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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/25/2021 in Posts

  1. 16 points
    Getting to see this today almost felt a bit surreal, though I‘ve been told of it. After all, it is the final proof of the blade being an original Masayuki. Can’t tell how happy I‘m today!
  2. 15 points
    Hey all! So I built a katana tansu, thought I’d share:
  3. 15 points
    OK, I got a small teaser to share!
  4. 13 points
    Kai Gunto, Bizen Kozori school Tachi. Owned by a IJN special landing forces Colonel with full provenance on Japanese & Australian sides. Note the saltwater crocodile leather cover, made in the field on Balikpapan.
  5. 12 points
    The cabinet made that was shown on the NMB by Richard P a few weeks ago was superb. This is for us lesser mortals so not in Richards league but a nice project I bought a coin cabinet that the draws were messed with and too small for tsuba so I needed to make all new draws. This was a cheap wat way to house a lot of tsuba Images in the order shown. 1 - The bought coin cabinet with 24 draws 2 - The amateur way the draws had been messed with 3 - Initial test with plywood but due to the large hole is distorted so I used MDF 4 - Shows the old draw and my modified draw. My friend had 0.56 stainless he gave me for the backing plate 5 - The original handles were chrome screws so I bought beads that were only drilled half way. I needed two diameters for the csk screws and this is how I aligned the holes 6 - The felt should have had the cuts to allow the felt to fit into the recess but it just got too fiddly so I just forced the felt into the recess 7 - The completed draw. I should have cut the felt slightly bigger than draw as when the felt was forced into the recess it pulled some of the felt away from the edge 8 - Stages of the draw build 9 - Finished cabinet that hold 98 tsuba It was a snug fit that would have been better if I used 8mm MDF rather than 9mm I tried to remove the last duplicated image but when I do it just comes back - what a pain!
  6. 12 points
    In the case of this blade it passed within 5 years so the same people were in charge. There is some misunderstanding above of the process. If you go and submit something that has existing papers yes they can find it and yes they do check. Knowing the blade's past history is important, especially with mumei blades, as the historical attributions provide a base from which to make current and future attributions. There were a lot more available to work with 300 years ago than now. So of course you want to have supporting documentation and to consider the history, especially if it's a judge like Honami Kochu. In the case of an overturned attribution, one would HOPE that it would happen. The idea that the NBTHK is a monolithic AI that popped into existence 60 years ago fully formed with no hope or need of change is flawed. It's composed of people and those people both improve their education as time goes on and more information and history will always come out. There is another fundamental misunderstanding about papers and attributions which I've talked about before, which is sourced in some Japanese scholarship, which is as the quality degrades the judgments can slide more and more sideways lacking any distinguishing characteristics. There is a Yoshimichi thread posted here and the blade is very characteristic so there is no other possible attribution if this was mumei, only whether or not it's genuine (I think it's ok). As you slide down the quality scale and erase characteristic features (both together) it is hoping for something unrealistic, that everyone will agree and assess the blade identically on eyeballing it. So if you have junk, you will basically get attributed to junk and the point is that which junk it is becomes neither meaningful nor possible to determine. Now on the higher end of things, a blade such as this Enju in question sometimes has some additional information that isn't shown on the NBTHK paper. It can have an old origami, it can have a sayagaki by Dr. Honma, and whenever it passed for whatever reason a conservative judgment was issued. I have seen Dr. Honma's sayagaki to Awataguchi Hisakuni and the NBTHK only accepted the blade as Awataguchi and nothing more. The blade was Juyo as Awatguchi Kunimitsu. So you have some span of disagreement here being sorted out, where it was Juyo at the time Dr. Honma was in charge and only settled as Kunimitsu then "downgraded" to a school attribution. Dr. Honma presiding over both sessions. So you can sit back and wring your hands over it or understand that you have a basic disagreement and the blade was not "downgraded" by changing it to Awataguchi school. It's done only to broaden the attribution to resolve disagreements. There is a mumei tanto attributed to Shintogo Kunihiro and when the blade's old Honami papers were discovered it was changed to Awataguchi Norikuni. Both attributions are suitable but Norikuni looks stronger and once the old judgment by Honami Koon was found then it is only appropriate to modify the attribution. More information SHOULD imply going back and reassessing and changing your opinion. Only an idiot refuses to change an opinion in the face of new information or ongoing study. So by this rule, you WANT judgments to both be conservative, and to be open to re-evaluation. Going to the Enju again, Enju is a conservative judgment that can be used to settle an issue about where the blade stands between Rai, Awataguchi and Enju. If it has properties of all schools and it is top class it could fall into any. An Enju blade is not necessarily inferior to a Rai blade. We do not know the state of polish or condition or history or information on the blade at the time of Juyo. We only know that at Tokuju the NBTHK had the opportunity to say den Awataguchi, Awataguchi, or den Awataguchi XXX, or Awatguchi XXX. The span of time is 5 years. They don't have to do anything or even pass it at Tokuju if there isn't any reason for it. There are other similar cases, but as the quality goes up, the chance of this happening goes down. Nobody should be mistaking Masamune for Masahiro but people saying Shimada or Masahiro that is acceptable. Because there isn't really any span of quality difference between those two and the styles overlap. Now, Norishige, Go, Masamune and Yukimitsu can overlap. The important thing is not getting mixed up between Shimada and Masamune or Norishige and Norikuni. From the first the school is the same but the quality and period are light years apart. For the second the period is close but the styles and school are far apart. If someone wants to say Norikuni and another wants to say Shintogo, those are a lot closer and depending on polish, condition, and how conservative you are being then you go one way or another. Last note: the entire concept of papering Hozon, Tokubetsu Hozon, Juyo and Tokubetsu Juyo has built into it this concept of re-study and revision. If a blade is good enough to promote it is definitely considered open to reassessment and new opinions. If you submit it covered with rust vs. top polish then what the judge can say is going to be different. Any shade of gray in-between means you need to accept some conservatism or leeway in the judgment. But, you need to absolutely understand and accept that elevating papers is not simply rubber stamping what was handed to you. It is re-assessed. If the prior judgment was not adequate it will be open to challenge and re-attribution. As the level goes up, then the scope narrows. So this is also something to really grasp and understand. If you have a completely lights-out Enju at Juyo, YOU need to understand that you are not at the conclusion of the story and that the judges likely understood this as well. If you have a pedestrian Enju YOU need to understand that you are at the end. If you cannot tell the difference this is your shortcoming and YOU need to improve your study. Once you see what you are dealing with and understand where you are in the story, you can understand what a placeholder attribution is and why it's done and that sometimes it's done with the idea that it's definitely going to be reassessed and revised. Anyone who ever got horyu should also understand this. It's not a reason to panic its a reason to send it in again because the judges on this viewing were not ready to make an assessment. If they felt it was gimei or bad for whatever reason that's what they would say. In terms of Juyo and such as well, what is acceptable at the lower level papers is not acceptable as the level elevates, and this is because of the necessary gray areas of mumei assessment. Because you are not dealing with an absolute in the sword, completely lacking the ability to time travel, a lower level paper will have more leeway built in. So if you can get it to Tokubetsu Hozon based on its history it is maybe going to be acceptable on the balance of all available information to let it sit there as such but it can't go higher because the requirements tighten every time you go higher. So you can maybe help yourself by looking at a paper and thinking "this is the least disagreeable conclusion at this level given this amount of study in the current condition of this sword and this amount of revision of existing previous decisions and with what we know in total in terms of the item's history and the universe of current scholarship." And if you think that weird things do not happen in terms of associated articles with swords, I am a case in point as the shirasaya with sayagaki for a sword that I bought about 7 or 8 years ago appeared attached to an unrelated sword as an "extra" shirasaya at Sotheby's auction, and wasn't shown in the photos on the auction page but only happened to come up in about the sixth level of emails with the auctioneer. Stuff gets separated, and sometimes is found again. So something with Dr. Honma's sayagaki should definitely be considered in different light than one without. I would hope that someone might consider his opinion when offering theirs and if it causes them to reassess then good. Though in this case the sword is already Tokuju with the same assessment, in the case of the Hisakuni above I would hope that people might understand the blade to be OK as Hisakuni and not just Awataguchi knowing what his opinion was. That should be guidance and if the blade couldn't get that assessment in the attribution column at Tokuju, I hope people would understand as being OK and to take it "under advisement" that not everyone agreed with him and it is OK to come up with your own opinion. Edit: one thing I meant to hammer as a point is that Tokuju is the only one that is going to be considered to be impossible to revise other than for factual information (i.e. a mostly obscured character that can be reassessed later to change a date for instance). The case of that blade is a tanto that was attributed to Yukimitsu by Honami Kotoku and then polished and changed to Masamune by Honami Kochu. So you are talking about the number one and number two judges, or more like 1a and 1b. The blade was owned by Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi among others. This passed Juyo as Masamune and then Tokuju as Yukimitsu mostly because of the strong feelings of Sato Kanzan that Yukimitsu should be considered at the same level as far as I can understand it. After his passing the blade was revised back to Masamune. Other than this exception which had of course strong past judgments in both directions and the most elite ownership: when something is passing Tokuju then it's done and the opinion being issued is done so with this consideration in mind. When you pass it at Tokubetsu Hozon and you think it can end up as Masamune then it could be done as Yukimitsu at this level because they know they will see it again and for a longer period of time with a spirited debate. This is the concept of a placeholder attribution, and to a lesser extent it can happen at Juyo. A case in point of this is a Tokuju Yukimitsu I once had that passed Juyo with an extraordinary note that the blade was historically Yukimitsu but that this was something to reconsider and revise at a later date (i.e. after being accepted as Juyo and this put in writing). This indicates that the earlier Juyo, the thought that the attribution could be revised and reassessed with more study and more knowledge was an active thought. The blade later passed Tokuju and Yukimitsu was confirmed but my feeling is that the blade was more likely Sadamune. Yukimitsu however is acceptable and one can consider it as such and it is OK. But understanding the context and the care of the judges and that even in writing they would say this is open to reassessment helps you understand what the intention was. In all of this, a blade should hopefully only go sideways or up when it passes through the process, if the process is working correctly. A Chogi that gets reassessed to Kanemitsu is sideways or an Aoe that gets changed to Kanemitsu is sideways to being up. But those do not indicate a randomness or an error, they indicate conservative judgments or the degree of flex that is necessary when something is based on opinions or a committee agreement. So Enju going to Awataguchi shouldn't be anything that should break a heart or cause a pulse to race. Awataguchi going to Nakajima Rai is what is the headache and a problem. So: remember... it's very difficult to undo this kind of thing. Once you say "Masamune" you can't retract that easily and then say Yukimitsu and the time it happened got overturned. You can say Yukimitsu and then retract that and say Masamune or Sadamune later which was what my blade was open to during and after Juyo and what happened to that tanto above in the first place. Tanobe sensei will indeed (and recently has) looked at blades (the case in point for recently is a member of this board but I don't want to dump anything)... but he looked at the mei and pronounced it good and that the blade should be carefully polished... and that he wants to see it again after polish. He's always going to make sure that there is something held in reserve to look at it again if the state is going to change. So in this case because it's verbal he's indicating a positive result on what he sees so far but it's subject to revision after polish. The blade needs to come back and be of a quality and style (style is probably already OK) that is in agreement with the mei before he is going to feel satisfied. I think for the owner that it is going to go 100% ok but ... this is how a good judge operates. ... Edit 2: I will throw in one other anecdote which comes from a few years back where Tanobe sensei showed me a really wonderful unpapered sword that had returned from polish and he had been studying. He said at this time that what I would say and what Ted Tenold would say is something he would consider in his appraisal. I looked at it and I offered an opinion that it was Masamune and this to me was pretty clear from the quality of the nie in it. The hamon looked like it was 40 below zero and someone breathed on it and their breath had frozen into crystals. I said if the owner wants to sell this please let me know because I would love to have it whatever it was. I then asked him what his judgment was... He told me, "I don't know, that's why I'm studying it." Of course he had this thought in his mind already about Masamune but not even verbally was he going to point in that direction because once saying that he would not be able to undo it. Again, shows the care with which this thing is done as the level goes up. Next time I encountered the blade it was in the Juyo oshigata as Masamune then passed Tokubetsu Juyo right after that confirmed as Masamune. In the end my snap judgment was fine for *kantei* and in hindsight it was a good call, but we need to remember always that kantei and attribution are two different things. The first is an exercise and a game and a chance to learn something. The second is ideally a careful process and even verbally Tanobe sensei in this case was not willing to say what he was thinking but was actively probing other people's thoughts, no matter how minor a character they were in the overall story, he wanted to hear what they thought. If something comes into Tokuju as Enju and the quality and skill and inherent features of the blade cause a reassessment to Awataguchi, I look at that as the process working not that the process is faulty. At the end of the day if you are going to buy it you need to be able to look at the blade though and in your own heart accept that the judgment is good. At the end of the day, nothing is perfect and it is still a subject matter that comes down to opinion, but hopefully educated and thoughtful opinion. There are things with papers that I don't like and other people accept without question. There are things in top collectors or with top dealers that they accept and others may throw rocks at. You need to be happy yourself with what you read and see.
  7. 11 points
    When I first started collecting (mainly gendai), I would buy at dealer prices. For the past few years, my thought strategy is to pay only what I could recover if I sold it. And if I buy a sword out of polish, I factor in the cost to polish. I have sold quite a few swords on NMB in the past year, and all get snapped up within a day. The reason, realistic prices, I always leave "a bit in it for the next owner". Only an observation, but many shinsakuto swords that have been listed on the NMB, never resell for the price the owner paid, and you see reduction after another, or withdraw from sale. Unless you buy really well, swords are not a good investment, you buy what gives you pleasure, enjoy it, and sell it for the current market price.
  8. 11 points
    Item No. 63 Iron tsuba with gold inlay - 8.13 cm x 72.4 cm x 0.47 cm Modern made tsuba by Ford Hallam , about 14 years ago , subject of Orchids against a textured background , reminiscent of Natsuo style. A few views under different lighting conditions.
  9. 11 points
    Time for the reveal! Many good and close answers. The majority nailed the period and tradition. A few of you nailed the school. Sue-Sa or Sa Ichimon would count as Atari here, so I think the board was very close to succeeding here (and Brian can PM me his Ether public key) The sword is attributed to the Sa Ichimon. By tradition, Sa school blades with a relatively calm suguha or cho-notare are attributed to Sa Sadayoshi. Due of the wild monouchi and ichimai boshi, the attribution is prefaced by "Den". So we have here a piece attributed to Den Sa Sadayoshi. The smith has 21 Juyo pieces, and half of them are accompanied by Den. His signed works are extraordinarily rare, and the attribution within the ichimon follows tradition. There is significant overlap between Sadayoshi and his father, Yoshisada, in style. To sum up, there is significant uncertainty when attributing within the Sa Ichimon due to the lack of daito with a preserved signature and the majority of works attributed to his students and the master are prefaced by Den. The thick and bright habuchi with sparkling ko-nie is a strong kantei point for Sa school. The boshi of Sa school is often quite distinctive, with a sharp and long kaeri. Here we have a sharp kaeri, but more intriguing is its ichimai characteristics, which is unique amongst Sa School published work. What I find particularly appealing is the wild but symmetrically tempered boshi and monouchi. In combination with the early end of the bohi, we have here a deliberate design choice on behalf of the smith and essentially would give the blade a second life in the event of a broken boshi. A point of particular interest is that there is a single prominent kinsuji on both sides, at the same place. These features are unusual for the Sa ichimon, and point to the influence of Go. An attribution to a student of Go is also plausible here, but that is not within the practice of the NBTHK due to lack of an extent historical corpus. The blade was once part of the a museum collection and came with an old inventory tag on its sayagaki (further research required here, I was told Tokyo national museum had the same tags). It further had an early torokusho number of 4038. Not much else is known about its provenance. It is possible that it was passed as Go during the Edo period due to its prominent fully hardened boshi, or the work of O-Sa as is often the case with Sa Ichimon, and has been carefully preserved as a result. For an old blade, the state of preservation is close to Kenzen, with a few weak areas on one side. Often for Sue-Sa or Sa ichimon attributions, the hada can be relatively weak, and this particular work stands out here. It passed Juyo with the following setsumei: Explanation The Chikuzen-smith Samonji (左文字) was active in the early Nanbokuchō period and left behind the traditional, classical Kyūshu style by establishing a new style which was comprised of a bright and clear jiba and a prominent amount of chikei and kinsuji. Samonji had many highly skilled students, e.g., Yasuyoshi (安吉), Yukihiro (行弘), Yoshisada (吉貞), Kunihiro (国弘). Hiroyuki (弘行), Hiroyasu (弘安), and Sadayoshi (貞吉), who faithfully continued the style of their master and who flourished throughout the Nanbokuchō period. It is said that Sadayoshi (貞吉) was the son of Yasuyoshi (安吉) and that he was active around Bunna (文和, 1352-1356). Signed works by this smith are extremely rare but there are unsigned blades with period attributions to Sadayoshi which often show a ha that bases on a Sa School- typical suguha. This blade is ō-suriage but reflects with its wide mihaba, little taper, shallow sori, and elongated kissaki the typical shape of the Nanbokuchō period. The kitae is a standing-out itame that is mixed with mokume and nagare and that features much chikei. The hamon is a nie-laden chū-suguha with a wide nioiguchi that tends a little bit towards notare, that widens along the monouchi, and that is mixed with gunome and angular elements, and the bōshi is a largely undulating midare-komi with a pointed kaeri. We recognize thus the workmanship of the Sa School and as Sadayoshi is traditionally known for hardening most often a suguha-based hamon within this school, the blade can be attributed to him. The jiba is rich in hataraki and has many highlights, and particularly impressive are the powerful nie and the sharply pointed kaeri of the bōshi, features which both match the dynamic shape of the blade. Therefore, we have here an ambitious masterwork among all blades attributed to this smith. Tanobe sensei's sayagaki Jūyō-tōken at the 63rd jūyō shinsa Sa Sadayoshi from Chikuzen province This blade is ō-suriage mumei. It is of an Enbun-Jōji shape, shows an itame-nagare that features plenty of ji-nie and much chikei, and is hardened in a nie-laden suug-chō with a wide nioiguchi that shows kinsuji and yubashieri and that is mixed along the upper half of the blade with a gently undulating notare. The bōshi is a widely hardened midare-bōshi that is bold and powerful and as its kaeri is somewhat pointed, we recognize along the jiba all characteristics of the Samonji group, with the rather calm course of the ha of this masterwork attributing it within this group to Sada- yoshi. Blade length ~ 71.5 cm
  10. 10 points
    So! You are browsing tsuba and one catches your eye, it's got a bit of a Higo vibe. It's not much money and you are thinking of taking a shot but something about the seppa dai seems off so you can it. It pops back up at half the money and on a bit of reflection you reckon the seppa dai has seen some use but for what it costs it's worth it for a look see. You place a minimum bid, sit back and wait. Lo and behold you win. The package arrives and as you take it from the postie you can hear the tsuba rattling around inside it's box. You open the package and see that it is in a deluxe tsuba box so that's a win whatever happens to the tsuba. But the sender has sealed the box with duct tape. You manage to get the duct tape off without damaging the box And the tsuba is genuine, what's more it is better in hand than the photos. I'm sure we all know the feeling but thought you might enjoy this one. All the best.
  11. 10 points
    Where do we start to camp out for the $60k Masamune? Can the line start after me? This line about there being $60k Hozon, Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune that will lose their status, I think is begging to see some tangible examples. As for handling many of them, I don't know where you are going that you can poke around in a drawer full of inappropriately papered Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune. Here is why you cannot price such a thing at $60k: 1. if it has so many issues and is so full of doubt, it is not worth $60k and nobody is likely to buy it 2. if it is not with that doubt, it will not be priced at $60k or if it were, that would last for a few picoseconds until someone picks it up and resells it at a price the market supports Consider a simple gold coin. If it is a real one ounce gold coin and you put it on ebay at $200 it will be gone in that same picosecond, to be sold for the price that gold fetches in the market every day and the lucky person will have themselves a profit. If it looks like it is made of copper rather than gold (i.e. so full of doubt) then nobody will pay $200 for it. We see this of course every day with the green papered Masamune that are constantly on Yahoo auctions. The sellers are not stupid, so they float them at zero so the speculators will bid to whatever the price of speculation will drive them. Or, they will price them at the price the market will pay for a Masamune. To price them at 20% of the price of a real Masamune is literally "neither here nor there." It is low enough to cause suspicion and it is high enough to cause suspicion. It is so low that the speculators will take pause. It is so high that the speculators will take pause. It is so low that the legitimate collectors will take pause. It is so high that the legitimate collectors will take pause. The market is not necessarily rational but it sure is very efficient. If you are encountering "many" of these by your own words, and were not impressed, you are implying that the NBTHK is cranking out Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune with great frequency. It's like saying you went into someone's house and saw "many" cockroaches. If you saw one only, it implies the existence of a good number you can't see. If you saw a good number, then there are many. If you saw many then there are a very large number. If there is a very large number, or even if there are many, then others of us will also be encountering them in person or online. Japanese well understand that green papers are garbage and yet there is still some kind of a speculation market on Yahoo auctions for green papered "Masamune". A modern Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune one can buy for $60k regardless of the impression level a foreigner may have for the blade, will not matter because of market efficiency. These items will be snatched up and find their way to major auctioneers or to Yahoo auctions at the bare minimum. If nobody has seen any except for one person who claims to have seen many, then there is some difficulty in explaining this phenomenon if we are to take it at face value. Because honestly there are enough low end dealers that would be able to lay their hands on those and turn them over for big prices on Yahoo auctions that they would simply appear there. Yet they don't. The idea that rather instead they are laying around in drawers inactive in the market, at low prices that would be blown through on an auction site, is far fetched. Everyone would speculate on such pieces and believe them to be easy Juyo. We have seen already on Sotheby's a Tokubetsu Hozon Norishige fetch more than this likely with this kind of speculation. Should such a "Masamune-prime" exist, it would have as well to have so many attestations and historical reasons to be a Masamune that it could go to Tokubetsu Hozon and yet, be so, so very wrong that it cannot approach the standards for Juyo, that again, it would be something that would fail to have any value. As you increase the level of the smith involved you increase the stakes dramatically. The higher you stake that claim on day one, the less room you give yourself to maneuver later. If the NBTHK were in the habit of tossing around Hozon for fake Masamune like used kleenex, the damage it causes to the organization as a whole is substantial. You are entering fraud lawsuit areas that you don't enter when you mix up Bungo Bingo Bongo. There is no point to stick your neck out at Hozon and Tokubetsu Hozon for Masamune when there is a great chance you will get your head cut off at Juyo. This is instead where you stick your neck out as den Yukimitsu and then give yourself another chance to reconsider at Juyo with more people and more attention. There are so very few reasons to paper something to Tokubetsu Hozon as Masamune that cannot go higher, you can count them on one hand. Those are that the condition is so very poor there is no chance, but the blade is legitimate. In which case, someone with knowledge should still find areas in it to be impressed, but to simply feel sad that the blade is worn away; or that the blade is retempered, and in which case the blade is going to have to have status as a famous old piece or else it will lack the exact dimension necessary in which to pass as Masamune (the best quality nie); or that the attribution is so very, very unreliable that the work cannot even classify as one of the better Soshu smiths for which there may be major to minor overlap with Masamune (in which case it does not have the standing to get to Hozon as Masamune, but it will simply be denied if under kinzogan or papered to whatever it is thought to be regardless of stacks of old paper). There is only a major disaster for all parties involved in generating drawers full of Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune that cannot impress a foreigner and do not have the capability to pass Juyo. Furthermore, there just lacks a reason for this to happen other than offering up that the people doing building such a situation are completely without credibility. I point you to an alternative to explain the phenomenon you have noted, if indeed it is real as nobody else has testified to it. That is in this same thread you have maligned the reputation of Honami Kochu and held his papers to be without merit, failing to impress you and so easily faked that they are indistinguishable from the real thing. A drawer full of $60k Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune that are not impressive in the least has such a simple easy explanation attached to it and Occam's razor applies. I've written elsewhere the slow pace at which consideration for Masamune is given. I have not, myself, encountered these large quantities of inexpensive and unimpressive yet faithfully papered Masamune in all of my experience in Japan nor has anyone offered up any links to them in Yahoo auctions in the last 25 years that I recall. I am aware of very, very tired Masamune that are correctly executed and still pass Juyo. There are those that pass Juyo with notes in the setsumei about how the attribution has doubts and even with that the market price on such things are quite high. It is very easy to write "to kinzogan mei ga aru" on papers, or to do den Yukimitsu at Tokubetsu Hozon so you can change that to Masamune and explain in detail at Juyo because it is still, outside of the Masamune attribution, a sword with Juyo features that can stand as such on its own. And if it doesn't, then no reason to do this outside of not knowing your material. I have had in my hands famous pieces from the Kyoho Meibutsucho, and Juyo and Tokuju, Juyo Bunkazai Masamune, and those with no papers and no reputation but still exhibiting enough attributes that I would say Masamune and try to pay a lot for them. I have been able to buy three legitimate ones in my life and I had opportunities to buy unpapered ones at high prices... in such cases I turned one down out of being gutless and saw it after this go all the way to Tokubetsu Juyo. I wish to say I could have handled a Kokuho one, but I have not, I have only had one Kokuho in my hands and it was not a Masamune. But many times with Juyo Bunkazai up to Sadamune and Masamune and so forth from daimyo families and Hideyoshi's personal item that went to Ieyasu and various shoguns beloved pieces. But, I have not encountered a drawer full of Tokubetsu Hozon Masamune that failed to impress me to date. If they are legitimately papered, the line starts after me please at $60k and I will take my chances with any particular foreigner not being impressed. Lastly the proof of NBTHK papers it to look up the serial numbers. Also, the proof of an old Honami Kochu paper can often be verified by looking at the records of collections from whence it came. The best proof though is the eyeball test. Knowing what you are looking at substantiates the paper more than the paper should be used to substantiate the thing you are looking at. If you are routinely looking at junk swords of the highest attribution possible without the capability of passing Juyo you are probably in some kind of strange, uncharted waters that are dangerous to be in.
  12. 9 points
    Tachi and Tachi mounts NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Papered to 1st generation Omiya Morishige O suriage 75.7 cm Hi , 9mm thick at mune . Very healthy with lots of activity
  13. 9 points
    1. ▢▢▢▢部隊本部 - ???? Unit headquarters 陸軍准尉 関口幸一 - Army warrant officer, Sekiguchi Koichi 2. 私物 - private property 平田部隊 - Hirata unit 下村中尉 - Lieutenant Shimomura 3. 昭和十六年 - Showa 16th year 兼継 - Kanetsugu
  14. 9 points
    Kirikomi are generally not polished out, they are regarded as "honorable scars" and part of the swords history, and actually no they don't generally devalue a blade. It is unlikely they would successfully polish out, it would involve removing too much material. With your sword there is very little to worry about. I have just bought a sword with three kirikomi of a similar size to the ones you have illustrated and don't consider them a problem, far from it. Edit sorry Michael beat me to it but at least we are saying the same thing.
  15. 8 points
    Hi all, Just another update, the website is now up and running. Being nearly illiterate at this kind of thing it was a bit of a struggle but being a fighter I didn't quit. There are still things to work out, but for the most part it is working. My first priority is to get the sword page up and all previously offered blades relisted. Additionally, I have 23 new swords, most high end Gendaito to list which is very time consuming. Thank you all for your support. Ed Yakiba.com
  16. 8 points
    I saw a blade with a kirikomi that had a piece of the blade that stuck this sword. There is no way that I would remove that kirikomi. I agree with the above comments on keeping them and if you can't live with them pass the blade on to someone who would be happy to have a battle tested blade.
  17. 8 points
    Item No. 51 Tsba in Shibuici with gold, silver and shakudo detailing 7.64 cm x 7.53 cm x 0.49 cm Two butterflies , three spiders webs and large dragonfly on a fine Ishime ground. Signed Nara Tadashige and Jochiku with a kao . This is therefore a dai-saku work from the Nara and Murakami Schools from the 19th cent. Looks considerably better in hand than in photographs - the very fine Ishime giving a matt surface finish , very evenly applied . The webs glow and almost jump out from the tsuba in the right light and the detailing on the insects is very well done. Just as a bonus , the dragonfly's eyes are inlaid with a striking green iridescent mother of pearl/ abalone , that really stand out . Have been unable to place Nara Tadashige - does not appear to be shown in the genealogies book . Also there are two artists shown as signing Jochiku in the Murakami school.... Any Haynes or Wakayama references would , as usual , be much appreciated.
  18. 8 points
    Item No. 50 Brass tsuba with raised rim , ishime ground , gold ,silver , copper and shakudo inlays 8.20 cm x 7.45 cm x 0.47 cm over plain , 0.71 cm over figure Subject of Monkey King , Songoku standing on a cloud , exhaling a crowd of small armed figures who are attacking / frightening off an Oni . King Oni maybe ? The rear uses gold dust to create the impression of mist With a grass script ? signature Natsuo. Studio ? Could perhaps do with a light clean , there seems to be detailing hidden ... Any views / comments ?
  19. 8 points
    It says 贈相京大佐殿 大西上等兵 To Colonel Aikyō From Ōnishi PVC There actually was a Colonel Masao Aikyō in Borneo at the end of WW2.
  20. 7 points
    Item No. 66 - Kozuka in shakudo and gold with copper and silver Subject - New Year with a Buriburi on wheels and wakamisu scene on reverse ( first drawn water of New Year ) Superior quality all round with miniature nanako , inlays on the Buriburi etc. Signed Akichika , with kao ( Kono school ) - as a student of Haruaki Hogen ( famed for his incredible attention to detail ) the level of workmanship is , perhaps , not surprising. From a European auction about 4 years ago Scale on close up pictures of nanako is in millimetres
  21. 7 points
    Nihonto should never be seen as an investment. Besides the very high end, enjoy being a caretaker and love learning.
  22. 7 points
    I think it's interesting:
  23. 7 points
    Those were some pretty good answers. But then some kind of degenerated into the classic overthinking that can happen with kantei. Sucks when you were right or close then convince yourself that it's something else. Sometimes the gut feeling is the best one because it's being processed at a lower part of your brain, you feel that it looks like something and then you start going over too many checklists in your head and as mentioned, overthink. I never sold this sword, just worked on the photos. I had a chance to see it when Chris bought it from someone else. The Sadamune answers are very interesting to me because to me the hamon looks a lot like Takagi Sadamune. Also the Go and Tametsugu answers are interesting, because of the boshi... Go generally will not have an o-kissaki. So going to Tametsugu from there is not too bad. Less known is Tachibana Yoshizane ... another son/student of Go but nothing survived and so is a "really bad answer" for kantei. But when I look at a blade like this makes me think about a smith like that with lost work. Hata Nagayoshi, on the hada and nie is an interesting call but there are no mumei assigned to him, just 3 Norishige-like tanto with signatures. Esshu Kuniyuki makes this kind of standing out hada too. The Sa Sadayoshi call though if you look at the other Sadayoshi, is very good and relevant. There are a lot of O-kissaki blades with bright nie and vivid hada in the group of Samonji students and they are all very highly ranked. Here is another and you can see the similarities in hamon structure and blade shape. And if you have seen something like the following you can go right into the Sa group. I would have said Takagi Sadamune as my answer if I didn't know what it was already. But when you look at the other examples the rationale is very clear as to the attribution.
  24. 7 points
    True kirikomi absolutely do not devalue a blade. They are not a flaw like a ware, for example. They are part of a blade's history. Some collectors simply do not like them all that much for personal / aesthetic reasons. But my personal opinion is that a kirikomi should not be polished out. Doing so would require way too much change to the geometry of the sword. It would be a mistake. It would be better to pass the sword on to a collector that enjoys kirikomi and find a more pristine blade if that's your style.
  25. 7 points
    This is an extract from "Meito -or- What Makes a Masterpiece?" by Nobuo Ogasawara, Retired head conservator of the National Museum, Tokyo and is I think fundamental to understanding attributions. A lot of what he had to say to me was enlightening when I first read this and helped me understand and is interwoven with a lot of my comments that I make about quality and attributions including those above. This entire article is good but I'll just take some highlights so I don't have to type the whole thing in. .... Depending on who evaluates unsigned swords, a Masamune may be attributed to his son Sadamune, or a Kanemitsu to his pupil Tomomitsu. Differences of judgment are acceptable to a certain extent, but it is evidently wrong if one evaluates a Hizen Tadayoshi from the 17th century as Rai Kunimitsu from the Kamakura period at the end of the 14th century. Deliberately wrong judgments are a criminal matter, but even if it is not deliberate, anyone who gives an attribution to Kanemitsu when the work is by a pupil such as Tomomitsu or Hidemitsu will gradually lose all authority. [Darcy note: he first talks about a Masamune to Sadamune (i.e. conservative) ... a Kanemitsu to Tomomitsu (i.e. conservative)... the last sentence notes Tomomitsu or Hidemitsu to Kanemitsu which is then an inflated or incorrect judgement... so it is OK to issue a conservative judgment in the right ballpark but it is not OK to take an inferior work and assign it to a high level maker, this indicates an inability to understand the quality and so ends up with a loss of authority] We should consider the principles of Meito. Both masterpieces and inferior blades have always existed, and it is perhaps also not surprising if a single swordsmith may have been both successful and unsuccessful. In the course of the centuries many swords have been destroyed or lost. I think it amazing that swords have survived at all, considering their primary use as weapons, and their raw material is iron which can end up as a lump of rust. We must credit the Japanese at this point with the sense of beauty which impelled them to take such good care of their swords. ... One should not however confuse variation with failure. When Soshu Masamune makes nie-kuzure this is intentional, but if nie-kuzure appear as a result of failures of control during tempering, then the blade can never be good. ... There are also swords which do not attract us at all, even if the style is typical of its time and even if the jitetsu or hamon lack obvious flaws. For example a mass produced kazu-uchi-mono blade may just as plausibly be assigned to Bizen, Bungo Takada, Kai Mihara, Uda, or some other school, because the sword is of inferior quality. ... Having realized the qualities and attractiveness of the sword, it is natural to wish to own some. The most inconvenient thing about this, I think you will agree, is of a financial nature. If we think only about economics in this way we shall end up getting cheap swords which may easily be disposed of when necessary. This is perhaps understandable, but the true collector learns to transcend faincial limitations. We collect swords nowadays because we appreciate them as art objects. We do not collect them because of their excellence as weapons. Nevertheless the essence of the sword is its effectiveness as a weapon and its superiority as a weapon in expressed in the beauty of its sugata, in the brightness of its jihada, and the beauty of its hamon. ... As I have said, the Japanese Sword may be considered as a work of art, and an object of contemplation. By contrast, I have also said that the Japanese sword is a weapon, to which one could entrust one's life. The sword is both of these things. ... Once upon a time there was a rich merchant named Takeda Kizaemon. He was a great devotee of the Tea Ceremony., but he ran into difficulties and lost all his wealth, ending up as a groom in [the] stables. But, he retained his favorite Tea Bowl which he kept in a bag around his neck until the day he died. This bowl still exists and is called "Kizaemon Ido." When I was young, my Sensei showed me a sayagaki. The inscription said enigmatically: "Even if you were standing at the edge of the road..." He asked whether I understood it. I had to say that I did not. he explained that "to stand at the egde of the road" means you have become like a beggar. Even if the owner were to become a beggar, he would never part from this sword. The feeling for a Meito exists only inside us, and has really nothing to do with the works of famous swordsmiths or expensive swords. However, you must have the knowledge to understand and appreciate it. The sense or feeling attached to the swords is very important. This is the secret when you are collecting Meito.
  26. 7 points
    Hi, 如水(Josui/Jo-sui) +kao   
  27. 7 points
    Hello friends Please enjoy some private pics of Yasunori san with me, shortly before his passing away.
  28. 6 points
    Dear All, As restrictions on movement start to be lifted I am hoping to start to have the chance to study some more swords. In the meantime the pool is becoming somewhat limited so this may be the last kantei I can post for a little while. It is also possible that the blade here is familiar to some of you. Normally when doing kantei the blade should be ubu or at least have the mei intact and have been authenticated. It should also be a piece that exhibits the traits of a given school or smith. This is not always possible. In this case we are looking at a naginata-naoshi which has been substantially modified from it's original form and is mumei. Therefore to reach a conclusion one needs to focus on such dimensions as are original (nagasa and thickness) and more particularly on the hada and hamon. Description: The blade is a Naginata Naoshi wakizashi. Nagasa: The blade is 17.6 inches. The Kasane is 8mm. the blade is Mitsu-mune. There are classic Naginata hi which are well cut and in excellent condition. The shape is a classic Naginata sugata . Hada: The blade is a combination of itame and Nagare hada covered in thick and bright Ji-nie with chickei mixed in. As the hada approaches the hamon it tends more towards masame. Hamon: The Hamon is Suguha with deep Nioi and thick, bright nie. There is Nijuba and Sunagashi. There is clear mune-yaki. Boshi: Yakitsume with considerable hakikake. Nakago: O-suriage Mumei. Beautiful colour and well maintained.
  29. 6 points
    Item No. 65 - Menuki in shakudo Subject - Views of Mount Fuji with clouds and sailing boats in the foreground With signature Furakawa Mototaka - according to Sesko's Genealogies , Oyama/Sekijoken School ( Mito ) Nicely made , unfussy pair of Menuki Bought from Japanese Dealer 10 years ago.
  30. 6 points
    Item No. 64 Large Iron Tsuba with Gold 8.47 cm x 7.86 cm x 0.50 cm Subject of Sukashi Dragons in a field of gold key pattern inlay , unsigned. The inlay continues around the mimi , dragons' eyes are gold . Unknown age or school , described by Auction House as dating to approx 1780 , ie 240 years old... Bought a few years ago at a European Auction.
  31. 6 points
    There was indeed a gendaitō 現代刀 swordsmith with the name of 西山・勝進 [Nishiyama Katsuyuki] who signed his blades with 肥前國西光 [Hizen no kuni Saikō]. He lived in 長崎県北高来郡森山村 [Nagasaki-ken Kitatakaki-gun Moriyama-mura] as of 1937. Many thanks for sharing pictures of your sword.
  32. 6 points
    Peter We all started digressing into 'is gendaito better than shinsakuto?', 'oh, why, my god, why is my mass produced WW2 blade priced where it is?' and our pet loves and interests, and ignored your question. I shall provide my humble views: 1) at the moment, from a macroeconomic perspective, globally there is a heck of a lot of loose monetary policy being practised by central banks and reserves; this means, in layman's terms, than they require banks to hold lower currency reserves (thus relieving retail banks of the requirement to have reserves centrally and encouraging them to lend the excess more) and the government institutions deploy central funds to purchase debt obligations thus increasing money supply in the economy. When there is a lot of something, its price comes down. In our case, the value of money goes down through the inflation mechanism - inflation rates are high, money buys less, etc. That is why you are seeing so many people fleeing to alternative assets to fiat (i.e. normal ) money - be it gold, bitcoin/ethereum, non-fiat-token digital assets, art. Normal money costs less (you can view the interest rate in the bank as its value increment and inflation as its decrement = the net change is negative as inflation is much higher that interest rates and real GDP growth) 2) so, investing in alternative assets when money is abundant makes diversification sense - be it real estate (you know it, its price is up too!), art collections, value depository assets (gold, diamonds, platinum, silver). Now, you need to be careful with the so called commodities and precious metals as their value is influenced by industrial usage as well as financial operations (the so called forward and futures prices, derivatives, etc) 3) zooming into art more precisely, as an alternative asset class in addition to a source of personal gratification and aesthetic enjoyment, it is booming (for the reasons above plus the additional wealth created in emerging real economies such as China or the Middle East or Russia or digital economies - think of the Bitcoin and Ethereum billionaires and multimillionaires who lucked it out). It could be digital art (https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2021/03/11/beeple-art-sells-for-693-million-becoming-most-expensive-nft-ever/) or antique art (https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/disarming-new-findings-on-leonardos-salvator-mundi). 4) are antique weapons merely a historic artefact or art? That is a tricky question. Are Japanese swords works of art? It merits its own treatise. A-ha! It exists! Please refer to my friend, Paul's, interesting article on the subject https://to-ken.uk/onewebmedia/why article.pdf 5) so, having established that there is demand for alternative assets and art in particular, then we need to analyse whether our Japanese swords are really art, and, if so, high or fine art. Are they mass/machine produced swords, of which there are many tens of thousands, all look similar, etc or are they unique, beautiful, old (so there is the historic/antique element). What is the state of preservation? Is there historic provenance (daimyo ownership)? Is there evidence they were cherished, appreciated, etc? I suppose one could read another friend of mine's blog posts here : https://blog.yuhindo.com/what-i-learned-from-you/#more-124. and https://blog.yuhindo.com/fungible/ They sort of conclude that people like differentiated, quality items, which store/reserve their value. There is more there too (about a specialist collection, about high vs low/wide) etc and Guido has also written on that topic separately. So, Peter, I would conclude (my wife is calling me for lunch!) by saying: - there is plenty of disposable wealth and money around - it is looking for art and Japanese swords too (I know several guys in their 30s with remarkable Juyo and TJ collections at the topmost level) - however, with the plethora of available (mostly digital) information, that wealth is 'better informed' and 'smarter'. It is no longer the golden era of the Japanese or Militaria arms fair or show in the airport hotel of the 1970s-1990s where people were buying unprepared and myths were being perpetuated about Juyo swords, about what certain words in sayagaki meant, etc - to attract those buyers, or even just knowledgeable buyers, if you are selling a top item, there should not be an issue. - if you are selling an average item, then you need to be able to swallow the loss of the dealer premium you paid when you bought your sword. That premium could range from 0 to 100%. I know US dealers who tend to put 30-40% premiums, European dealers who put 50-80% premiums, Japanese, who put around 25-30%, etc. Of course I could go much further into the topic (was an item bought at the exclusive/secretive Japanese dealer auction or not, was it bought directly from a Japanese collector, and how was it subsequently priced by the Occidental dealer?) but it is unwise to discuss trade secrets . Leon T above explains well why there is a dealer premium. - if, however, you bought from a dealer, and then upgraded a certificate, then you can make money. Unfortunately the ladder theory (https://blog.yuhindo.com/ladder-theory/) works in sword pricing. I have been fortunate to upgrade swords bought from dealers and made money, but do not count on it. It is not common. - one final thought: do not sell as a collection if you can avoid it. Anecdotally I have observed through the dispersal of several collections, that it is better to 'trickle' the swords into the market, finding the right buyer for the right sword rather than flooding the market with self-competing swords
  33. 6 points
    Just chiming in here, as a long time nihonto person but new member. Regarding the "Million yen" swordsmith, that valuation is due to a mistranslation commonly used both by many dealers and collectors. The original Japanese is 1 Man (or mon), carelessly abreviated to 1M and erroneously taken to mean 1 Million. In fact the Man /Mon unit means 10.000. (This is also the same for the Chinese Unit) So your Million Yen swordsmith actually means 10,000 Yen - which makes a lot more sense, and was still a very significant amount of money , (say 10,000 silver yen pieces) back then whenever written. Secondly look at some of the better dealers websites. You pay (and they get) a significant premium price above what you can sell for , because of: 1) Their reputation (i,.e you know they won't cheat you and will accept returns if there is a problem 2) The nice presentation- which includes a printable article with researched information about the smith, historical context , discussion about the blade etc 3) They have usually taken the time and trouble (which can be substantial) to paper the blade, which takes it to another level of authenticity and desirability 4) Usually included with the deal are professional photographs of the blade, koshirae etc which you can use to display or advertise your blade to sell in the future. 5) The blade when sold will be archived; you can always refer back to it on the website when studying it, showing friends or a future customer ! 6) Guarantees about shipping, etc - I don't have to deal with the details, insurance etc. 7) Wider and established and richer customer base. You as a private individual will simply not have that exposure. Speaking for myself, I would gladly pay 25-50% above the price of the same blade that I would pay a private unknown individual, even if I was reasonably confident of your trustworthiness, authenticity etc. IF the above factors came into play. But of course, for most blades and equipment, the "For Sale & Trade" forum on NMBs does provide an invaluable avenue to sell and buy for members at a reasonable and fair price, without having to pay the $ premiums mentioned above. And I do realize that most members here are knowledgeable and experienced, and so will be more equipped to strike out on their own and less inclined to pay those premiums. So, if you think your sword is undervalued, if you can provide the above factors, then that will be one way to increase the market value and what you can get for it. If you can't or won't, the next best step may be to consign to a better dealer and agree on the price you are willing to sell at. You may be suprised - he may be able to get the price you could not. Big Auctions sites have pros and cons. Yes, they have a much bigger audience and occasionally can sell at inflated prices, but they simply do not or have have the time to take care of it and fully research and do a write up of your few blades and they charge very expensive commissions and fees that can add up t0 40% (!) of the actual sale price. As to price comparisons between say "shinsakuto vs gendaito" I completely agree, but it does depend on current interests and fads. As an amateur historian myself, there is definately a panache or thrill factor about gendaito that appeals to that group of collector , especially among the younger ones. Why else would mass produced WW1 and WW2 helmets with almost zero artistic value go for $thousands? Also , one thing I have noticed, is that there is an increasing trove of veriable information about gendaito, along with the possibility of new discoveries that makes that area fascinating. In comparison the amount of complicated knowledge that Nihonto requires to be reasonably competent does seem a bit daunting. I understand that John's price comparison is for items somewhat comparable (such as same Yasukuni smith, different years) . Well, it's even crazier for things not directly comparable. I am of the age where I think it silly for someone to pay $1000 for a pair of collectable sneakers ; however that person would think me nuts for paying the same amount for a fine & rare whisky. My wife would think both us were crazy! But its all good. The market is what it is. Those new gendaito collectors may move on to nihonto in the future, and provide new blood and a customer base to buy our old stuff! Cheers, Leon
  34. 6 points
  35. 6 points
    You have 2 very nice blades. And will be awesome if it will have sayagaki, and will be nice to see the paper too. Now on for the discussion about Ōmiya school and Morishige. This is just a personal view and might not be correct but I have tried to follow multiple sources. The Sukemori (助盛) tachi that was featured in Nihontō Kōza that Jacques posted earlier was attributed to Bizen Ōmiya in Jūyō 11 but has been further researched and reattributed as Ko-Bizen Sukemori from Early Kamakura period at Tokubetsu Jūyō 14. For Moritsugu (盛継) I have so far found 3 items. There are Jūyō Bijutsuhin tachi and naoshi that are both signed, and I believe he is generally thought as late Kamakura smith. There is also signed naginata in Jūyō 21, he is identified as Ko-Ōmiya Moritsugu in the entry. Morisuke (盛助) is most likely also a late Kamakura to early Nanbokuchō smith. I do have only tachi and 1 orikaeshi-mei for him. I know there is second Jūyō orikaeshi-mei in session 43 but I don't yet have the book, the item comes with specification Ōmiya & late Kamakura. The tachi I have only found in very old Tōken Bijutsu magazine, and it states Late Kamakura to Nanbokuchō in the text. Similar as it does for the orikaeshi-mei in Jūyō 21. Then for the Morikage (盛景) there are tons of items to research. So far I have found range from 1360 to 1402 in dated items. As we come to Morishige (盛重) I do believe it would be Late Nanbokuchō to Ōei for him. I do know there are most likely dated pieces by 1st gen from Ōan to Kakyō (1368 - 1389) as that information is listed in many sources, yet so far I haven't personally seen such a date on a Morishige item. So far the range for dated pieces I've found and have references for are from 1414 to 1433. For mumei pieces that NBTHK attribute to Morishige I have seen Ōmiya Morishige (大宮盛重) and Osafune Morishige (長船盛重). The tachi currently at Aoi Art that John posted earlier has been so far the only NBTHK verified item for him I have seen that has specification for late Nanbokuchō in brackets (granted I do not have too many signed non dated items for him as reference). Lastly for Morokage (師景) I have found so far date range of 1415 to 1442 for dated items. There are some very less known Ōmiya smiths by whom I might have so far found only a single sword or two so I don't include them here. And of course my own research is always evolving if I do uncover items previously unknown to me but those above are based on the items I currently have information on.
  36. 6 points
    Gentlemen, The reality is you are debating a 30 year time window i.e. 1360 to 1392 from 700 years ago. Allowing for fluctuation in style and changes in form overtime are you not being a little optimistic trying to be so precise?
  37. 6 points
    Hello! I signed up for this site some time ago, but have not posted until now. My name is Charles Kaiser, and I am from Aurora, Ontario Canada. I have been interested in Nihonto for many years now, but have only owned gunto blades until now. I finally was able to purchase my very first nihonto, and it was delivered into my hands this morning! I am very excited to have it, and I look forward to learning more about my sword as well as collecting more in the future. I actually have two more blades that are undergoing shinsha right now. By profession I am a theatre technical coordinator, lighting designer, sound engineer, and pyrotechnician. I work for the Town of Newmarket, ON, and live with my wife and two elderly chihuahuas. I also collect books, stamps, and coins. My first sword is a Sunnobi Tanto (1 shaku, 1 sun, 6 bu) but classified by the NBTHK as a wakizashi. It is a sakizori style blade signed as Kaneharu. This blade was papered as Hozon by the NBTHK in 2011. I am attaching a photo as supplied by the shop where I bought the sword. I will be taking some of my own photos soon. I will be asking a few questions regarding this blade in future posts, but I just wanted to introduce myself in this thread before asking for help. I look forward to being an active member of this board. Thanks for reading! Charles R. Kaiser Aurora, ON
  38. 6 points
    Item No. 56 - Iron Tsuba Mokko Gata with silver and shibuichi detailing 7.5 cm x 7.3 cm x 0.48 cm Subject of Basket weave design with flowers. Signed Choshu Noju Tomohisa Saku? which would date it to around early 18th century. A nicely made quiet and understated piece .
  39. 6 points
    Not bad at all. I would say On the occasion of enlistment upon the outbreak of the Great East Asia War, early spring. (My guess would be 1942?) Over 380 yen was collected through the sincere efforts of the townspeople of the hometown, and we hereby present this to you: Oura, Saga. Shōbu Michisaburō (could also be read as Dōsaburō).
  40. 6 points
    Three more pilot pics, not one waki among them. From Otto Maxein's book, Samurai Sword for the Material Battle
  41. 6 points
    According to Richard Fuller ultra rare " first pattern Warrant Officer grade Mountings,having plain backstrap, and pierced Guard. early pattern army kyu gunto use a sakura screw through the Hilt side ears plus a Mekugi peg, if a hand forged blade is used... In this case a first Gen. "Omi no kami fujiwara Tsuguhira", with TBH-Hozon, Ubu Ha and Bohi, sure a real old familie treasure....
  42. 6 points
    A Gift to Hachiman・or how NOT to conserve a sword “TSURUGAOKA HACHIMANGU ; Famous temple located at Kamakura, dedicated to the god of war-in 1103 Minamoto Yoriyoshi had erected a temple on Yui-ga-Hama, dedicated to Hachiman, the titular god of his family. Yoritomo transported it (1193) to Kamakura and erected it on the Tsurugaoka hill, where it may be seen to the present day. In 1219 the Shogun Sanetomo went there in great pomp to render thanks for his nomination to the dignity of udaijin. After the ceremony, on descending the steps, his nephew, Kugyo, assassinated him. In 1526 Satomi Yoshihiro, the governor of the province Awa plundered the treasures of the temple but Hojo Ujitsuna obliged him to retreat.- The temple of Tsurugaoka is one of the last remnants of the grandeur of Kamakura. Interesting souvenirs of the middle ages are kept in it.” - E. Papinot The layout of Kamakura today is dominated by Wakamiya Oji, the main street in town, which runs dead straight from the beach to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. It was built by the order of Yoritomo, when the Tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine was erected. Moto Hachiman, or the former Hachiman is not far from my house near Zaimokuza beach. There are three Torii that stand over the road to the shrine from Ni no Torii to Ichi no Torii, which stands at the entrance to the shrine grounds; there is a raised path, which is contained within sloping stone walls like a castle. There are cherry trees set all along this path: the Dankazura. It actually tapers down to about a half its width at the shrine end, but due to an engineered optical illusion, it does not appear so. It seems Yoritomo built everything in the town with an eye to warfare; an invading army might charge down this welcoming path four or five across only to find themselves fighting in space wide enough for only two or three. April is the time to don your kimono and stroll the Dankazura enjoying the cherries in bloom. Yoritomo built the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in fulfillment of a promise he made at the Moto-Hachiman, “should I be successful in my campaign against the Taira, I will build the biggest Hachiman shrine Japan has ever seen right here in Kamakura”. As we all know, the first Shogun’s prayers were answered, and thereafter many people high and low made offerings in thanks for the favors bestowed upon them by the spirits of this beautiful place. For some four hundred years, the storehouse of the shrine collected treasure until in 1526, during the13th battle of Kamakura,・the aforementioned Satomi Yoshihiro caused the destruction of the temple. What wonderful things were lost, we might never know, but there are as yet interesting souvenirs of the middle ages kept here. Kobizen Masatsune tachi, Kokuho Bizen Nagamitsu tachi, Juyo Bunkazai Kuniyoshi tachi, Juyo Bunkazai Soshu Tsunahiro tachi, Kanagawa ken Juyo Bunkazai Tsunaie tachi, Kanagawa ken Juyo Bunkazai Hirokuni tachi, Kanagawa ken Juyo Bunkazai Kunimura, Senjuin, Chikuzen Nobukuni, and Muramasa, all number among the one hundred or so swords that are still in the storehouse of Hachimangu. Hojo Ujitsuna, the 8th, 9th, and 10th Tokugawa Shoguns and the Meiji Emperor are some of the more notable persons making offerings here. It is the ultimate in presumption to consider myself among their number, but the fact remains that late last year I, too determined to present a sword to the shrine. Last year, I retired my Iai-to and though I felt it didn’t need a polish, I decided to do my bit for the Japanese economy and have it polished and put it in a fresh shirasaya. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, the kawagane proved too thin and the shingane was exposed during polish, to be expected perhaps with a Kamakura period tachi but the mark of death for a shinshinto blade which mine happened to be. I now had a considerable investment in a sword which had cost me too much already and there was certainly no way for me to recover any of the money spent. I resolved therefore to lovingly preserve it as it had near been a very part of my body daily for close to ten years. In the event of my passing on, on some long distant future day, it could be treasured in my family as an heirloom. Reflecting upon the loose hold my family now has on reality and the sheer lack of interest in things Japanese they exhibit, I began to have my doubts about future generations the more I thought about it. How then to conserve this blade in a way I could be reasonably assured it would not be mistreated in the future. As you must have guessed, I hit upon the brilliant idea of donating the sword to the Hachiman shrine. Owing to the poor condition of the blade, I felt it would surely be rejected by the priests. To my surprise Hon’Ami Koji Sensei, my iai teacher, a sword polisher and conservator of the Hachiman shrine sword collection was delighted with my idea. In fact he sat down and immediately started working on a schedule for the presentation. April, 2001 was determined to be the best time so we set things in motion to carry out our Ho-no-shiki or offertory ceremony. What sword you ask is worth all this. It is not at all special, I assure you. Signed OHIRA TO YUKISADA, Dated MANEN GANNEN HACHIGATSU HI. It is a 2 shaku 5 sun 8 bu katana with chu kissaki, shallow koshizori, tight tight itame hada and a rather wide choji midare hamon. The nakago is 27cm long with kurijiri and kattesagari yasurime with kesho yasuri. The gojimei is located in the shinogiji, midway between the mekugi-ana and the habaki moto. There are 2 mekugi-ana, one of which is a shinobi-ana, which was a popular addition in the Bakumatsu era. Ohira Yukisada or Yukikazu is listed as a Musashi area smith who worked around the time of the Meiji restoration or a little before. He styled himself Yu no shin・or bird of progress・ The To (藤) in the signature is also read Fuji・as in Fujiwara so this is an abbreviation. The year 1860, Manen gannen, started out with the assassination of the great elder II Naosuke, by a group of Mito ronin, angered by his policies of placating the foreign powers and punishing those who opposed him including the lord of Mito. The country was taking sides for a battle many were certain was soon to come, one has to wonder which side of the conflict this blade was destined for. This sword was originally purchased at the Great Western Gun Show, at the San Francisco Cow Palace sometime before 1983 for $700. At that time it was in shirasaya with late Edo/Meiji period copper habaki, iron tsuba, iron fuchikashira, a blue linen wrapped tsuka with white same and menuki which had been stripped by the owner prior to me. I bought it in 1987 in this condition. There is perhaps some justice in this sword finding peace back in Japan after the abuse it suffered in America. I immediately sanded down the shirasaya and painted it with green auto-lacquer. Then began the years of swinging, whacking and cutting. Over time I had a new saya made and rebuilt and rewrapped the handle. Now it has a new silver habaki, shirasaya and proper Japanese polish. On a gorgeous Saturday in April some thirty members of the Kamakura Iaido Kyokai and guests gathered at the Hachimangu Shrine. Dressed in formal montsuki and hakama We collected in the maeden, on the same stage that Shizuka Gozen stood upon as she plead for Yoshitsune’s life in song. We bowed before the priest where receiving his blessing we presented for all the gods and buddhas to see, the faithful sword which had seen me through three thousand days of determined practice. Following this, myself and two others had their new swords blessed in a ceremony known as Nyu-kon-shiki and here upon the stage practiced for the first time with those swords. The swords used in the ceremony to be invested with the true spirit of a samurai sword were tied with mizuhiki cord, after each was blessed an attendant handed the swords to Hon’Ami Sensei who then drew his Umetada Myoju tanto and cut the cord. After which each of us presented five kata or forms to the gods of the shrine. As I took the stage to perform my forms, in each corner sat a friend acting as guard against evil, the Shitenno. In the Northeast sat Iwamura Nobuhiro, who some of you have met, 6th dan Muso Jiki Den Eishin Ryu. To the Southeast from Brazil; Candido Roberto Nunez Sequiera, 3rd dan Toyama Ryu Batto-jutsu. To the Northwest from Sri Lanka, Siri Herath, 2nd dan Toyama Ryu Batto-jutsu and in the Southwest from France, Evelyne Sentenac, Shodan Muso Shinden Ryu. Thus all the parts of the globe were represented as I drew my sword and symbolically cut down evil with my newly christened blade.  Following the ceremony there was a luncheon, where I was presented with a certificate acknowledging my gift and where I was asked to give a little speech. I thanked everyone and expressed my hope that the sword would reside within the shrine as a symbol of amity between San Francisco and Kamakura, between the U.S. and Japan and persons everywhere. So now this vet pick-up old beater iaito with Mike Virgadamo saya, Russ Axt handle and wrap, Fred Lohmen menuki, Cary Condell oshigata and lacquer job by yours truly, will join the other swords in the treasure house of the great Tsurugaoka Hachimangu where it will be lovingly cared for, for perhaps another 800 years carrying with it a tale of woe all too many swords know today, along with my sincere thanks for the life changing lessons it taught me during our brief journey together and of course the dear friends it has brought me to. @Kamakura in Japan, Thomas C Helm
  43. 6 points
    On the bottom drawer, the face plate is hinged and swings open to reveal a keypad:
  44. 6 points
    I have been in touch with the owner, Georg, and discussed the paper with him, but just wanted to add a few clarifying things here as they might be of interest for those who are following this great success story. So as shown, the NBTHK papers the blade Tokubetsu Hozon and adds in parenthesis that it was made around Tenpō ten (天保, 1839), a detail that is based on the workmanship and signature style. Also, the NBTHK verifies the authenticity of the cutting test and states explicitly that it was added by the smith himself, although at a later point in time (obviously). This is pointed out via the expression jishin kiritsuke-mei (自身切付銘). That is, kiritsuke-mei refers to any inscription added after a blade was made, and jishin means "personally," i.e., by the smith himself. As a reminder, if an inscription can not be authenticated and is just acknowledged that it is there, this would be stated so via the suffix to mei ga aru (と銘がある).
  45. 6 points
    That is a really interesting piece Phil . Col Aikyo commanded the Japanese forces in the North Sarawak and Brunei area. He surrendered his sword to Brigadier Windeyer on the 20th Sept 1945 . There are photos of the surrender and of the sword on the Australian war memorial website . Colonel Aikyo hung himself from the ridge pole of his tent in the Prisoner of war compound at Labuan in late October 1945 . It appears that a photograph of his body in situ exists if you are gruesome . A document entitled the Japanese order of battle records that Col Aikyo was the commander of the Borneo Fuel depot . This possibly means that he was not a career officer but someone with specialist skills who was commissioned during the war. My quick reading of the relationship between the Japanese and the Dyaks indicates that they didn't interact during the occupation . When the allies landed though the Dyaks seem to have strongly supported them . There is a reference in the book The Final Campaigns to Dyaks arriving at an Australian camp with the heads of six Japanese ! Ian Brooks
  46. 6 points
    古銘信国吉政 – The lost mei was Nobukuni Yoshimasa 源久國揚 – Shortened by Minamoto Hisakuni 安政頃 – around Ansei The following descriptions are difficult to translate for me. 地鉄 (Jigane) : ko-itame-hada tsumu 刃文 ( Hamon) : ko-gunomemidare nioi ko-nie majiri 造込 (Tsukurikomi) : honzukuri wakizashi 彫物 (Horimono) - none
  47. 5 points
    Showa22 perpetuates the myth of the pilot/tank crew sword. These shorter swords are wakizashi's pressed into service during the time when the longer regular swords were in short supply. They are normally older blades, sold or donated, that have a leather combat cover placed over the wood saya. Some of these wakizashi's can be quite good old blades. If the pilot sword was a fact, then they would have been manufactured during the war for air crew. In fact waks made in WW2 are VERY RARE. These shorter swords were normally sold to officers with non-combat desk jobs, so length didn't matter. This is another reason that they are found in good condition, they were never used in combat.
  48. 5 points
    Hi, I didn't realized it was a kantei game. My answer was just a Gestalt guess. Anyway, I'm trying to rationalise: the theme expressed in ji-sukashi could be either Higo, Akasaka or Tosa-Myōchin. In a Higo piece I'd expect a more bold kebori, and sometime a more rich texture on plain surfaces. The Akasaka design is associated with sharp, broken lines (and dishomogeneous layered metal, wich I was unable to evaluate from the pictures). So Tosa-Myōchin, with its delicate kebori and sinuous sukashi (and homogeneous iron), should be the most likely candidate.
  49. 5 points
    Hi Charles, Of course every good or better Nihonto is unique and there are no absolutes so, in theory, this is what I think you can do with $10K. That should buy a quite good quality katana or tanto with Tokubetsu Hozon paper, signed and made by a well respected, near important, smith and mounted in shirasaya and/or nice but not great koshirae. A wakizashi of the same level would be maybe 1 or 2 K less expensive. This is meant to give a rough idea. As you are a relative beginner make sure you get good advise and deal with someone you can trust. Ask lots of questions (feel free to drive your seller nuts) and have fun. Grey
  50. 5 points
    Hi Mick: It is like saying "I have a car for sale. £2500" Make, model, mileage?.... People need more information. The more information that you provide, the better photos you share, the quicker you will sell this blade.
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