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Amada Sadayoshi katana and Isoroku Yamamoto


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#31 george trotter

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 03:02 PM

Oh, something else. Of course Agitsugu was only a small boy when his father died, and he can't have been more than 6 or 7 when the Yamamoto thing happened, so whatever story he has was most likely given to him rather than first hand.

Both stories say that Yamamoto was holding the sword when shot down.

Eric Holford


Interesting thread. I have seen a number of Imai Sadaroku blades, but never a Sadayoshi.
The two stories you mention concerning Yamamoto's sword are a bit confused I think... Watanabe doesn't state that he has the Admiral's sword from the death site, he has the "spare" midare blade...he doesn't say what became of the bullet damaged sword (unless I missed it). Akitsugu was not a child when Yamamoto was killed. He was in fact 16 and was apprenticed in the sword forge of Kurihara Akihide from 1940. As he was clearly involved in the military-sword world , I think the navy would have been the direct source of his information, since it was the Navy Ministry that was destroyed with its safe containing Yamamoto's Sadayoshi blade.

BTW, The article from Watanabe is slightly incorrect about the shooting down of the two Betty bombers...Yamamoto's crashed in the jungle as he says, but Ugaki's plane went into the sea beside Bougainville Is.
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George Trotter

#32 Eric Santucci

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 05:36 PM

The two stories you mention concerning Yamamoto's sword are a bit confused I think... Watanabe doesn't state that he has the Admiral's sword from the death site, he has the "spare" midare blade...he doesn't say what became of the bullet damaged sword (unless I missed it). Akitsugu was not a child when Yamamoto was killed. He was in fact 16 and was apprenticed in the sword forge of Kurihara Akihide from 1940. As he was clearly involved in the military-sword world , I think the navy would have been the direct source of his information, since it was the Navy Ministry that was destroyed with its safe containing Yamamoto's Sadayoshi blade.


George is correct per his post. There are two swords I was aiming to discuss in the thread - the Sadayoshi sword that was with Yamamoto when he was shot down and the second shadow sword that Sadayoshi had made at the same time, which was never owned by Yamamoto but survived and was in possession of Watanabe as of 1985. Akitsugu did state in "The New Generation of Japanese Swordsmiths" (Tamio Tsuchiko, 2002) that the Yamamoto sword was destroyed in an explosion during WWII after it was brought back to the Navy Ministry. Another source, I believe it was from an article posted on Clive's site, theorizes that the Sadayoshi sword that Yamamoto carried survived WWII and eventually ended up in an American collection.

The prevailing belief, from what I have seen in research (and straight from Akitsugu) is that the sword Yamamoto possessed was indeed and unfortunately destroyed.

#33 Fat Crip

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 09:47 PM

I dont think there's much, if any confusion here, certainly regarding the suguha blade. Every account has Yamamoto holding it when he was shot down. There does however seem to be no certainty about where it ended up. It may have been destroyed, or it may have gone to the US. However, had it gone to the US, you might have thought that it'd have turned up at some point. So, sadly, destruction seems the most likely.

The midare blade, on the other had has two stories. Clive's redition has it going to Yamamoto and then disapearing. Watanabe's story, says that he retained it, and still had it in '85. Watanabe was a high profile chap, so, for anyone fluent in Japanese checking out his story should be very straightforward. Though he is, quite likely, no longer with us, he must have family or should be traceable through his newspaper. Though, unless he was a wild fantacist, his story seems broadly plausible.

The sad part of Watanabe's story is that it suggests that the early part of his career was spent making gimei, which I'd prefer to hope was exagerated at least.

Finaly, Akitsugu was, according to Leon & Hiroko Kapp and Yoshindo Yoshindo's Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths, born in 1927, making him, at most 10, when his father died and 8 or 9 when the Yamamoto sword was presented. It is this date that I was refering to above, as this is where the controversy, if there is any lies.

Any story, related by any party at the time of Yamamoto's death would have to be treated with suspicion as, where it not to have been enhanced by a bit of propoganda, would be beyond belief.
Eric Holford

#34 george trotter

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 06:14 PM

Hi Eric,
I'm confused now...I think we were talking about what happened to the sword and whether Akitsugu's story of it being destroyed in a raid at athe Navy Ministry was reliable.
Can I just say that Akitsugu was 10 when his father died (1937), 16 when Yamamoto died (1943) and 18 when the raid occurred (1945)...as he was from at least 1940 involved in the swordmaking world attached to Kurihara Akistugu I think he would have good military contacts. I think that as a young man of 18 he would have got the news of how the sword was destroyed in 1945 straight from the navy ministry....I think this was the point of the above discussion?
In regards reliability, I think it more likely that Akitsugu would know what happened to this sword than a US serviceman....but I would still like to hear the story of it going to the US though...I've never heard of this story (sounds like a dealer's story?).
regards,
George Trotter

#35 Fat Crip

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 04:35 AM

Clive Sinclaire reports the following which he claims to have got direct from Amada Akitsugu:

"Akitsugu's father, Amada Sadayoshi, also made two blades for Japan's most respected admiral, Yamamoto Isoroku (1884-1943), the brilliant strategist and architect of the Pearl Harbour raid. The two swords were a Kaga-uichi and one with a Suguha Hamon. The Kaga-uichi's whereabouts is known but the whereabouts of the Suguha blade, which was made at exactly the same time and has the same inscription as that on the other one ECHIGO (NO) KUNI AMADA SADAYOSHI and dated SHOWA JUNEN SAN GATSU - March 1935) is unknown. This Chu-suguha sword was eventually returned to the Yamamoto family after the Admiral's death in 1943, when he was ambushed and his plane shot down over the Solomon Islands by American P-38 Lightning fighter planes. It is reported that when his body was recovered, the Admiral had died with this sword in his hands. The family reports that there were two bullet marks in the Saya and one in the Tsuka. During the occupation of Japan, the authorities confiscated the sword and we believe that later it was taken to the US, where it remains to this day.

The present generation, Amada Akitsugu, together with a museum in his own prefecture, would dearly like to bring these two swords made by his father, together, if only on a temporary basis. They also plan a special exhibition, a kind of "welcome home" party if this can possibly be accomplished. I would emphasise that these swords do not necessarily need to be returned to Japan on any kind of permanent basis, but it is very important to know that they are being well cared for and appreciated, wherever they may be. However, as they are of historic importance and by a talented local smith, such an exhibition would be a great event." Article: Gifts, Presentations and special swords http://www.to-ken.com).

As regards age, I was trying to point out than when the original sword or swords was/were presented to Yamamoto (around 1935) Agitugu was still a young boy. This may explain the discrepancy and purported mystery surrounding the shadow sword, which Clive reports as still missing above.

As regards reliability of reports surrounding the shooting down of an admiral at the hight of a war, I would believe nothing but the first hand account of a trusted source. I say this because one of the most critical weapons in war is propaganda. To lose a top admiral hurts in the propaganda war, but to know that he was holding his sword and that three of the enemy's bullets bounced of it's edge is as good as to say he went down fighting off the enemy's planes like a samurai with his sword. What better spin could you put on such a loss? We do know that the sword wasn't permanently returned to his family, nor was it on his coffin. Whether it was destroyed or sent to the US we may never know, but I would treat any story that came from the military of either side with much skepticism.

As an aside, but to illustrate my point, I researched my other grandfather's death on the night of 16th December 1943 in a downed Lancaster bomber. It is well documented in several books, most of which follow a similar, though flawed, tale. However my grandmother's version varies in some key details, and the documentary evidence (medical report, a letter from a survivor of the crash, the telegram etc.) tells another story. Each telling tries to fit a different narrative. One shows he died quickly and painlessly, without regaining consciousness, another that he was thinking of his crew to the last. One tells of the horror of having to tell his new bride, just recently married, who was waiting in a local inn - ignoring that she actually received the news by telegram, was 200 miles away, married for well over a year and they had a son. etc., etc. Any story, particularly of high profile warriors will always be embellished, and short of seeing both swords, we'll probably never know the truth. Even how I came by my Sadayoshi is, I'm told by Greg Irvine "very unlikely", though I have checked with the original source and he is adamant he got it how I describe it and in the condition it now sits (i.e. in a shirasaya, but with a tsuba fitted). His memoirs recount some descriptions of the Japanese occupation of Singapore which are at variance to the mainstream too. Was Ford right when he said "All history in bunk"? (mind you that's not what he actually said either ... but that's another story)
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Eric Holford

#36 george trotter

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:48 AM

Well...very complicated...good luck trying to unravel two stories that are said to have come directly from Akitsugu (Clive's and Tsuchiko's) telling different outcomes...
Regards,
George Trotter

#37 Malae5

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 03:16 PM

Does anyone have a link to the Clive Sinclaire article "Gifts, Presentations and special swords" http://www.to-ken.comnoted in the previous post?

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#38 raymondsinger

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 03:49 PM

https://web.archive....esentations.htm
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#39 Malae5

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 04:42 PM

That's great. Thank you!




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