Thursday, January 04, 2007
REPRODUCTIONS AND FAKES
REPRODUCTIONS AND FAKES
All types of Japanese military swords are currently being reproduced and/or faked. These include;Shin-gunto, NCO Shin-gunto, Kai-gunto, Kyu-gunto, Officers Parade sabers and Police sabers. These reproductions are being made in a variety of factories around the world. Some are found in new condition, but most have artificially aged by unscrupulous sellers in an attempt to fool novice collectors.
Both Japanese Naval dirks and Officers dirks are currently being reproduced. The officers / kamikaze dirk even comes with a leather field cover. Be advised and be aware.
There are also numerous modern, crudely made swords of Chinese manufacture masquerading as various types of WW II or earlier Japanese swords. The swords vaguely resemble WW II shingunto or samurai style swords. They may have acid etched panels on the blades or saya with various Kanji sayings and/or Japanese looking flags. Authentic Japanese swords do not have acid etching anywhere on the blade or saya. The saya may be metal, leather covered or same' covered. They will commonly lack habaki. The handles are crudely wrapped except for the metal handles claiming to be NCO swords. Many are excessive long, claiming to be "no-dachi". Most have been "aged" to appear much older than their current production would indicate. These are not reproductions, they have no relation to Japanese swords of any era; they are simply fakes. Do not be fooled by claims to the contrary.
Many other styles of swords are being passed off as antique Japanese swords. Many have poorly cast silver colored tachi or shingunto style mounts and some have strange lacquer designs, stampings or carvings on the tsuka and saya. Some even have fake (gimei) "signatures" (see above right). In a lot of cases the Kanji make no sense when read. Many have low grade "damascus type" blades that have been strongly acid etched to show a design (see below). Do not be fooled; none of these are antique Japanese swords.
Beware of internet auctions. Many are "private auctions" where bidders identities are not available. This generally means the seller doesn't want anyone contacting or warning bidders. Many of these are being sold on internet auction sites by dealers from China (Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, etc). Some of these fakers are using Canadian, US and British (among other) countries of origin to fool potential buyers. These fakers are getting better at making and selling their modern Chinese made junk fake Japanese swords. You MUST examine authentic Japanese swords or risk being "taken" by dealers selling fakes and reproductions as antique Japanese swords. If you have questions about the authenticity of a sword, ask an established dealer in Japanese swords BEFORE you bid on an item. If you get stuck with one of these fakes, you will never get your money back. My best advice: unless you really know Japanese swords, don't buy them from any online auction. My experience is that over 90% of those sold on internet auctions are fake.
Be aware there are also many fake tsuba being sold.
More information on fake Japanese swords and tsuba