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Mini Kantei Challenge


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#1 Katsujinken

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 05:31 AM

What is it?

This should be a fun one for a few reasons, so I'm very curious to see what folks come up with...

First person to get it right gets a high five in San Francisco. :-)

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#2 b.hennick

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 05:54 AM

Rai Kuninaga aka Nakajima Rai

Mini answer above.


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#3 SAS

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 09:26 AM

A voice in my head said Ko Bizen Morimitsu; I don't even know if that makes sense, but i will go with it :dunno:


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#4 Stephen

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 01:08 PM

ko mihara 


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#5 seattle1

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 03:15 PM

Hello:

 What Stephen said.

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#6 Toryu

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 04:39 PM

Im in Bitchu too but say Aoe...
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#7 Shugyosha

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 05:17 PM

Thanks for posting Michael, it's been fun trying to work out an answer.

 

I'm backing Thomas: I found a thread on here posted by PaulB on the Aoe school and the hada was the best match I've found so far...in fact I'll go (way, way, way) out on a limb and say Chu Aoe as there isn't much by way of sumegane in Michael's picture.


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#8 SwordGuyJoe

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 05:31 PM

I don't have any idea except eliminating one or 3 traditions. So I'll spit ball bungo takeda.

#9 Brian

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:04 PM

I was also leaning towards Aoe, and on searching, came across the thread by Paul B too....and on reading it, was reminded what a wealth of info some of the threads on this forum can be.
What an excellent thread. Here's a reminder: http://www.militaria...d-as-ko-mihara/


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#10 Katsujinken

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:22 PM

One more clue. Will post the answer in 8 hours or so. Hopefully it generates an equally interesting thread. :-)

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#11 raymondsinger

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:28 PM

Very reticent to place a bid without clearer photos, however this type of low lying midare hamon with sunagashi (having a slightly nijuba tone in spots) makes me think more of Naoe Shizu. That was my first thought in the previous photos, and the new image seems to support a Nambokucho bid.

 

I also note the futatsuji-hi which far short of the yokote, which is a kantei point for some smiths and schools (hisaki-sagaru). In koto, hisaki-sagaru can be seen in Tegai, Shikkake, Gô Yoshihiro, Soshu Tsunahiro, Chôgi, Kanemitsu, Motoshige and Aoe. 


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#12 flemming

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 09:27 PM

I would like to just make some observations; it has consistencies with Ko-Aoe, like the visible utsuri, and significant original koshi-sori. It also seems to have notable saki-sori however. Of most interest is the first photo, as it shows the mokume grain crossing through the hamon into the yakiba, also found with Ko-Aoe. Regarding the first picture, it may be a reflection or something else, but along the yakiba edge, there appears to be an old nioi-line quite faded, but running in a Hoso-Suguha fashion above the edge. The hada in the yakiba seems to stop at that point, and below the dim suguha line appears a different steel, like a yakiba insert that has been cut back to re-harden the blade. The nie in the hamon looks dull, and seems to be sporadically above the habuchi, sometimes a sign of saiha. Of course, it may be some reflection, should have it in hand to really see what is going on.

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#13 seattle1

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 09:35 PM

Hello:

 I am still thinking Ko Mihara and would like to know if the apparent hamon conceals more ko midare in there than is shown as some seems to be there. The mixed mokume and o-hada would fit, and I see a hint of masame near the hamon. The gentle apparent notare would point to Naoe Shizu, however those deep set kissaki repair saving hi are more typical of Late Kamakura.

 Arnold F.



#14 Nickupero

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 10:04 PM

I'd like to second Ray's opinion. That would be my guess from the photos provided


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#15 Katsujinken

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 10:18 PM

Lloyd, I think you might be seeing the nijuba Ray mentioned + the effect of the hard camera flash.

This blade has not been retempered as far as I know. Worth noting that it is suriage and there is no mizukage.

Obviously this is not a Tokuju Soshu masterwork where saiha might be overlooked, so I don't think it gives away too much to say that it's Juyo – so saiha would be doubly surprising.

Interesting responses so far! Looking forward to revealing the attribution later...

:-)
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#16 Mark

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 10:27 PM

Yamato-Shizu


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#17 mywei

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 02:19 AM

ill take a punt at Yamato Shizu as well
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#18 Katsujinken

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 02:39 AM

Okay my friends, the time has come.

And I owe Ray a big high five because he totally nailed it: 直江志津

This katana went Juyo to Naoe Shizu in the 27th session (1980). Honma Junji wrote a sayagaki to the same effect a few years later.

Measurements: nagasa 71.2 cm, sori 1.8 cm, motohaba 3.2 cm, sakihaba 2.6 cm, kissaki-nagasa 5.4
cm, nakago-nagasa 16.8 cm, nakago-sori 0.2 cm
Shape: shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, wide mihaba, shallow sori, ô-kissaki
Kitae: itame with ji-nie and chikei
Hamon: ko-notare in nie-deki that is mixed with gunome, togariba, and yubashiri, the nioiguchi is tight
Bôshi: shallow notare with a ko-maru-kaeri
Horimono: on both sides a futasuji-hi with a marudome
Nakago: ô-suriage, kirijiri, katte-sagari yasurime, two mekugi-ana, mumei

The setsumei says:

Naoe-Shizu is a general term for Kaneuji’s students having settled in Naoe in Mino province. Their works display a workmanship similar to that of Kaneuji, which is the Sôshû tradition mixed with Mino features and one of their highlights are conspicuous sunagashi. This blade has a wide mihaba and a largely elongated kissaki what speaks for a shape of the Nanbokuchô period. It shows a notare that is mixed with gunome and that features a tight nioiguchi but there are some Naoe-Shizu works extant with such a tight nioiguchi. Thus we have here a blade with an excellent jiba that shows very well the characteristic workmanship of the Naoe-Shizu group.

Others has speculated that the asai notare hamon plus the wide body, futasuji-hi, and o-kissaki indicate perhaps that the blade was ordered as an utsushimono of Soshu Sadamune. I always found it interesting that the utsuri is not mentioned in be papers, but perhaps relative to the other hataraki it was not distinctive enough as a kantei point.

Anyway, thanks for participating. Hope folks found this worthwhile. I certainly found this thread edifying and look forward to any additional thoughts that may be shared.

NaoeShizuJuyoToken-3.jpg IMG_0574.JPG
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#19 Vermithrax16

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 02:43 AM

We should do this more often!  Loved following along.


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#20 Stephen

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 03:50 AM

RAY!! :beer:  :beer:  :beer:


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#21 paulb

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 10:18 AM

I was thinking about this overnight and something struck me. In a recent post Darcy mentioned that the Japanese view regartding health of a sword focussed on the clarity and brightness of the hamon and tolerated a degree of tiredness in the hada. In the West we tend to look more at hada and are less tolerant of faults but are less focussed on the clarity/brightness of the hamon.
To me the above bids on this blade sort of confirmed that point of view.
The bids for Rai, Ko-mihara and to some extent Aoe were understandable when looking at the beautifully tight hada.
I think the shape eliminates ko-Aoe as it is a much later style of sugata and the kissaki is at the very least elongated chu-kissaki.
When you look at the hamon it would be unusual for Ko-mihara or Rai (and Aoe) it has that early mino flow which seems to combine Yamato and Soshu and activity that you would expect to see in early Mino (Shizu). If it were Yamato shizu it would normally be less orderly and contrived. I always think Naoe Shizu looks more controlled and orderly.
The Jigane does tend to throw the observer in most refence examples shizu hada tends to have more Soshu about it and look more natural and flowing. This looks to have much more of a Yamashiro look to it.
The point I am trying to get to is that there is considerable variation in hada within schools. Really top work seems to emulate the very best Yamashiro and Soshu workmanship by producing these beautful combinations of ko-itame and ko-mokume. When we see this we can be reasonably confident of the quality of the work but then have to focus more on the hamon to reach a conclusion.
BTW I failed to guess on this I came to it too late but based on hada I would probably gone for ko-mihara but then regreted it when I looked at the hamon
Well done Ray!
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#22 seattle1

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 02:48 PM

Hello:

 Yes well done Ray (!) though I remain somewhat confused about the low hi placement in that such was a direct and immediate post Mid Kamakura accommodation to the ikubi-kissaki vulnerability to breakage issue without possibility of repair, as experienced during the Mongol invasions, and Naoe Shizu coming somewhat after. A fashion lag?

 Arnold F.


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#23 Katsujinken

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 03:37 PM

Hello:
Yes well done Ray (!) though I remain somewhat confused about the low hi placement in that such was a direct and immediate post Mid Kamakura accommodation to the ikubi-kissaki vulnerability to breakage issue without possibility of repair, as experienced during the Mongol invasions, and Naoe Shizu coming somewhat after. A fashion lag?
Arnold F.


You know I have wondered this myself. I think it could part of the nod to Sadamune, but who really knows.

Then again... http://www.nihonto.ca/shizu-3/
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#24 Jean

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 03:40 PM

Paul wrote: "The point I am trying to get to is that there is considerable variation in hada within schools"

That the most important thing we have to keep in mind after reading this topic. I express already that thought more than a year ago when mentioning that I have studied 10 ko bizen swords side by side and that the only things which did not vary was the hamon, the hada could differed among these blades.

Have a look at my Naoe Shizu hada (rather hadatatsu):

http://www.militaria...-gokaden/page-1
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#25 seattle1

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 04:07 PM

Hello:

 Point well taken Jean.                                                                                                                                                                                 The last time Miyano sensei was in the US doing a NTHK shinsa, in 2016, he gave a post shinsa lecture, interpreted by Chris Bowen. One point he made with real and repeated force was that he had devoted countless hours, day after day, to the study of hamon. I found that quite curious as the modern order for kantei devining is sugata, jigane/jihada, then yakiba. It had long been my impression that hada varied less group to group because of the fundamental forging processes taught within a group, but that yakiba, particularly the hamon, was open to more variation. Perhaps not!?

 Arnold F.



#26 BIG

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 05:44 PM

Congrats Ray, great job...

Best Regards
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#27 raymondsinger

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 05:56 PM

Thanks guys, and Arnold's comment below is something I try to keep a focus on in kantei. Miyano-sensei stressed that his entire approach to kantei was based on remembering individual smiths' distinctive hamon. He has made a practice of memorizing 10 new hamon every day, and also commented that recently other individuals in Japan have started following this same approach and have quickly shot up in rankings within the kantei competitions. He does not completely ignore other attributes, however the hamon weighs far more heavily to him when placing a bid. 

 

 

The last time Miyano sensei was in the US doing a NTHK shinsa, in 2016, he gave a post shinsa lecture, interpreted by Chris Bowen. One point he made with real and repeated force was that he had devoted countless hours, day after day, to the study of hamon.


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#28 Jean

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 06:07 PM

In fact Arnold, I have found much more constitency in the hamon than in the hada.

For instance, in my Naoe Shizu,, I have running itame (masame) just above the hamon which is a Naoe Shizu kantei point. Michael's one does not have. Mine have utsuri too.

It is very difficult to make a kantei with a very short portion of the blade. An overall picture of the blade would have helped a lot of people, if you look at the overall picture of my Naoe Shizu, the kantei is much more easier and I am sure that if Michael provides one of his blade we will see the characteristics of a Naoe Shizu.
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#29 Valric

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 09:32 PM

When he says "memorizing hamons" - what exactly is meant by this? What are the characteristics that are memorized? I could think about nie/noie-guchi thickness and consistency, types of frequent activity, shapes and depth. But there seems to be so many, surely there is a hierarchy within these elements... 


Chris H. 


#30 Jean

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 10:08 PM

Chris,

When you are an expert, you can visualize everything as well in global as in particular: the nioiguchi, the nie, the nioi, the hataraki and the way it forms the hamon
Jean L.
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