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translation wakizashi tsuba

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#1 chris_mke

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 09:00 PM

Hello Nihonto Members,

 

[Pardon Any Ignorance I May Show... I Am Completely New To Japanese Swords]

 

I recently was lucky enough to acquire what I thought was a basic Japanese Gunto from WW2 (Maybe a Type 98 I thought). The swords scabbard has seen better days and is in rough shape. The swords Tsuka shows signs of use and appears to be typical WW2. The Tsuba looks much older than the sword and is obviously not a typical commissioned guard. The actual blade seems to be in good condition (few spots but no serious issues, chips or dents) as well as it's been sitting in a box in a basement since it was brought back from WW2. After a couple days of having the sword I became more curious as to it's origins since the tsuba looked 100 years older than the rest of the sword. I thought maybe this was an older family blade and tsuba that was re-purposed for the Japanese military. I researched how to ID the sword and came to the conclusion I would have to remove the handle which was nerve wrecking but was really easy to do. My wife laughs at me but I always wear think rubber gloves when holding the sword.

 

Anyways, I took some snapshots of the mei and researched the kanji online. After a bit of research I got lucky and found a similar sword which bare similar kanji which led to me finding more and more and more... examples. Basically I have, I think, a pretty typical but not rare Yokoyamo Sukesada. From what I have researched (and I know basically nothing on these topics) this region, Sukesada, produced a large quantity of swords many years ago. However, all of the similar swords I have seen online have a kanji for a clan (all being "Fujiwara"). My sword has a straight line of kanji with no clan marking. I think it reads "bi zen kuni yoko yama ko zuke dai jo suke sada". I took photos of the one side of tang. I was 95% sure I did not see any markings on the opposite side of the tang so I took no pictures (now I am questioning if there were markings on that side since I am not 100% sure). I also checked the tsuba for any markings but did not see any.

 

Any information anyone might have as to the age or any other details of the blade and tsuba would be much appreciated. I took these photos with an iPhone (Sorry for the quality) but will snap more photos with my dslr if anyone would like more photos.

 

Thanks for Your Time,

 

Chris U.

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#2 Grey Doffin

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 10:19 PM

Hi Chris,

Good work; nice sword.  You have the mei correct.  Kozuke Daijo Sukesada would date around 1860; the tsuba is most likely older than that.  This is important enough a name that forgery of signature is a possibility but at 1st glance I see no red flags.

It would help to see more and better pictures of the blade; the work must support the signature.

Make sure you're up on care & etiquette:  http://www.nbthk-ab.org/Etiquette.htm

Congrats,  Grey



#3 chris_mke

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 10:31 PM

Hi Grey,

 

Thanks for reply. I will post some more pics of the blade tonight. Appreciate the care & etiquette link as well.

 

Thanks for your time,

 

Chris U.



#4 Jamie

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Posted 01 May 2015 - 11:44 PM

That could be a nice find Chris.
Jamie

#5 chris_mke

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 03:48 AM

Grey & Nihonto Members,

 

As you requested Grey I took a few photos of the blade. I am looking forward to what your conclusions are!

 

Once again, thanks for your time,

 

Chris U.

 

 

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#6 leo

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 10:56 AM

Hi Chris,

this smith and his signatures has been discussed here plenty times. You should find good information and pictures here and hundreds on google. What I can say though is that that the signature in many aspects does not match the "famous" Shinto Kozuke Daijo. There is neither Fujiwara nor Osafune in the mei, the mei is just on one side and the general style especially the Sada kanji does not match.

 

But as others have said before, this was a smith who was faked by a lot of contemporary forgers.

 

Now there is a later smith mentioned in Hawley who worked around 1750. If he exists at all(I could find no confirmed reference mei), he might be a match for your blade.

 

Grey, you probably meant 1680, not 1860.

 

Best, Martin


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#7 Grey Doffin

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 02:25 PM

Actually, I meant 1660.  Thanks Martin.

Grey



#8 chris_mke

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 08:47 PM

Martin,

 

Thanks for all the information you provided, very informative. Question though when you say "contemporary forgers" do you mean more modern (20th centrury) or were these swords forged hundred+ years ago in Japan? I mentioned before that I have little to no experience in this field. I am not a collector I was left this sword along with a box of several WW2 Japanese "war trophies" he acquired serving in WW2 (the original wooden box sent from his Army base in San Fransico during WW2). I was given this box when this veteran passed away. The box was kept in the basement after the war until I was given it. My point is that this veteran brought that sword back from WW2 and it was sitting there for 70 years. I have a certificate from the US War Departement stating the items he brought back.

 

Martin thank for taking the time to provide that information.

 

 

Grey,

 

Based on your experience does the blade match the period in question?

 

Thanks Grey.

 

 

Chris U.

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#9 Brian

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 09:18 PM

Chris,

Check out the FAQ above in the links bar, especially the section on gimei. Should help with an explanation.

 

Brian


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#10 Grey Doffin

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 12:09 AM

Hi Chris,

Hard to judge age just from the pictures; not always easy even with the blade in hand.  If the signature is gimei it could have been applied anytime after Kozuke Daijo Sukesada became extablished; there have been signature forgers nearly as long as there have been signed blades.  While it is possible that the blade predates the time of Sukesada (the forger chose an earlier blade on which to practice his art) most like the blade is later.  If I had to guess, if we're sure the signature is wrong, I'd say the blade dates to Shinshinto time (late 18th or 19th century).

See how many signatures of Kozuke Daijo you can find online, print them out, and compare yours to them.  When you find one online see what the poster has to say about hamon, hada, length, curvature, and other aspects of the true Sukesada's; how do they compare?  You're at the front end of a fascinating study (Nihonto) if you choose to pursue it.  Have fun.

Grey



#11 chris_mke

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Posted 03 May 2015 - 12:31 AM

Grey,

 

Thanks for your time at looking at my post, much appriciated. As I mentioned in a previous post this sword was given to me by a WW2 veteran who acquired it during the war. Regardless of what it may/may not be I appriciate it's place timeline throughout history. I have spent a good amount of time deciphering/finding the signature online. Even if this sword turns out to be a gimei I have learned a lot (more than I did before) about the history of Nihonto! Sometime in the future I will take the sword in to get inspected in hand. I will definitely be researching the origin of the blade and if any new arises I will post any findings.

 

Once again thanks to everyone for the informative information,

 

Chris U.



#12 leo

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 05:42 PM

Sorry Chris,

missed your question.

 

"Contemporary" in this case means forgeries that were made, when the genuine smith was still working.

As I have read, this is particularly the case with Kozuke Daijo Sukesada.

 

Apparently his works were so much in fashion and high-priced, that there were many more forgeries done during his active years than later on.

 

Best, Martin


Martin S.

#13 chris_mke

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 12:44 AM

Hi Martin,

Thanks for your reply. Are there any known examples/articles online or offline you know of that may appear similar to my sword? I know this may be a shot in the dark but in general were there certain swords/smiths favored over others that would use/forge Kozuke Daijo's signature? Or would most people back then take any sword available and forge a signature on it to make fast money? Also, after taking time and seeking as many examples online I have to agree with your previous comment about the characteristics of the mei not matching any of Kozukes swords. Moreover, thinking back on what Grey mentioned about researching the dimensions and characteristics of Kozuke Daijo's work online (size of blade, hammon, kanji chizel marks, etc) and none really match.
 Furthermore, would it be worthwhile to have a professional look at the sword in hand to try and indentify the sword or would that be highly unlikely or not really worth the effort?

 

Thanks for your time,

 

Chris U.



#14 Grey Doffin

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 02:01 AM

Hi Chris,

There were established schools of forging work but also a lot of free lancing in the forged signature business.  It is my understanding that either of the 2 NTHK organizations in shinsa, if they decide the signature is bogus, will give their thoughts on who or which group actually made the sword when they fail it.

But, if the sword was well enough made to get an interesting attribution from a shinsa panel it probably would have been signed with a real signature.  Odds are you'll get something like "Mid Edo Period" or "Late Muromachi Mino" or something else that doesn't really tell you much and it will have cost you the shinsa entry fee.  If you can get to a sword show there will be lots of more knowledgable collectors to give you their opinions and it won't cost anything.  You'll probably learn more this way also.

Grey



#15 chris_mke

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 02:27 PM

Grey,

 

I Appreciate all the great information!

 

Thanks,







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