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Old 24th March 2018, 04:03 AM   #1
Battara
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Default Is this aikuchi a fake or WWII vintage?

Greetings folks,

I got this aikuchi recently. I am puzzled because I think it is a reproduction, but I have looked at repos out there and they don't match this one. On the other hand, some aspects of this aikuchi make me think it might be a kaiken from WWII, or less likely but still possible, a kamikaze dagger.

In the pictures you will notice that there is an engraved dragon and hints of a hamon. The spine is around 3mm-4mm wide, with a very sharp edge, and the blade from tip to habaki is 4.5 inches.

Unfortunately I cannot get the hilt off (may be glued by a previous owner to keep together the broken/split hilt). Also the white fittings are plastic, which makes me wonder again about a repo, except according to Richard Fuller and Ron Gregory ("Military Swords of Japan: 1868-1945") there are variants of the kamikaze dagger that had celluloid fittings.

I am also aware that the quality of kamikaze knives varied considerably.

BTW - I tried the nihonto forum but after several days, no one has answered.

So is this a repo or vintage?
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Old 24th March 2018, 04:05 AM   #2
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Here are some other pictures:
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Old 24th March 2018, 07:25 AM   #3
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IMHO, vintage tourist bait or export knicknack. The dragon horimono is, shall we say, less than spectacular. Stuff similar to this, but smaller, could be found as letter openers back in the 1950's, IIRC. OK, I see the hamon. I like the geometric yokote flare, similar to what a Takayama sword has (or an unokubi-zukuri, though it has none of the other characteristics for that), but see no sign of the area being properly ground.

In hand, is there any sign of a hada? If it shows signs of folding, I'd class it as a kaiken, and admit it as a sort of low-end nihonto. Besides what was confiscated and handed out, all sorts of things got sold to GI's after the war.

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Old 24th March 2018, 03:19 PM   #4
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Thank you Treeslicer. No hada as far as I can determine. GI souvenir, that's another thought.
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Old 24th March 2018, 06:59 PM   #5
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Here's a thread on a "kamikaze dagger" from NMB, http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topi...-knife-special/
Battara, I would not be surprised if your knife was intended to be mistaken for a kamikaze tanto, but without the investment of a properly faceted shirasaya. It would be interesting to see the nakago, to determine if the short blade came from the tip of something longer. There was a sword shop in Tokyo which managed to stay in business all through the Occupation sword ban (and still is, last time I looked), selling stuff assembled out of their leftover stock of gunto parts, to GI's and other visiting Westerners. Among other things, they learned to reproduce a really mean USMC mameluke.

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Old 25th March 2018, 02:32 AM   #6
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Well I'm not surprised. Again it was a risk. This might explain why this is not a recent but perhaps an earlier fake/souvenir piece from the 1950s.

Very helpful Treesslicer, thank you. I would like to hear from others as well.
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