by this Munetoshi's brother, Yamagami Akihisa...in my case it was "Matsu" 61. I also surmise that the Matsu stamp is a private mark...possibly of the Yamagami brothers themselves.

Regards,

George.

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Hi all,

I posted a oshigata mei earlier that had a RJT star stamp and on the back of the mune was the kanji "Ko" for Kokura and below it was the katakana "ho"...which I did not know the meaning of.

Well, looking up Ohmura's site linked by Brian Barrett to the Kokura symbol and "ho" katakana stamp he posted, I read Ohmura and he gives the Kokura arsenal symbol (pile of cannonballs) with the following stamps below it... "se" in katakana meaning "second inspection" and "ho" in katakana meaning "first inspection"....so, it looks like the "ho" on my Kokura marked RJT blade was a "first inspection".

Regards,

Geo.

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