The Sword

I was surprised to find, when visiting the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London, that they had the sword of a most extraordinary person there. Not extraordinary based on achievements accomplished, mind you, for I had never heard of said person before, but based on me never expecting to find anything remotely like that in that museum.

The sword in question was the property of Vice Admiral Ruitaro Fujita. As far as I can see, the most interesting thing he achieved was the signing of the surrender of Japanese forces in South-East Asia (or some part thereof) but the story of the sword continues.

Where did it come from? And, how did it get to the museum?

Now, it would be an acceptable explanation that with the surrender the Admiral also passed on his sword to the opposing commander as done by other surrendering generals/admirals on the Japanese side.

However, the note under the sword said “Rear Admiral Ruitaro Fujita”. It might have added the year 1942 as well, but I am not that confident whether that was actually written down or has just been added by my memory.

Ruitaro Fujita was promoted to Vice Admiral in 1943 — if it was the sword given by him to the Allied forces at surrender, it would have surely been signed to the Vice Admiral. I quite refuse to believe that the museum staff made such a mistake, though I guess anything is possible.

But leaving that aside — if that is not the explanation (an error in the underwriting by going for “Rear Admiral” and the sword given over at the surrender) then what is it? Could it be that the Rear Admiral lost his sword on one fine day in 1942…

I wish I had asked one of the staff there, but I had no idea there was such a (hidden) story behind the item.

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