This beautiful Handachi Katana was originally fitted with a leather combat cover which has since gone to time. Handachi originally appeared during the Muromachi period when there was a transition taking place from Tachi to katana. The sword was being worn more and more edge up when on foot, but edge down on horseback, as it had always been. The handachi is a response to the need to be worn in either style. "Han" means half, and "Dachi" is "Tachi" meaning half-tachi mounts.This is because they are halfway between katana and tachi mounts.
The suspension ring and carrying band is intact and remains on the Saya as it was installed for service in the Imperial Japanese Army.There is a tiny remnant of the original leather combat cover on the Saya and the decision to remove it, or not, will be up to the next owner.The original lacquer on the scabbard is a gorgeous butterscotch color with the impression of hundreds of tiny golden flowers, a very unique and fascinating design. Fortunately, the now missing leather combat cover did its job well preserving this beautiful finish.
The Tsuka is covered with white Same and is tightly wrapped with a vibrant teal colored Ito which binds two brass colored dragon Menuki, writhing around what appears to be a Ken.
An unusual style for WWII Gunto, the Tsuba is a Mokko style Tsuba with heavily engraved Seppa covered in leaves and vines, a subject that repeats itself throughout the fittings. The fittings themselves are bronze or brass with a dark charcoal colored coating that reveals the lighter metal beneath the areas with wear.
Measuring 26 1/2", the cutting edge is still very sharp with no chips or nicks in the blade, which is very unusual as most have been abused in one way or another. The blade is still bright and was modified after being made by having a Bohi added, presumably by the owner to tailor the swords weight to his taste. This is evident as the Bohi which runs the full length of the Nakago has eradicated approximately one-half of the blades original Mei. This being a machine-made blade and not traditionally forged, the signature was of little consequence. The Tsuba and other Koshirae were likely added at the same time along with the special order lacquer. The highly active Gunome Hamon is quite prominent and displays very well.
Although the leather cover is no more, this is a very attractive example of a sword in excellent condition with a touch of added Samurai flair.