A very rare historical tanto for Shigetaro Shimada (嶋田 繁太郎). It was made by Tadatsugu Nakao. His real name was Nakao Sanjiro and was born in 1910. He was a student of Horii Toshihide and is listed as a top rated swordsmith (Jojo saku) during WW2. There were several thousand smiths making sword during WW2, so being rated highly is quite noteworthy.
It is signed as being made in Tokyo "Ryo Onshi, Shimada Shigetaro" or to share or to receive Onshi (Emperors Gift) for Shigetaro Shimada. Admiral Shimada was the one that authorized the attack on Pearl harbor.
A few of these tantos were ordered for Admiral Shigetaro Shimada to share with his honor with some of his staff when he received a promotion from the Emperor Hirohito. This tanto was made for either Shimada's promotion to full Admiral in 1940 or to Secretary of the Imperial Navy in 1941. The blade is in very good full polish with a nicely knit ko-itame hada with l ji-nie, and a nioi based notare gunome hamon with ashii. This is a great opportunity to obtain a very historical piece.