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    Help Me Identify This Japanese-ish Weapon

    So...many years ago, my younger brother wanted to be a ninja for Halloween. Like any kid growing up with a blooming ninja fetish, he needed the right weapon.

    So, his mother did what any web-savvy person might have done around the turn of the millenium: she went to Ebay to find the right ninja weapon for her bloodthirsty adolescent.

    What she found (for a measly $15) was this thing, which has made its way to me now that my brother is in college.



    At first I gave it little thought...just another ninja-to wall hanger to throw in my basement.

    But as I cleaned it up and took a look at it...this is no wall hanger. The blade appears to be a strong, sharpen-able steel alloy of some kind, the hilt is a single cut of wood, and the hardware is all what appears to be pure bronze. The blade's tang clearly goes straight through the hilt to the pommel, which is also bronze with a small loop at the end.

    I'm not sure if this thing is some sort of antique, or just a well crafted copy, but overall this is a strong, sturdy sword. No glues, silly string, plastic....this thing is 100% wood, steel and bronze.

    I almost want to take this to one of those Antique Road Shows just to see if someone can figure out when and where in the hell this thing was forged. I'm no sword expert but the craftmanship on this thing seems authentic as well as...old.

    Is it possible this is some sort of antique 19th/20th century blade pawned on Ebay for $15 USD?



    Last edited by W. Rabbit; 10/27/2011 12:18pm, .

    #2
    Military (20th century) wakizashi style, methinks.

    Any serial number in it?

    Comment


      #3
      No markings at all?
      Can you get a shot of the end of the tang/pommel?

      Comment


        #4
        You sure it's not a rat tail tang?

        That screw like appendage where the pommel should be looks highly suspicious.

        Comment


          #5
          Pretty sure its someones idea of a reproduction, it's not japanese. You'd need closer pics of the edge, the tip, and the tang, but none of it looks right to me to be made by someone with knowledge of japanese swords. But a look at the tang would more helpful.

          Comment


            #6
            That looks like this classic crappy ninja sword, sans handle wrapping:


            They're commonly sold for around $15 (uh oh). I had one that looked just like that after a little age and losing the wrapping. It's also the sword that breaks and stabs the QVC guy in the stomach


            Telltale signs are the unusual guard shape, the straight blade, and that little cylinder sticking off the pommel. That's almost certainly the bolt for a rat tail tang (you mentioned a loop, which that kind of sword has for a little tassel thing). See if you can loosen it and remove it, and you'll probably find a skinny threaded spot welded tang inside the wooden handle (this is why the sword broke and stabbed that guy). Do this before you try to samurai through a solid target. I snapped the tang off and had a friend reshape the blade and weld on some metal handle plates, so now it's a full tang bolo. I'm pretty sure actual old Japanese blades don't have a pommel bolt sticking out like that.

            After some time, the nice shiny hardware oxidizes to the color in the pic too.

            I'd bet money that it's a wall hanger.
            Last edited by Permalost; 10/27/2011 12:29pm, .

            Comment


              #7
              Actually, I'm pretty sure it's not japanese, if it was pre WW2 it would have a curved blade, and different fittings, and be very distinctive in terms of the steel and the cut of the kissaki and the polish on the edge. If it a WW2 it would still be curved and distinctive in other ways.

              Thats someones idea of a ninja-to made from a steel blank.

              Comment


                #8
                BTW there is no historical evidence for the existence of ninja-to.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Yoj View Post
                  Actually, I'm pretty sure it's not japanese, if it was pre WW2 it would have a curved blade, and different fittings, and be very distinctive in terms of the steel and the cut of the kissaki and the polish on the edge. If it a WW2 it would still be curved and distinctive in other ways.

                  Thats someones idea of a ninja-to made from a steel blank.
                  Agreed.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    No markings (that I can see), no serial number. You're definitely right about the rat tail tang.

                    I've seen/played with plenty of wall hangers before, and for some reason this is completely different. It's also very heavy compared to the wall hangers I've seen. If it's a copy of something or just a made-up ninja-to, it's still very well crafted and extremely sturdy. It may not be "legitimate" as an antique but the quality seems beyond wall hanger, otherwise I would probably have junked it.

                    In fact, coincidentally enough that QVC sword video is an old favorite of mine and when my brother first handed me this a few weeks ago I first thought "lol ninjer wallhanger, I used to have one of these" and proceeded to try smash it against the concrete outside to break it and laugh. When it didn't break my next thought was "wow, that's strange. I need to show this to Bullshido". I've since tried to bend it, break it, take it apart...to no avail...short of trying to smash the hilt off with a hammer, this thing might as well be a single piece of metal.

                    It does look very similar to the crap on QVC, though.

                    Let me ask you...what other elements would make it a "wall hanger" aside from relatively weak construction? That doesn't seem the be the case here.

                    Last edited by W. Rabbit; 10/27/2011 12:55pm, .

                    Comment


                      #11
                      It's not a wall hanger, wall hangers are usually made from crap quality materials, so you can hang it on the wall and it will look like an antique katana, of course most are so gaudy it's hard to think people believe it but hey.

                      Just because it isn't wallhanger spec, doesnt make it anything special. Machetes are sturdy too.

                      I don't know how its assembled, but it's clearly not held together with a mekugi, it looks like the tsuka is either glued on, or the end cap is threaded inside, perhaps thats what the hole is for, not a tassle, but a means of tightening it

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Oh you do score points for trying to do a destruction test against concrete before wondering if it had value. Good thing it doesn't.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by W. Rabbit View Post
                          Let me ask you...what other elements would make it a "wall hanger" aside from relatively weak construction? That doesn't seem the be the case here.
                          I'm like 90% sure it's what I said it is, because I had one. In fact, it is a stout, thick blade but if its got a crappy rat tail tang it doesn't matter- it'll fail along its weakest point. Get yourself some vice grips or something, clamp on to that thing on the end, and turn it left. One of the telltale signs of a wallhanger is the skinny rat tailed tang (a tang with threads that's held on with a bolt. A proper sword will have a tang like this:

                          Now here's a crappy rat tail tang, that serendipitously enough seems to be the exact sword you've got.

                          Note: have a look at the guard sitting on the right side of this pic...
                          Some of those style of ninja swords have two pieces of wood separated by brass "washers", while others have one piece like yours, but they're otherwise identical.
                          Last edited by Permalost; 10/27/2011 1:11pm, .

                          Comment


                            #14
                            What he said^ but try a phillips screwdriver or other rod slid through that hole to unscrew it, most likely revealing the rat-tail tang.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              If you want some pictures of a "sturdy" fake, I'll take some of Big Bertha, my tameshigiri blade, made by some australian guy, I forgot his name, but hes well know for them, maybe Dave will know.

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