When Japan opened up to the outside world and began to industrialize in the late 1800s, it instituted major military reforms. In place of the samurai tradition, the new Japanese Imperial armed forces emulated the major European powers – France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. One element of this was the replacement of traditional swords with European styles for officers and civil officials.
These swords remained until the mid 1930s, when a wave of nationalist sentiment ran through Japanese society. In 1934, a new model of officer’s sword was adopted, which took the style of a traditional katana. A similar (but less fancy) model was adopted in 1935 for non-commissioned officers. These were the Type 34 and Type 35 respectively, and they are some of the most common Japanese swords in the United States, as many were brought back as souvenirs by American soldiers.
Today we are looking at my Type 95, using Headstamp’s upcoming book “Swords of the Emperor” as a guide.