It doesn't say who owned it. It says "Sukehiro of Sōshū made this true large spear" and the next line over says "Made in Bunmei” which corresponds to the late 1400s. A better shot of the writing on the left hand side might allow us to pull a bit more detail.
Ma-no-Ōmiyari Sōshū-jū Sukehiro
Jidai Bunmei toshi koro (guessing at some due to the angle placing some of these letters out of sight)
Sukehiro is one of many prominent swordsmiths to come from the Sōshū region (present day Kanagawa/Kamakura area). Any bladed weapon with a name like that attached to it has to be looked at with a certain amount of skepticism, as there is a high likelihood the item will be a forgery. The calligraphy on the shirasaya looks very suspect, and its association with the WW2 memorabilia seems incongruous.
Thanks for the reply
All items where bought home by a Us vet and the items picked up in the 80’s by the original seller. the spear and spear head are a very very high quality,
With regards to the signature, I didn’t pay a lot of money for these 3 items and have no reason why someone would fake the spear name. Maybe it is correct ? The spear was not sold with an elaborate story and the owner never sought out the translation of the spear.
What would be the best idea now to find out if the maker and the writing is correct.
Shall I post closer pics of the kanji ?
The signature on the tang of the tantō or on the spear would tell us something, but its also important to look at the item itself and understand whether or not if it has the same qualities that, for example, a Sukehiro spear should have. Sukehiro was a smith who created items with certain features; the type of steel, the crystalline structures in the temper line, the curve of the blade, etc... Also, he would have particular idiosyncracies, for example how he filed the tang, or how long the temper line extends into the tang. So it is possible for experts to authenticate swords without even looking at the signatures. The signature itself will, of course, hold clues, but often an appraiser will only need to look at the sword to verify if it matches the hallmarks of a particular swordsmith. In this way it is similar to identifying a Van Gogh, for example. Van Gogh used known canvasses, known pigments, and had known themes and styles. If we saw a cubist painting that had the signature of Van Gogh, we would have to doubt the signature because Van Gogh died before the cubist movement ever started. It is the same thing in the sword world.
I, unfortunately, am not expert enough to authenticate swords or signatures, so the best idea would be to post to the other forum I mentioned (Nihonto Message Board).
Big names are faked because they attract big prices, and it is hard for novices to tell if a signature is real or not. Also note that forging is a centuries-old problem. This spear could well have had a false signature added to it in the 1700s, and got subsequently sold, traded, handed down through the generations without anyone knowing the signature was fake.
Its unlikely that a soldier would have brought an heirloom spear to the frontline.