JAPAN (Unificated Export Blade)
NM and an extremely rare error specimen. A small ink spot (definite printing error) which can be seen in the above photograph is an error that adds to the value of the specimen.
Betty Dials was truly the "Queen of Blades" and a tremendous
advocate of bringing RBW collecting to the US. She has been an honored guests & great speaker at RBW events all over the US for decades. Betty & her husband owned a well regarded antique business in Alabama for many years. Over the years, they accumulated tens of thousands of collectible vintage blades.
On retirement, they sold the brick'n'mortars antique store
but kept their blade hoard to sell off during their golden years.
Let me tell you, Mrs Dials knew her blades. What was rare & what was not and what they were worth. She was one tough cookie when it came to negotiating.
This was the only Japan Export she had & believe me I paid through the nose for it because she knew that very few of these existed & what there were, were stashed away as prized specimens in private collections.
As an old nihonophile going way back to my teen years, I was struck 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.