Katana: Fake or find? Real but worthless?

First a quick hello to all, I've enjoyed surfing through the pages of info and pics of your collections.

I’m wondering if anyone has any advice on how to recognise if a signature is gimei..? The reason I ask is that I’m waiting for a katana to arrive with the below pictured mei to arrive.
If I’m correct and if it’s not a fake then the sword was made by a smith named Kojima Yoshimichi. A smith with that name appears in a downloadable index of the”DAI NIHON TOKEN SHOKO MEIKAN” (THE GREAT JAPANESE SWORD BUSINESS DIRECTORY). The enry reads "Saguchi Shuzo (Swordsmith: Kojima Yoshimichi, Seki) 66".

This smith seems to be difficult to find information on. Because of this it seems pointless that anyone would bother faking a signature. That said, how can one be sure?

Thanks all.



Hi Ken,

Welcome to the Club!

Yes, I agree, the signature can be read 'Kojima Yoshimichi'. It looks alright, but it's hard to tell from this photo.

I suppose there is no uniform way to determine whether the signature is gimei or not. It depends on the condition of the blade, general appearance, its age and many other factors, as people were always faking signatures, for many sometimes completely different reasons.

I would presume that gimei for (relatively) modern blades would mean a blade of poorer (in comparison to the original one) quality, most likely made recently in China or Korea. These blades would have signatures done in a very untidy and messy way, making an impression of being cut by a person who isn't skilled in it. The best way (apart from showing it to a professional appraiser in person) is to look for other examples of signature for this smith and compare the style in detail, not just the signature, but the whole blade. I'm not familiar with Kojima Yoshimichi, therefore I can't really suggest where to find ones. But as you said, he wasn't a famous smith, so there shouldn't have been any reason to fake it.

As for whether it's worthless or not, you can't tell until you look at the actual blade :-) I'd rather have a beautifully done blade by an unknown smith than a poorly done blade from the 'textbook' smith.


Thanks for the response

"I'd rather have a beautifully done blade by an unknown smith than a poorly done blade from the 'textbook' smith."
Very true. I'm looking forward to holding what I hope is a truly historical piece regardless of its monetary value. My hunt for a sample of this smith’s signature continues. The hunt is halve the fun.

Thanks again.
聞くは一時の恥 聞かぬは一生の恥


聞くは一時の恥 聞かぬは一生の恥
(Asking makes one appear foolish. Not asking makes one foolish.)

How to differentiate between a fake

I personally think browsing the internet for additional information regarding how to differentiate between a fake katana sword and a genuine one would be most helpful. There are many resources that you can find on the internet and that could be the problem but if can find the right one then it could be the easiest job to differentiate between such swords.