Chapter 34 is a continued part of Chapter 1 Time line. Please read Chapter 1 before reading this section.
The red circle indicates the time we discuss here
In the “Chapter 1 Timeline”, I mentioned that Gendai-to (現代刀) is the swords made between the Meiji Restoration (明治維新1868) and now. It has been about 150 years since the Meiji Restoration. Even though all swords made after the Meiji Restoration are categorized into one Gendai-to group, there are quite a few differences in quality and kind. The very different one is Gun-to (軍刀). Those are military swords that were forged to use in World War I and World War II. Some of them have a saber-like handle. With some exceptions, those were made not using the traditional sword making method of heat and fold technique. Among the Gendai-to, Gun-to is usually considered much less value. The Gun-to sword made around during World War II is called Showa-to. It often has a brown leather scabbard. Gun-to is not a part of the study of the Japanese sword.
*Refer to” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunt%C5%8D” for Japanese military sword.
Gun-to From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
At the time of the Meiji Restoration (明治維新), swords called Meiji-ishin-to (明治維新刀) or Kin’no-to (勤王刀) were made. These swords were owned by famous historical figures like Saigo Takamori (西郷隆盛), and Sakamoto Ryoma (坂本龍馬). They are important historical figures who pushed the Meiji Restoration forward. These swords are long and some of them are almost 3 feet long and have no curvature.
Today, many famous swordsmiths are forging wonderful swords. Some are recognized as Living National Treasure. Gendai-to is the sword made after the Meiji Restoration till now, but please keep in mind that there is a wide range of differences in quality, variety, and purposes among them.
Sword forged by a Living National Treasure, Mr. Miyairi Shohei (宮入昭平) Once my family property