Mei: Mizuno Masanori saku
Sugata: Shinogi-zukuri, tori-zori, iori-mune.
Overall length: 34.49 inches (876.00 mm)
Nagasa: 26.14 inches (664.00 mm) long.
Nakago: Ubu, 8.35 inches (212.00 mm), ha-agari kiri-jiri, one mekugi-ana. The yasurime are kiri.
Kissaki: Chu-kissaki, inches ( mm). The boshi tends towards ichi-mai with hakikake.
Moto-haba: 1.22 inches (31.04 mm). Moto-gasane: 0.27 inches (6.90 mm). Saki-haba: 0.83 inches (21.20 mm). Saki-gasane: 0.23 inches (5.93 mm).
Sori: 0.66 inches (16.76 mm)
Hamon: A somewhat irregular gunome with ashi and chikei. There is quite a bit of activity in the hamon.
In old polish; some scuffs and minor surface rust. The x5 macro photos make it look more noticeable than it is. No flaws, chips, hagirae or bends.
In Type 98 shingunto koshirae (see pictures below the macro photos of the blade). The tsuka bears a kiri kamon (family crest of a pawlonia flower). The pawlonia mon is usually associated, as an Imperial device, with the Office of the Prime Minister. However, a few of the old samurai families also used variations of this mon.
The decorated habaki is of silver. This, and the kamon, suggests a fairly wealthy individual who was able to get custom koshirae made.
The original shingunto mounts are in very good condition. The sword tassel is original to the mounts and denotes a field officer. The whole ensemble suggests a wealthy individual from one of the old samurai families.
This was one of Ron Gregory's (of Fuller & Gregory) 'keepers'.
Mizuno Masanori (real name Mizuno Teizaburou; MAS778) was a Rikugun Jumei Tosho during WW2 and worked in Sakai city, Osaka. He was taught by Sakurai Masayuki, the second son of Sakurai (Manji) Masatsugu. Manji Masatsugu was a highly respected early gendai swordsmith who kept on making traditional swords through the Meiji and Taisho eras.
Masanori also appears in the chart of mainline Gassan smiths in "Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths" by Kapp and Yoshihara; he is shown as teaching a student. A large number of Gassan smiths supplied sword blades under the RJT scheme to the Osaka Rikugun Zoheisho (Osaka Army Arsenal) during WW2. However, many Gassan smiths seem to have consciously made their military blades differ in their features from the usual output of the school.
This blade does not have the RJT star stamp, indicating that it was made outside the scheme, probably as a custom order for a private customer. That would fit with the koshirae bearing a kamon and the decorated habaki. The blade itself is a very nice piece of work, as a togishi recently remarked.
Mizuno Masanori continued making swords after WW2. The most recent that I've seen was made in 1977.
Gendai Toko Meikan p95
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