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The blades of swords, knives and bayonets are often marked to indicate different type of information. things such as blade strength, location of manufacturing, unit of issue, etc. are indicated.

The markings are inscribed in different ways. Sometimes in the shape of symbols, other times by using letters from the alphabet or kanji symbols.

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The Samurai swords are often marked. Most of the markings are found in the tang area. There are exceptions to this rule, specially with machine made blades. Other swords that can have markings in the tang include the ofifcer parade swords. These blades can be hand-made, just like the Samurai sword, therefore it can have the same type of markings.

The following table provides some examples of how the swords can be marked. For additional information on how to read the markings visit our section titled Reading Samurai Sword Signatures.


Samurai sword tang Marking. This type of markings usually indicate the date in which the sword was manufactured. additional information may include the location and the name of the sword maker. Often times the name of the master will be found on the opposite side of where this inscription is found.


This is the mark of the Cherry blossom. The symbol of the Japanese Imperial Army. This stamp is found in a Samurai sword of WWII vintage.


Samurai sword maker signature Marking.


This picture shows manufacturing markings painted on the tang of a Samurai sword. More than likely this is a serial number. These type of markings are found on WWII Samurai swords.

The paint used for these markings is usually green, red or white.


This is an arsenal Marking. Stamped on Samurai swords with machine made blades. The marking indicates WWII production.

Markings of this type are most often found near the base of the tang or near the end section. They are not usually found in the middle of the tang.

This marking is known as the Seki stamp.


Japanese WWII bayonets were stamped with the arsenal marking at the base of the blade. The marking was found on one side only. Additional markings such as serial numbers may be found on the pommel. In some cases the cross guard was also stamped with the arsenal logo, however this case is not very common.

The following are pictures showing some of the markings found in Japanese Arisaka bayonets used during WWII. These are arsenal markings. It is importan to note that these may not be all the markings found in the Japanese bayonets. It is possible that other companies produced the item.


The arsenal marking consists of four balls. One in the center while the others are spread on the sides.

Tokyo arsenal before the year of 1936.


The Arsenal marking remained the same bu the name was changed.

Kokura arsenal from the years of 1936 to 1945.


This arsenal marking is composed of two logos. One is the four ball pattern. The other is knwon as the hourglass logo due to the shape being similar to an houglass.

Unknown company name but under Kokura supervision.


The arsenal marking shown here consists of a five pointed star with a circle in the center. An oval shape is seen inside the circle.

Jinsen arsenal in Korea.


This is another compound arsenal marking. Two logos are stamped on the blade. One is the four ball pattern. The other is an arrow pointing to the right with the letter "M" in the center.

National Denki under the supervision of Kokura


This arsenal marking is composed of two logos. One of the stamps is a short diamond with a character in the center. The other logo is a circle with a reversed number 8 in the center.

Toyoda Automation Loom Works under Nagoya supervision. Also known as Toyoda Jidoshoki Seusakusho.


The arsenal marking consists of a circle with a set of horns at the bottom.

Nagoya arsenal.


This arsenal marking is composed of a half circle with a five pointed star located above it.

Unknown arsenal.


this marking consists of an arrow pointing to the right. The center of the shaft shows the letter "M". The tail has fins.

National Electric or National Denki.


This Arsenal marking is the shape of a circle with a smaller circle inside it. The inside circle has three lines coming out of its sides.

The Mukden arsenal located in Manchuria.


This arsenal marking consists of a Japanese character.

Murata arsenal.


This is an interesting marking. Not sure if this is intended to be in this shape to indicate an arsenal or if this is not really a marking.

Unknown if it is an arsenal.

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