Jump to content


Unusual Sword Dress Any Opinions

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Kmad


    Chu Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 39 posts
  • Locationireland

Posted 09 November 2018 - 06:54 PM


Looks to have age to it and I am wondering is this a legitimate sort of dress for a Nihonto?



Attached Files

Ken M.

#2 Dave R

Dave R

    Jo Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 575 posts

Posted 09 November 2018 - 07:12 PM

 Most of these (not all) are tourist pieces. As I understand it, the origin is with Village Headman swords, owned, worn, as a sign of authority, but rapidly degenerated down to tourist pieces after the Bakumatsu. 


#3 Brian



  • Administrators
  • 13,268 posts
  • LocationSouth Africa

Posted 09 November 2018 - 07:51 PM

Rare to find anything approaching decent in those mounts. Usually junk blades.

- Admin -

#4 Peter Bleed

Peter Bleed

    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 1,123 posts
  • LocationLittle Rock, AR

Posted 09 November 2018 - 09:14 PM

Hooey,. These are tourist pieces. If a village "headman" wore a sword , he was a Samurai,but that would have been a feature of Pre-Edo times.


Peter Bleed

#5 Peter Bleed

Peter Bleed

    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 1,123 posts
  • LocationLittle Rock, AR

Posted 09 November 2018 - 09:34 PM

Sorry my last piece got interrupted.Please let me add to it. There were, indeed, some members of the samurai class who were based in small communities, during the Edo period, But they would have had to have real katana. There were folks who operated with non-traditional swords - the Matagi and the Ainu, for example, but these swords made of sections of scratched bone are NOT to their style. The other factors that leads me to believe that these sectioned beef bone swords are late is because of the rapid growth of the carved beef bone industry that occurred in early Meiji times. Beef bone is rare on Edo period kodogu, but it blossomed in Meiji time - largely due to the popularity in the US og tooth brushed. This work was the special prerogative of the so-called Buraku-min or Eta. Japan actually imported beef bone to support this industry. I suspect that the sectional bone swords were made by the same folks who were making tooth brushes. One way or the other they don't look like Nipponto.



Let me close with a lesson I have learned since moving here to Arkansas. In these parts, it is widely beleived that the "tooth brush" was invented in Arkansas. Otherwise they would be called "Teeth Brush."

  • Greg F and PNSSHOGUN like this
Peter Bleed

#6 ChrisW


    Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 180 posts
  • LocationU.S., Indiana

Posted 10 November 2018 - 12:30 AM

They're usually made of unhardened iron or steel for the tourist trade back in the day. Its extremely rare to encounter an actual nihonto in carved mounts. Most of the time, these kinds of pieces are valued for the carvings only, I have a wakizasho/tanto pairing that are in carved bone mount, but they're not true nihonto. You can easily find out by the lack of a hamon; and when inspecting the edge, you'll find spots where the metal has 'rolled' over due to it being soft. True nihonto have hardened edges that will chip and crack, but never roll.



@Peter  and at the very least, you all in Arkansas are known for the Arkansas 'toothpick'! Heh.

Chris W.



#7 Malcolm


    Sai Jo Saku

  • Members
  • 1,742 posts
  • LocationUnited Kingdom

Posted 10 November 2018 - 01:42 AM

Regarding the term Village Headman in Pre - Modern Japanese society. 


I think the term for a non aligned landowner of warrior status was Goshi 郷士 


Goshi often served as a link from a small community to the Daimyo structure.


Perhaps the closest term in Pre - Modern Europe would have been Yeoman, i.e. a landed person without the rights of Nobility.


They would have the right to wear a sword, but may not have been able to afford one and thus wear what can best be described as a Bokuto koshirae 木刀拵え.


Goyo Shonin 御用商人 were persons, mostly of merchant status who, often as a result of meritorious service to a Han, could be awarded the right to wear a sword.

  • Brian and Dave R like this


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

IPB Skin By Virteq