World War II Japanese Swords



2015-06-26 10:36:02

World War II Japanese Swords are edged weapons used by the Japanese Army during the Second World War.

Brief biography

Collecting World War II Japanese swords has been a popular hobby for many military artefact collectors since a large number of swords were brought to the U.S. from Japan after World War II. Although these swords were originally used as weapons, today they have been classified as "art objects" due to the fact that they are extremely popular among collectors.

Many of these swords were handed down within Japanese families for generations over hundreds of years; however, the Katana Japanese sword tended to be the most common during World War II. These swords were typically machine-made and have an engraving along the blade to hide any flaws; (one of the most popular types is a dragon chasing a flaming pearl, for example).

The history of the Katana sword can be dated to as far back to the Muromachi period (from 1392 to 1573), and it was designed so the blade would face upwards as opposed to downwards, which was common in Japanese swords before this era. In 1934, the Shin-Gunto (also known as the "new army sword" or the "Type 94 Katana") first started being mass-produced by machines for Japanese officers to use during the second World War.

Types of Japanese military sword

World War II Japanese swords

Livingston's Auction in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma sold a World War II Japanese sword with a 25.5 inch blade and 36 inches overall size for $1,450 in March of 2007.

Cowan's Auctions in Cincinnati, Ohio sold a World War II Japenese samurai sword (37.2") with a single Nakago-ana (mounting hole for wood pin), a floral Menuki, a sword tassel and a brass Sarute for $1,200 in November of 2007.

Brunk Auctions in Asheville, North Carolina sold:

  • A World War II Japanese officer's sword (circa late 1944; 25.5 inches) with an inscription on both sides, a star stamp for Rikugan Jumei Tosho, a brown lacquered fabric on the hilt, a textured lacquered wood scabbard and black lacquered iron mounts along with a lacquered abalone inlaid wood sword stand for $1,000 in March of 2008.
  • A World War II Japanese officer's sword (37.5 inches) with a metal scabbard olive finish for $2,500 in July of 2011.
  • Another World War II Japanese officer's sword (38.75 inches) with a metal scabbard brown finish for $900 in September of 2010.

Shin-Gunto swords

Rock Island Auction in Moline, Illinois sold a World War II Japanese Shin-Gunto sword (26.5 inches in length) along with a Mediterranean/Abyssinian sword for $700 in April of 2010.

Katana swords

Gorringes in Lewes, East Sussex sold a 39.5 inch World War II Officer's Katana sword with a 28.5 inch fullered blade and floral decorated tsuba and a cloth-bound shagreen handle for £1,700 in October of 2005.

Cordier Antiques & Fine Art in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania sold a 36 inch Japanese Katana Samurai wword which was used in World War II with floral decorated pommels for $650 in May of 2009.

Guide for collectors

Katana swords are considered to be the most rare and valuable, especially if they have any sort of engraving along the blade.

Many fake World War II Japanese swords are typically produced in Mainland China and typically have acid etched hamon or a poorly shaped kissaki.

Restoration of a World War II Japanese sword is recommended, but only if there is noticeable damage. Some antique swords may need polishing from time to time as well.

For more information regarding where to find World War II Japanese swords, visit the Japanese Sword Society of the United States or Military Items.

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