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WW2 Japanese Officers Type 98 Shin Guntō (Katana) – Famous Gendaito Swordsmith

WW2 Japanese Officers Type 98 Shin Guntō (Katana) – Famous Gendaito Swordsmith

$8,500.00
Product code: 11

Availability: In stock

Quick Overview:

From Australia, this hand forged, water tempered Imperial Japanese Army Officers ‘Tachi’ Type Sword in ‘Shin Guntō’ Type 98 (Model 1938) Mounts is in excellent original condition and was made by one of the most famous Showa period ‘Gendaito’ Swordsmith’s Ichihara Ichiryushi Nagamitsu. A genuine Second World War Imperial Japanese Army Shin-Guntō, almost certainly a WW2 battlefield souvenir from the campaign in the Pacific, this Tachi style sword has everything; originality, condition, patina and a very highly regarded maker.

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Details

‘Gendaito’ Swordsmith Forged Tachi – Signed ‘Nagamitsu ' – Near Mint Blade - 1943

An excellent ‘investment quality’ original hand forged, water tempered Imperial Japanese Army Officers ‘Shin Guntō’ Type 98 (Model 1938) Mounted ‘Tachi’ Type Sword made by the very highly regarded ‘Gendaito’ Swordsmith Ichihara Nagamitsu, working in Bizen in Okayama Prefecture in 1943. Ichihara Ichiryushi Nagamitsu, along with Chounsai Emura, is the most highly regarded Japanese Swordsmith of the Showa era. Ichihara Nagamitsu worked in the Bizen tradition and blades forged by him are highly prized for their quality and robustness.  Numerous books and articles detail his work, the best known being the reference in the ‘Oshigata Book of Modern Japanese Swordsmiths 1868-1945’ by John Slough and Richard Stein’s excellent online article ‘Ichihara Nagamitsu’ at http://home.earthlink.net/~steinrl/naga.htm.

The sword is marked with a ‘Showa Stamp’, indicating that ‘Nagamitsu’ produced this sword in 1943.  Although it is frequently described as an arsenal mark, the ‘sho’ stamp is neither an arsenal mark, nor an indication of the method of manufacture. Instead, it’s an Army acceptance stamp (See Fuller & Gregory, page 82).   Records show that swords ere sometimes sho stamped when their owners joined up and took their own sword to with them.  This sword may very well be an example, as the stamp just indicates that the sword entered the military supply chain. The earliest known example of this type of ‘Showa Stamp’ dates from May 1940 and it was superseded in late 1941-early 1942 by the various arsenal marks.

World War Military shin guntō types; The Type 94, the Type 98 and finally the Type 3.  These swords, the first of which was the Imperial Japanese Army Officers Type 94 (Model 1934) kyūyon-shiki guntō, were styled to resemble the ‘Tachi’ sword type of the classic Samurai Kamakura period (1185-1332).  This imitation was deliberate as the Imperial Japanese Army wished to foster the code of Bushido (the way of the warrior) in its soldiers and these swords were a reminder of a legendary period in Japanese history where a Samurai warrior’s sword embodied all that was honorable in the Japanese martial ethos. These types of sword replaced the earlier ‘Kyū Guntō’ or ‘Old Sword’ and were therefore collectively known as ‘Shin Guntō’ or ‘New Sword’. 

There were considerable differences in quality of both blades and mounts for both types of sword and as Richard Stein’s excellent online ‘Japanese Sword Guide’ makes clear most of the blades found in shin-gunto mounts are machine manufactured, not traditionally made.  Some blades were handmade but not by traditional methods and these are classified as either Showato, Muratato, Mantetsuto, Hantanzo or Yotetsuto according to type.  However, some swords manufactured during this period were made using traditional methods and these are termed Gendaito or Kindaito. These traditional makers included the Yasukuni Shrine smiths, the Gassan School, Chounsai Emura and the very highly regarded Ichihara Nagamitsu, who produced this sword.  An example of the mei (signature) used on this sword is pictured as example E In Richard Stein’s online article ( http://home.earthlink.net/~steinrl/naga.htm ) about Ichihara Nagamitsu and is translated as reading ‘Nagamitsu’ and is pictured in this listing.

Richard Stein states that ‘Ichihara Nagamitsu is one of the most famous names in the history of Japanese swords’ and ‘worked during the Showa Era in the 1930's and 1940's’.   He is often confused with Chounsai Emura, who operated a swordmaking facility within Okayama Prison in support of the Japanese war effort.  An explanation for why the two renowned swordsmiths are often confused is set out in Stein's website.  Nagamitsu is reported to have been ‘a participant in the first Army Shinsakuto Exhibition held in 1944 and is mentioned in the Tosho Zensho by Shimizu which lists him as a Rikugun Jumei Tosho (Army approved swordsmith) and as a member of the Rikugun Gunto Gijutsu Tenrankai. He was awarded the Kaicho-sho prize at a sword competition held by Riku-gun Gunto Sho-rei Kai before the war. Chris Lau recorded that Saruta Mitsuhiro, head of the Musashi Dojo Ryuseika in Osaka, used a blade made by Ishiryushi Nagamitsu to perform kabutowari (helmet cutting). The blade successfully cut several centimeters into the iron plate helmet without sustaining significant damage, thus demonstrating the excellent quality and resilience of Nagamitsu's swords. 

These Type 98 ‘Shin Guntō’ mounted swords were used by Commissioned Officers of the Imperial Japanese Army during WW2.  They were very highly sought after by Australian, US and British troops as souvenirs.  This weapon, which retains most of its wartime finish and has a very good aged patina, is almost certainly one of those battlefield mementos.  A very similar sword, is pictured in a photograph of three ‘Digger’s’ of the 2/8 Australian Infantry Battalion holding captured Japanese swords near Wewak in New Guinea in June 1945 and is in the collection of the Australian War Memorial as exhibit 093461 and can be viewed at: http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/093461 .  Two photographs of Imperial Japanese Army officers, one a pilot, carrying Type 98 Guntō are shown in this listing.

This original Imperial Japanese Army Officers ‘Shin Guntō’ Type 98 (Model 1938) Mounted ‘Tachi’ Type Sword is an excellent example of its type.  The sword features a hand forged, water tempered gendaito blade signed  ‘Nagamitsu’ and is dated Showa Juhachi Nen or 1943. The blade is very good with an outstanding ‘aged’ patina on the surface.  The temper line is a straight ‘suguha’ pattern with a well tempered ‘boshi’ and undamaged ‘kissaki’ (point).  The forging grain is tight ‘muji-hada’ with no forging flaws. There are no ‘hagire’ type (major) flaws, or cracks anywhere on the blade and the cutting edge is still sharp.

From Australia, this hand forged, water tempered Imperial Japanese Army Officers ‘Tachi’ Type Sword in ‘Shin Guntō’ Type 98 (Model 1938) Mounts is in excellent original condition and was made by one of the most famous Showa period ‘Gendaito’ Swordsmith’s Ichihara Ichiryushi Nagamitsu. A genuine Second World War Imperial Japanese Army Shin-Guntō, almost certainly a WW2 battlefield souvenir from the campaign in the Pacific, this Tachi style sword has everything; originality, condition, patina and a very highly regarded maker.  If you are looking for a genuine, unadulterated Second World War Japanese ‘gendaito’ sword from the finest of Showa era swordsmiths you would have to look long and hard for a better example.  This sword is one of the best Japanese Guntō I have listed.

Additional Information

Weight (kg) 3.0000
Country of Origin Japanese (WW2)
Sword Type Officer
Maker Ichihara Nagamitsu
Year of Manufacture (circa) 1943
Overall Length (mm) 975
Blade Length (mm) 670
Blade Width (at guard) (mm) 33
Scabbard Painted alloy
Overall Length of Scabbard (mm) 731