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Thread: Unkown Katana

  1. #1
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    Unkown Katana

    Hellow im trevor wise i have recently come into possession of a family sword to which i have no idea about

    Here is the history of the sword that i know
    My grandfather discovered it while in japan, the sword looked old and tattered and was rusty beyond recognition, he was 20 ish at this time, the sword has been in my family ever since, my grandfather thought it to be one of the mas produced blades of WWII, as it "looked crappy with all the rust" im quoting him here

    the sword was passed to my father, who is over 50 now, the rayskin or shark(my father believes it to have been shark) and silk on the grip has rotted away with the decades and disuse, i have always loved swords so when it was finally mine i was ecstatic, i have taken a variety of chemistry class's and as well as a metal forging class, i asked my teachers the best way to revive the sword in question of the rust (blade was rusted and so was the tsuba all brown ) they gave me detailed instructions as how to unearth the still healthy material and i have done this for a while now, at first it looked like nothing but then i was amazed the blade still has a edge, the tsuba was amazing brass, silver and copper worked into a plant design around the whole tsuba, the pommel end is a brass and copper mix . the copper piece that fits between the tsuba and sword is a hand made one (this is what a teacher stated) i finally got the handle off to expose the inscription and it also has a symbol or seal in it as well, i have asked some people who are Japanese historians to decipher this inscription and seal but to no luck... all they could tell me was that the sword was built around the time of when the country of japan was broken into many warring nations .. as there where many episodes of that its hard to tell its age

    below are images of the sword i have taken, if anyone can help its greatly appreciated, i have katanas in my collection besides this one that are replicas, fantasy, and originals, also Scottish claymores, and fantasy styled European swords are in my collection as well , so i now how to maintain blades and keep them healthy











  2. #2
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    on a side note i did not mention, the brass washers that separate the tsuba and blade and tsuba and grip appear to be missing....also so is the pin that hodls the blade and handle together, also as you can see the pomel still retains the skin inside (i have no clue how to take it off so i dont want to breaK so i left it as is
    Last edited by Trevor Wise; 01-03-2011 at 10:32 AM.

  3. #3
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    You are one lucky man, what a beautiful sword! It just goes to show that there are still "sleepers" out their waiting to be found!
    Consensus is the stuff of politics, not of science…A public that is not aware of this is vulnerable to abuse. (Paul Reiter, regarding the abuses of science perpetrated by the IPCC 4th Report, 2007)


    -------------

    “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...” (Proverbs 23:7).

  4. #4
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    Thanks for moving it to right forum

    thank you for moving this to the right forum, i also posted this in antique & military swords due to what my grandfather stated
    Last edited by Trevor Wise; 01-03-2011 at 10:49 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thank you

    i was quite surprised i was expecting some junk when it looked like this in the end , i just dont know who made it and where it came from

  6. #6
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    Hi Trevor,

    Welcome To Sword Forum International

    I have shuffled this to another section for a better ID and translation of what we see on the nakago. Generally speaking, jumping into cleaning old sword can have disastrous consequences in value but as it is now, it is what it is.

    A good reference page to start with are Rich Stein's sections and links.
    http://home.earthlink.net/~steinrl/nihonto.htm

    I think I see an arsenal stamp but as I am just a fancy passing of interest and knowledge of these, others will have advices, translations, as well maybe some admonishment but that will be (again) what it is now.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; gold maybe and not just brass in the tsuba?

  7. #7
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    thank you, as i am new to this i dont have much of an idea of what to do, i understand the value goes down due to restoring old blades, but as this one is a family sword i dont have any intent of ever selling it , also know certain solvents can damage or destroy the blade this was why ive taken months and a clean room to restore this blade once i discovered the first bit of brass, and i do a weekly oiling and dressing of the blade as well so as not to start the rust issue all over again


    im not sure of weather its gold or brass ? or both i know silver is in some of the flowers and leaves as is the copper but the rest i havent a clue
    Last edited by Trevor Wise; 01-03-2011 at 11:28 AM. Reason: gold idea

  8. #8
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    Hi Trevor,

    I have removed the signature graphic as disallowed here. No harm, no foul.

    Glen

  9. #9
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    *shrugs * im new here so do what ever i havent a clue,
    btw the index is helpful and some have similar designs

  10. #10
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    i checked the index's sword manufactures symbols it dosent match the blades...
    the women i asked about it stated it could be one of many things here was her take on it

    " the symbol in question could have been of the the house/clan that commissioned the swords making, or was the symbol of the one who forged it, it could also be a personal symbol placed by the swords desired owner "

  11. #11
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    Patience, as many will have opinions in due time.

  12. #12
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    the sheath of the blade is made of leather i believe and inside is two wood blocks that surround the blade these wood blocks are tied to each other by copper wire, it also has some brown colored paint which is flaking off of it (wood i mean)

    the leather part of the sheath seems similar to the index's military swords but the sword styles used dont match the blade or tsuba

    im certain the key to finding this thing out is it inscription as most forgers left their name on their work

    or a haiku.....

    (edit)

    ok its just im really excited , so sorry for my impatience
    Last edited by Trevor Wise; 01-03-2011 at 11:21 AM. Reason: last post

  13. #13
    I think this is a Showato, as shown by the Showa stamp, and made by Ujifusa 氏房 I need much better pictures to read the rest. The tsuba is a nice Higo tsuba and to me worth more than the sword. Keep clean and lightly oiled. I will check back for better pics. John

  14. #14
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    UjiFusa

    from Fuller &Gregory's
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  15. #15
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    yes i believe your right on the name she stated something about ujifusa, i had a translated page but i have misplaced it , it was also stated that some of the writing was where the sword originated from, city or nation.

    im not really sure on any of this
    Last edited by Trevor Wise; 01-03-2011 at 02:48 PM.

  16. #16
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    More pics

    here are some more pics
    if i put duplicates tell me i have in same folder and are similar









    and the symbol of showa does match the blades i believe

  17. #17
    実濃国住人(X)区氏房
    Mino no Kuni Junin (X) Ku Ujifusa; living in Mino province (X) district Ujifusa
    I can't make out the district name. John

  18. #18

    Thumbs up

    WOW
    That tsuba is beautiful!!!!
    Thanks for the pic's

  19. #19
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    These links may help you, a glossary of Japanese sword terms and an explanation of the tang stamp.

    http://members.shaw.ca/nihontonut/glossary.html

    http://ryujinswords.com/shostamp.htm

  20. #20
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    thanks for the info its greatly appreciated, and yes i love the tsuba the most it was quite a shock, for more than fifty years i have stared at this sword on a mantel looking rusted red , tsuba included, the only issue i have is a need new brass washers, and a new sword pin , so it will look as it once did, my grandfather states the grip was white skin with brownish black silk as was the sheath leather, the only issue i have is the blade itself... i have noticed it has a slight bend in it , but upon striking a tatami mat it cuts cleanly still , i have not sharpened this blade so its surprising to still cut so well after rust level.

    i have also pumped my grandfather for info of how he "obtained " the sword
    apparently as a military officer he was the one who drove the boats to the shore during world war 2, after a heavy bombing of the area he and the other officers were given leave to explore the area, after many sweeps it was his shift, while exploring a heavily bombed bunker he discovered the sword hidden under rubble, he states he searched for remains of the owner but found non and believes them to be have been removed by previous sweeps, the sword at that stage looked rusted and crappy but it would make a good memento of his time there, as it was , rusted and looked like crud he was allowed to bring it home to were it sat unattended for years till it switched hands to my father then to me after another long wait


    i have also looked for similar tsuba designs to see if it was forged by the same person but no luck...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor Wise View Post
    ...and a new sword pin... , but upon striking a tatami mat it cuts cleanly still ,
    Trevor, looks like you've cut with this sword, lacking the Mekugi (sword-pin) and Tsukaito (cover of the handle) ?

    It's dangerous, don't do it again, even with an improvised new mekugi.

    The old Tsuka (handle) might collapse with potential deadly results.

    Look at it, oil it but do not play with it.

    My 2 cents.
    Last edited by Carlo Giuseppe Tacchini; 01-04-2011 at 07:21 AM.
    Please forgive my english.

  22. #22
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    About the tsuba.

    Most showato were in gunto (military sword) mounts. It's not uncommon to find swords of that era to be newly furnitured. Especially officers had better quality fittings in their blades. It seems that someone changed the tsuba for this one, which is good thing since that is quite fantastic piece. Possibly more valuable on its own than the rest of the sword. Its not super rare tsuba, but they also wont come by everyday.

    Also fittings are usually made by different craftsman than the blade itself, just like polishings are. In war time era all fittings were standard and made industrially in large volumes. This tsuba seems more like work of some individual craftsman and since it's not signatured, its quite difficult to find the maker of it.

    Oh, btw, congrats of the blade. Keep it in good condition and its nice family heirloom for next generations. Next step in its journey could be professionally made new handle and scabbard.

    Cheers!
    Togishi and mountings.
    http://www.surudoitokan.com

  23. #23
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    thanks for the history and info , its great , plus the helpful tips

    i did not use the handle i used just the blade detached from its parts so i was in no danger, i also handle a nodachi which is my only other Japanese real sword as i qualify it, the others when i started were cos-play toys , then i got claymores, two hander European double edges, then the nodachi and finally this sword

    i set the mat up then proceeded with a basic swing not to powerful but usually enough for my nodachi to make a clean cut , i inspected the slice and noticed the end had a slight bend to it , the blade seems damaged here due to a slight curve , also along the edge is some nicks which can be fixed with polishing
    does anyone know of a place to get the brass fittings and rayskin/silk from ?
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  24. #24
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    so its established that this is a military katana , and its stated my pics are hard to read so i will try and transcribe the text to paper or a digital panel and ost that for easier view

  25. #25
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    The sword itself with beter pics of writing

    here are some images of the sword including the bend i spoke of
    the dark spots are where its still "shiny" and my flash went overboard and i dont know how to work the camera sadly , it seems the metal has a "texture" beneath the exposed metal, its interesting, is that the heating process style or something else?










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