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David Flynn

Arsenal Stamps.

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David,

Nice presentation, and good job getting that active rust off the 451 nakago!

 

You can read my summary of the Matsu stamp (which was the inspection stamp of the Okasa Supervisory Unit of the Kokura Arsenal) on the RJT mei Help thread. (post #10).  George Trotter has in-depth knowledge of the Yamagami brothers, Akihisa and Munetoshi, and discusses them in a couple of threads, but a good one is the RJT Showato? thread, post #18, paragraph 3.

 

If you haven't seen the Stamps Document, you can see the Matsu stamp listed with the other arsenal stamps on page 13.  I'm attaching version 5.5, if you like.

{the converter I used to create 5.4 PDF butchered it so bad, I've deleted it!  I've sent 5.5 to Brian.  It should show up in the Downloads section soon.  Sorry!}

 

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Thank you Bruce,

an amazing document.

 

This Munetoshi, October, 1942 sword pushes the use of the matsu stamp to much earlier than the document states (1944) - new info is good info.

 

According to the document, this sword is a bit of a mystery. Munetoshi was supplied tamahagane and is known for making traditional swords as was his brother.

The document states that star stamp indicates non-traditional made sword. This sword has no star. 

So, is it traditionally made tamahagane or mill steel?

is it water or oil quench? 

There was another post that mentioned a Munetoshi dated aug/sept 1942 and stamped in the low 300s. This Munetoshi is 451 making it roughly 100 swords later and indicating production output of 100/month between the two brothers. A third Munetoshi (might have been his brother) dated May 1943 was numbered a little over 1000, again suggesting production of around 100/month between the two brothers.

The question is, what is the production rate of traditional verses non-traditional swords? 

 

Finally, is this a quality sword or a wall hanging?

 

Many thanks, in advance, to all those who might offer their expertise.

 

Regards 

 

david

 

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@Bruce Pennington I have uploaded the stamps article to the downloads section.
Updates can easily be added by me when they occur. Much more accessible there. And people can comment and review. Great work!

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2 hours ago, davidequis said:

The document states that star stamp indicates non-traditional made sword. This sword has no star. 

David,

 

That document originated as a compilation of all the sources I could find on blade stamps.  As a result, there are some differing opinions.  I believe the part you are referring to is from the Richard Fuller section.  His book was written 25 years ago and we have since learned many new things.  The paragraphs above his section are the latest info on star-stamped RJT blades, and they are definitely traditionally-made (note to self: I need to add a caveat to his section in this regard!).  I don't remember the full discussion on your blade, but its not having a star could mean it's non-traditional, if the smith is a known RJT smith.  But if it's pre-1942, when the RJT program begun, it still could be traditional.  Having no other stamps, like showa or seki, would support the chance that it's traditional.  Examining the hamon and surface features of the blade, itself, is the best way to make that determination.

Edited by Bruce Pennington

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 Munetoshi was an RJT smith, but apparently the star-stamp was not used on the brother’s swords until November 42 (I forget where I read that, but it was on a thread in here somewhere). 

This October sword is in an unregulated window.

 

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I've edited the above post to delete 5.4.pdf because the converter butchered it pretty bad.  Here is 5.5.  I realized Word can save docs in .pdf form, and does it without rearranging the pics and text!  Sorry! 

Stamp 5.5.pdf

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Matsu Stamp update

 

Thanks to George Trotter, I've completed my survey of blades marked with the circled Matsu (none other form was found). 

 

Munetoshi43Rinji1080Matsu.jpeg.f42c60fdd19fdc55053e8fec9c91209a.jpeg After searching 4 sword forums (haven't done a web-wide search yet), the stamp, so far, is only found on blades made by the Yamagami brothers, Akihisa and Munetoshi.  George said their forge was north of Tokyo - nowhere near Osaka - so it would appear the stamp was unique to the two smiths, and not associated with the Osaka Supervisory unit of the Kokura Arsenal. 

 

matsu

小倉陸軍造兵廠大阪監督班

Ōsaka Supervisory Unit of Kokura Army Arsenal

Considering that all observed inspector marks are the bare mark without circles or sukura (Showa stamp is the exception, but it wasn't tied to an arsenal, so it doesn't really apply to this issue), it supports the idea that the circled matsu is not an inspector mark at all, but something used by the Yamagami brothers in their serial numbering system (also supported by the fact that they moved to kana in 1944).  Marks inside circles, stars, sakura, etc, tend to be shop logo or unique to sword shops.  The only exception that I can think of is the Toyokawa anchor in sukura on seppa (which might actually indicate the seppa were made by a shop exclusive to the Toyokawa arsenal).

 

I still can't shake off the coincidence of their stamp appearing in 1942, when the Army took control over nation-wide blade production, and the corresponding change in 1944 to stamps that reflected the locales/provinces where the blades were made.  As RJT smiths, maybe their stamps were created to meet Army regulations.

Matsu Tally.jpg

 

If anyone has further data that would add or change this issue, please let me know!

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Hi Bruce

thats an Akihisa from my collection. March 1943 No. 819 Star Stamped

 

akihisa_hamon.jpg

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Yes Bruce. 

Saya is a reddish slim Type98. I think it is the original saya. The sword and the lock fits perfect together. The screws looks untouched.

akihisa_gendaito_koshirae.jpg

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Analysing the data.

 

Date of manufacture and numbers are not sequential.

 

Possible reasons

 

Option 1

Dates reflect the time of production and numbers are part of a larger allocation pool of area/region supply.

 

I think this option is unlikely. The theory is disrupted by the nov 1943, #443, that sequentially belongs to the oct/nov 1942 numberset.

 

This theory is further disrupted by the oct/nov 1942 numberset being out of sequence (oct 451, nov 422 & 433)

 

Option 2

The numbers do relate exclusively to the brother’s production sequence, however the dates reflect when the sword actually left the business, rather than the date of production.

 

This would explain how number 443 can leave the shop a year later than numbers 422, 433 & 451. It also explains why 451 leaves the shop before 422 & 433.

 

It would also make sense that any smithy would have a stock of swords for customers to choose from. Customers (private or government) would not pick based on number sequence but on aesthetics, materials and price.

 

Similarly, Smith’s would price on aesthetics, method of manufacture (traditional/non-traditional) and materials (tamahagane/mill steel) not number sequence. 

 

This theory is supported by the total production numbers as a reflection of output. 

 

The 1944 #2352 suggests wartime production 1939-1944 of 2352 swords at a production rate of 32/month from both brothers, or 16 each, which (i read somewhere) was the maximum traditional output.

 

Sooo why the Matsu stamp? 

 

If they did make 2352 swords from 1939-1944, there are 17 known examples making 0.7% survivors from their body of ww2 production.

 

Looking at the matsu stamp there are 12 examples of which 8 have star (66%) verified by the government as traditional. The verdict on #451 without star is that it is traditional. I assume #11, #61 & #2352 are also traditional.

The brother’s were traditionally trained and won awards - they made quality swords. 

 

It would make sense that at time of manufacture, when the brothers signed and numbered the tang they would also indicate its quality of manufacture and materials (the matsu).

 

In a market flooded with military swords all with numbers, various government stamps and  of varying quality, the brother’s wanting to clearly identify their brand would be logical.

 

Why some matsu without star?

 

The star is a government quality certification for government purchased blades. The matsu is the brother’s certification for quality blades. Thus, matsu without star is not government purchased.

 

Welllll at least, that is my theory:)

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, davidequis said:

Welllll at least, that is my theory:)

 

At least we got some gears turning!  The more heads that we can get together on this, the more likely we'll come up with some useful information.  Glad to see you working it David!

 

On the sequencing - the numbers fall in line better if you look at the 2 smiths separately, and also assume the numbers started over each year - not perfect, but better.

The 4-digit numbers are interesting in that they parallel the 4-digit numbers of the Mantetsu line.  There is an odd-ball in 1940, but the 1XXX numbers show up in 1942 and 1943, with the 2XXX numbers appearing in 1944.  I don't know if this explains it, but Nick Komiya, Warrelics, revealed an order from the Army to randomize serial numbers to obscure production capacities from Allied Intel.  I'm not sure this was actually carried out by any factory, but it could explain the parallel jump to the higher numbers.

 

Your thought about bunched/stored blades getting out of sequence has some merit.  Army inspectors would travel around to the forges (and there were many!) monthly, bundling up blades and shipping them to Tokyo arsenal warehouses for distribution.  The only glitch to this explanation would be that it would require that the date inscriptions would have to be applied by the Tokyo operation as the blades went to market for the numbers to be out of sequence, and I'm not sure it was done that way. 

 

Interesting stuff, eh!

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Found this, it could be the “2352” in the survey or it might be a new sword. 

 

I believe it is an over stamp, possibly reflecting the army order to obscure production details. 

 

There are several points with this example that should be considered.

 

1. It does not have polisher marks.

2. It’s nakago tip is kurijiri

3. One mekugi

4. Original number 23 or 23?   With the last digit overstamped with poorly aligned 53. 

5. Nakago tip is damaged.

 

This supports the theory that numbers are in production sequence and dates reflect point of sale. 

This looks like an early run, possibly re-made (shortened) sub-standard historic blade that sat in the shop being rejected until shortages and desperation made it acceptable, upon which, it leaves the shop in 1943 and is star stamped as traditional.

 

It would make sense that the smiths dated the blades as they left the shop, rather than Tokyo dating when they receive them. 

 

It would be useful reviewing the other 4 digit blades to see if they are overstamped, with similar irregularities.

792C0922-8839-44E9-9638-D4FCF8B379D6.png

1EBC8562-4C8A-430C-A512-42AB470134AE.png

570FFF40-F451-4FC3-A503-E6F42B5093B4.png

34142624-510D-4F8D-A8A0-59CE96526561.png

A1228F92-03A8-46AB-96E0-408CD9971BA4.png

5C97B1F5-CE99-45E6-832A-41A5C1C56DD2.png

4B70D5A7-416F-4D85-B682-0B7371C4E202.png

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I found the #443 on this site.

 

it is dated November 1942 not 43,

which places it’s sale within proximity of the other 1942 numbers, but still after #451

 

i can’t post pics coz it says I am exceeding the quota. It was posted by daddycool in 2016, “my 1942 Munetoshi “

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Thanks David!  That 2353 is pretty cool!  I doubt it is the 2352 of the Trotter survey, the numbers are easy to see.  Also, number stamping on the war blades is quite varied, with numbers not aligned and differing sized numbers/letters commonplace.  As I searched for your 443 reference I found a couple more that I didn't have!

 

Here's the updated table:

Matsu

1941, July

Munetoshi

106  (RS ana)

Trotter Survey

1941, Sep

Akihisa

249  Type 98

Trotter Survey

1941, Sep

Munetoshi

308  Type 98

Trotter Collection

1941, Dec

Akihisa

566  RS Model

Trotter Survey

1941, Dec

Akihisa

577 RS

Trotter Survey

?

Akihisa

61 RS

Trotter Survey

?

Akihisa

97

NMB

1942, Feb

Akihisa

542 RS star

Trotter Survey

1942, Apr

Munetoshi

11 RS

Trotter Survey

1942, Nov

Munetoshi

422 ? star

Trotter Survey

1942, Nov

Munetoshi

433 RS star

Trotter Survey

1942, Oct

Munetoshi

451 RS

Davidequis NMB

1943, Jan

Munetoshi

508 Type 98 star

Trotter Survey

1943, Mar

Akihisa

618 RS star

Vajo NMB

1943, Mar

Akihisa

819 RS star

Trotter Survey

1943, May

Munetoshi

1080 RS star

Trotter Collection

1943, May

Munetoshi

1082 RS star

baldi1942 NMB

1943, Oct

Akihisa

1377 RS star

Trotter Survey

1943, Nov

Munetoshi

443 RS star

? NMB

1944

Munetoshi

2352

Trotter Survey

1944, Feb

Munetoshi

2353 Type 98 star

For sale on web

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