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I was watching this on ebay and waited till the auction was over to inquire about this Shin Gunto. Extending from a question I posted on here a couple weeks ago regarding arsenal made katanas and why they are only serial numbered on the tang.


This one is blade smith marked, but also is said to be Mukden arsenal marked? I didn't think the blade's had any arsenal markings on them?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PARE-KOA-IS...ExZOqoKcdGdGv6qp6ZudQ%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc
 

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There are many different stamps seen on WWII era military issue blades. They have different meanings, uses, and histories. It would take a book to address the full story so what follows is the abridged version. The showa stamp was used to indicate a non-traditionally made blade. When you see a blade with this stamp, it means it is not a traditionally made blade. The government ordered that this stamp be used because some non-traditionally made blades were becoming difficult to tell apart from those made the traditional way. Seki stamps were placed to identify the blade as manufactured in Seki and may have also served as a local acceptance stamp. The bulk of the gunto made in WWII came from Seki. There was a veritable gunto cooperative where this business was conducted. 99% of all gunto made were not traditionally made in Seki. There may be the odd ball seki stamped blade that is traditionally made but it would be extremely rare. Some people in Japan say that the Seki stamp was the same as the Showa stamp, others say it is not certain. The Star stamp was used by the military as an acceptance stamp on blades made by the Rikugun Jumei Tosho for the military. These smiths had to pass a rigorous test to be accepted into the contract program. They received tamahagane from the military (which, as a strategic resource, was controlled by the military) and charcoal from the prefectural governor. This is documented fact. Therefore, in theory, all star stamped blades were made traditionally with tamahagane. In practice, who is to say that some smith(s) weren't hording it and passing off western steel blades??? Well, there are two good reasons why this was probably very rare: first, the blades, as mentioned, were inspected. Yoshihara Kuniie, a prominent smith of the time, worked as an inspector. You aren't going to fool him and risk being tossed out of the program. Second, people were patriotic. They were making the best blades they could for their soldiers. It may have happened, but it was most likely rare....Safe bet to say that star stamped blades are traditionally made. I have never seen a showa or Seki stamped blade pass an NBTHK shinsa. I have seen Star stamped blades pass and have owned at least one that I recall submitting and which indeed passed. Why is there so much confusion about stamps? Because nearly all Japanese collectors have shunned WWII era blades, records were destroyed, many Japanese don't much like to talk about WWII related topics, and the experts have never bothered to really research these blades because...see above. I have spent many pleasurable hours talking with several WWII era Rikugun Jumei Tosho about their experiences, spent many hours at the Diet Library digging up old records and period literature (which is difficult to get into-being a university professor made it easy), and sought out many books and papers that most people would never bother to hunt down even if they had heard of them. I also have handled hundreds, if not thousands, of WWII era blades in the past 35 years. As I result, I feel very comfortable with the above statements. As a result, my recommendation to any budding collector is to consider star stamped blades. I have never seen a bad one. They are, on average, pretty decent. Some are better than others, but you can hardly go wrong with them. Conversely, they are not on the same level as the smith's custom or private work and as such are not the best you will find, but they are honest, traditional swords that a new collector can buy with some confidence. - Edited from an article by Chris Bowen

*It is important to remember that the word Showato means a sword made during the Showa era (1926-1989) and Gendaito refers to a sword made between 1876 and 1945. However collectors do not use the literal meanings nowdays, and for convenience, the following is the currently used meanings of the 2 terms:
Showato - A sword made from non-traditional methods, meaning not made from tamahagane. Sometimes they can still be forged and folded from other steel, and sometimes they can come close to being true Nihonto, but are not regarded as such. Most Showato refer to swords that are mass produced with little value to Nihonto collectors. The majority of wartime blades fall under this category. They are usually (buit not always) marked with an arsenal stamp such as the Sho- or Seki stamp. They are often oil quenched as this was safer and didn't lead to failure in quenching as much as traditional water quenching. They usually lack activity in the steel, and a decent hada. Note that some are made from good steel and can be remarkably difficult to identify as Showato. However these swords are illegal and may not be imported into Japan.
Gendaito - This term is nowdays used to indicate a traditionally made sword, made from tamahagane and water quenched. They are considered Nihonto and may be imported into Japan. Some smiths made both types of swords, and each must be judged on its own merits.


hope this will help it was taken from here http://www.nihontomessageboard.com/faq.html most if not all sword questions these guys can answer browse the threads you can learn alot
 

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Keith,

Interesting read and Thanks. I am new to Japanese swords and just can't find enough info to read about them. After 40 years of German stuff I needed something different but should have started years ago when no wanted WW 2 swords. Oh well better late then never……..Just that good stuff is hard to find these days. I am finding out.

Make's it interesting to be on the hunt but the hunting isn't that good.

Jerry
 

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Keith,

Interesting read and Thanks. I am new to Japanese swords and just can't find enough info to read about them. After 40 years of German stuff I needed something different but should have started years ago when no wanted WW 2 swords. Oh well better late then never……..Just that good stuff is hard to find these days. I am finding out.

Make's it interesting to be on the hunt but the hunting isn't that good.

Jerry
But the German has dried up too
 

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I was watching this on ebay and waited till the auction was over to inquire about this Shin Gunto. Extending from a question I posted on here a couple weeks ago regarding arsenal made katanas and why they are only serial numbered on the tang.


This one is blade smith marked, but also is said to be Mukden arsenal marked? I didn't think the blade's had any arsenal markings on them?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PARE-KOA-IS...ExZOqoKcdGdGv6qp6ZudQ%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc
I don't see any "arsenal" marks, I do see a "fu" inspection or maybe just a letter- but fu is usually associated with Jinsen not Mukden.

There is nothing written in stone about WWII Japanese production, especially Mukden and Jinsen.

Maybe Edokko will see this and have some info.
 

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This is a Mantsu made sword meaning "manchurian steel" (non traditional) but it is not a Koa Isshin. These swords are typically very high quality for a showato and this particular one is not signed, only dated using the traditional Zodiac system which I cannot decipher at this time. I am actually a huge fan of these Mantsu especially Koa Isshin made blades though alot of true Nihon-to collectors turns their nose on it due to its non-traditional forging technique. That being said, there is alot more handworks put into these Mantsu blades and many were water quenched under the eyes of some very good sword smith, these blades were known to have an edge of RC72 which is on par with old school shaving straight razors
 

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The sword in question is a "Man-tetsu" sword and was made at the forge operated by the South Manchuria Railways Co. The name Mantetsu is an acronym for the company name "Minami Manshu Tetsudo", and does not mean manchurian steel.
This particular blade was made in 1943 and is the later variation (Part of 1943 and 1944) that did not have the Koa Isshin slogan marked on the tang.
 

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Yeah, well.... that's what happens, and then someone starts going through all the threads to hunt down info on something. I collect all sorts of stuff, but am currently looking to add a shin gunto to my collection of Japanese swords. I have four nihonto, but want a gunto to finish the series.
 

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Picture 8 and 9…..what do the markings stand for?

Jerry
A little late in answering! but they are serial numbers "Fu 624". All Mantetsu blades were numbered. No one actually knows why. Theory is that they were contract numbers, or simply a way to tract production.

The small stamp is a "Nan" and no one knows the origin of this. Ohmura speculates that it is a Nanman Arsenal (Mukden factory) inspector stamp, but there is no documentation to verify that theory either.

I have collected over 140 serial numbers with dates. You can get a copy of my charts here: http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/26165-attention-mantetsu-owners-a-survey/
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A little late in answering! but they are serial numbers "Fu 624". All Mantetsu blades were numbered. No one actually knows why. Theory is that they were contract numbers, or simply a way to tract production.

The small stamp is a "Nan" and no one knows the origin of this. Ohmura speculates that it is a Nanman Arsenal (Mukden factory) inspector stamp, but there is no documentation to verify that theory either.

I have collected over 140 serial numbers with dates. You can get a copy of my charts here: http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/26165-attention-mantetsu-owners-a-survey/
Nice to see an old thread revived after nearly 5 years. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah, well.... that's what happens, and then someone starts going through all the threads to hunt down info on something. I collect all sorts of stuff, but am currently looking to add a shin gunto to my collection of Japanese swords. I have four nihonto, but want a gunto to finish the series.

Yup...and 8 years later........here we are again.
 
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