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Arsenal Stamps.


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1 hour ago, Stephen said:

Members please... If your replying to post above yours WE DONT NEED IT REPETED. WASTE OF SPACE!  Back to my hole.

Ha!  See what I did?! 

 

If I remember @Brian's discussion about this, he didn't mind quoting text, it was just quotes that included large pictures that he didn't want.  By quoting, the other guy gets a notice that he's been quoted and it draws him back to the discussion, just in case he thought he was done and didn't plan on coming back.  That's the only reason I use the quote.

 

Edit: after thinking about it, I guess I could accomplish the same thing by using the "@xxxxx" method.  I'll do that next time!

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Agree, please don't use quote unless you are referring to something buried way back.
Just use REPLY. People don't need a tag to continue reading a topic they were involved in. Quotes are messy and unorganized.

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Updated Stamps of the Japanese Sword, version 8.0 available.

 

I've had a few requests for a book version of this, so I've been revamping and rewriting.  We've learned enough of the history to start writing our own version of the facts as known today, so the "History" portion is greatly re-done.  I'm temped to revamp the "Star" discussion, but @mecox's translation of Ohmura's discussion has some interesting facts that we've still been unable to track down, so I've left that as-is to prompt future investigation.   An "Intro" is added to include a minimal "Thanks".  I wanted to add that but hate the fact that I'll miss a multitude of people that have contributed photos and discussion.  So, if you see that I've missed you, please send me a PM and I'll add you to the next version.

 

Other updates: I added a page with the interesting discussion we had on the "5 Measures" stamp.  Added various newly discovered kao, and other small edits.

 

I'll try a trial print at a local shop to see what it looks like in hand.  I'm worried that some of the photos might come out too small, in book form, to be usable, which is why I like the digital format.  You can zoom/enlarge the digital version.  But I'll take a look and see how it comes out.

 

Enjoy!

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Wow!  It looks original, showing as much wear as the rest of the tsuba.  Might very well lend some evidence that SMR had a shop making fittings, as some have suspected for a while.

 

On another note, what the heck would cause that much wear to a tsuba?  It looks like it was dragged behind a truck on a black-top road.

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Greetings from a newbie to you more knowledgeable members.  I stumbled across this discussion in researching my first Japanese sword purchase.  It is a WWII bring back.  Your Seki guild stamp versus Seki arsenal stamp discussion appears to apply to this sword which I have the opportunity to purchase.  Please see these photos of this Seki stamp.  It is a bit different from any examples I am able to find.  After seeing some of the discussions here it looks as if there is a possibility that this blade is traditional?  Thank you for any information, opinions and advice you able to offer regarding this blade's manufacturing process.  More photos can be seen on this previous post 

 

20210506_193757 cropped.jpg

2021-05-09 11_53_41-Microsoft Office Picture Manager.jpg

20210509_113733.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/9/2021 at 10:44 AM, dsp said:

It is a bit different from any examples I am able to find. 

Scott,

It is the large Seki believed to be used by the Seki Cutlery Manufacturers Association.  Looks like it got a double strike. Not uncommon to see that with stamping.

 

The question about whether these blades were made traditionally or not it’s still hotly debated.  From my reading of the Seki City website, it is the current understanding that they were stamping and inspecting showato and that traditionally made blades were not stamped. It is quite possible your blade was made in every way, traditionally, except this steel  might have been some thing other than tamahagane.

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On 4/25/2021 at 2:45 PM, Kiipu said:

Looks like these nakago mune inspection marks are older than I thought.  This one is dated October 1941 and the nakago mune is marked as 名ホ.

Kanenobu Help

 

While I was aware the Type 100 was inspected from the beginning in 1941, I was puzzled why some 1940 to 1941 dated Type 98s also existed that had army inspections marks.  The answer as to why could be in an old translation done by George Trotter back in 2010.  In his translation, a reference is made to a trail beginning in "Sho 15" [1940], prior to the advent of the 1942 RJT program.

 

On 3/25/2010 at 2:30 AM, george trotter said:

3. Army specification Gendai forged swords (nakago marked with mei, date and star). Rikugun Jumei Tosho made swords of the style. They were trialled from Sho 15. From Sho 17 it was implemented nationally. For efficiency, a big break was made with the tradition of individuallistic handwork and non-uniformity of Nihonto "True Standardisation" was tried for the first time. Every sword was subjected to severe inspection to maintain quality/performance.

 

The link that George Trotter provided in his original post has since changed and below is an updated link along with some text.

 

Quote

3. 陸軍制式現代鍛錬刀 (茎に刀匠銘と年季、陸軍素材検査の星刻印他)
 陸軍受命刀匠が作刀する制式刀身 昭和15年から試行され、17年から本格的に全国展開された。

造兵刀 Army Arsenal blade

 

A link to the Type 100s being inspected from the get-go.

Arsenal Mark on RJT sword Fittings, Post #71

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6 hours ago, Kiipu said:

a trail beginning in "Sho 15" [1940], prior to the advent of the 1942 RJT program.

Yes, that does indicate that military authorities were preparing as early as 1940 for their take-over of sword production, doesn't it.  Not just the RJT program - the whole sword production of Japan. 

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Here's a question - If stamping of showato was a requirement (law, but none found; military?; industry concern?) Why are all the stamps, even military ones from the Seki/Gifu area?  When the military took over sword production/supervision in 1941/2, the commercial stamps, Showa and Large Seki, pretty much went away and by 1943 military stamps took over.  In fact in 1943, the massive majority of stamps are the NA of Nagoya.  Where are the Tokyo 1st and other stamps?  Yes there are a small number of SAKA of Osaka Arsenal, but very few and VERY few "TO" of Tokyo 1st.  Even knowing that the Seki area produce 70% of blades for the war, that still leaves 30% that should have stamps from the other arsenals and areas.

Here is the current survey results:

 

Stamp Survey.jpg

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Hi Bruce, would you mind clarifying the term "NA/Na" in the table? What does it mean and what is it's significance, especially as related to collecting? (Newbie here!).

 

Also, although Seki is known for the manufacture of non-traditional blades, were there Seki smiths who also made semi-traditional or traditional blades? I'm making good progress with my reading (and book purchases),  but haven't done the deep dive into all things Seki yet. 

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Geoff,

The "Na" or "名" is the inspector stamp of the Nagoya Army Arsenal.  There were a few Army Arsenals overseeing sword production throughout the country.  Swordsmiths in areas surrounding the arsenals sent their swords (or the Army picked them up for shipment) to the arsenal where they were inspected and either fitted out, or moved off to shops for fitting. The Army assumed control of all sword production in late '41/early '42, and the inspection stamps of the Seki Cutlery Manufacturers Association (SCMA for short) tapered off while arsenal inspector stamps take over.  Although we are starting to think the Gifu in Sakura stamp might actually be the stamp used by the SCMA after the Army absconded with their Seki logo.  Inspectors of the Nagoya arsenal began using the Seki "関", although in a much smaller size.

I don't know if I addressed your question or not.

 

As to Seki smith blades, they were like any smith.  I imagine there might have been low-skilled smiths that simply made showato, but all the smiths we have studied seemed to have made both gendaito and showato.  The main problem is that gendaito took much more time to make while showato could be made more rapidly to fill Army quota demands.  But there are plenty of examples of gendaito from plenty of Seki smiths.

 

 

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Thank you Bruce! Yes, questions answered. I had an idea that "Na" might have stood for Nagoya and I appreciate your confirmation of that. And, good to know that smiths (probably most) made both traditional and non-traditional blades. I have also seen the term "semi-traditional" in reference to blade manufacture, and I'm wondering if there is a clear definition of what would be considered semi-traditional. In what ways might a semi-traditional blade differ from a machine-made and from a traditionally-made blade? Is there a thread here where this topic of semi-traditional blades was discussed?

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In regards to the different meanings of the large versus small Seki stamp, I rediscovered the following quote.

 

Quote

Update # 2: As a result of this article, a fellow collector has pointed out that the small Seki stamp was used on blades issued from the Seki Arsenal. The star stamp is the general army inspection/acceptance stamp used on blades made by contract by Rikugun Jumei Tosho. The large Seki stamp was the Seki version of the sho stamp signifying a non-traditionally made blade.

Mino Gendaito

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  • 2 weeks later...

On another note, I recently saw someone posting about a blade and realized it was the stamped mei of Masayuki, but for the life of me (how many times have I said that!!!) I cannot find it.  Possibly it wasn't on NMB.  The stamped mei looks like this:

Masayuki.jpg.3448523d74b5d36c880b3cf26ed0c4c5.jpgIf anyone knows of the thread, please let me know!

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I'm glad you posted the photo, John.  When I go to the link, all the photos are blank with "No Image" in each square!

 

I have 2 others (thanks for number 3!) and they are all on the koiguchi.  I don't have reference to whether the saya are army or navy, but all 3 have the hole for a chuso tab, so likely army.  The reference in Chris Bowen's chart, found on TheJapaneseSwordIndex.com, says it's of the Shokeikan Gunso Kabushiki Gaisha who "made army and navy koshirae....located in Tokyo and owned by Mr. Saito."

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  • 2 weeks later...
19 hours ago, Kiipu said:

Another one for the forum to ponder

Thanks Thomas, that's a good one.  I'm thinking Darcy was onto something with his polisher idea.  Let's see if we can chase it down.  I have 3 smith mei that are stamped - Nobumitsu, Naohiro, and Masayuki - but all of them put the stamp up high, around the mekugi-ana, not down at the end of the nakago.

Nobumitsu

Nobumitsu.thumb.jpg.33b163a351dcfea0813b900c6fbe0bf1.jpg

 

Naohiro

SmartSelect_20191024-221951_Word.thumb.jpg.3a73cd73fcdafa12bd44fbf1e5fd8bf6.jpg

 

Masayuki

Masayuki.jpg.4c097e55959ed2178addbfcb021be5df.jpg

 

Adding the one in Thomas' reference for ease of viewing:

post-382-14196746514652_thumb.jpg.791f868d67a2fec32cc77759665b3608.jpgpost-382-14196746560101_thumb.jpg.ca9fc63dac785a49e7eeb3c269da38f5.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

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