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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up an inherited Japanese sword from a WWII Vet who was in the Pacific. The blade seems shorter than others I've seen & it might have marks from the folding process?? The grip is cloth wrapped over what might be grey fish skin, which is around wood. I removed the wooden peg, brass/bronze sleeve & metal hand guard with a paper spacer. The scabbard is wood with a metal ring & end. It is missing the spring lever to lock the sword in place. I'm hoping someone can decipher the engraved words on the tang & tell me something about it.
Wood Metal Fashion accessory Tool Natural material
Wood Amber Tints and shades Rectangle Metal
Sky Cloud Rectangle Handwriting Wood
Wood Font House numbering Symbol Art
Wood Font Symbol House numbering Auto part
 

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Wakizashi, and the blade is an old one! Still in reasonable polish too by the looks of it.
The Mei, inscription reads. Musashi (no) Daijo, Fujiwara Tadahiro. As to how old, and which Tadahiro this is, I must leave to far more knowledgeable folks than I.
I have had a few short swords from WWII, and many are said to have been used by tank crew officers to allow for stowage in the confined space of a tank.
The marks on the blade are where it has been polished over the years and the outer steel has been worn away slightly, exposing the layers underneath. A common occurrence on older blades. The colour of the nakago (tang) is another indication of its age.

By the way, the signature translates as: Fujiwara (an ancient family name) Tadahiro (smiths name) No Daijo (assistant Lord) of Musashi (province). There were a number of very famous smiths called Tadahiro, and the name was faked a lot too, which we call Gimei (false signature).
Hopefully, someone with a lot more knowledge will chime in on this one! It is many years since I collected them and my knowledge is at best rusty:rolleyes:
 

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before you find out what you have don't try and clean anything up and as a general rule NEVER do anything to the tang. If you see active rust on the tang maybe a few drops of oil and gently wipe it off with a soft cloth but no hard rubbing.
 

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If I see active rust that absolutely had to be dealt with, then I used the edge of a copper coin, which worked very well. One can use a scalpel, but I preferred the soft copper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I emailed with an expert & he feels that although the blade is 350+ years old, the signature is gimei. This is based on the little extra "feet" on the characters. The WWII style grip was probably added later. Either way, it came from a friend who brought it back from his time serving in the Pacific & I'm proud to have it. Thank you all.
 

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I am pleased that you have found out some more about the sword and the smith. In my humble opinion, it is a nice, honest WWII bring back, with an old blade and old mounts, just re-mounted for use during WWII. I personally like these swords, and though I have had quite a few old and traditional Japanese swords in my collection, the fact that an old blade could be re-mounted in new mounts and again taken into battle several hundred years later, always fascinated me. That didn't happen with western swords, as the styles changed and so did their method of using them. World War Two Japanese swords fascinated me for the continuity of their tradition. The fact that a man, possibly now facing a machine gun, would still carry a sword as his ancestors had, possibly even the same sword, was / is an interesting thought..

Enjoy it, and look after it! 👍

Russ
 
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