Japanese Imperial Army Type 32 Infantry NCO Sword. Model 1899 Otsu Pattern

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The Type 32 (Model 1899) had a machined blade and was manufactured at the Tokyo Hohei Kosho Arsenal. The sword saw service during the Russo-Japanese War, World War One and on into World War Two.

Two patterns of the Type 32 were produced. The first pattern, known as ‘Ko,’ was issued to cavalry NCOs and had a blade length of around 830mm. The second pattern, known as ‘Otsu,’ was issued to army NCOs and was shorter, with a blade length of around 770mm. 

This example is a fantastic condition ‘Otsu’ pattern Type 32 army Non Commissioned Officer’s (NCO) sabre. This sabre is an early production model, produced with the leather finger loop inside the steel guard.

The 772mm Katana profile blade has a single edge and long, narrow fuller below the flat spine. The blade is in near mint condition and retains its fighting edge. The ricasso is stamped with a serial number. The blade was designed for cutting and thrusting and was superbly good at both.

The polished steel D guard has a checked steel back strap and dove head pommel, all of which retain their original finish and are in excellent condition. The checked wooden grip is in similarly excellent condition. The locking catch is present and strong. The front of the guard bears Tokyo arsenal and inspection stamps.

The sword is complete with its steel scabbard, with a single hanger-ring. The scabbard is in excellent condition, retaining its original polished finish with minimal loss. The sword sheathes and draws smoothly and is held firmly within the scabbard. The locking catch works perfectly. The drag of the scabbard bears a non-matching serial number. This is quite usual. When sent to the regimental armourer for sharpening, swords were often returned without their original scabbard and an active and regularly sharpened sword could go through a number of scabbard swaps during its service life.

This increasingly hard to find Imperial Japanese Army NCO sword is rarely available in such great condition.