Tang translation please help

A local shop where I live has a WWII officers gunto, the blade seems a bit different from most of the information I have researched on them. It is 26.5", has a diamond shaped mine down by the kisakki, and a single mekugi hole with 5 characters. Natural hamon. The ha is good and sharp but the blade is black and oxidized in some places. No pitting that I can tell though. There are about four nicks on the ha big enought to put your thumbnail into. He I is asking $750 for it. That seems like a lot so I am trying to find translation to see if the blade is anything special.
Please help and thanks for looking,
David West



First character

Second character

Third and foirth

Fifth and kisakki, hamon

Thank you for your help. I can post more pictures if it will help. The blade is dirty, but the geometry seems in tact. Any and all comments are appreciated.


The signature appears to be "Maekawa Masatsugu saku". I don't have any references to that smith. I see an ad for a similar blade here:
http://www.antique-swords.eu/Showa-WW2-Japanese-Army-Officers-Katana.html .

Not sure what you mean by "diamond shaped mine"? Did you intend to say "mune"?
And what is "diamond shaped"?
Other comments:
The signature is a common "choppy" style (common on WWII guntou).
The kissaki (tip) looks badly damaged - lots of rust pitting and such. Since the other view of the blade looks much nicer, it appears that it was stored tip-down and exposed to moisture at some point, so that the tip rusted badly.
I consider this to be a serious defect, and I would not want to buy it unless it was very cheap.
Is there any sign of a Seki or Showa stamp on the tang?


Maekawa Masatsugu

Hi David,

Here's another sword with similar signature (not sure if it's the same one):



P.S. Oh, here's another one: http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5621&start=0