Japanese NCO Sword

Japanese non-commissioned officer swords are a specific type of blade awarded to certain members of the Imperial Army. Depending on the era in which they were produced, they may have different handle materials and markings.

What categories of Japanese swords are there?

Military swords from this region fall into one of four primary categories:

  • Sabers for non-commissioned officers
  • Weapons for naval officers
  • Sabers for new service members
  • Older variations that preserve the "shin-gunto" style
What types of Japanese non-commissioned swords can you buy?

You can purchase several types of Imperial Arsenal swords. While some of these may be similar to one another in appearance, they can differ in coloration, in edge or scabbard markings, and in the materials used in their construction. Examples of some common Japanese edged weapons include:

  • A late WWII-era Japanese army sword may also include a matching scabbard to complete the set.
  • The scabbard will match the coloring and design of the handle wrappings or have markings similar to those you'll find on the handle.
  • Some items will have handles made of metal. Other grips are crafted from wood. Most will be wrapped in decorative cloth as is customary for edged weapons of this region.
  • Most edges and sheaths will have matching finishes on them. This finish serves to keep the pieces looking uniform.
  • Because the army needed to keep track of the equipment it produced, many of these pieces will have unique serial number identifiers.
What are the features of the late-war gunto?

The World War II gunto from Japan has the following features:

  • A stainless steel blade in the original finish with no coating
  • A blade 27.5 inches in overall length
  • One scabbard made of steel, painted a dark brown color, and 29.25 inches long
  • A wooden handle with a distinct pineapple carving pattern etched into it that includes a latch to connect it with the sheath
  • Its own serial number printed on one side of the blade
What parts do sabers from Japan have?

Edged weapons from this region have the following main parts:

  • A handle, known regionally as a tsuka
  • Each saber is housed in a compartment known as a saya when not in use
  • The sharp edges have several names depending on the part of saber in question
  • A tsuba is the guard placed between the handle and the base of the sharp edge