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Sword of Date Masamune?


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#1 andryn

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:49 PM

Hello Everyone,

I've been trolling these forums for a little while and was hoping someone might be able to provide some information or guide me towards some. I'm looking for anything regarding the sword or swords used by Date Masamune. Other than a brief forum post which names one of his swords both 'Kuronbugiri' and 'Saddle-cutter'. I've also seen the rusted remains of a few swords that were found in Masamune's grave when it was restored, but as my Japanese was lacking, wasn't able to discern if they were named or simply funerary weapons. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Here's what little information I have, gleaned from that forum post:

Date Ke Tokenki) contains an interesting account of a test by the famous samurai
Kato Kiyomasa. They had captured an extremely large prisoner and the
assembled samurai were reluctant to let Kiyomasa test their swords for
"fear that it might chip on the brute's bones". The Daimyo, Date Masamune,
lent his sword to Kiyomasa. It cut through the prisoner and into the
support block and took sometime to remove. Because the prisoner had a
rather swarthy complexion the sword was immediately named "Kurombu-giri"
- "Black Chap Cutter". This sword was also known as the "Saddle Cutter".


C.J.Toews

#2 chrstphr

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:46 AM

the sword was also called Saddle cutter as Date Masamune cut down a fleeing enemy on horseback and cut him with such vigor that the sword went all the way down to the saddle.

This is form Wakan Token Dan ( tales of Chinese and Japanese swords). Both those tales are well known.

I doubt there is much definitive information on that sword other than the stories.


There is the Date ke Tokeni ( Sword records of the Date family) which is where i think the stories originate.

I got this info from a book called Swords and Hilt weapons published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson 1989. It has a nice but brief history on all edge weapons, and the Japanese section is good for a general introduction.



Chris

Chris H.


#3 andryn

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:57 AM

the sword was also called Saddle cutter as Date Masamune cut down a fleeing enemy on horseback and cut him with such vigor that the sword went all the way down to the saddle.

This is form Wakan Token Dan ( tales of Chinese and Japanese swords). Both those tales are well known.

I doubt there is much definitive information on that sword other than the stories.


There is the Date ke Tokeni ( Sword records of the Date family) which is where i think the stories originate.

I got this info from a book called Swords and Hilt weapons published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson 1989. It has a nice but brief history on all edge weapons, and the Japanese section is good for a general introduction.



Chris



Thanks a bunch! This helps a lot. I'll take a look at those sources if I can hunt them down.
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#4 Guido Schiller

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:35 AM

Because the prisoner had a rather swarthy complexion the sword was immediately named "Kurombu-giri" - "Black Chap Cutter".

That's the whitewashed version. Date Masamune used this sword in the Chōsen-eki (Korean campaign), and "Korombo" is a demeaning term referring to the natives of that country. The ころんぼ切 was a Tachi by Kagehide 景秀.

書を検べるに、燭を短く焼き、剣を看るに、杯を長く引く。


#5 kusunokimasahige

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:21 PM

Have any photos ever been published on the opening of the tomb of Masamune Date ?

KM

(wondering if Kimiko Date Krumm still has some of her forefather's regalia now... ;) )
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#6 IanB

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:34 PM

Henk-Jan, I visited Sendai museum where there is a display of photos of the tomb opening and the recovered objects. In the foreground, away from the body, was the remains of an ito maki no tachi that had been reduced to nothing but the lacquer and the fittings. These had been recovered, the lacquer slid onto a new wooden base, the fittings cleaned and re-patinated. Now it is complete again and I would defy you to tell it has ever been damaged.
Ian Bottomley
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#7 andryn

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:44 PM

Zuihoden is beautiful since the reconstruction. Date loved the high Momoyama style and the only nicer tomb I ever saw in Japan was the Toshogu in Nikko. Here's the Zuihoden site which briefly outlines what they found in the tomb.

http://www.zuihoden....hiryo/ihin.html
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#8 kusunokimasahige

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:06 PM

Thank you both Ian and Andryn for this information ! :) Very nice to see photos of the objects, albeit small.

I know that many other tombs remain unexcavated/surveyed like the ones of the Kofun type but still... ;)

Ian, I wont take you up on that challenge ;) But it is also interesting to see that swords during the early Edo period were given as grave goods. That is somewhat different to the stories we hear regularly of swords being handed down generation after generation. Now if the supposition Masamune Date was a Christian (most likely he was not) had anything to do with this I dont know of course...

KM
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#9 IanB

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:28 PM

Henk-Jan, Far from being Christian, he was accused by Tokugawa Hidetada of sending Hasekura Tsunenaga to the centre of Christianity and meeting the Pope at the Vatican. He wrote back and pointed out that it was Tokugawa Ieyasu who had instructed him to send the mission, had supplied letters to the Pope, had supplied all the gift armours for the King of Spain, France and others, had built the ship to cross the Pacific in and had supplied 12 Tokugawa samurai as escort. In other words it was the Tokugawa who had largely funded the mission. He also had Tsunenaga's travelling companion executed on their return and three days later banned Christianity in Sendai. Needless to say, Tsunenaga's gifts for Masamune, a portrait of the Pope and one of himself praying at a crucifix went down like a lead balloon.
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#10 kusunokimasahige

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:38 PM

Thank you so very much Ian for that extra info :) Just reading up about the expedition of Haserkura Tsunenaga.

It is mighty interesting to see Japanese in a European setting at the Pope's court as well as in Spain. Also very interesting to see that apparently there are still Spanish families of Japanese descent named Japon :)

I always like these parts of history very much. Its the stories and the proof which still can be found that these stories are correct, even after due source criticism which fuels my interest in History every time. Whether it is the more difficult part of my own specialisation, Ancient History, or the later eras which, the more we reach present day, show an abundance of material and sources.

KM
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#11 k morita

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:33 AM

Hi,
"Kurombo-giri" is a Tachi sword made by Kagehide, as Guido mentioned already.
This sword is an important cultural property now.

The blade length is 2-Shaku 4-Sun 1-Bu (73 cm / 28.74in).

And here is a small pic.

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  • Kurombogiri-Kagehide.jpg

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#12 andryn

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:42 PM

Hi,
"Kurombo-giri" is a Tachi sword made by Kagehide, as Guido mentioned already.
This sword is an important cultural property now.

The blade length is 2-Shaku 4-Sun 1-Bu (73 cm / 28.74in).

And here is a small pic.


Thanks for that additional info and especially the picture. Do you have any additional information on where the sword is currently? I feel like I would have noticed if it was in the Sendai Museum, but its more than possible I walked right past it.

If anyone does end up in the Sendai area in the future, they recently redid the exhibition relating to Hasekura and its very well done. The Pope's gold-flaked letter to Date is especially interesting. Also of note is the sword museum at Shiogama-jinja. While most of the museum is devoted to the process of making salt and whaling, the bottom floor has some very nice blades.
C.J.Toews

#13 k morita

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:10 AM

Hi,
Probably this Tachi sword"Kurombo-giri" is private possession in Osaka.
K Morita
 

#14 kusunokimasahige

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Posted 08 September 2015 - 11:14 PM

Just to revive this old topic, the photos of the tomb opening were posted last year on facebook :

https://www.facebook...609951302416732


KM


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#15 IanB

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 05:05 PM

Henk-Jan,  Further to my last post I have now discovered why the Tokugawa initiated the Keicho Mission to Spain. It all revolves around the fact that the Spanish were shipping silver from South America to SE Asia where they were buying silk and other luxuries from Chinese merchants who would only deal in that metal.This trade involved very large ships that crossed the Pacific to Asia easily but could only return by travelling northwards to reach the currents travelling towards America. Whilst going north, they had to pass Japan and a few ships were wrecked on the Japanese coast. In 1609 a ship was washed ashore in Chiba carrying a former Governor of the Philippines, Rodrigo de Vivero. In talks with the Tokugawa it was suggested that Spanish ships could shelter in Japanese ports if the Spanish established a trading station near Edo. de Vivero though this possible and agreed to take Tanaka Shosuke, a bullion dealer to Mexico to explore the idea. The translator in these talks was a priest, Luis Sotelo, but de Vivero did not want him to go and chose another priest instead. Sotelo reverted to preaching in Edo and on hearing that Date Masamune's concubine was ill agreed to help and did in fact cure her. Date invited Sotelo to Sendai where he spent a year. Meanwhile the Tokugawa cleared Edo of all Christian priests and destroyed all the churches, but allowed the daimyo to continue to allow Christianity in their provinces if they wished. On Tanaka's return, the Tokugawa were told that the Spanish in Mexico had no authority to set up a trading station but sent Sebastián Vizcaíno to negotiate further. He turned out to be a disaster and set off to find the fabled Gold Islands. On his return he finally agreed to take a Japanese delegation to Spain but they needed a translator. Sotelo had in the meantime returned to Edo and begun preaching but was saved from execution by Date and had returned to Sendai. The Tokugawa were then in a quandary. They needed Sotelo but could not sanction approaching him directly having banished all the Christians from Edo. They equally could hardly be seen to sanction a visit to Spain to meet the Christian King. Instead they instructed their Admiral, Mukai Shogen, to meet with Date and order him to organise the mission. Hence the appearance was that it was Date who initiated the mission, but as I mentioned above, the Tokugawa ordered the building of the ship, gave the gifts of armour and provided the escort. Tokugawa Hidetada's letter to Masamune after the mission  was simply cover to distance themselves from the event.

Ian Bottomley 


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#16 kusunokimasahige

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 10:35 PM

Wow that is great info indeed Ian ! Thank you very ,much ! I am now reading " The Sakoku Edicts"  by Michael S. Laver and I wonder if this story is in there.

Super !! Thank you very much !  The discussion on how pragmatic/Christian Date Masamune really was is still heavily debated by several scholars.
In the meantime I also discovered that in Japan at times higher Lords were not cremated but buried. So Date Masamune being buried with his armor
is not that Christian it seems. Very interesting !!!

 

KM


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