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Thread: Need help with Sword signature (Most of tang covered with characters)

  1. #1

    Need help with Sword signature (Most of tang covered with characters)

    Well I'm extremely new to this and just decided to remove the handle on an old sword handed down to me. Long story short....I spent hours researching kanji yesterday and only found a couple of characters that looked recongnizable. At that rate I'll never figure it out so I figured I would try to find a little help online. Here are the best pics I could manage:



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Scottsdale, Arizona USA
    Posts
    97
    Richard, welcome to the forum. I have checked back on this one to see if anyone has offered any help, but see that has not yet occurred. Not sure why. Sometimes folks can be shy of first time posters when the first post is about help with a sword. Frequently, it is someone who joined in order to get info in order to make a quick sale. Maybe that's it, maybe not. Can't say. I can not translate this myself. Sorry. We like stories! Your story might help? Anyway, I want to hear it. Would like to hear the backstory here and maybe someone who can help will get interested. If you are sincere, you can also try the NihontoMessageBoard. Is that red lacquer in the inscription, or is it my screen misleading me and the color is simply the rust? Photos of the rest of the sword might generate interest, too, and can be helpful to the big picture. Good luck and hope to see more. Cheers, Ken

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tampere, Finland
    Posts
    707
    Well that is/was really hard translation. I didn't want to post as I only got maybe couple of kanji translated. However Koichi Moriyama offered his knowledge at NMB, here's the link for those that are intrested in the translation: http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/viewt...p?f=15&t=12864
    Jussi Ekholm

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Blue Ridge, Texas
    Posts
    1,671
    Thank you for that link Jussi!
    Paul Smith
    "Keep the sharp side and the
    pointy end between you and
    your opponent"

  5. #5
    Hello Ken,
    I didn't want to tell another "My Grandfather" story initially because I saw so many while reading through the forums before I registered.
    I can see now would be a good time to share the story:

    This is one of two swords my Grandfather brought back from the Second World War.
    He died a few years ago and left my nephew a beautiful Japanese Katana and I ended up with this old rusty one.
    I have no idea why he would have picked this one to bring back considering the condition.....maybe someone told him a story about it.....or that it was very old; I just don't know and he's no longer here to ask.

    I had done a small amount of research when I passed along the other katana to my nephew and had found that sometimes they had dates or maker's marks under the handles. I had been meaning to help him remove that handle and research it; however, I had not even considered looking under the old rusty one. So just the other day I finally thought about looking under this one. Once removed, I was surprised to see 'any' mei and amazed at just how extensive the mei was.....most I had looked up in the brief few days prior had been just a few symbols.
    For some reason I was obsessed with deciphering the mei....I didn't get much sleep those few nights from pouring over all the Kanji charts/lists I could find.
    Then I took the pictures and tried to post on NMB but the registration took a couple of days, so I posted here first.
    Well, I was expecting something like, "Looks like a crude rambling by unknown writer" and that it was unofficially stated to have been tested to cut through 9 chickens and some reference to the owner's family.
    And I don't mean to make light of it but that's really what I expected. I would mount it in a nice rustic looking case with the handle off where you could see the inscription and keep it around to show my children and grandchildren the "interesting" Japanese writing on this old sword that my Grandfather returned from the War with.

    Then came the translation and I just sat there staring at it on the screen.
    I really don't know how to explain the emotion that set in.....
    This 'curiosity' that I was pursuing the meaning of with such child-like eagerness suddenly became so much larger than me....or my family.
    It actually made me feel ashamed at first....ashamed that I pursued it with so much excitement.
    And it was lying right there on my desk - A blade crafted for a specific purpose; That purpose completed and documented directly on it.
    As the author of the translation stated, " That is not a cutting test description but a tragic record of the war."
    To have it's deeds recorded so "matter-of-fact" directly on the steel that physically caused the deaths certainly raises emotions that previously weren't there when holding it in my hands.

    That's the story so far,
    We have yet to look at the other one,

    Richard J

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Blue Ridge, Texas
    Posts
    1,671
    I would like to caution you from an overly emotional response. While this particular sword is historically significant for the inscription, it is just another sword. Almost every single nihonto of any age at all has a very similar history. They were designed and made for taking human lives, and they have worked astoundingly well in that regard throughout history. This one, because of its unique inscription, just brings this knowledge to the foreground where it isn't easily ignored.

    I think you should take some more and better pictures of the rest of the sword, and send them to, or contact if you have someone locally, a member of the JSSUS so they can give you a better idea of the sword's provenance.
    Paul Smith
    "Keep the sharp side and the
    pointy end between you and
    your opponent"

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