View Full Version : mei on machine made blades?

1st March 2006, 07:55
I have collected swords since I was 12 and have seen many hand made blades but quite a few more machine made gunto than anything else personally. I know that many machine made blades are signed. I never thought about this until the other day. I was selling one of my swords, a gunto machine made with a signature. And the gentleman who I was going to sell it to asked me about the signature, when I told him it was signed he swore up and down that only hand made blades are signed. This is not true, is it? I always thougth that both hand made and machine could be signed. If someone could help me out though, the man got me thinking. Why would they have signed machine made blades?
any light on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
Troy M Spees

Brian Owens
1st March 2006, 11:08
The first question would be: how do you know yours is a machine-made blade?

Second: do you know when and where it was made?

Also, the gentleman you were talking to is incorrect; many machine-made swords had signatures and other inscriptions. The variety was quite wide. Samples of a half-dozen oshigata (tang rubbings) from various shingunto and gendaito are shown in the back of Fuller's & Gregory's Military Swords of Japan: 1868--1945 for example.

As to "why" -- even if a blade is machine-made, there is a great amount of hand-fitting, polishing, etc. that goes into it, and signing it could be similar to machinists at Ford signing a car body -- not just identification, but a mark of pride in workmanship.