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Use to collect Japanese Shin Gunto and NCO swords as a young man when they were pretty common in Surplus and Antique Stores around Los Angeles 40 years ago. Here’s a photo of a photo from back in the day of a machine made NCO.
Will post more as soon as I can find my Sword album.
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Was only able to find one photo (album got lost), but this was my best Showa Era Nihonto—a Political Officers Sword made by Mitsu Ashi Ogami.
 

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All I have to offer is a recent Chinese-made katana by Musashi. It is made of folded steel and has a genuine hamon, but it's probably nowhere near the quality of a true Japanese katana. I only bought it as a wall hanger, as I'm a hundred times more fearful of cutting myself or lopping something off with this thing than I've ever been of being shot with one of my guns!
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All I have to offer is a recent Chinese-made katana by Musashi. It is made of folded steel and has a genuine hamon, but it's probably nowhere near the quality of a true Japanese katana. I only bought it as a wall hanger, as I'm a hundred times more fearful of cutting myself or lopping something off with this thing than I've ever been of being shot with one of my guns!
View attachment 659181
Some of the replicas are probably more functional than a lot of Nihonto (Traditional Japanese Katana) that can be anywhere from a hundred or so years old to nearly a thousand. Most of the Nihonto were generally single peg retention for the handles except for the overly long Tachi and frequently the wood of the handles is cracked and rotten. They get real expensive real quick if they are certified and have new Kashiri that’s approved for cutting.
 

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Nice examples p.08. I only have a Shin-Gunto that I inherited.

Its a traditional crafted blade (not machined steel) that was set in military mounts during the Russo/Japanese era. My father in law brought it back with him upon his return from Japan in WWII. That side of the family never thought of it as a historical military artifact and showed it no love. It was seriously neglected for years. Even being used to cut weeds and brush. When he first showed to to me I explained what it was and that it should be cherished and maintained properly. I volunteered to research it and clean it up for him. He agreed and the fun began.

I have forgotten much of what I learned about traditional Japanese Shin Gunto, but the one thing that struck me in my quest for knowledge was the Yasuri-Me (heavy file marks) that are often on the Habaki (collar). They are like finger prints and identify the maker like a Mei (signature) that is sometimes present on the Nakago (tang). Back in those days a formal education was only for the upper class, and many blade smiths were not literate. The Yasuri-Me was their signature. The Nakago on my Shin-Gunto has the exact same file marks as you can see here, on the Habaki.

Even after being abused and neglected I was amazed at how sharp the blade is. Its actually scary sharp, and I did nothing more than clean the blade with soap and water and then re lubricated it. The military mounts are in OK condition so I removed them, cleaned them and have them stored to keep them preserved. I hand fabricated a Suka, Tsuba and Saya to allow safe handling and routine maintenance of the blade. I documented what I learned of this Shin-Gunto and have a copy stored with the military mounts. Someday when I am no longer the custodian of this piece, hopefully my son will appreciate what it is.
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I've always wanted one, but I never ponied up for one. I think it's fascinating how the real ones are made...how the blades naturally curve when they're quenched, etc. But I'd just be a poser...no idea how to use one, and I would never want to. I hope I never have to use a gun for defense, either, but that would be so much cleaner and easier.
 

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I saw a documentary a long time ago where they went to Japan and interviewed one of the very few real Japanese sword smiths left in the country. He manufactures maybe one or two swords a month and they showed the process which involved several assistants. He only manufactured the sword and sent it out for a scabbard smith to hand make a scabbard for it. I think the price was somewhere around $40,000 per sword to commission and buy one. I would love to have a brand new Katana made in the original manner. But, I don't have that kind of money.

I bought a cheap WWII Japanese NCO sword at a gun show years ago. I later read up on how those swords are not true Japanese samurai swords and were manufactured in a factory as cheaply as possible for NCO's because even they could not afford a true Katana. The reals ones were carried by commissioned officers who usually received them through family inheritances.

I sold off that NCO Katana that I had. The closet thing that I have now is a Cold Steel Hamidashi tanto. Certainly not a true Samurai tanto. But, much better quality than most copies made by cheap Chinese companies.
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Japanese subjects are not allowed to own swords unless it's a family heirloom that's been registered with the government. The few swordmakers in the country are only allowed to make two a month and only for export to other countries. Japan, Korea and China are examples of what happens when governments have complete control over their subjects and won't even allow them to own sharp pointy things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
All I have to offer is a recent Chinese-made katana by Musashi. It is made of folded steel and has a genuine hamon, but it's probably nowhere near the quality of a true Japanese katana. I only bought it as a wall hanger, as I'm a hundred times more fearful of cutting myself or lopping something off with this thing than I've ever been of being shot with one of my guns!
View attachment 659181
The Paul Chen swords are decent for a Chicom made sword. The early ones were made from the Manchurian railroad tracks, they were supposedly made from laminated steel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Japanese subjects are not allowed to own swords unless it's a family heirloom that's been registered with the government. The few swordmakers in the country are only allowed to make two a month and only for export to other countries. Japan, Korea and China are examples of what happens when governments have complete control over their subjects and won't even allow them to own sharp pointy things.
Not quite correct, they can own traditionally made swords be they old blades or new made as they are considered art. They cannot own Paul Chen and especially not cheap mall swords.
 

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I’ve always wanted one. But like my guns I like the finer things and can’t afford the sword I’d want. There are many sites online who sell them. I surf them often. Truly amazing when description says ‘sizinoto period circa 1400. Made by master hasamawasaki’ (I made those up, but you get the idea). But they do have really old blades. And like old guns it would create imaginary stories of where they’ve been if held.
 

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I saw a documentary a long time ago where they went to Japan and interviewed one of the very few real Japanese sword smiths left in the country. He manufactures maybe one or two swords a month and they showed the process which involved several assistants. He only manufactured the sword and sent it out for a scabbard smith to hand make a scabbard for it. I think the price was somewhere around $40,000 per sword to commission and buy one. I would love to have a brand new Katana made in the original manner. But, I don't have that kind of money.

I bought a cheap WWII Japanese NCO sword at a gun show years ago. I later read up on how those swords are not true Japanese samurai swords and were manufactured in a factory as cheaply as possible for NCO's because even they could not afford a true Katana. The reals ones were carried by commissioned officers who usually received them through family inheritances.

I sold off that NCO Katana that I had. The closet thing that I have now is a Cold Steel Hamidashi tanto. Certainly not a true Samurai tanto. But, much better quality than most copies made by cheap Chinese companies.
View attachment 659200
This may be the documentary you mention? If it’s not it’s still worth watching. I think half a million of the 7.5 million views are mine. I’ve watched it a ton of times.
 

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Not quite correct, they can own traditionally made swords be they old blades or new made as they are considered art. They cannot own Paul Chen and especially not cheap mall swords.
So I got my wires slightly crossed:

Fact: Ordinary citizens in Japan have the right to own Japanese-made blades that are registered with the Nihon Token Kai (Japanese Sword Association). These swords must exhibit historical or cultural significance. A certificate of authenticity and ownership permit are necessary. In Japan, sword smiths are allowed to produce only two swords a month as cultural artifacts. Each sword smith’s work is evaluated and rated by the token kai, and the prices are then adjusted. Unlicensed swords or those made by unlicensed smiths are confiscated, and the owner may be charged with possession of an illegal weapon.
 
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