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#1 Japan2112

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 03:18 AM

Hello all,

I purchased my first ever helmet this week, and it is something of a mystery. It is an 8 plate adoka nari bashi that has been re lacquered over some time ago into a 62 plate suji bashi (fascimile),  It has what seems like several musket ball dents in the underlying iron plate ( one square in front, maybe a "proof" firing) and four others on both sides and in the rear. The ukebari has a nicely lined opening to view the signature and to enter a flashlight and finger into to examine the inside. Not very rusty inside. The ball strikes are very impressive.

 

I'd read where old helmets were sometimes refurbished during Edo period into more fashionable items and that the adoka nari was not popular in Edo times. This has a signature on the inside rear plate.It reads - "Yamato (no) Kami Fujiwara Iyeyoshi". I am hoping it is a Muromachi item that saw battle and was re purposed later in its life.

 

Any guidance as to who was this smith or my next step into this hachi's research is greatly appreciated. I am sharing five images that I hope will be helpful. Thanks in advance for any and all comments.

 

Mark

 

Iyeyoshi Front..jpg Iyeyoshi side.jpg Ieyoshi mei 2.jpg Iyeyoshi dents.jpg Iyeyoshi mei 1.jpg


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#2 uwe

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 08:20 AM

Hi Mark,

nice and interesting hachi, probably from the Momoyama period. Although, strictly spoken, not an ”Akoda-nari”. It looks like a work from the Haruta school of armorers. Unfortunately I couldn’t find an Ieyoshi signed with Yamato, in a hurry. How is the yoshi character chiseled?
Off for work.....
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#3 IanB

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 12:46 PM

Mark,  An interesting helmet bowl, which as you say, has been 'modernised' during the Edo period to look like a 62 plate helmet. 

You say it is signed by an Ieyoshi. As Uwe has said, much depends on the kanji used for -yoshi which is not visible in your photographs. If the kanji is 吉, Sasama (in Shin Katchushi Meikan) lists two smiths. One is a Saotome Ieyoshi which this isn't, and a Sagami Myochin smith, who made multiplate helmets rather like derived akoda nari bachi with gilded fukurin over the suji and igaki around the base of the bowl, which again this isn't. A far better bet is a certain 家義 whose real name was Shimizu Chubei who may have been a professional armourer, or who may have been a samurai who made helmets as a hobby. He is recorded as having made an 8 plate helmet in collaboration with the swordsmith Iga no Kami Kinmichi who worked in the early Edo period. The latter was the person who arranged honorary titles for swordsmiths and since this helmet maker had a title this seems significant. On the whole armour makers were regarded as the lowest of the low since they handled leather, but helmet making was considered OK and quite a few bushi indulged in the hobby. The fact that the helmet is tameshi is also about right as contrary to popular opinion, modern research suggests the gun only became a significant weapon during the Korean invasions. And by the way, the shape is goshozan - that is a 'high sided bowl that is raised at the rear'.

Ian Bottomley


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#4 Ubu san

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 02:04 PM

It seems To be a kabuto from the Yamato Haruta. I suppose early edo.
Why? Shape and signature. State of the koshimaki.
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<p>Luc TaelmanJapanese Armor Society. www.Japanese-armor.org/eng
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#5 IanB

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 06:38 PM

The Haruta armourers were one of the oldest to sign their work and did indeed originate from Nara. They made 62 plate helmets, as well as others with fewer plates, that are generally fitted with a concave peak above which is a tsunamoto for attaching a front crest or maedate. Their 6 and 8 plate helmets again had a tsunamoto. I repeat that the most curious feature of your helmet is the honorary title in the signature. Something I have never come across on any other piece of armour. This virtually precludes it having been made by a professional armourer.

Ian Bottomley



#6 uwe

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 06:44 PM

Ian,

 

I guess he comes from this line... :)

 

 

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#7 IanB

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 07:33 PM

Uwe, You have proved me wrong about honorary titles on armour. As I said something I have never seen before so I stand corrected. The old rule is never say never when it comes to armour. I wonder if Ietsugu was related to Ieyoshi. I have a helmet signed Ietsugu but by the Soshu Myochin guy.

Ian Bottomley


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#8 Japan2112

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 08:37 PM

this is great discussion...much appreciated so far. I have attached a few more pics of the mei. Please note the nice condition of the iron plate and mei itself. Is this something that is left alone when being modernized? Thanks all again.

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  • Iyeyoshi mei 5.jpg
  • Iyeyoshi mei 4.JPG
  • Iyeyoshi mei 3.jpg


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#9 uwe

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 12:10 AM

Uwe, You have proved me wrong about honorary titles on armour. As I said something I have never seen before so I stand corrected. The old rule is never say never when it comes to armour. I wonder if Ietsugu was related to Ieyoshi. I have a helmet signed Ietsugu but by the Soshu Myochin guy.

Ian Bottomley

 

Ian my dear friend!

 

It wasn´t my intension to "proof you wrong". I merely found, it is an interesting piece of armor and worth a closer look (i.e. some more research)!

Well, now we know the complete mei. Unfortunately, I just learned, that it doesn´t necessarily make it any easier... :laughing:

Eager to hear your opinion.....

 

PS: I miss our "wine tastings" now and then... ;-)


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#10 IanB

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 12:27 AM

Mark, Since Ieyoshi used the kanji ..義. I think we can definitely rule out the Haruta as Sasama lists only Shimizu Chubei as using 家義, although It is worth saying that  the list of armourers recorded by him and anyone else is far from complete. The kanji  Ie... was not especially popular among the Haruta, only two smiths being listed as using it, One never actually signed Haruta but was claimed to be an Haruta in their genealogy, the other seems to have been linked to Ikeda Terumasa and seems to have mainly produced tsuba.

 

Two other points about your helmet I think are interesting: Firstly not all, but a large proportion of the helmets by professional armourers have what are known as shiten no byo - anachronistic protruding rivets that originally protected leather ties for the helmet cord knotted through holes below the rivets. This helmet does not have them. Secondly, when the lacquering process was carried out, the suji or ribs would be applied using hemp cord stuck in place that was subsequently given all the undercoats and finishing lacquer layers. In this case note that the person doing the lacquering has not bothered to level the tameshi dent but run the cord into the depression. 

Ian Bottomley


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#11 Ubu san

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 12:51 AM

Yamato: Haruta, Iwai or Neo school.
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#12 Japan2112

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 02:20 AM

Ian et al,

Firstly, thank you for all your close observation and comments. Being my first study piece the more information flowing my way helps. Regarding the re lacquer process. In "fingering" the indents from the inside they clearly feel like round ball strikes -50 caliber or so. There are a total of five indents, 4 beyond the tameshi - 3 on the left side and one on the right.  It is my thought that the lacquerer may have wished to preserve the ball strikes as sword polishers sometimes do to preserve a battle scar on an old blade. That being the case, it would suggest a Momoyama age. Just my thinking,

 

Mark



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#13 Ubu san

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 08:13 AM

Mark, do you have a picture of the mabezashi?
<p>Luc TaelmanJapanese Armor Society. www.Japanese-armor.org/eng
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#14 Ubu san

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 08:44 AM

Here the mei from a Yamato Fujiwara Ietsugu. Also Tameshigiri.
Metropolitan museum

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#15 uwe

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 01:18 PM

I’m afraid I can’t agree Ian.

Based on the mei (here the obvious connection to Haruta Ietsugu) and the shape of the hachi, I’m almost convinced, that we can attribute this helmet to an Haruta blacksmith!
It’s by no means the first smith not recorded in the Meikan. We noticed several gaps, not covered by Sasama.....as you mentioned!

Luc,

looks promising. Do you also have a picture from the kabuto?

.....Hmmm, mei seems “Bishū ju Yamato Ietsugu”. In this case Owari!
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#16 Ubu san

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 01:59 PM

Uwe, it is a zunari, with some remarcable Haruta looking kirigane.
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#17 Ubu san

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 02:07 PM

Btw, I have the impression that only 30% of the early Haruta smiths are recorded. They are worth a serious study, but he surviving written sources are scarce. On the other hand, they are relatively easy to place in time, due to their evolution from the muromachi till mid edo period.
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#18 Ubu san

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 04:40 PM

here it is Uwe.

Maybe we can ask a picture on Markus?

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#19 uwe

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 04:56 PM

Thanks Luc!
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#20 IanB

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 06:36 PM

We seem to be getting into a mass of confusion with Haruta Ietsugu being dragged into the picture based on the supposed shape, the use of the kanji Ie.. and something to do with the koshimaki (?)   I think at this point it is worth summarising what we really know.

 

1. We have an eight plate helmet of goshozan shape whose external appearance and apparent number of plates has been modified using lacquer at a later date.

    Attributions based on the present shape make the assumption that the lacquerer, whilst adding suji, has preserved the essential shape of the original.

 

2. The helmet is tameshi with five bullet dents internally at the front, sides and back.

   

3 The helmet bears the signature: 大和 (no) 守 藤原 家義  Yamato (no) kami Fujiwara Ieyoshi.

    The kanji Ie 家 was rarely used by the Haruta. Sasama in 'Shin Katchushi Meikan' lists only 3 out of 42 Haruta armourers using that kanji. One, an Iehisa never signed Haruta

     but was claimed by them, Another Iehisa only made tsuba and for whom no armour parts are known and thirdly an Ietsugu who worked in Harima and later Bizen who

     changed his name to Hayata and stopped making armour and began to make tsuba. It is accepted that Sasama's work is far from comprehensive - armourers, because

     the handled skins and leather were regarded as being of very low social status and hence not recorded in the same detail as swordsmiths, but it is the best source we

     have at the moment.

 

    In the same source, i.e. Shin Katchushi Meikan, Sasama does list a Fujiwara Ieyoshi 藤原家義, the same signature as in the helmet, whose real name was Shimizu

    (or Kiyomizu) Chubei 清水忠左衛 who lived in the mid Edo period who made a surviving helmet with Iga no kami Kinmichi. It is not known whether Shimizu Chubei was a

     professional armourer or not. 

     

4. Iga no kami Kinmichi was the swordsmith tasked with allocating honorary titles to other smiths. Honorary titles awarded to armourers are uncommon although other

    examples do exist. 

   The armourer who made this helmet has the title Yamato (no) kami .. 

 

5. Haruta armourers tended to use a concave peak on their suji kabuto

    This helmet does not have a concave peak but one that is flat in section held in place by soft metal rivets.

 

 

Summarising:  We have an eight plate tameshi helmet, modified by later lacquering to look like a 62 suji bachi of goshozan form. It is signed by a Fujiwara Ieyoshi with the honorary title of Yamato no kami.  Notice that there is no mention of Haruta. There is no recorded Haruta Ieyoshi using these kanji, and Ie, is a kanji that was very rarely used by the Haruta.  However, there is a known helmet maker who signed Fujiwara Ieyoshi using the same kanji who worked with the swordsmith Kinmichi who was responsible for awarding honorary titles. 

Enough said.

Ian Bottomley.

 

All my careful editing has gone to pot - like me.


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#21 DaveT

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 08:06 PM

I've been following this thread with interest from the standpoint of a Katchushi.

Ian, you seem to be able to evidence your findings. Thank you for your summary.

Tailman? What are you talking about? If this is Haruta then please provide evidence to support your claim, otherwise its just a subjective point of view.


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#22 Japan2112

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 09:10 PM

Luc,

As requested, here are some images of the mabizashi. I hope they're helpful.

 

To all,

Thank you for all your pointers concerning  this helmet. I have learned a lot, somethings probably not found in books. 

Anyways, I have been pointed in the direction of Sasama Katchushi Meikan, a Jo I rated armorer. (not sure what that means). As I don't have any armor references being new to this study, what would be your thoughts about this katchushi? 

 

Mark

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#23 Ubu san

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 09:22 PM

thanks Mark. I was hoping that the original mabezashi was reused. Unfortunately, it is later version.
Sasama's Katchushi Meikan is a bit outdated at some points.
A jo I rated armorer is seen as a very good smith.
(chu i = good, jojo I = exellent, Sai jo I = superb)
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#24 IanB

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 10:37 PM

Luc,   Perhaps you would like to elaborate on what a zunari kabuto in the Metropolitan Museum, formerly owned by Bashford Dean, that is signed by an Ietsugu who states quite clearly that he worked in Owari 尾張 (it is actually written as 尾州住 ) has got to do with an 8 plate helmet owned by Mark that is signed by an Ieyoshi. Nowhere on the helmet owned by Mark does Ieyoshi say he lived in Yamato province, he simply states he was granted the honorary title of Yamato (no) Kami. A glance through a list of swordsmiths, who were granted honorary titles far more often than armourers, shows that they did not live in the province referred to in the honorary title but elsewhere. As examples consider 'Izumo (no) kami Fujiwara Kanesada' who worked in Mino province, 'Yamashiro (no) Kami Fujiwara Kunihiro' who worked in Echizen  and I could go on for pages. 

Ian Bottomley


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#25 Ubu san

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 11:16 PM

Ian, first point of interest to determine a kabuto is the kabuto itself. The mei can only be a confirmation or another question.
The hachi in the Met was seen as a Haruta by Sasama. The details of the , yes, zunari confirm this, no matter what Sasama said.
This mei is very close to the mei on Mark’s kabuto. Compare Marks kabuto with the early edo Haruta, as there are Katsusada. Fujiwara and Yamato are names often found in Haruta mei, as you know. Honorary titles, marketing...whatever.
Am I sure? Never. But I am sure that I am close.
I respect your opinion of course, but what school do you think it is?
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#26 uwe

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 11:19 PM

It´s quite simple (although slightly speculative), Ian.

 

The Haruta Ietsugu, we are (all?) refer to, is said, signed with three diffrent mei:

 

„Bishû-jû Yamato Ietsugu“ (尾州住大和家次), the one from the MET!

„Nanto no jû Haruta Ietsugu“ (南都之住春田家次)

and

„Yamato no Kami Fujiwara Ietsugu“ (大和守藤原家次), as I posted above!

 

Unfortunately, Sasama is a bit vague in his classification.....and that seems exactly the problem. All expressed opinions here are (more or less) based on one source, Sasama`s "Shin Katchushi Meikan". The rest is made up by personal views supported by alignments of circumstancial evidence.

Well, we know that this strained source, is sometimes not completely trustworthy. So actually, we have to live with the current situation, that nobody can provide a real proof for what he claimed. But we can try to narrow down the possibilities until we find an adequate specimen for reference!

 

Dave, as a katchushi, whats your opinion?


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#27 Shogun8

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 01:39 AM

I did a quick Google search and came across this:

 

https://www.bukowski...hool-circa-1620

 

There's also this earlier thread about another Haruta Fujiwara Ietsugu kabuto, which now resides in my collection:

 

http://www.militaria...-katchushi-mei/

 

Both of these kabuto have tsuke mabezashi which is not typical of Haruta work, but is seen on work by Haruta Fujiwara smiths. The one from the Swedish auction seems most similar to Mark's. My kabuto is notable because it has suji makikomi, something for which this smith and Fujiwara Iehisa were known.


John - Always learning.


#28 IanB

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 02:07 AM

Uwe,  Thank you for your comments. There is no dispute that the Met's zunari bachi was made by a Yamato Ietsugu who lived in Owari. Clearly he is indicating he was an armourer who originated from Yamato but who was working in Owari when he made the helmet. Remember that those who were not of Bushi rank were forbidden a family name and often used their place of origin instead as Ietsugu has done. The same was true in Europe in the middle ages when low ranking people who did not have surnames, prefixed their given name by either an occupation or a place name. Hence the large number of people today called Smith, Fletcher, Archer, Carter etc and indeed my own name that refers to my ancestor living in a lower field somewhere.

 

However, we are not dealing with a zunari made by a Yamato Ietsugu, but an 8 plate tameshi goshozan helmet made by someone called Ieyoshi. Yes, the shape may be similar to helmets made by the Haruta but nowhere in the evidence of the probable maker of this helmet quoted by Sasama, nor in the signature in the helmet itself is any reference to the Haruta.  That the Haruta were involved is simply opinion based entirely on the helmet's shape; a conclusion that is totally subjective.

 

The person who signed the helmet is claiming he is of Fujiwara descent and states that he has an honorary title of Yamato (no) kami. As I have shown, the province mentioned in an honorary title has nothing to do with where the recipient of the title actually lived. In fact Sasama states that Ieyoshi worked in Edo. I have also made the point that honorary titles used by armourers are uncommon although in fairness you did find one.  So all that we know is that the maker of Mark's helmet was called Ieyoshi, he claimed descent from the Fujiwara and he had a fancy title saying he was 'Lord of Yamato'. 

 

I fully accept that Sasama's Shin Katchushi Meikan is very far from being a complete list of armour makers for the simple reason that armourers were regarded as unclean and that educated people avoided them. Interestingly their social ranking went up during the Sengoku Jidai when the daimyo were desperate for armour and then went down again during the Edo period. There are probably thousand of armour makers who are not listed by Sasama, but but we cannot know who these armourers were and what they were called so we have to live with that.

 

However, in this case Sasama does refer to an Ieyoshi, who did use the same kanji as on this helmet and is described as being the maker of a helmet in collaboration with the swordsmith Kinmichi. He describes that helmet as being of 8 plates, of russet iron with shinodare and having no shiten no byo or hibiki no ana. He also states that Kinmichi was the person tasked with giving out honorary titles. Mark's helmet is of 8 plates and has no shiten no byo or hibiki no ana, but admittedly in its present form, no shinodare. Since the Ieyoshi listed in Sasama made 8 plate helmets, and is recorded as working with the person handing out titles. I would suggest at the very least there is a very high probability that the Ieyoshi descibed by Sasama is the person who made the helmet. To dispute the information quoted by Sasama, who is a respected authority, and the evidence of the signature in this helmet, entirely on the supposed similarity between the shape of this helmet to those made by the Haruta is more than difficult to justify.

Ian Bottomley  

 

Whilst writing this John has added images of two helmets by Haruta Ietsugu. You will note they both have mabezashi that are different from this helmet, neither are of 8 plates and neither are similar in shape to Mark's helmet. I would suggest that Haruta Ietsugu has nothing to to do with the helmet in question whatsoever.


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#29 Ubu san

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 08:19 AM

Al least, we all agree about one thing: It is a Japanese helmet! ;-)
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#30 Brian

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 08:29 AM

Wow...this is turning out to be exceptionally interesting and informative. Especially for those of us who are not armour collectors or students. Thank you all for the education.
And might I just say how much this reinforces my resolution to stick with weapons and not dabble with armour :laughing:
If I thought swords were complicated, they are a piece of cake compared to katchu.


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