Military History/Gunto Katana


Hi Paul,

I was recently looking through a nice little antique shop, and I came across an old katana that caught my eye.

It was very dirty, pretty tatty, and it looks like a rather poor example of a katana compared to the others I own. I however immediately fell in love with it as I'm a sucker for an underdog.

A japanese friend of mine read the markings on the blade which reads: "emperor" & (Showa 15 years)=1940. Having done a little research, I believe it to be a 1940's Gunto Katana, but looking online at examples, it appears mine has a rather different Tsuba of what I believe is a crane. All the other examples I have seen have been of Sakura (cherry blossom).

I would normally have taken the Same off to look for a makers mark, but again interestingly it has no obvious pins securing the blade. I would think that is was machine made only the Fuchigane and Kashiragane are both very cruedly hammered into shape with rough bent metal, so I'm rather reluctant to try and remove them for fear of breaking them. It has no obvious fold or temper lines, so I'd guess it is still a mass produced item. I have no doubt it's not worth much, and I'm actually halfway through trying to clean it up (though I'm no professional, just a bit of a project).

It also has a serial number stamped along the bottom of the blade: "46127".

I've had a look at some of the links you posted in an earlier question, but unfortunately, they don't seem to be active any longer. I was wondering if you might know a little about it's story, or know someone else who might. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks!



I was unable to see the images but from you description machine made sounds right.   If it had a serial number than definitely a machine made sword.  Many officers had their swords modified to look more like a handmade blade.  
I have a new link to a service that should be able to identify the sword for you.

I hope this helps and thank you

Military History

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Paul Sutton


I can answer questions on World War Two weapons, tactics, and strategy. I can answer questions on Weapons systems and their development. I can answer guestions on Space exploration history. I am a World War 2 expert. I study Military Weapons Systems and the usage of those systems.


I work for Saint Petersburg College as a TRS or Technology resources specialist. I read 10 to 15 books a year on World War 2 and weapon systems. I also have a BA in History from USF.

I have a BA in history from USF.

©2016 All rights reserved.