WW2 Japanese Naval Officer's Kai Gunto (sold)
A captured (not surrendered) late WW2 Japanese naval kai gunto
with special mei and good provenance.
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
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