From the most senior Japanese officer to the junior non-commissioned officers, his sword was a symbol of both authority and status. A number of the higher-ranking Japanese officers carried ancient swords that had been in their families, sometimes for centuries. Non-commissioned officers carried government-made swords which, while mass produced, were still effective weapons.
The spirit of Samurai – Haruki Yoshida
In this article Haruki Yoshida writes of the traditions of the sword in Japanese culture and deals sensitively with the surrendering of swords by the Japanese at the end of the Second World War. Haruki covers several key surrender ceremonies, including the main surrender ceremony, held aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo bay, the surrender at Morotai (also see Spinning the Reels) and even smaller surrenders in prison camps on the Japanese mainland.