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#1 kissakai


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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:02 AM

I’ve asked Brian to delete my older post about this tsuba book as I now have a copy and can make a couple of accurate comments.

The book has exceeded my expectations. The colours and text are great on quite heavy paper.

The only comment is that the text on the title page has a grey tinge on a white background.

The cover has some very common character, the first being in a computer script followed by the written version and finally the sosho version



The book has 221 A4 pages in full colour

There are 581 tsuba with many mei that to my knowledge have never been published

​There is a cross reference to the tsuba with a mei and vice versa


These tsuba come under the general term of the ‘Good, the bad and the Ugly’. So many books are high end tsuba that most can not afford but most of these can be seen a general sales and fairs



This publication is available on LuLu publishers


https://www.lulu.com...ille cooke=


My book NMB.JPG


Rather than post tsuba images I feel it is better to click on the LuLu ‘review’ tab to see the first few pages


Paperback = £39.06 ($49.99)

eBook = £19.99 ($25.59)


The major aim for publishing this tsuba book was to persuade the Museum to get the tsuba out of storage for an exhibition

To help this I’d like as many NMB members to promote this book through their web sites, Facebook, Nihonto clubs  etc

The more books sold gives me a decent lever to ask the Museum to display these tsuba


This has taken me around four years to get to this stage with the help of many NMB members but I would like to mention Markus Sesko for his invaluable help with the actual publication.


I would appreciate members to add to this post any reviews or corrections

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Grev UK

#2 Shugyosha


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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:33 AM

Order placed!!


Well done Grev. Really looking forward to a good read - I'll give it a review on here once I get it.

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John Johnson

#3 Shugyosha


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Posted 04 July 2017 - 05:58 PM

Dear all,


I opted for the paperback version and my copy arrived this morning so here goes with my first impressions - apologies if it's a bit rambling.


As regards the size of the book, it is actually a little shorter and a little wider than A4 size. This isn't a gripe as the size enables (in most cases) four good-sized photographs and a description of each tsuba to fit on each page (though some contain two or three where where Grev has picked out particular tsuba for a particular attention). The tsuba are not to scale, but dimensions are provided and photographs are all in colour and are very clear and detailed.


In most cases they are of the omote of the tsuba alone, though some of the more interesting tsuba are shown both front and back, though I suspect also that this may be linked to the number of examples of a particular school in the museum's collection - for example there are lots of Namban tsuba (omote only) but only six Tanaka tsuba (ura and omote).


The book is well indexed: schools are shown in alphabetical order from Akao to Yanagawa and in ascending date order within each school. Grev has included some commentary on the history and style of each school at the start of the relevant section. There are additional sections that deal with tsuba in the museum's collection that do not fit into the headings of a particular school such as those that are utsushi, shiiremono, modern tsuba (the sharp-eyed among you will spot a couple of shodai Hallam ryu examples) or tsuba "in the style of" certain schools or artists.


In the case of signed tsuba, (with the exception of those that are gimei), the artists are linked to the index in Haynes and there is a useful section with enlarged photographs of the mei and this is cross-referenced to the full pictures of the tsuba.


All in all I feel that it is a very well thought out and presented book with sufficient breadth to appeal to those who are at the start of their tsuba collecting, or who dabble occasionally like myself, but also some depth to attract the more experienced collector in terms of good pictures of tsuba from well-respected schools that have been hidden away until now and sample signatures of their makers.


Again, congratulations to Grev on bringing this work to fruition and for bringing the museum's collection to light, which I do feel is a very worthy endeavour.


:clap: :clap: :clap: :beer: :beer: :beer:

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John Johnson

#4 Brian



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Posted 04 July 2017 - 07:07 PM

Thanks John. Will be grabbing an eBook soon.

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#5 yogoro


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Posted 04 July 2017 - 08:26 PM

My paper copy arrived today.
The advantage of this album is many tsuba ,  often with rare themes.
However, it is a surprise to give dates such as Akashak 1620 for tsuba. It is a pity that no source of attribution was provided.
I recommend to everyone,this will be a very useful book.

Good work , Grev !!! :beer: :beer: :beer:


#6 kissakai


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Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:40 PM

Now a couple have been sold I would like to post reply and add a couple of details

Currently 3 hard copies and 4 PDF books have gone to France, the UK and the USA


Please don't take this a plea to buy but I'd like to say that I get £0.96 ($1.24) for the hard copies and a bit more for the PDF version so I'd say it was good value

A principal aim was to be able to approach the Museum and say because of the interest shown in the book 'what about arranging an exhibition

The last time they were on display was 1930 which to me is a tragedy!



You are quite correct with the dating of the early Akasaka tsuba as these should be around C1650 - 1680 oops

You also ask about attribution and this in its self is a bit of a story

Four years ago I was allowed to photograph all the Museum tsuba and I was also given the attributions. I also have a copy of the catalogue for the 1930 exhibition

Nice easy job, an image plus attribution. It became very clear early on that some attributions were way out

After talking to some NMB members I found out that possibly 85% of the attributions were incorrect

So four years later with help from collectors and members of the NMB the project was completed

Rather than mentioning all those that did help and with the main helpers approval I decided to accept full liability for the attributions

In the majority of attributions if three people agreed then I accepted their conclusions

With almost 600 tsuba there will be errors and for that I can only apologise but evidently it is quite easy to make amendments to the book


Ford also made the point that no Edo tsuba were made of sentoku.
It's all brass. sentoku only 'happens' in the early Meiji period. (1868 - 1880)


The comments above and in other posts can only help with this publication


I did ask a few members of the NMB whether to just do a selection of the best tsuba or do the lot

Most said, do them all and I think this is one of this books attractions, having the likes of good, gimei and shirimonjo in one book

I did have to take into consideration the cost of the book hence both sides of every tsuba is not shown. Namban tsuba are usually pretty similar on both sides

There are some schools that are well represented and it is therefore nice to the similarities as well as their differences

At the same time within these bigger groups the similarities around the 'anas' and seppa can be good kantai points

Namban selection is quite big so although not a favoured school it shows a bit of diversity


I'm very happy to receive any good or bad comments and of course I look forward to your reviews



With thanks











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Grev UK

#7 kissakai


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Posted 19 July 2017 - 04:44 PM


As well knew a load of posts have been lost - it happens

There were a couple of nice reviews that have gone

The last one was a nice reply from BaZZa so if you wouldn't mind would you re-post today reply

There was also a current LuLu code that may still work, obviously this would help if anyone has the code

Grev UK

#8 Brian



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Posted 19 July 2017 - 06:42 PM

I bought the eBook, only had a brief chance to go through it, but was impressed. It is really nice to see a lot of the stuff that we would come across. Not just the best of tsuba, but mid level and also entry level. It spans the whole cross section, and is nicely set out, with some good info. The close-up mei section is also welcome, even acknowledging that they aren't papered.
A good buy.
FWD15 coupon code was working for 15% off. Worth a try.

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#9 Jean



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Posted 19 July 2017 - 08:14 PM

Do it when I am back from vacation, using my phone as modem and believe me, I must be a saint. Impossible to upload images. I am in a no man's land....
Jean L.
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#10 Alex A

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 08:33 PM

Briefly looked through the book today, excellent value for money, surprised at the number of tsuba at the museum!.


I'm sure to use the book for reference in the future, so many examples.


Well done Grev.


#11 christianmalterre


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Posted 20 July 2017 - 09:59 PM

i do very heartly recomment this project and the following publication done by Grev!


a LOT! of material here...some very rare design stilisms, some very rare to see motive and expression done by these Tsubashi thosetimes...and also some really well (excellent) forged early to mid Edo period Tsuba herein.

In sum- everyone, may the focus be on old iron?- or on Kinko?- will very certainly be happy with this amazing mess of material published herein in this book....


i really hope the museum will display some of these Tsuba in future...


makes pleasure for shure :) !

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#12 Japan2112


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Posted 21 July 2017 - 08:54 PM

Congratulations, Grev, on such an ambitious and helpful project. I will order my copy today. Yes, it is disheartening to know of a museum's treasure trove, but not be able to view it. Your work brings that opportunity to light. Mark

Mark C

"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without."... Confucius

#13 kissakai


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Posted 22 July 2017 - 11:43 AM

Again - thanks for all your feedback

If I may I have one last favour to ask


I looked on LuLu and filtered the results just to show tsuba books

I was surprised that none of the tsuba books had any reviews and therefore no 'star' rating

Would it be possible for those that have purchased the book to add on the LuLu website say a one line review and a star rating

I'm sure this would help with sales as when I'm buying anything on-line I look first for the star rating then read the reviews so this I'm sure would help with sales




Grev UK

#14 kissakai


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Posted 24 July 2017 - 12:15 PM

I have had some great feedback but this means I'll need to an updated version

There are some schoolboy errors and a couple of attributions that may be in error

If an attribution is found to be in error it means some major giggling of the pages

I expect this to take around a month to update

In the meantime I would suggest no one makes a purchase and ?I will notify the NMB when the second version is complete

To any NMB members who have bought a copy I will make a free PDF file available


I see I have one feedback completed on LuLu - thanks but any more always helps


Apologies for errors but it was a big project :doh: 




Grev UK

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