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You guys are killin' me.   

 

Don't get me wrong... I'm not putting down Nihonto at all. This thread has actually helped me appreciate Nihonto even more; while pondering the logic behind the word. While the steel used seems to be the biggest variable, the forging techniques are what make them special. [but Best, that's a different discussion]  Taking days or weeks to make a sword definitely separates them from mass or fast produced blades. When you consider the spiritual and religious path of that process, they do rise above other weapons in their creation. But if you start looking at the metaphysical and Quantum physics involved in the traditional method; there is nothing else that can compare.

However, this discussion has also reminded me about all the reasons why I like Gunto.  A lot.

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I have a Muromachi era blade, mumei, that, as I have been told, was made during a time of many wars, and therefore was likely "mass-produced" to meet great demand.  My Mantetsu is more beautiful and likely more battle worthy than that muromachi blade.  The smiths of the muromachi era would have died of a heart attack if they had to face the numbers demanded of WWII smiths.  Over a million blades produced!  In a sense, the WWII mass-produced blades are kindred spirits with their muromachi brothers.  The WWII smiths simply had "better" technology and more resources available to them than the muromachi smiths had.

 

I understand the nomenclature the we now use to label/classify blades.  It is useful for ease of communication.  One guy can say he has a nice nihonto, and the other guy already knows what he's got without having to hear "I've got a nice Japanese sword made of tamahagane, heated with special coal, folded many times, and water quenched."  The other guy can say, "hey, look at my great showato" and not have to say "Hey look at my great WWII blade made with unknown steel, not folded, and oil quenched."  The terms save us time.

 

LIke the muromachi blade (in truth all blades) we all know the value of the blade is in the craftsmanship and beauty, not the name.  But then, that shoots us off into collectors' personal focus and we have another discussion all together!

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The term for these, Sengoku Jidai swords is,  Kazu Uchi Mono.   The term, massed produced is misleading .  These were/are full functional swords, that are papered by the various sword societies.   They were tradionally made,  just with some expediences.   These swords were made for the masses of troops and so not the custom order blades of the higher Samurai.  As Bruce has said, the amount of swords needed for their 20th century war was, astronomical,  hence, the introduction of the Showa To ( and it's  predecessor, the Murata To).  Now to set the cat amongst the pigeons.  Most of the lower end Gendaito, are probably akin to Kazu Uchi Mono.

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Earlier in this thread it was said that any sword made in Japan should be considered Nihonto, I have a lovely Japanese made iaito with aluminum blade that is high quality but surely this insnt considered Nihonto.

 

 

Greg

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Agreed Stephen, surely others cant beleive being a sword made in Japan is all it takes to be considered Nihonto. Anyway I wont beat the horse any longer haha.

 

Greg

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The term for these, Sengoku Jidai swords is, Kazu Uchi Mono. The term, massed produced is misleading . These were/are full functional swords, that are papered by the various sword societies. They were tradionally made, just with some expediences. These swords were made for the masses of troops and so not the custom order blades of the higher Samurai. As Bruce has said, the amount of swords needed for their 20th century war was, astronomical, hence, the introduction of the Showa To ( and it's predecessor, the Murata To). Now to set the cat amongst the pigeons. Most of the lower end Gendaito, are probably akin to Kazu Uchi Mono.

Imho I would say kizu-uchi are above low grade gendaito.

 

How many sue Bizen bundle blades have abundant sunagushi, kinsugi, ash etc.

 

If you seen these in a emura with similar hataraki peapke go nuts for it.

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 As any craftsman will tell you "practice makes perfect", and there you have the difference between current Gendaito and Kazu Uchi Mono! A Sengoku Jidai smith would make blades continually and without artificial limits on numbers, and sell everything that was of decent quality..... Unlike a current smith.

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I actually meant, WW11 Gendaito.

Post War, is a different kettle of fish.

 

 Even in WW2 this applies. The tradition was very reduced, kept alive by a handful of smiths, so new smiths had to be trained up from the start. Even tamahagane production had to be revived from all but zero , and there was no big pool of skilled men with centuries of tradition behind them to draw on.

 Production ran for just a decade or thereabouts, so they were just about getting up to speed when they had to stop.

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