Contents of a Guntō blade
※There is an item which is not yet translated into English.
A Guntō has two kinds, the sword for an officer (personal equipment article), and the sword for a noncommissioned officer and
a private (government-issued supplies). When national army was founded, the military swords (Guntō) of an army and a navy which received
military instruction of France (army) and the U.K.(navy) was a saber mounting (Koshirae).Manufacture of a Japanese sword was decreased
at a stretch by "the law which forbids carrying a sword" in 1876 (Meiji 9). And the Tatara※ type iron man-ufacture which smelts a
"Tamahagane (Japanese steel)" was also closed. Although consumption of a Japanese sword continued by Nissin and the Russo-Japanese
War, World War I, Shiberian intervention, and the Great Kantō Earthquake, Barely, the Guntō was provided with the blade of the stock
made by the early stages of Meiji. In the meantime, the "Murata-to(sword)" which used the steel for sabers was developed as a cheap
Guntō for officers. and it was used for Nissin and the Russo-Japanese War. This blade was an excellent practical use Guntō strong
to rust and turned off well. Although the blade which an officer supplies had the example of a certain time, a Western blade, the
Murata-to, etc., it was a Japanese sword fundamentally.
The saber system of an one hand grip did not adapt itself to the form
of the tang of a Japanese sword, and Japanese sword usage, but the hilt(Tsuka) of a saber was changed by the both-hands grip. It was
the mounting (Koshirae) alteration for uniting with a Japanese sword. ※Tatara
is a name of the ironing method in Japan.
The Guntō of a noncommissioned officer and privates (a cavalry trooper, a military police, etc.) is a blade of sword steel of an army
standard, a machine forge, and oil hardening. There is each form of 32 models (saber type Ko and Otsu), 32 model advanced type (only
a hilt and a tang will be improved in Japanese sword form in 1932, and a scabbard(Saya) is a saber type), and Type-95. All have a
combination of the hilt of a blade and metal strongly made of the mass-production Guntō with which the blade and the mounting were
standardized completely. Just this can call it a special sword called a "Guntō" These noncommissioned officer swords were manufactured
to Meiji - the end of the war by the army arsenal.
Since Japanese sword stock decreased in number extremely by outbreak of a Manchuria incident in 1931, it schemed for revival
of the Japanese sword by the army, the sword community, and a private sector cooperator, and the "Nihonto Tanren Kai (Japanese Sword
Forging and Tempering Society)" was established by Yasukuni Jinja in 1933 (Yasukuni-to). The "Tatara" steelworks revives again, a
private sword factory is also born in various places in the same year, and the forging of a sword was begun. In order to forge the
Japanese sword which an officer carries, the sword factory of an army and the navy was prepared. It appealed for the army to the private
sector swordsmith, and it provided the "Army Commission Sword-smith system". The swordsmith was raised, and it became government-and-people
one to forge the Japanese sword for officers, and it was promoted. In this way, the new sword made in the sword factory of an army(or
navy), Yasukuni-to, the new work. Japanese sword of traditional forging by the commission-swordsmith of an army and private sector
swordsmith , etc. were dedicated to the Guntō-Koshirae. ※1 The officer of an overwhelming majority followed the substance which carries
a Japanese sword, and the army enacted the Japanese style Type Tachi Guntō mounting for officers in 1934, and the navy was enacted
in 1937(common name: Army Type-94 and Navy Type-Tachi). Originally a Guntō means "a use and a mounting(Koshirae) form". Japanese swords
are the foundations of the blade for Guntōes.
However, in order to respond to a lot of Guntō demand by the China incident, production of Mantetsu-to started on the South
Manchuria Railway Co., Ltd.. The army arsenal started development of the mass-produced type blade for an officer at that time. This
was that with which the non-productivity of Japanese sword manufacture is compensated. The Tōhoku Imperial University Metal Material
Research Institute developed a blade called Shinbu-to which bears chill from teachings of a north battle line to substitution of a
Japanese sword weak against the intense cold in 1942. This blade was an excellent practical use Gunto in alignm-ent with the purpose.
The Kōbe Minatogawa Jinja Kikusui Tantō Kai started manufacture of the Japanese sword (Kikusui-tō) of traditional blade making for
naval officers in 1941. In the same year, Seki of the capital of a sword succeeded in mechaniz-ation of an ancient rite forging(the
ancient rite half forging was called), and manufacture of this sword was started.
The army enacted the formal Guntō Mounting
for officers which the Koshirae was simplified and strengthened the circumference of a hilt in 1943. (common-name Type-3).
It prepared for the same year and Japan's mainland decisive battle, and mass production of the army Zōhei-tō (for officers)
called "the sword of modern manufacture" started in Seki. In addition, among the people, the Sunobe-tō and the Shōwa-tō, etc. of various
names were made in large quantities after the China incident inrush. As a result of supplying the blade of the practical use basis
which depends on these simple manufacturing processes in large quantities, as for the Guntō which an officer supplies, a special blade
came to get a majority. These are the Guntōes of the mass production commonly named "Showa sword" generically.※2
were both sides of a scale and systematic employment, and were big fields which does not look at an example to a swo-rd in history
of Japan. The "military special blade "made in large quantities depended on the postwar trend deflected to the fine-arts sword, and
fixed the uniform evaluation with a "Guntō = crude sword" to the world. It divides roughly into the blade of a Gu-ntō and there are
two flows, a traditional blade or a military special blade. We should do consideration and evaluation with each viewpoint, taking
into consideration the actual condition of Japan of those days.
※1 Therefore, the Japanese sword (present age sword) forged
at this time is generally called a Guntō to the background and use of revival of a Japanese sword. Many scientific Japanese swords
were forged in addition to the handmade Japanese sword.
※2 The definition of the Shōwa※ sword has not become settled.
A mere sword making age is expressed or it names generically except the Japanese sword of a common saying (for example, an Sunobe-tō,
Zōhei-tō, Mantetsu-tō, etc.). There are narro-wminded people who speak ill except the Japanese sword of a common saying with "the
shame of a Japanese sword."
The "Japanese sword myth" of the common saying was created by the narrow-minded sword persons concerned
at Meiji Era. Now, "the steel materials and sword making method" of a Japanese sword spreading into the world differ from the historical
fact of a Japanese sword from ancient times. They who did the delusive conviction of the myth never accepted the excellent Guntō blade.
The fine-arts sword community in Japan is governed by the Japanese sword view which was still wrong. It depended on the power of mod-ern
science and the excellent special blade which exceeds a Japanese sword existed. However, a narrowminded idea like them blocked
production of the excellent Guntō blade. The shortage of a Guntō serious as a result was caused, and the dishonest trader's crude
sword was spread. What was the essence of the Japanese sword? The sword did not exist in order to appreciate temper patterns
The situation of Japan of those days must be discerned and the excellent special Guntō blade in the inside called the Shōwa sword
must carry out a just verification and evaluation. ※Shōwa Emperor's period.