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Japanese Edo Period Mumei Wakizashi Sword – Superb 17th Century Blade

Japanese Edo Period Mumei Wakizashi Sword – Superb 17th Century Blade

$1,750.00
Product code: 81

Availability: In stock

Quick Overview:

A JAPANESE MUMEI WAKIZASHI SWORD FITTED WITH AN EDO PERIOD BLADE ORIGINALLY FORGED BETWEEN 1603 AND 1868, FITTED WITH A LAQUERED WOOD ‘SAYA’ (SCABBARD) AND GOLD DETAILED MOUNTINGS.  A Japanese Edo Period Mumai Wakizashi fitted with gold detailed mounts (Tsuba, Menuki, Fuchi & Kashira)  and a lacquered saya (scabbard).  This particular sword is fitted with an Edo period Wakizashi blade originally forged between 1603 and 1868.

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Details

A JAPANESE MUMEI WAKIZASHI SWORD FITTED WITH AN EDO PERIOD BLADE ORIGINALLY FORGED BETWEEN 1603 AND 1868, FITTED WITH A LAQUERED WOOD ‘SAYA’ (SCABBARD) AND GOLD DETAILED MOUNTINGS.  A Japanese Edo Period Mumai Wakizashi fitted with gold detailed mounts (Tsuba, Menuki, Fuchi & Kashira)  and a lacquered saya (scabbard).  This particular sword is fitted with an Edo period Wakizashi blade originally forged between 1603 and 1868. The ‘nakago’ (haft) is Funa-gata shaped and is unmarked, known in Japanese as a 'mumei.

Wakizashi swords such as this one, are characterized by their short length while their counterpart, the katana, is longer. Together, the two swords formed a set referred to as a daisho. In feudal Japan the two swords denoted not only a samurai but also his rank. The attention to details, design, and materials contributed in defining the swords cost and ultimately the samurai’s wealth and rank. The swords were worn on the left-hand side of the sash or belt, thus allowing a right handed individual the ability to quickly draw his sword across his body without injuring himself. While at home, samurai would only wear the wakizashi sword, removing it only at night while asleep or upon entering a tearoom. When not worn, both swords were kept in close proximity to their owner. For reference, an excellent photograph, taken in the mid 1860’s, shows three samurai displaying their daisho.

The designation wakizashi as it is currently used is essentially an Edo concept. According to Dr. S. Alexander Takeuchi prior to that, the term was applied to all manner of short bladed weapons carried in the sash that went by names like koshigatana, uchigatana, tanto etc. In 1645 the Tokugawa Shogunate stipulated a maximum length of 1 shaku 8 sun, reducing it further in 1668 and limiting non-military to weapons of that size or less. From Meiji times wakizashi production does seem to be much reduced because a considerable proportion were made and carried by chonin, who were at that time forbidden from carrying any kind of sword.

The use of these short swords by air crew, submariners and tank crew during WW2 has led to collectors sometimes calling them ‘Crew Guntō’. An excellent description of these swords as well as examples of similar swords can be found on the excellent online Japanese reference site ‘Military Swords of Imperial Japan (Gunto)’. A 1940 photograph of a soldier of the Japanese Special Naval Landing Force armed with a MP-34 submachine gun and a Wakizashi sword attached tucked into his waist is attached to this listing for reference. These Wazikashi type swords were very highly sought after by Australian, US and British troops during WW2 as souvenirs.  This weapon, which is in very good original condition, may be one of those mementos acquired when the Empire of Japan surrendered in 1945. 

This particular sword is fitted with a Edo era shinogi-zukuri Wazikashi blade which is in excellent original condition with a superb ‘gunome hamon’ undulating temper line. It’s in old polish with some surface staining, patination and the scratched striations consistent with age and use on both faces but it is better than almost all other blades I have seen on weapons of a similar age. It has no ‘hagire’ type (major) flaws, blade nicks or cracks.  The ‘nakago’ (haft) is Funa-gata shaped and 'mumei’ (unmarked).

The original laquered wooden saya (scabbard) is in similar condition with a great aged patina consistent with use. The ‘Tsuka’ (sword grip) is in good used condition with a vertical crack which has loosened its fit. The tsuka-ito wrapping is worn while the mountings (Tsuba, Menuki, Fuchi & Kashira) appear to be of high quality and are lightly detailed in gold (see pictures). 

Type: Japanese Edo Period Mumei Wakizashi Sword
Overall Length: 500.0 mm
Blade Length:  360.0 mm
Blade Width (at guard):  29.0 mm
Scabbard: Lacquered wooden saya
Overall Length of Scabbard:  420.0 mm

From Australia, a Japanese Edo Period Mumei Wakizashi Sword is a really evocative example of a rarely encountered type.  A Japanese short sword with an Edo period Wazikashi blade, originally forged between 1603 and 1868, still fitted with its original lacquer saya. A rare opportunity to acquire a very attractive and genuine Japanese sword.  It’s a ripper and easily the ‘best on the net’.

Additional Information

Weight (kg) 1.3000
Country of Origin Japanese (WW2)
Sword Type Officer
Maker N/K
Year of Manufacture (circa) 1603
Overall Length (mm) 500
Blade Length (mm) 360
Blade Width (at guard) (mm) 29
Scabbard Lacquered wooden saya
Overall Length of Scabbard (mm) 420