Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: WWII Japanese Sword Translation and Id needed

  1. #1

    WWII Japanese Sword Translation and Id needed

    Hi,

    Im new to the forum, My Grandad was showing me his sword he took from a guy he killed in Borneo in WW2,
    He was wanting to know if I could find some information on it, here are some pics, he keeps it wrapped up in talcum power, I didnt get a shot of the blade, but other that the text in the pics there are no other engravings or markings.

    Any Info on the sword and translation of the Japanese text would be much appreciated







    Close up




  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    CT/NY.
    Posts
    1,405
    This is a traditional antique Japanese sword. It appears to have been only partially adapted for WWII use, with the kabuto-gane (end cap on the tsuka), saya (scabbard) leather cover, rain cover etc. added for field duty. But it wasn’t wholly converted to guntō (military sword) mounts. The tsuba for one is antique iron, probably from the Edo period.

    Keeping it covered in talcum powder is odd and probably not advisable long-term. Sometimes a light dusting is used to make the mei show up (like here) but the blade isn’t supposed to be smothered in it. While it may have protected the blade in some fashion through sheer physical sealing and moisture absorption, talcum powder presumably has a chemical action over time and is unlikely to be good for the finish. What is more, the saya (scabbard) is now probably filled with it as a result, effectively ruining it (it doesn’t look like it was a good saya anyway, but just FYI). Of course, if it were restored (polished) it could not be returned to the old saya regardless, so this isn’t the end of the world.

    Please read the proper care guides here and here. In short, don’t touch the steel with bare skin, don’t hit anything with it, don’t attempt to clean or polish or sharpen it, etc. Normally you oil the blade but now that the saya is full of talcum powder that’s probably a bad idea as it will just gunk up. So wipe it down and keep it dry.

    武州住康重
    Bushū jū Yasushige (Yasushige, resident of Musashi province)

    There is a long line of Musashi Yasushige smiths, at least 12 generations, working from the late 1500s until the early 1900s. However, most of the generations after 1600 signed with “Bushū jū Shitahara Yashushige saku.” I checked the mei against two of the first generations (Tōzaemon & Yogorō) in Fujishiro’s, but the mei on your sword is not a very good match for either. The transmission of this school is a little confusing to read as there are brothers and sons with inherited names. Basically I don’t have the knowledge or resources to narrow down which specific smith it is in this case. EDIT: the photos are sadly a bit small for good mei comparison, but Nobody-san links a number of good examples here.

    Could you please post an in-focus photo of the entire nakago (tang) from dead-on (i.e. no perspective distortion)? It is more difficult to assess/compare the mei in blurry closeup like this, and things like the nakago shape and filing marks matter (as does the color and depth of the patina). Also, please post photos of the entire bare blade, again dead-on (no perspective distortion) and both sides. Also try to get photos of the hamon (hard white edge steel) and hada (grain from folding) if you can. A closeup of the kissaki (point), especially showing the boshi (hamon in the point), would also be nice.

    If you wanted to get it restored and/or papered, I’d recommend you get in touch with Bob Benson, Paul Martin, and/or Chris Bowen who can all act as agents and advisors.
    Last edited by Gabriel L; 11-24-2013 at 10:38 PM.

  3. #3
    Thank you very much for you time and knowledge, the old guy is going to be thrilled to have some light shed on its origins,
    I'll get some better pictures of parts you mentioned below and post them in the next day.
    Yeah the talc power is a strange way to protect it, I'll pass this info from the links to the the old bloke get him to change his ways, he's been doing it this way since he brought it back to Australia with him in 1945.

    Thanks again

    Tom



    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel L View Post
    This is a traditional antique Japanese sword. It appears to have been only partially adapted for WWII use, with the kabuto-gane (end cap on the tsuka), saya (scabbard) leather cover, rain cover etc. added for field duty. But it wasn’t wholly converted to guntō (military sword) mounts. The tsuba for one is antique iron, probably from the Edo period.

    Keeping it covered in talcum powder is odd and probably not advisable long-term. Sometimes a light dusting is used to make the mei show up (like here) but the blade isn’t supposed to be smothered in it. While it may have protected the blade in some fashion through sheer physical sealing and moisture absorption, talcum powder presumably has a chemical action over time and is unlikely to be good for the finish. What is more, the saya (scabbard) is now probably filled with it as a result, effectively ruining it (it doesn’t look like it was a good saya anyway, but just FYI). Of course, if it were restored (polished) it could not be returned to the old saya regardless, so this isn’t the end of the world.

    Please read the proper care guides here and here. In short, don’t touch the steel with bare skin, don’t hit anything with it, don’t attempt to clean or polish or sharpen it, etc. Normally you oil the blade but now that the saya is full of talcum powder that’s probably a bad idea as it will just gunk up. So wipe it down and keep it dry.

    武州住康重
    Bushū jū Yasushige (Yasushige, resident of Musashi province)

    There is a long line of Musashi Yasushige smiths, at least 12 generations, working from the late 1500s until the early 1900s. However, most of the generations after 1600 signed with “Bushū jū Shitahara Yashushige saku.” I checked the mei against two of the first generations (Tōzaemon & Yogorō) in Fujishiro’s, but the mei on your sword is not a very good match for either. The transmission of this school is a little confusing to read as there are brothers and sons with inherited names. Basically I don’t have the knowledge or resources to narrow down which specific smith it is in this case.

    Could you please post an in-focus photo of the entire nakago (tang) from dead-on (i.e. no perspective distortion)? It is more difficult to assess/compare the mei in blurry closeup like this, and things like the nakago shape and filing marks matter (as does the color and depth of the patina). Also, please post photos of the entire bare blade, again dead-on (no perspective distortion) and both sides. Also try to get photos of the hamon (hard white edge steel) and hada (grain from folding) if you can. A closeup of the kissaki (point), especially showing the boshi (hamon in the point), would also be nice.

    If you wanted to get it restored and/or papered, I’d recommend you get in touch with Bob Benson, Paul Martin, and/or Chris Bowen who can all act as agents and advisors.

  4. #4
    Hi. Digging this thread up again. Here is a vid of the same sword, if anyone is able to provide any more information than previously described above. Any info is greatly appreciated.

    Video link here in HD

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4iHRBw6bEs&feature=youtu.be

    Cheers Tom
    Last edited by t wilson; 10-07-2017 at 10:36 AM.

  5. #5
    Last edited by t wilson; 10-07-2017 at 09:51 AM.

  6. #6

  7. #7





    Last edited by t wilson; 10-07-2017 at 10:35 AM.

  8. #8


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    CT/NY.
    Posts
    1,405
    Hello,

    I'm a bit busy so I cannot really give this post the attention it deserves, but I got a notification since I helped you way back when. I would recommend that you cross-post this to the Nihonto Message Board as the Nihonto subforum of Sword Forum International is just not nearly as frequented these days. The NMB will almost certainly garner more replies. I mean no rudeness to SFI, who were pioneers in online sword discussion, but just stating the facts as they have developed.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •