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 fakes.
Another fantasy sword commonly sold as being Japanese are so-called "belt" swords. These have flexible blades that fit into a scabbard which can be worn as a belt around the waist. These are not Japanese swords of any period. They are not "ninja" swords (which don't exist anyway :-) These are fantasy items being made in India, China and Southeast Asia. Some of these fantasy items have small knives which insert into the scabbard or buckle.
The are several types of authentic swords, mostly Chinese military, that are often confused with or mis-identified as Japanese swords. Unlike those above, these are legitimate military swords but not Japanese. The Chinese military saber, an apparent variation of the Japanese cavalry saber, is commonly mistaken for Japanese. The Chinese sabers have plastic checkered grips and olive drab colored mounts. The scabbards have two suspension rings, Japanese sabers have only one suspension ring. These are Chinese military swords not Japanese cavalry sabers.
Chinese military parade sabers are somewhat similar to Japanese parade sabers or to Japanese Kyu-gunto and are sometimes confused with them. The Chinese sabers have a different design on the backstrap and a different flower emblem on the side panel of the backstrap.
Many people confuse Chinese military dirks with Japanese military dirks. Below is a typical WWII Chinese military dirk. Do not confuse them with Japanese military items. Chinese dirks are all machine made and tend to have a "tinny" feel to them.
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