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  1. 13 points
    Brian, I completely agree with you. There used to be a thread “Show us your high-end tosogu”, where initially such items were posted and then it rapidly went downhill. The thread became a sort of “my favourite” piece, with people not taking a self-critical view or what they have / post. Sometimes it is better to remain silent and not post rather than comment on everything, post incessantly etc. Darcy’s pieces are sublime. I was very fortunate to buy this Ishiguro set from him - a rare theme and also rare shibuichi rendering as opposed to shakudo.
  2. 12 points
    I was in my 30s working as an engineer. One of my hobbies was blacksmithing at the time and I was deep in the study of ferrous metallurgy at the time. One day a friend said he knew someone who was selling a Japanese sword and wondered if I was interested because of my interest in blacksmithing. It was just $10 so I told him I would take it. I was stunned the next day with what I saw in the metallurgy of this blade. It was obviously very old and made with enormous skill. It was all I could do to hide my excitement and close the deal. I spent the next six years studying this blade by buying books, going to a few sword shows, and enlisting the help of Paul Allman and Dean Hartley. The first collector I showed it to in Georgia told me nothing about it but managed to make an offer of $11,000. When he pulled it from the saya his voice was crackled and his hands started to tremble. That told me more than his words could have. When I was finally sure of what the sword was I decided to have it polished and submitted for shinsa. The first shinsa before polish was by Kotoken Kajihara at a show in Birmingham , Alabama. He attributed it to the first generation Moriie. The NBTHK shinsa after polish left it with Juyo papers and an attribution to the Ichimonji school of the early to mid kamakura period. I still have the tachi and I have been hooked on Nihonto ever since. It’s hard to build a big collection after starting out so well. The blades I like are too expensive so I have spent more on books. I will leave a few nice polished blades and a lot of books when I’m gone for the next generation.
  3. 11 points
    I organized a scientific meeting in the early 80s, and invited a famous Japanese scientist to come to the meeting, all expenses paid. He stayed with my then wife and I at our humble home in Baltimore. He had a great time at the meeting and then a year or so later, invited me to be a visiting professor at his department and university in Sendai, Japan. My wife, two babies and I went for a 7 week trip that was spent in Sendai, with one week in Kyoto. The grant that I had gotten to cover expenses was for one million yen, and as the end of the trip was approaching, I still had the equivalent of about $1400 left, which I spent on a Edo period mumei wakizashi in mounts. I gave a series of lectures and did research in the laboratories in Sendai. I also introduced them to the Macintosh computer and showed them how to use them in their research, and they ended up buying them for the whole department. When we traveled to Kyoto, I told the ticket agents about the sword and in no time was being searched and questioned by the police. We nearly missed our flight. When we flew back to the US, I kept quiet about it and got it home safely, only to find out years later that I was supposed to submit it to the authorities and have it released. I still have the torokusho somewhere, a license that is not legal outside of Japan. I started to buy and read every book in English that I could find. Soon I discovered that there were many authentic swords to be bought in the US at bargain prices, and I became obsessed with the hunt and the thrill of the catch. I placed ads in all the newspapers, and even on those paper placemats in diners. My thrill of the hunt hasn't changed, though I went through a period of disinterest that lasted 5-10 years or so in the late 90s. It was only after my divorce that I was financially able to build a very nice collection (that's another story). I have lots of stories about chasing swords and would welcome sitting at a show with any of you that are interested over a drink and talking about our respective experiences.
  4. 9 points
    That is a Chinese poem composed by Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072). The title of the poem may be 日本刀歌 (literally means “A song of Japanese swords”). Ref. Ouyang Xiu - Wikipedia 昆夷道遠不復通,世傳切玉誰能窮! 寶刀近出日本國,越賈得之滄海東。 魚皮裝貼香木鞘,黃白閒雜鍮與銅。 百金傳入好事手,佩服可以禳妖凶。 傳聞其國居大島,土壤沃饒風俗好。 其先徐福詐秦民,採藥淹留丱童老。 百工五種與之居,至今器玩皆精巧。 前朝貢獻屢往來,士人往往工詞藻。 徐福行時書未焚,逸書百篇今尚存。 令嚴不許傳中國,舉世無人識古文。 先王大典藏夷貊,蒼波浩蕩無通津。 令人感激坐流涕,繡澀短刀何足云。 Ref. 日本刀歌 - Wikisource
  5. 9 points
  6. 9 points
    Sometimes it is necessary to take a break from average fittings, cast repros and worn out mediocrity and remind ourselves of what top level stuff looks like. Puts things into perspective. It is just a refresher for the eyes and allows us to better judge some of the things that we tend to value higher than they perhaps really are. In other words, here is some mind blowing eye candy. Most of us will never be able to afford such items, but doesn't hurt to study them and appreciate the art of metalwork. Have a look. His current listings are particularly impressive (if you are not into the old iron subtle style) https://yuhindo.com/fittings-for-sale/ Takes my breath away. Especially those Ishiguro F/K for me.
  7. 8 points
    Hello my Nihonto friends! As my collection grows, I am seeking to lighten up my collection and let go of this beautiful set of daisho within my collection. This is a superb set of DAI-SHO by skillful sword smith the 25th generation Fujiwara KANEFUSA 二十五代藤原兼房. His real name is KATO Kazuo 加藤賀津雄 who was born in 1957, as a 2nd son of the 24th generation Fujiwara KANEFUSA 二十四代藤原兼房. At the age of 18, he started training in famed living National treasure Gassan Sadakazu 月山貞一. After years of diligent study, he became an official authorized sword maker in 1982 and then established his own atelier in 1984. The founder Kanefusa 兼房 who paralleled to KANESADA 兼定 or KANEMOTO 兼元 has flourished throughout Japan ever since Muromachi Koto period. This masterpiece set of DAI-SHO bears SOUSHU manner in mind, especially ardently admired by the work of Shizu-Sasburo KANEUJI 志津三郎兼氏 from late Kamakura to Nambukucho period. There are splendidly active with abundant activities of Nie and Nioi, vividly bright in extreme beauty. Among similar works, this set of DAI-SHO was made to order. Blade construction:Shinogi-zukuri, Iori-mune, Width of base is wide standing firmly on base and less degree of tapering from base to elongated large Kissaki. The shape is created in a brave and lively style which is widespread during the period of the Northern and Southern Warring States Period Forging(Hada): Forging pattern is conspicuous Itame-hada with an indication of some large Mokume and streaming Masame-ware appears mostly along boundary lines. The steel gives off sparkling martensite crystals of Ji-Nie against bluish steel of Jigane to generate long gleaming lines of Chikei over the Hiraji surface. Temper(Hamon): Hamon is martensite crystals of frosty Nie based with misty-Nioi where boundary area shines clear and bright along varied in shape and height, flamboyant lines such as large-Choji, Tadpole-Choji or Waist constricted Choji and so on. There works with intensive long lines of Sunagashi and thick lines of Kinsen or Inazuma. The entire quenching state is impressively clear and bright in full of Soushu-den tradition. Temper of tip(Boshi): Boshi forms flame Kaen with an indication of intensive Hakikake. Tang(Nakago): Both Nakago are UBU in original. One Mekugi-ana peg hole. Slanting left Sujikai filemark. Single-bevelled Ha- agari Kurijiri heel end. The signature in Hakiomote front is Fujiwara KANEFUSA-saku 藤原兼房作, To order of MITSUMASA-uji generations 為光将氏重代 in new line. The other side is chiselled with the date of year A highly Auspicious day, October, Dog, the 1st calendar sign of Heisei (1994) 為光将氏重代 平成甲戌年十月吉祥日. Gold plated Silver Habaki collar, preserved in Shira-Saya mountings. Recent polish/Condition scale: mint (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor) Note: I apologise for the real life photos as I am not very good at taking them but feel free to PM me to take some more. Asking Price: 13,000.00 Aud
  8. 8 points
    Hi everyone, Apologies for not putting up a note sooner, with other projects I haven't been here as much as I would like. Yes, my site, Yakiba.com, is under new construction. As Brian mentioned I have scaled back a little, thought of shutting it down, but I still have a few friends who periodically ask me to help them sell some of their things. So, I guess I will be around a bit longer. Unsure of a new release date as I am not a tech guru and doing it in my spare time. FaceBook is just one of the networking platforms one must accept these days. I moderate on a few of the groups and recently took over the "Japanese Tsuba Collectors" group. At any rate, thanks for asking. Ed
  9. 8 points
    A fun and wonderful write up of some records sleuthing and effort sure to bring a smile to any nihonto lover's face: https://blog.yuhindo.com/the-hoshizukiyo-masamune/ Listing with unreal pictures: https://yuhindo.com/hoshizukiyo-kencho/
  10. 8 points
    Two of mine... Mumei Kodai Umetada and a Tsuba made by Akiyoshi.
  11. 8 points
    I am sure many will frown for posting here something unpapered, but I am a dumpster diver and too many of my items are like this. Not being an expert, I do suspect its the earliest portion of Kaga Goto lineage.
  12. 8 points
    It was in a town in the American southwest many, many, years ago, my parents owned a 15 acre place a few miles outside the town. The house had a utility room toward the back area which also contained a small closet. It was a rather dark room, with a window which allowed early morning sunlight to stream though depending on the position of the curtains. I don't recall my father (not yet 10 yrs home from serving in the 11th airborne during WWll ) bringing me into the utility room. All I remember (as if it were yesterday) standing there as my Dad reached in to the closet, retrieved and showing me what I now know was a late war TALW bayonet. I may have been 4 or 5 yrs old at the time, but remember thinking, Ok, that's great but not really all that impressive. The next item (much better) was a excellent condition Army parade saber with a General officers Tassel dangling from the handle, don't have a clue as to why the tassel was on the Type 19, even to this day. Next was a small wakizashi mounted in a rather beat up, stained shirasaya , again ok, but nothing to get too excited about. Finally, out came a Shin-Gunto , it was stunning, as my father withdrew the sword from the sheath, the early morning sunlight, through the partially opened curtains, danced up and down the pristine polished blade as sunlight across shimmering water. It was mesmerizing, what exactly (in my 5 yr old mind) type device is this. Long extended handle beautifully wrapped, ornate fittings, something captured me at that moment, and has stayed with me my entire life... The Shin-Gunto my father showed all those years ago was obviously not what could be considered my first sword, however it was an experience which led me to a life long enthusiasm for Japanese swords. Dave M
  13. 8 points
    I was a collector from my early teen years and haunted the local antique and junk shops, not a huge difference in those days in that town, except for one. Manser's which was a classic dusty, packed, antique shop in Castle Gates Shrewsbury full of all sorts, mirrors, old furniture small sculptures, swords and guns. Thinking back my actual first real sword was a knackered wakizashi sans tsuka or any metal mounts except blade and habaki in a same and wood saya. It cost me £4. 10 shillings, and this keyboard does not even have a shilling symbol. Pre-internet, all my research done at the library, which fortunately was a good one because Shrewsbury is a county town and admin centre for a larger area. I was about 12, and oh dear how I abused that blade by current standards. I swapped it for some armour when I was in my twenties, which is just as well in some ways. I have to give Mr Manser and all those other dealers a lot of credit for their time and patience which they never begrudged. Just to give you a taste of the place, this is a photo of No 1, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, F C Manser & Son (Gordon Manser).where I spent hours antique hunting and learning. I think this was his second shop, across the road from that first shop and where I bought an 1822/45 infantry officers sword from him, my second sword ever. (Unable to locate a pic of that first shop, it might have been demolished).
  14. 7 points
    Some background here: http://www.icm.gov.mo/rc/viewer/20019/1011 A change occurred at the beginning of the Song Dynasty. According to The History of Song -- Chapter on Japan, in the second year of the Yongxi Period of Emperor Tai Zong (year 985), the famous Japanese monk Tatezen sent his disciple Kankoku, to China, to render hommage (sic) to the Song Emperor. Among the gifts that Kankoku offered the Song Emperor was an "iron sabre" manufactured in Japan. This constitutes an important sign. It indicates, that at that time, Japan not only equalled the level of the sword and sabre manufacturing technology of China, but also surpassed it, and began to convert its imports into exports. In fact, during the Northern Song Dynasty, the Japanese sword and sabre entered China by unofficial commercial channels. Chinese enthusiasts went to great expenses to obtain them and would ostentatiously sport them in a competitive manner. This caught the attention of Ou Yang Xiu and inspired him to write the famous poem that bears the title Riben Dao Ge (Poem on the Japanese Sabre),5 the first of dozens of poems with the same title, composed during the Song Dynasty. As the Japanese book U Ji Ju I Mono Gatari states: "leave ten sabres as a pledge, and one can ask the Chinese for a loan of six or seven thousand pieces of cloth."6 It is thus clear, that as in the Song Dynasty, the sabre and the sword became an important product in Japanese trade with China.
  15. 7 points
    Hamish, go easy. Malcolm is sharing what is obviously a Chinese newly made Gunto, for interest and to keep up with what the Chinese are doing as far as copies go. Thanks Malcolm. Pays to know what is out there to beware of. Also, I doubt this was cheap...probably close to what a used Showato costs. Not sure the market for these. But in 5 years of handling and messing around...these are hat we will have to be wary of.
  16. 7 points
    I felt that every black belt should have a katana. In 1976, I bought my first blade a WWII army blade. I went to the library and read every book they had on Japanese swords. Next step was the main library, and inter-library loan. I ended up reading all available books on the topic, in my city, my province, country and some from as far away as Japan. I purchased my second sword a Koto O tanto that was three times as much as my first sword. (I still have both blades.) I learned that there was something called the JSSUS - Japanese Sword Society of the United States. I joined and now am a Director/Ombudsman for the JSSUS. I joined other sword study groups and continued my studies. Every new book that Harry Watson translated was a treasure that people waited for... Please tell us your story. This thread was started because of the thread started by Adam aka waljamada on his project to make a Video for beginners.
  17. 7 points
    I watched Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" on the TV sometime around 1960. I was seven. Evidently it left an impression on me that led me to my first sword in 1987, the year of my son's birth. I bought a Showato in gunto mounts. I wondered where the hamon was, and became less satisfied with that purchase once I read through John Yumoto's book and learned more. Believe it or not, a few months later this dealer offered me a full refund towards another sword more to my liking - this time a wakizashi, niii mei "Yoshimitsu" with also a shu mei. Probably gimei, but had visible hada and hamon for study. What a nice man. He still travels the shows with his son who has stepped into his father's role of mentor and collector. Since then I have been in a constant state of acquisition, study, and upgrade, having now a modest collection of Nanbokucho Period Soden Bizen works. It took me many years of study and savings to get here from that humble start. What I have enjoyed most about this journey are the people I have met, most of who have been so unselfish with their knowledge.
  18. 7 points
    I've been into collecting militaria since I was very young. My Dad and I loved watching the old war documentaries and movies on TV (way back before cable, streaming, and on-demand). I always thought it was cool to see the Japanese officers carrying swords. Later, when I first saw "Shogun" on TV, it got me hooked on Japan and Samurai. I read every book I could find on the subject at the local library. I desparately wanted to get a "real samurai sword", but in the pre-internet era, really had no idea how to find one. My Dad and I did find a dealer at the old LA Gun Show who had a very badly rusted out, chipped-to-hell gunto blade for sale. He swore it was a 1000-year old blade, (no papers of course, not that I would've known what they were back then) and wanted something like $5000 (this is in the mid-1980's), which was obviously far, far beyond my teenager budget at the time. At that point, I basically thought they were forever out of my price range. Later I joined the Army, then after I got out, my focus turned to old milsurp firearms, circa 1865-1965. Swords were pretty much off my collecting radar for a couple decades. Slowly, I started to get interested in swords again. First by picking up some of the replica European medieval-era swords. That got me into historical western martial arts. I began learning a lot more about swords and how they were made and used. That brought me around again to katanas. Eventually, I bought a few of the better quality Chinese katanas forged out of modern steels. Figured that was as close as I could get to a real Nihonto. Then one day I came across a seller on one of the gun forums who wanted to sell a Shin-Gunto. He was an older guy getting rid of his small collection, and just wanted a couple hundred for it. For that price, I figured even if it was a fake, why not take the chance? I bought it, and it turned out to be a WW2 Showato forged in Seki. Not a Nihonto, and definately not the best condition blade by any means. But I finally had an actual Japanese katana! As I did research on it, and found some online Nihonto sites like the Japanese Sword Index and here at NMB, I realized Nihonto are actually a lot more available outside of Japan than I'd ever thought. I picked up a couple books, and started looking around and doing as much research as I could, bought some more blades, both Nihonto and Arsenal made....and, hey, here I am. With a new addiction. And quite happy with it.
  19. 7 points
    I am not sure why this should have gained a negative reaction on FB (but then again so much does without real justification) But I am of much the same opinion as Brian. You have an authentic, traditionally made blade, dating I would guess from between 1450 and 1550. While not a national treasure it is competently made and appears to be in good condition without obvious flaws. I am no expert in Showa mounts but these appear to be good quality and condition. While I don't think you got a bargain I don't think you paid way over the odds for the sword. It looks to be an honest work and to be honest far better than 90%+ of the first purchases most of us have made in the past
  20. 7 points
    Haha, thank you so much for the kind words. You know what, I would love to share my collection with everyone on the forums. Once I receive my commision orders, I'll make a brand new post to show my collection
  21. 7 points
    No hard feelings. I just cannot let us go down a road where it seems we are encouraging untrained polishing. And judging by just ONE post on his FB page where he shows an injury and about 3 others comment on their injuries while polishing their own swords....my instincts are correct. There must be hundreds of guys out there "teaching" themselves polishing from FB and Youtube videos. I know there are lots that support it. I'm just saying let's not actively spend time discussing this. Thanks for your understanding and good luck with your sword.
  22. 7 points
    I know I've responded to this question many years ago, but I can't find a copy of that answer, so I'll just go with a Cliff's Notes version here. Back in the '80s I had no interest in nihonto, but did have an interest in firearms, and so every once in a while I would buy a copy of Shotgun News off the news stand. This was an oversize pulp paper publication of a few hundred pages, about a quarter of an inch thick, with both commercial and private ads for all types of firearms and related parts and accouterments. The front page, which consisted of about four columns of regular print, was of course where the highest cost ads appeared. There was one ad that always appeared, taking about three inches or so of column height and therefore relatively expensive for the author. It was titled "WANTED - Japanese SWORDS" and had a bit of description and contact information. But what was remarkable was the following that composed most of the ad length: Japanese Swords Japanese Swords Japanese Swords Japanese Swords Japanese Swords Japanese Swords Japanese Swords Japanese Swords Japanses Swords Japanese Swords Japanese Swords Japanese Swords (Edit Note: The above was actually in all caps, but this site's auto-edit will not let me write Japanese in all caps!) Notice the intentional mis-spelling in one of the lines that was likely intended to catch readers' eyes. It was obvious that there was some decent value in such swords for the author to run this same ad in all the issues (3 times a month), but I just passed it off as a quirk not worth investigating. In the late '80s I was involved in an expansion in my company and so was taking a number of cross country flights. On one such journey, I was waiting in a terminal, I think in Phoenix, for my flight back home but not positive of this location. In this terminal there were a hand full of white and plexiglass kiosks, displaying nihonto. I'd never seen such before, and was amazed at the metallurgy, particularly the hamon, of course. I had no idea that swords could be so complex and, well, fascinating, but this still wasn't enough to kick me into gear. A few years later, in 1994, I was on another trip, this time to Dallas, Texas. Having a break at lunch time, I looked up and went to a militaria shop there. The shop had three or four gunto, mostly beat as I remember and in no way comparable to what I'd seen earlier in the airport terminal. Then I came across what was described as a kamikaze tanto, a new concept to me. The shop proprietor, responding to my apparent interest, showed me a book that described the item, Military Swords of Japan, 1868 - 1945, Fuller & Gregory. Being a total newbie, I remember wondering whether this tanto could be a fake, though having no real knowledge of any degree of such in this field. I convinced myself that the tanto was likely good, comparing it to the info in the book and observing the quality of the mount, the bone trim, and the apparent age related wear, and so I bought both the tanto ($250) and the book. The hook was set! Well, it turned out to be a real kamikaze tanto, but not a real nihonto, as it has a mill steel blade, though with a real hamon (perhaps oil quenched). It was unfortunately quite a while before I got clued into good info sources such as the JSSUS and the Robert Cole web site. I remember reading sales sheets from "the R guy" in Pittsburgh and trying to translate the Japanese sword terms into their English counterparts. I think I got about half of the usual terms before I finally found a nihonto dictionary. So that was the start, followed by numerous subsequent hits and misses. I still have the tanto.
  23. 7 points
    I was a knight fan and grow up with old medieval movies with Errol Flynn and other Stars of the time. We had only a black and white TV in the 70's. And on weekends after the muppet show on saturday some 50s and 60s movie came on TV. My friends loved Winnetou but i was this knights guy and wished nothing more than a knight sword. As i was 10 my uncle gave me a rusty "knight" sword. It was one of these deco swords from the "Neckerman" catalogue. I was so happy. And i was sure this was a real one. The years gone by and with my first earned money after school i bought a saber from the french- german war. And so i came into the collectors hobby of blanc weapons. I lived in a small village with no antique shops and no public interest in antiques. So my interest was gone over the years. I sold all my stuff. And as ebay starts in the 90s i saw this beauty. and bought it not knowing what it is. I thought it must be very valuable with all that gold and silver. The blade was in bad condition but my experience from european swords was that this is patina and a sign of value and provenance. I really had no clue of Japanese weapons (ok nothing changed in that). But my love was awakened. And i start with the book " the samurai sword" my only book over a long time. I bought over the years many "gunto". All of this swords were mass produced. No star stamp, nothing important. I bought and sold the swords and collected Tsuba because i liked the motifs. But my knowledge didn't rise. In 2015 - i think i came to the NMB. This was a catalyst for me. For more interest and more knowledge in Japanese swords. So I'm a youngtimer in these hobby and i hope i get old to see and learn more. Btw i sold my first sword the kai gunto several years ago for a very less price. Sometimes i think i should had keep it. My last 50 cent on the story is, that today it is all more easy. You get in 5 minutes much more information than in the times before the internet. Now it is not important where you live and which friends you have. If you are interest in something you get the informations you need. Knowledge is so important in these hobby.
  24. 7 points
    I feel like I had always known about Japan, which is odd for a kid from Wisconsin. I grew up with my Grandparents living in a Wisconsin town that was also home to a Kikkoman factory. Japanese companies, as they do, keep as much as possible in house. All management and executives were Japanese with the factory workers being a make up of mostly local Wisconsinites. Due to this Japanese families were provided homes in the area to live during their usually 3 to 5 year stints at this factory. Furthermore my grandfather had been stationed on the U.S.S Intrepid during WW2 and due to this experience and his desire to move on/heal from the war he took a trip to Japan. He went as a tourist along with his wife (my grandmother) with an open mind and heart. He absolutely loved his time there and brought back statues of Samurai, geisha, a couple paintings and random bits and bobs decorating the house. This brings me to my childhood among the statues, bits and bobs and the Japanese families in the neighborhood. I met two brothers from Japan whom I became close friends with spending summers playing together. I sampled some of their mothers cooking, saw their cooler than ours transforming robot toys and his father's small collection of Japanese Swords he had purchased here in America. I noticed them...thought about them...then moved on, but it had parked in the back of my young brain. I grew older and discovered I could study abroad. Japan it was, my University just happened to have a partnership with JoChi University in Tokyo, where I ended up transferring and then graduating. I lived in Tokyo for 7 and a half years during which I visited their museums, went into a few antique and sword shops just browsing. Still never had a desire to own a katana of my own but I was soaking up the experiences as I went along. I moved back to America and another 7 and a half years later, without a single thought of katanas, I saw a WW2 parade sword at an antique mall. In that single instant an unavoidable desire burst forth in me to own an authentic antique Japanese sword. One would be mine. I have a powerful collector's gene. I scoured ebay, did some research and then found a seller with a bunch of swords in a nearby city. I contacted him and the next day I was at his War Relics shop. He brought out perhaps 6 or 7 swords and gave me a run down of why they were all in the 2 to 3k range and my hope balloon was slashed by the pricey blades. He then says, "You know what, there's one in back I was going to sell on ebay. Might be perfect for you." He brought out an early type 98 with 27" nagasa, punched tsuba, cat scratch habaki, shinto mumei with some rust on the top portion of the blade. Besides that bit-o-rust it was beautiful. I could feel the history, it smelled of age and had a whisper of old necessity now outdated. It felt important but stoic in its relegation to an artifact. A noble acceptance recognized in age of one well lived who knows its time has passed. Made me want to love it even more. He gave me a good price and I paid in cash to avoid paying tax. Told myself, "I only need to own one". That was a lie. I still though think to how that first sword made me feel. My childhood friends, my grandfather...all the people I met in the US and Tokyo. This sword was important, this sword meant something and still is and does. Just in a different way. War, battle, old ways...each sword belonged to a someone. One sword for one human. Held with intent and by someone who didn't want to lose it; lose their ability to fight, to live. This was important. This meant something. Now it means something to me. I want to learn more.
  25. 7 points
    As a kid I started collecting WWII stuff; family medals, bayonets and so forth. A low point was a collection of lumps of concrete I managed to get off the pill boxes that lined the coast here in Cornwall. (Even lower was the live cannon round I found on the beach art Arromanche but that is another story). A local antique dealer, Peter Watts, used to let me look around his shop and every once in a while I would have enough pocket money to buy a bayonet or something. Fascinated by antique guns, one day in Peter's shop I saw a wheel lock rifle, sans lock and went home raving about it, way out of my price range. My Mum went down and bought it for me for Christmas but not wanting me to find it asked Peter to hang onto it. A day later the police turned up and told him that a local collector had been robbed and the gun was part of the haul, of course he returned it and when my Mum went in to collect it told her the tale and said, "Why don't you have this instead, you can have it fir the deposit you payed on the gun." It turned out to be a katana, damaged in combat and remounted as a Burmese dha. I was fourteen at the time and there was nothing available in terms of books, the best computer was literally hand cranked and so one or two general books on sword collecting until at college I came across Stone's Glossary and the reprint of Sword and Same, did a written study on The Japanese Sword, including building a small tatara in the garden and forging some metal.. It got me my degree and I started work as a teacher in another town. Cycling past an antique shop I saw a katana in the window and had to stop for a look. Stunning! Big katana in good mounts. Pulled the blade out a little and the sticker on the blade said £30. Automatic reaction I asked what they could do on it and it came down to £28. It is still the only time I have ever gone overdrawn but I bought it and cycled home with it. I still have both swords. All the best.
  26. 7 points
    My first must have been around 2000, probably a little earlier. It was a Seki, unsigned blade remounted in civilian koshirae. I bought it from one of my student’s father who had bought it around the late 1970s. Previously, I’d read what I could find about sword. That was the beginnings of the Internet, so what I had was a photocopy of yumoto's, a few magazines, and two or three webpages, namely Jim Kurrash's and Roger Stein's and the first incarnation of Aoi. I even contacted them to buy a sword, but giving my credit card number to people at the other end of the world, that could only speak a few words of English sobered me. Then, as the web developed, I found more web sites and read as much as I could. I even discovered NMB at its earliest, was tempted to register then forgot about as my knowledge was so poor in comparison I felt useless. Years passed, I read more, bought books from Amazon, went through moments of hype and despair at my slow progress, bought a sword, my first real Nihonto (the one that is being polished at the moment), read even more, bought some Chinese repros because they were affordable, became fluent in Chinese repros until I was fed up, turned myself again towards the real McCoy, bought one or two swords and read again. ...until it became clear I had crashed into the wall of knowledge and needed something new. So, this forum, where I’d lurked for years became the answer. Still far behind and frustrated knowledge wise but found people I like, new horizons (WW2 swords), focused my collection on what I really want, bought more books and finally came to terms with the notion I’ll never progress as much as I’d like.
  27. 6 points
    Hello together, I always find it nice to see a face to the smith. I found a photo of Ishido Teruhide (Kikuchi Seiichi) - 石堂輝秀 (菊池清一) b.1900 - d.1982 I have a sword from him and hope to make others with it also a small joy. SOURCE: http://www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~ttoishi/sub18.htm https://www.kurashigetools.com/english/ Maybe there is interest to collect more photos from WWII smith's here.
  28. 6 points
    Offered for sale from my "will-never-sell" collection, is a 1943 Koa-Isshin Mantetsu. If you never buy another WW2 Shin-Gunto, this has to be it. This is an original sword, all matching, never restored, in as good a condition as I have ever seen in years of collecting. This taken to war sword has the patina that you would expect, but with no dents, complete paint, and a fantastic blade. The Habaki is the beautiful striated copper found in premium mounts, and the fittings still have the original brown finish used on this model, and a working center locking mechanism. These swords have a well deserved reputation for great cutting ability, and this is no exception. These swords are now very sought after, and have recently been copied, so this is an opportunity to add an original genuine example to your collection. The price is AUD3100, expressed posted. Converted to USD or EURO, is a "giveaway" price for such a good example. For an extra AUD80, I will add an officers blue/brown tassel. Please express you interest by Personal Messager so I can reply directly.
  29. 6 points
    Afternoon Another one of my recent acquisitions. I bought this from a good friend I've met local to me and its my favourite piece out of my collection even out of all my soft metal tsubas.. I love the design and the lovely crisp carvings😎 thought I'd share it incase anyone was interested in sunagawa pieces😁 Would be interested to hear if anyone has any information on the Smith or tsuba. Cheers
  30. 6 points
    Goto Seijo Seijo, also known as Mitsutoyo, died in 1734. As a school founder, he made only a few tsuba. The other of the school, Seijo-Mitsuzane (died 1750), worked in relief and also made posts in the nunome style. He often used the water kite in his work and happy and beautiful flowers. During this time there was a demand for foreign designs, and this school proved to be many Tsuba in Canton and Namban style. Nidai and onwards used the same signature, 'Seijo'. The sixth Seijo, also known as Harumitsu, Sessai or Shiunchin, was known for its excellent compositions and details. The third to seventh generation worked in Edo, and lived in Shitaya and was known as Shitaya Goto.
  31. 6 points
    I thinks Bradley nailed it. It fits my collecting tastes as I came into the sword world from a follower of WWII, not from a sword art frame of mind. It's a shame Japan had to resort to the "art sword" angle to save their swords, but what is done is done. Now we all have to do what you're doing - talk it up, re-educate, etc to help others "see the light!" Thanks for posting the topic.
  32. 6 points
    A sword signed, IZUMO KUNI JU TADAYOSHI SAKU, no date no stamps. There were father and son Shodai/Nidai making blades for the war effort. This is Shodai Kawashima (sometimes the name Kawajima is used) Tadayoshi, who worked in Izumo, now called Shimane Prefecture. The polisher took great steps to show off the Choji Gunome Midare Hamon.
  33. 6 points
    School is Chinese Grammar school.....Not a TSUBA but a cheap decoration item.
  34. 6 points
    I have been able to tentatively identify these swords as made in Indonesia, formally Dutch East Indies, during the 1943 to 1945 time frame by the Japanese army. The Japanese Army established an arsenal at Bandung バンドン, Java, in October 1943. I think this arsenal is probably the source for these swords. If not the actual source, then the arsenal supervised the production of them. The British landed on the island after the war and that is why they are showing up in the United Kingdom on a consistent basis.
  35. 6 points
    https://studyingjapaneseswords.com/2019/02/20/12-5-part-2-ikubi-kissaki-continued/ This is chapter 45 of my website "studyingjapanesesword.com". I changed the photos of Kunimune of this chapter. Please click the link above. I have been working to create my website into a book. Photos were changed here and there. Here is one. Thank you Yurie
  36. 6 points
    Great news the tsuba arrived today after 5 months I will post more information of the chain of events leading up to this delivery day
  37. 6 points
    I kept my first sword for 15 years, a shingunto with a worn out Koto blade. The fittings were stamped with number 2 and the blade would have been good in its ubu state. I sold it to afford a high-class Shinto blade in a Shingunto koshirae. That sword immediately showed me what a first class blade should look like and most of my collection at that time went because the dross had fallen from my eyes. I like John's phrase "... it will be interesting in 30 years time to see where it began and how well I've done since then!" If the occasion warrants I sometimes ask a beginning collector "Where would you like to be in 5 years time?" Its good to measure one's progress even if money is tight in one's life circumstances. BaZZa.
  38. 6 points
    I grew up with a few blades at home (nothing a discerning collector would be excited about) plus there was a very good exhibit of medieval European arms and armor closeby, which impressed me greatly. However, I suspected the European subject to be relatively well understood, and thus with somewhat limited excitement or opportunity to come up with something new and instinctively went into a different direction. It was a difficult trip nevertheless, but one thing I am still amazed about is how much of everything I got to see along the way. For some reason passion, history, money, art, politics and much else converged on the path. I've seen the humanity at its basic worst, but met a few talented people who taught me a lot in fields that have nothing to do with swords. Dozens of emails sent over many years spent trying to get inside some prestigious museum only to find out it only owns garbage, while having a friend who would bring out dozens of Durers anytime I visited. Death sentence in one country, a personal conflict with a leading terrorist in another one, protection offered by terrorists in the third one. And all of that because of a few blades!!! Who would have thought.
  39. 6 points
    I will always keep my first two swords (Nihonto & Shin Gunto), they aren't anything special but I figure it will be interesting in 30 years time to see where it began and how well I've done since then!
  40. 6 points
    Swords had never been on my radar screen until my dad died, back in 2014. He had been in the Marines after Korea, and picked up a sword (likely playing poker). It was missing several parts. So, I started searching the web for the parts, and to get the mei translated. It turned out to be a 1941 Mantetsu Koa Isshin. I wound up reading a lot and found out "gee, there were Navy swords too! And NCO swords, too!" and off to the races I went. My collecting goal was to get a good representation of all the official WWII types and standard variations. That's done now, and I've wondered where my hobby time should take me. It took me into the Mantetsu study and Stamp collecting, and digging/detective work in general. I went to the AF crash investigation school in my Air Force days, and enjoyed the detective work it involved. I've found the same joy in chasing down the mysteries we've been exploring here at NMB. I'm nowhere near the skilled researcher like Thomas or Mal, but I enjoy the chase all the same.
  41. 6 points
    Darcy's offerings are truly top-shelf. Thanks, Brian, for starting this thread. You're right, we do need to expose ourselves to high(est)-level items, whether in blades or tosogu, lest we begin to see the merely good as great, and the "merely" great as magnificent. In fittings, Darcy does favor the soft-metal side of things; however, he occasionally throws a bone to some of the early iron works. Fortunately for me. https://yuhindo.com/nobuie/
  42. 6 points
  43. 6 points
    Oh so many things in this thread, where to begin. So much nuance is lost between strong statements. Attribution first and foremost reflects quality. Higher quality blades will move up and get attributed to the founder. Beyond quality, this depends on the level of feature distinctiveness between generations. Osafune Mainline has highly distinctive differences between Mitsutada, Nagamitsu, Kagemitsu, and Kanemitsu. While there is slippage from student to master, it presumably resides mostly with early work of the student before he took the head of the school. All these masters are highly rated, and highly distinctive between each other. If we go to Soden Bizen: Chogi / Kencho. Big powerful blades by Kencho likely end up with Chogi, and slender Chogi work will go to Kencho. Here it's not about quality per se (There is a strong case to be made that Kencho is just as, if not more skilled than Chogi, especially in his hamon) - but due to a specific dimension, namely how the shape maps onto the archetype of Chogi. It could be further argued that due to the very small number of signed blade by Kencho - which all feature extreme Soshu features - that the Kencho attribution is somewhat of a construct and could map onto many of the Soden-Bizen smiths working during these times whose names may have been lost. Norishige/Soshu. Some the top Soshu works such as the mysterious but extremely skilled Hata Chogi (See attached image. Zaimei Tanto) made work of such beauty that, had they been mumei, they would be attributed to Norishige. Such as this tanto below, in this case even towards the upper tier of Norishige's work. Highly probable that the cream of the crop of Sanekage likewise ends up lumped with Norishige. These movements are due to the masterful execution of elements of Norishige's work. Such as the regular and brilliant matsukawa, the nie swirls jumping through the hamon which will let these blades of other smiths carry the master's name. Same story occuring with Tametsugu to Go. The process is somewhat poetic, I find. Masamune is a big topic. From the thousands of blades dubiously attributed to him in the late Edo period, we are now left with about 60 blades (~40 Katana). Out of these 60 blades, about a third have uncertainties cited clearly in the Setsumei. It's important to read the Zufu records carefully because the NBHTK - while beholden to some of the old attributions from the top Honami or the famous Meibutsu-sho - will express doubts when doubts are warranted. "Soshu Joko No Saku" "To Mei ga aru" "Nanbokucho top Soshu work" are all ways of expressing doubt, the Japanese way. And there are blades with no provenance at all that have been attributed to Masamune by the NBHTK. They do exist, and one of them recently passed Tokuju. Finally, the usage of "Den" for Masamune is different than for other smiths. All blades are "Den" by default - except those with Kinzogan mei by one of the top judges which are confirmed to be Masamune. A Masamune with a Kinzogan mei from a top judge which features "Den" is a rejection of the old attribution. So, to sum up, the NBHTK goes to great length to explain its reasoning in the Setsumei and is extremely conservative with its attributions to Masamune - a studious lecture of these volumes will provide much clarity. Let us contemplate for a moment that out of ~1600 or so Soshu Koto blades of Juyo or higher ranking ~30 have an attribution to Masamune with a supporting Setsumei (less than 2%). What I'm trying to convy here is that a case-by-case analysis is necessary to contextualize this (generally true) assertion. At the end, an attribution on a mumei blade reflects a probability field where multiple answers coexists, some better than others. The higher-level the blade, the more one of those answers tend to overtake the others (because the blade is highly distinctive in its masterfulness). Sometimes we are left floating between two or three guesses equally likely, this is where "Den" comes in (in most cases, again see above). This is why the NBHTK rarely slam dunks a Naoe Shizu or Yamato smith, because distinctiveness is lost, same with Sue-Bizen, Sue-most-things. Ko-Uda, Ko-Senjuin, Takeda, Bungo, Ko-provincial school and many more, all very difficult to pin-point. We must live with this uncertainty. We must also live with attributional constructs which act as convenient parking spots to lump blade via a process of elimination. The more we drift away from mainline masters, the more attributions should be read as a statement containing a list of eliminated candidates with high certainty. What I mean by this is that even something like "Den Ko-Uda" contains a lot of information about what it is not. It's no surprise finally that here in the west, we have the impression that founders or famous smiths are overrated compared to their students. Look at those beaters on AOI art - shadows of their former selves, disfigured by time. It's a minuscule market, and the blades that made the founders famous will be sold discreetly on the Japanese market. What we get here are the "value buys" and the "cheap for Rai" kind of deals. Survivorship bias at play. Hell if I was scrolling AOIart and YJP! I would think Shinto just owns, especially second and third-gen students.
  44. 5 points
    Not sure where to write this, but this thread is probably as good as any. Yesterday I was at a *mask-free party and got chatting with a bright-eyed and active-looking elderly couple. They were amazing and full of interesting stories, some of which I would like to record here before my memory fades. a) The lady. Her father was in military intelligence in Tokyo during WWII, (lovely story about Tojo Hideki) and his job demanded that he go to Kure for some kind of inspection. On the morning of their last day, they were debating where to have breakfast, either in Kure or downtown Hiroshima. The group consensus was the latter. During breakfast there was a bright flash of light onto his neck from behind him, so he and his superior ran outside to see what the other group members had all just witnessed. These two were immediately hit by some kind of blast wave that totally flattened the wooden building and killed everyone inside. There was some kind of a hillock between them and the city which had somehow lessened the force. His superior's daughter was downtown, he was told, so they set off to search for her, spending the whole day wandering around what was left of the city. She was never found. For the rest of his life he suffered from a square white burn across his neck, shoulders and back, both painful and itchy, especially in the summer months. This lady remembers as a child, patting a pinkish substance (calamine lotion) onto his burns. He died not too long ago at 98. b) The gentleman. He told me that he is descended from the Karo to the Mori family. His ancestor had served Mori Yoshinari, then his 'devil' Christian son Nagayoshi, then Mori Tadamasa who built Tsuyama Castle. The family had a large residence on a prominent height in Tsuyama, and he still has an inherited set of armour and a sword which can be seen in a Meiji photograph he has of his great, great, great grandfather, he was saying. To him these are family treasures, but he has never checked for a Mei, and he has no knowledge of swords or armour. Many of these tales turn out to be nothing special, but I felt that here was an important link down through history. I have asked him to write what he knows and have offered to translate it into English, as I am sure there will be many people interested in his story. He seems open to the idea of finding out about the sword, so my plan is to go visit him some time with my sword sensei. If it pans out, I will update here.
  45. 5 points
    I enjoy swords and militaria from all nations, but WW2 swords used by the Japanese and their collaborators are my main area of interest. Not purely Japanese in make or art swords. I appreciate these as another fantastic and fascinating part of history, but I prefer general military history over purely Japanese sword history. I enjoy seeing all swords that are posted, find it educational and enjoy the discussions. Differences of opinions are welcome when presented in a constructive and evidence based manner. There has been a great deal of educational material compiled and a number of discoveries due to the tireless efforts of members and those willing to share and research. Thank you all. As a side note, I have a tiny collection of kaskara just because I like them. Not great pieces, not valuable, nor fancy. I buy one every few years if I particularly like it.
  46. 5 points
    Freddie, it’s not that clear, but, what I believe this is saying is that the Mei on the sword will be recorded on the torokusho irrespective of whether it is genuine or false. It does not express an opinion as to whether it is genuine or false and so is not a certificate of authenticity. No one who has been around this hobby for any time treats the torokusho as authenticating a sword’s signature.
  47. 5 points
    I know you took a beating on FB. But the fact is you got a Naval Kai Gunto which usually contains an arsenal factory blade, but got one with an old handforged blade. The mei isn't too significant. But a wartime sword with an old blade in fairly decent condition....you didn't do terribly. The tassel is worth $150 or so. The sword is genuine. So whilst $2750 isn't cheap...and maybe a little bit high, you didn't get robbed, didn't get a Chinese fake, and now have something that is partly modern WW2, and partly a few hundred years old. Not the worst deal we've seen. Enjoy it.
  48. 5 points
    The red seal above is from Shibagaki Shrine in Osaka (柴籬神社之印). https://www.shibagaki.or.jp/
  49. 5 points
    Mei: Toei Ju Ota Chikahide Date: Showa jyu shi nen hachi gatsu hi (august 1940) Nagasa : 27 3/8 " Sori: 18.0 mm Width at the ha-machi: 31.6 mm Width at the yokote: 20.7 mm Thickness at the mune-machi: 7.7 mm
  50. 5 points
    I know your intentions were good JP but what if a newbie doesn't know he has a GO blade and it gets sent there and gets ruined it's scary the amount of support you say you have
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