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Hello,

I am new to this forum, so please excuse any errors on my part...

I am not an expert, hardly even a novice, to Japanese sword collecting.. but I would like to learn more about them.

I have just aquired my second sword and would like some help in identifying its vintage ... also some help in regards to whether I have correctly identified it.

The sword is a Shinogi Zukuri that was probably used by a World War II Army Officer based upon the type of Saya (i.e. looks like a typical WWII Army saya).

The Nakago is signed ... I was told that the signature reads Yamamoto-Kumi. There is what appears to be an upside-down tilde (or wave) underneath the Mei, but I have no idea what that signifies. (Does anyone have an opinion on that?) Can anyone please inform me if they have heard of a swordsmith named Yamamoto Kumi and, if so, was he from the World War II era?

The other side of the Nakago has only the number 16 stamped near the top end of the tang. is this an arsenal mark?

The blade appears to be hand forged, but I can't tell if it was traditionally made or not. I am venturing the following opinions on the characteristics of the blade ... but I don't know if I am right or wrong since all I have in reference are diagrams from a web site that used info from Peter McCollum... anyway ... here goes:
Sword Blade: Shinogi-Zukuri
Kissaki: O
Mune: Ihori
Boshi: Komaru
Hada: Mokume
Hamon: Sudare (?) {This was very difficult to determine and is my best guess}
Hataraki: I just don't know ... lack of experience of my part... and maybe the blade needs polishing, but I can't afford the cost of having it professionally polished as I understand it costs thousands of dollars.

In addition to the sword blade, I believe this sword has the following tang characteristics:
Nakago shape: Furisode (best guess, as I also thought it might be Futsu or Shiribari)
Nakago-Jiri: Iriyamagata
Yasurime: Katte-Agari

Any and all opinions and information to help determine the vinatge of the sword blade, and maybe even if it was traditionally made, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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PICTURES WILL GO A LONG WAY IN HELPING YOU WITH CORRECT INFORMATION. THE NUMBER IS LIKELY AN ASSEMBLY NUMBER AND WOULD LIKELY APPEAR ON ALL OF THE SEPPA AND THE TSUBA. I PRESUME THE NUMBER SIXTEEN IS WRITTEN IN KANJI.
BOB


"A man needs to know his limitations" Dirty Harry
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splhcb Offline OP
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I will add additional photos as soon as possible.

In the meanwhile, here is a photo of the Mei.

Compressed.JPG (25.12 KB, 495 downloads)
Mei
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splhcb,

First - welcome to the Forum
One question: Are you sure you are a "hardly even a novice, to Japanese sword collecting"? Cool
You are using a 100% correct Nihonto terminology that no regular "novice" would be familiar with (even born and raised in Japan).
As Bob said, more photos would be a big help.

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splhcb Offline OP
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Thank you and yes, I am a novice.

I picked up the terminology from doing one day's worth of research on the internet. I found a great web site for Japanese sword terminology, and then my son and I proceeded to examine the katana and make notes.

We will try to get more photos of the sword ... but the problem is two fold. One the lighting ... hard to get the right lighting indoors using only overhead lighting and trying to avoid flash that will bounce light off the sword blade. And then two, our camera takes huge (in memory) sized photos, and I need to find a tool that will reduce the photo size in memory without taking away too much detail. (Right now each photo is 1 to 2 megabytes in size)

This is my second katana. The first one was definitely a machine-made one (since all WWII collectors and dealers that we occasionally meet at gun shows informed us when viewing that other sword. Also that other sword had no signature.) This second one is of much more interest to me as I would like to expand my knowledge base on the subject of Japanese swords.

More photos soon. And thanks again for your help.

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i am afraid...

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splhcb Offline OP
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As promised, here are additional photos of my katana.

I am not an expert on photographing sword blades ... so any suggestions on lighting techniques, etc would be appreciated...

I don't know if I can get more than one photo into one reply...I am new to this forum..

well here goes...

Blade_11.JPG (29.65 KB, 425 downloads)
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next photo

Blade_10.JPG (29.5 KB, 410 downloads)
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Another photo of part of the blade

Blade_9.JPG (23.9 KB, 399 downloads)
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Yet another blade photo

Blade_8.JPG (26.95 KB, 400 downloads)
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Blade 7th

Blade_7.JPG (29.68 KB, 390 downloads)
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Blade 6th

Blade_6.JPG (27.73 KB, 386 downloads)
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Blade 5th

Blade_5.JPG (26.5 KB, 376 downloads)
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Blade 4th

Blade_4.JPG (21.97 KB, 376 downloads)
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Blade 3rd

Blade_3.JPG (20.7 KB, 368 downloads)
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Blade 2nd

Blade_2.JPG (19 KB, 360 downloads)
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Blade_1

Blade_1.JPG (32.66 KB, 359 downloads)
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Kissaki

Kissagi.JPG (37.53 KB, 352 downloads)
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Hamachi

Hamachi.JPG (23.58 KB, 351 downloads)
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Tsuka

Tsuka.JPG (27.81 KB, 349 downloads)
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Menuki

Menuki.JPG (36.05 KB, 339 downloads)
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Tsuba

Tsuba.JPG (31.46 KB, 334 downloads)
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Saya

Saya.JPG (24.77 KB, 331 downloads)
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Kashira

Kashira.JPG (29.31 KB, 328 downloads)
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Fuchi, Tsuba, Seppa

Fuchi_Tsuba_Seppa.JPG (25.74 KB, 328 downloads)
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Kashira tip

Kashira_tip.JPG (30.84 KB, 319 downloads)
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Tsuba and Fuchi, another view

Tsuba_2.JPG (29.25 KB, 317 downloads)
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splhcb Offline OP
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The katana.

katana_2.JPG (23.41 KB, 310 downloads)
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Sword and Scabbard

katana_3.JPG (24.89 KB, 302 downloads)
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splhcb Offline OP
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Well, that's about it for the photos.

If any more / different angles, views, etc are useful, please let me know.

Has anyone been able to ascertain if Yamamoto Kumi is the correct translation for the Mei ?
If yes, is the swordsmith from the World War II era, or earlier? If earlier, can an approximate date / time period be given?


Thanks for your help.

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hi,,,your sword fittings are definitely showa era,1925 to end of ww ii,,by the color of the rust on the tang,i would also tend to surmise that the blade was also made roughly wihtin that same time frame,,try googling his name and see what pops up...robert

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splhcb Offline OP
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Thanks Militarymania ... I figured that the items besides the blade were WWII vintage ... I was hoping to get more info on the blade itself.

I believe I have made some progress on the Mei...

The first three characters are in my opinion Yamamoto Kume (and not Yamamoto Kumi)... I was confused by the third character until I found a website that was comparing Traditional Chinese characters to Simplified Chinese characters to Japanese ... in my opinion the third character is the Simplified Chinese for Kume

Next, I was wondering if the the wavy charcter at the end isn't really Simplified Chinese (again) or just a "wavy" way of wrting Kazu ?

This would make the full name Yamamoto Kumekazu ... does this make sense?

But why would the Kazu be so far from the first three characters?

I have tried GOOGLE searches on Yamamoto Kume, Kume Yamamoto, Yamamoto Kumekazu, and Kumkazu Yamamoto ... no luck.

Do I have a Chinese fake?

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quote:
Originally posted by splhcb:...Do I have a Chinese fake?...


splhcb,
I hate to be right when I bring the bad news.

Since you have asked, yes, I'm afraid that you have a Chinese "replica".
IMHO the hada grain looks more like the acid etched "damascus" pattern.
The kissaki: can't see the boshi and yokote is very unclear.

It's just my opinion.

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I WOULD TEND TO AGREE. THE HADA IS WAY TO PRONOUNCED TO BE A TRADITIONAL FORGED BLADE. THERE ALSO IS NO INDICATION OF A TRUE TEMPER LINE IN THE PICTURES.


"A man needs to know his limitations" Dirty Harry
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Here's the "classic Chinese gem" that happened to me time ago:
Slideshow

Fortunately, PayPal surprised me, refunding my payment.
That was described as a "genuine WW2 Japanese officer sword brought by my father from the Pacific War and stored for many years in the closet".
Poor, blurry pictures, fairly low price and...voila!

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Sorry, it is definitely a Chinese fake.

Bill Rannow
Minneapolis Minnesota
Fine Japanese Swords & Antiques
www.artswords.com
AND
Quality WWII German Militaria
www.collectorsmilitaria.com

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Thanks a nice sword, you should really invest about $200 into it and have david McDonald rewrap the grip.

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My first impression was that I didn't like the look of the blade, the pattern seem to be a bit loud, like those found on the Chinese fakes. I figured that it might be a filter used on the camera.

The view of the screen on my laptop doesn't help either. I will say, if it is fake, it is one of the better ones I have seen.

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I've changed computers. I don't like the look of the blade, it appears to me that they might have used some real parts in building it. The Chinese for some reason just can't get the tang hole right, they always leave the hold looking unfinished by not removing the sharp edge left by the drill bit.

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The blade appears to be an acid etched Chinese copy, but then I am not an expert. The sword release spring should not be on the outside....it fits in a slot in the handle. At least that is how mine are.

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