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So How Were Honorary Titles Assigned?

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#1 RichardP


    Chu Saku

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:24 PM

Hello All-
Thanks for this great site!
Would someone be kind enough to share their knowledge of how the process of assigning titles to swordsmiths worked?
From the threads here, and some great articles over at Mr. Sesko’s site, my understanding is that the process began early in the Shinto period and consisted of a Kyoto bureaucracy that awarded titles to smiths upon request, provided the smith was suitably accomplished (and paid a fee).
Is the above generally correct?
Were the names just plucked out of the air by whichever official was in charge at the time? (For instance, why would a Hizen smith be awarded the title of “Ise Daijo”, when Ise wasn’t even on the same island? Were distant areas chosen intentionally—something akin to “his name is known as far away as Ise Province?)
I got the impression from one article—my apologies, I haven’t been able to find it to link to it—that the process became more cynical and corrupted as time went on, and that titles eventually came to signify little other than a smith’s marketing acumen...?
Thanks again!

#2 raymondsinger



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Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:31 PM

Richard, is this the article you were referring to?



#3 RichardP


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Posted 11 January 2019 - 07:08 PM

Yes!! Thank you Raymond, don’t know why I wasn’t finding it a moment ago...
Like Mr. Sesko’s others, a fascinating article. But I’m still curious as to what rhyme or reason, if any, lay behind assigning smiths honorariums that didn’t correspond with the regions they worked in.

#4 16k


    Jo Jo Saku

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 09:53 PM

It's an interesting question about which I've often wondered and would be interesting in knowing the answer too. I'd read that fascinating article but you ask pertinent questions. Like why Fujiwara when clearly they're not descended from that clan.
Jean-Pierre, but everybody calls me JP



    Sai Jo Saku

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 02:07 AM

Extremely fascinating! I always thought they were given to smiths by local Daimyo for exceptional service or producing high quality work for the province. The only smith in my hands with a title is Musashi No Kami Kunitsugu who also had the title Musashi Daijō Fujiwara Kunitsugu, I wonder if smiths had to submit again for higher rankings and pass muster?


It does removes a little of the Mystique if it was all so simple as applying for a drivers license.


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