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WW2 Japanese Naval Officer's Kai Gunto (sold)

A captured (not surrendered) late WW2 Japanese naval kai gunto with special mei and good provenance.

WW2 Japanese Naval Officer's Kai Gunto

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A late war, circa 1944, Japanese naval officer's kai gunto with interesting / debated mei and provenance. You can tell it is late war because the tsuka (handle) has black pitch / paint, not rayskin under the "ito" bindings, as the Japanese suffered terribly sourcing raw materials for their failing war effort. I bought this sword from a family whose father W.J. Carbines served on HMS Renown which helped pin what was left of the Japanese Army and Fleet in Indonesia. They think their father may have got the sword at or after the surrender in Singapore, but that does not explain the sword knot / tassel as these were removed by surrendering officers. Almost certainly he took this from a Japanese naval officer in Java. Yes, I know the sword knot / tassel is wrongly tied to the scabbard, but that is how the Carbine family say it always was. As you can see the metal sarute (sword knot) loop is missing, so the officer may have tied it to the Obi-tori scabbard suspension rings, or this may have been done later by W.J. Carbines.

The tang is interestingly signed and stamped. It has the Toyokawa Naval Arsenal stamp of an anchor within a circle, but it also has the stamp for "That one" under the arsenal stamp. This has been found on several naval kai gunto and is believed to certify authenticity; the trouble is authenticity of what?! The name signed to the blade is "Inanami" or "Inaba"; most experts believe it is the later, but no-one seems sure as to who or what Inaba is! This three character signature is only found on naval kai gunto with the "That one" stamp. Some people believe it is the work of blade maker Inaba Kaneyoshi, while others believe there is a connection with either Mount Inaba or the Inaba Shrine. In any event, there is a lot of research potential for someone with this sword!

Inaba or Inanami

The 26 5/8 inch blade makes it a true katana (rather than a wakizashi). The blade is firm and in very good condition, a few marks here and there, with a clear straight hamon. Everything is firm and in good order though, as stated, the sarute loop (a small piece of metal commonly available if you want to buy a replacement) is missing. The saya / scabbard is rayskin, a little aged as you would expect but overall good. These are such rare swords (as most went to the bottom of the ocean) and this is such an interesting one. Further / full sized pictures available upon request. Item reference number 672 (257).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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