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The different Mei of Nagamitsu


Daniel
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Like many things we discussed, this topic has been thoroughly discussed in other places. We know from army regulations that the star indicates the item was made by steel provided by the army. We know from army regulations that steel provided to RJT Smiths is tamahagane.  These two are known facts from the regulations. Combine the facts and you have a star stamped blade made by an RJT smith from tamahagane.

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The reason you have many blades made by RJT qualified Smiths, that don’t have stamps, is the same reason you have many blades made by well-known smiths that are traditionally made and many blades by the same smith that are non-traditionally made. Just because a guy can make a traditional blade doesn’t mean all his blades are traditional.

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Just can't buy a good nights sleep :(

 

Then why have so many RJT,  non star stamped blades been papered as true Nihonto??

Going in circles again.

There are no absolutes !! :flog:

 

Good night again (I hope)

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That's a good question Rich.  One that @george trotter and I have been tossing around.  George's thoughts were that the blades may have been rejected by the RJT inspectors for a number of things like dimensions not within regs or flaws in the blade.  We just don't know enough about the RJT program, or sword production during WWII.  Just because a smith was RJT qualified, did that commit all his work to the RJT program?  There are too many unknowns.

 

In my search for stamped RJT blades, I would say the massive majority of blades I've found with RJT names on them were unstamped - no numbers, stars, arsenal marks, etc.  What do we make of that?

 

The only facts we know are the 2 regulations.  All else is rumors passed down from the collector grapevine.  Papered blades are facts, too, but even that has it's own issues with Showa-stamped blades getting papers.  It's quite an interesting topic.

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Which brings me back to the question  are only star stamped RJT used tamahagane The document dosnt specifically this

It doesn’t say they have to be star stamped unless I’m not reading it correctly

 

steve

 

 

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 If we haven’t found the answers from all the digging nobody  will  I guess unless you has  a star stamped sword your sword  won’t be worth as much  money than one that dosnt 

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Well, this reminds me of another point. Almost all of those blades I found without stamps were not dated. As in the swords that are Showa and Seki stamped without dates, I believe these blades  were made before 1942, before the army took over blade production and supervision. So to your point, you may very well have a blade made with tamahagane, signed by a smith who later became RJT qualified, but the blade was made before the RJT program was initiated.

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I hope you’re not trying to make me feel better 

as said there is much speculation The document dosnt say it has to have a star stamp to be made with tamahagane so what dose this mean I don’t know 

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I have a question maybe you can help me with Dose s sword signed Emura Saku". verses Nagamitsu both have short signatures

Are both similar in value ?

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I suggest you study "What makes a true Nihonto".   From there it's a matter of examining  as many swords as possible.   I for one don't understand what you are after?  RJT were Army registered Smiths,  who were contracted by the Army ( and supplied with Tamahagane) to make X amount of swords.  Other than obliging the contract, the smith could make however many swords he liked.   One may find  two swords made by a Smith in the same year, one has a Star Stamp and the other does not.

As for Emura  V  Nagamitsu.   Both made similar swords and in a similar manner.  These are true Gendaito.   Because of the similarity,  these two Smiths were often considered the same  person.    This has proven to be false.

It's now time to study. 

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Sorry Stephen, don't need any cryptic (I like paper and metal money) and my swords or tsuba don't talk to me. Rather, I talked to them "Gee, you're pretty. Are you under $500 (for sword) or under $100 ( for tsuba)??" Worked well for me up to about the late 1970's. Then any Showa period sword was considered a weed wacker and iron tsuba as fishing weights. Times and fashion changed. Oh well, life (such as it is) goes on.  :popcorn:       But that's getting a bit off topic.

Rich

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Yes you’re correct I read about the Nagamitsu swords and as you said both Emura and Nagamitsu Were similar but not the same

My main concern is why because it dosnt have a star stamp it wasn’t made with tamahagane then I heard maybe it was I read the description for the RJT smiths And I will say this again Unless I didn’t interpret it correctly it doesn’t say anything about it has to be star stamped to have used tamahagane!  If you read the document that was provided it shows all the specifications 

I know they were registered smiths by the army and your right that they were allocated tamahagane  And there lots of unknowns which makes it difficult to get correct information 

I do appreciate your feedback that’s why were here right to hear what others opinions 

 

steve

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Steve,

Have a look at my discussion with Nick Komiya over at Warrelics: RJT Star Stamped Blades Documentation

Nick goes into detail explaining the star stamp.  It's not an exclusive RJT stamp.  It's an Army-wide stamp.  Other things, like shovels got the stamp as well.  It's presence simply means "This steel was provided by the IJA."  But we know from the RJT regs that tamahagane was the steel being provided by the Army for their smiths. (other steels were provided to other equipment manufacturers).  So the presence of the Army Material Stamp (star) can only mean that the steel being approved in these blades is tamahagane.

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Bruce

 

What is the date (year) of the RJT document from Morita-san?  On Nick Komiya's article is a date of 1943.  I'm just wondering if folks are going a bit nuts over a stamp that was only used during the last approx.1.5 years of WWII? What about the other zillion or so swords made earlier since the Japanese re-militaration? Did the RJT regs apply earlier? I don't have any star stamps (no dog in this fight ;-)), just curious.

Rich

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Rich Thanks to Bruce From what I got from this document is the army bought tamahagane and gave it to RJT smith they decided but what about all the other RJT that didn’t get any was it because they sucked not sure? And there were smiths that got there own not from army so they may have access to tame just no star stamped Then again there’s no specific document that covers who what and where is what I call it still sketchy to me I would think that all RTJ smiths were deserving but again nothing but speculation So at least the star stamped was definitely tamahagane all the rest who knows with know star??  I’m guessing They probably got tamahagane from other sources just me from the army allocation So here we are again to many unknown 

All said great information and appreciated th efforts from others to help clear things up Even bulletproof shovels may have star stamped that we know of

 

 

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The only thing that's really going on here is, about  being able to tell the difference between a Showato and Gendaito.   Stamps aside, one must learn to differentiate.   Whilst discussing such,  some information comes to light,  however, it still comes down to one being able to examine a sword and being able to tell the difference.   The only way to really learn this is, to examine as many swords as possible.     As with all Nihonto,  judge the blade first.

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7 hours ago, Rich S said:

What is the date (year) of the RJT document from Morita-san?

Rich,

The reg pages I have are dated 20 April 1942, so shortly after the program began.  As to "why" - "Why ask why?" HA!  Really, the stamps are my hobby, so I enjoy the chase, I enjoy the topic.

 

6 hours ago, Swords said:

the army bought tamahagane and gave it to RJT smith they decided but what about all the other RJT that didn’t get any was it because they sucked not sure?

Steve,

You are getting close - the reg is very specific.  It describes  "the specifications for the manufacture and polishing of each blade to be delivered/supplied."  So every blade provided to the RJT system had to meet the stated regs.  And those regs state: "Blades will be of tamahagane and hocho‐tetsu and charcoal will be used."  So, the Army didn't just give some tamahagane to some and not to others.  EVERY blade submitted, and accepted, was made of tamahagane.

7 hours ago, Rich S said:

What about the other zillion or so swords made earlier

Rich,

That gets back to David's point - every blade stands on it's own.  Regs cannot apply retroactively.  The Army had specs for the desired blade dimension ranges and weights for Type 94, 95, 97, and 98 gunto, but they didn't specify steel types or manufacture methods. 

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Bruce That’s good news So let me repeat what you said Every RJT Sword  submited that meet regulations and specifications described in this document was made of tamahagane

I read the document and believe no star stamp was mentioned   According to another document that was provided The army bought tamahagane  and star stamp was proof that it was indeed tamahagane

Thats where the confusion is why was the star stamp used on some RJT swords and not others? They also star stamped other items including a shovel which was kinda weird 

It seems we keep going around in circles about the star stamp !! Sorry don’t want to keep beating a dead horse!

 

steve

 

 

 

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Hi Bruce I owe you a bit of apologies I read again about the star stamp you were discussing 

and according to the acceptance stamp format the star stamping didn’t begin until 1943

But what about all the others prior as rich pointed out !  Did  they use tamahagane before the army started in star stamping according to the inspection  format  examples star stamp W and X as indicated 

That also would explain no star stamp.,

 We know the army bought up a lot of tamahagane allocated it to RJI

swords that fit criteria specifications 

How ever if it’s true  smiths got tamahagane from other venues that also would explain no star stamp !
Did they still have to follow the same standards per army specifications as the other RJI smiths who received army tamahagane?

If Anyone can help connect the dots please jump in 


steve

 

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I may or may  not help here....but here goes...

 

The goal of the Yasukunito scheme and the RJT scheme was the supplying of gendaito blades to officers and thereby building up a base of respect for traditional swords and swordmakers.

 

The Yasukuni started in 1933 as a private enthusiast's project to make true gendaito for Army officers. It was started by sword experts and had 2 Army Generals on its guidance board. This leadership group were all of the Nihonto Tanren Kai (on site) and the rule structure was overseen by the Army (War Ministry). All Yasukuni smiths lived on-site and only got 2 days off per month. Each had 2 permanent hammermen. The Yasukuni had its tatara  on-site. Each Yasukunitosho was thus able to make up to 15 swords per month. Inspection was very rigid. I don't know the details, but I presume all blades were polished/mounted in Tokyo. The management put a price on each blade according to its quality.. Swords were sold direct to officers (Kishida's book shows production lists with officer names next to the sword, with a price, so I think you could put in a personal order to Yasukuni) or buy through Army Officer Clubs?  (tom Kishida 'Yasukuni Swords').

 

By 1941 demand for swords was rising, so the RJT sword scheme was started in late 1941...this scheme was intended to supplement/expand the production of the true gendaito coming our of the Yasukuni forge. The governance was also the Nihonto Tanren Kai and all work conformed to Army regulations. Details concerning their metal, dimensions, polish etc were all laid out in the doc (published 20 April 1942) that Bruce posted.

Each established gendaitosho from all over Japan could apply to join the scheme (and the Nihonto Tanren Kai itself also  if they wished...not all did so). Smiths sent examples of their work for inspection and those that were accepted became official RJT from (maybe) late 1941 or early 1942. The  RJT had its own tatara built in Shimane Ken.  Tamahagane was sent by rail/trucks all over Japan and prefectural governments supplied pine charcoal.  Smiths were required to make at least 10 blades per month. These were polished locally, mounted locally and then sent to one of the 5 collection/inspection/arsenal centres allocated for the various regions . When inspected here, they were stamped with the star which indicated Army material content/property (it was not a "pass inspection" stamp but in practise, it WAS, as the Army would not put a material quality stamp on a faulty product of their making/issue which could then bring a law-suit against them if it "failed"). These  "accepted" swords were then sold through the Army Officers Clubs. From this income, the Army paid the tatara costs, the charcoal costs, the transport costs, the smith costs, the polisher costs and the mounter costs. Any profit went back into the scheme. By 1945 there were several hundred RJT smiths working in their own forges all across Japan. As RJT were to make 10 swords per month instead of 15 like Yasukuni, I suppose it was because it was harder for regional smiths to get as many hammermen in regular attendance daily than the smiths at Yasukuni. . All swords from this scheme are true tamahagane gendaito.. Like the Yasukunito, all are "top-end" gendaito made for actual use on the battlefield.

(Kapp & Yoshihara "Mod. Japanese Sw/smiths' PP.42-49 and PP.69-70:;  Tsuchiko 'New Gen. Japanese Sw/smiths" p.161;   based on NMB discussions and archive researched Nick Komiya post RIKUGUN JUMEI TOSHO (RJT) STAMPED BLADES -  DOCUMENTATION? post #4 03-22-2021 on warrelics).

 

NO STAMP RJT smith blades

Here I have to speculate a bit....It must be remembered that all RJT swords are from start to finish, ARMY PROPERTY (until they are sold to officers). Each RJT smith had to return any sword or tamahagane that failed during forging as it was still army property.

When  the complete/finished swords came in to the various arsenals etc for inspection, they were already polished and mounted (but the smith may not have seen them in the polished state - not sure but probably not) the inspector went through them and stamped the good ones. There would certainly be some that had flaws that only showed up after polishing....these few would be those "RJT smith" blades we occasionally see without a star (I have seen one with a flaw/no star by Nakata Kanehide of Seki (2M postwar smith). These were probably sold cheap to an officer - don't know the system for sure.

Those OTHER RJT smith blades in perfect condition seen with no star stamp are .probably just some of his private jobs...simple as that...I have 2, one undated the other longer that RJT standards...both good swords made privately by RJT smiths...no mystery.

 

So, I hope this helps,

Regards,

 

Edit to add....no I don't know where the RJT smiths got their tamahagane for their private order jobs, but although difficult to get in WWII period, there was always some source. Maybe they could purchase small quantities for private work from their RJT supplier...I DO know that both my private order star-less blades are gendaito. 

 

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Thanks Brian...I thought a little "dragging together" of snippets from different books/sources would help...this RJT story is the same as so many others...the info is out there, it is just a matter of putting it together. Wish Nick Komiya or Kishida, or Yoshindo or Tsuchiko would write a book on this.

Regards,

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5 hours ago, george trotter said:

I don't know the details, but I presume all blades were polished/mounted in Tokyo.

A large majority seem to have been mounted by Suya Shoten, my best guess is early on they had a contract with them to mount the blades. Polishing was done on site at the shrine.

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Swords (Steve),.... Rich, George and David have provided you more than enough information on this topic. 

I take issue with one of your posts, saying that you and Rich are the only NAGAMITSU enthusiasts, I have a few, they are great swords to study, and if the post is in still in the for sale section, you can see a good example I just sold. 

As David says, they are GENDAITO. And judge the sword, not the signature. 

I would however ask you to take a close look at yours, from your photos the boring nature of your HAMON could be due to a post war polish and ACID treatment.   

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