JAPAN (Unificated Export Blade)
NM and a very rare specimen.
I acquired this specimen from an old time Russian collector who has one of the largest collections on the planet. I was buying a very large lot of blades from him & could hardly breathe when I spotted this one. I already had one of these & really really wanted to own his specimen also. I tossed it into the buy pile. On check-out so to speak, he saw this and mentioned that he didn't really like "Jap Crap" & literally robbed himself selling it to me. I guess it was a mental lapse or possibly stage 1 Alzheimer's but he didn't know what he had with this beauty. When he priced, I was tempted to bite my tongue & basically steal it from him, but
I told him that to me, it was worth twice what he asked so that relieved some of my guilt about the acquisition.
Buying this blade took me back to a delightful memory of Betty Dials and ancient, mysterious Japan.
As an old nihonophile going way back to my teen years, I was struck again by this wrapper. Japan is in gilt but what really got me was the background: the old Imperial War Flag, flown by Japanese land, air & naval forces only in time of war. Yet here it was on a blade wrapper in all its aggressive & menacing glory. I just couldn't believe that the noble & ancient war flag of the Empire of Japan had been "commercialized". That would've got your head chopped off pdq back in the day !
I can't believe that this could possibly have been mfg'd until the Emperor had been de-deified by Gen Douglas MacArthur.
Inside is a blue blade with gold etching which probably indicates post-war mfg. Not sure of the date, but what a rare, historic & breath-taking wrapper this is.