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  1. 16 points
    Many times the people making the translation request will themselves not know what they wish to understand from the document. In their minds, they may have an idea that the document will somehow tell them the details of the smith who made the sword, but in reality the document will just be a dry description of the sword itself. Is the sword old? Is it real? How much is it worth? These are basic things that people want to know, but this information isn't necessarily included in, for example, a registration certificate or a tag attached to a WW2 sword. Here I agree with Christopher and Michael, that the narrative "setsumei" which accompanies the Jūyō swords would be as valuable as, and more interesting than, the technical, almost boring, Jūyō certificate. The Jūyō document here in this thread is full of sword terminology which is meaningful for most of us here, but I'm afraid it will be impenetrable to a new person. And yet, there is no middle-ground. You either know the jargon, or you don't. The translator can include explanations of the terms to try to make it easier, but that is time-consuming. A paper like this could easily take hours to explain fully. In this case I think I probably looked at Jiri's post count, and felt he/she would be able to spend some time with a search engine as long as the text was machine-readable. So rather than me doing a deep-dive on what "ko-ashi hairu" means, or the nuances of "jinie-gakari", I put it into text so that Jiri can explore on his own, and then come back for further explanation on any terms that remain unclear. To the larger question of translation for free, Mywei has it absolutely correct: pursuing an accurate translation can be enjoyable and rewarding for the translator as well as the reader. It also brings new collectors to the site, which is (hopefully) good for the site and good for the hobby. Its also good to have a number of eyes and brains looking at inscriptions because, as we all know, translators make mistakes. So translation work - even complicated passages, can be a pleasure. I will avoid doing a translation if it looks like its going to be thankless drudgework ("I saw this possibly fake WW2 flag on ebay today, could you please translate the 100 names on it even though I might not bid on it"). If people wish to donate to the board when they feel they have received something of value, that is a great thing, and I'm happy to help. It does get complicated if people expect a service in return for a donation, so I wouldn't want to obligate either of us to that. There are so many entry barriers to Japanese sword collecting, that its a good thing for us to try to reduce those barriers.
  2. 12 points
    I got out some Ainu knives for a presentation at a local museum and thought there might be some interest in them here. I am not sure these are "Japanese" blades but they ARE related. Indeed, I have formed three collections of Ainu objects, but I've given two of them away and formed this bunch only because they were there. Most of the "blades" are Japanese (or other "Asian') cutlery, but please take a look at the bear face bag that was fitted out with a "netsuke' that we collectors see as a very ordinary iron tsuba. Thank you for looking! Peter
  3. 10 points
    If I may, I'd like to suggest a change in approach. Those of us who could easily see the sword as a fake were able to do so, not because we have memorized a list of rules (the kanji shouldn't be too spread out, for example), but rather, because we have looked at so many of the real thing. Once you set a rule that says no real Nihonto have wide spread kanji in their mei, some sword will pop up with atypical spacing and prove you wrong. However, once you have looked closely at 1,000 true Nihonto, either in hand or in a good book, you will never be fooled by a sword like the one up top. Study Grasshopper. Grey
  4. 10 points
    Namesake / Michael My opinion is already in the other thread. I have looked at many Ko-Bizen, own one, etc. This blade is very good BUT you must know what you are buying before venturing into something like that. If you are asking for [moral] support and views on the blade and others justifying to you whether you should buy it, it seems to me you are not ready yet to swim in these [deep] waters… if you truly have such funds, then pause, look around, compare and decide what type of Ko-Bizen (or whether it is Ko-Bizen you desire in the first place) you are after and then by which smith. And then perhaps decide whether you want it with provenance and koshirae or not. Someone buying at such level would need to evaluate the smith, condition, provenance, length, other bells & whistles etc etc. You would need to know what you want / expect of the blade and whether it is meeting your requirements (eg do you like the hamon and want flamboyant choji, or does it need to be an “old blade”, do you want a blade with a mei etc).
  5. 10 points
    When a sword is made from tamahagne or sponge iron, it is formed into a sword by hammering, folding and forge welding, the iron never melts. The swordsmith controls the carbon content during forging. The forging process removes all the contained gas and slags from the sponge, and the hada you see in a sword is the layers or folds that result from forge welding. So this sponge iron becomes steel (Iron + Carbon). So to answer your question, Sadakatsu made steel from tamahagane or sponge iron ONLY in the traditional forging process, not by a steel separate making process. As I said, the steel in sword making the traditional way has never been melted. For my sins, I am a metallurgist.
  6. 10 points
    The English listing of that sword is so carelessly done (google translated) that it actually becomes misleading. First the smith. His correct reading is UJISHIGE, not FUJISHIGE (which is correctly quoted, however, further down the listing). Now according to the description, the blade is a work of the first generation Ujishige (氏重). Ujishige (氏重, ?–1755) was actually the third generation of his lineage, but changed the writing of his name later in his career to (氏繁) and that is when the counting of generations was so to speak reset. i.e., Ujishige III (氏重) becomes Ujishige I (氏繁). This lineage continued for four more generations until Ujishige V (氏繁) who was active in the early 1800s. To be sure which Ujishige it is, I would ask them to provide a picture of the Tokubetsu Hozon paper as the NBTHK may clarify in parenthesis the generation. Now Aoi Art brings Shinsengumi Captain Nagakura Shinpachi into play who did wear an Ujishige (氏繁) sword, although it is unspecified which generation, and the description is worded in a way that could mislead someone believing that it was actually the sword for sale, which it is not. But they always do that, like listing a 550 Spyder and saying: "Did you know, also James Dean was driving a 550 Spyder?" As for the cutting test, as it was performed in Kansei twelve (1800), it was obviously not done when Ujishige III (氏重) / Ujishige I (氏繁) made the blade as he died 45 years prior. Unfortunately, the two characters above the character for "body" have come partially off. The first appears to be (間), but I can't make out the one below. So at this point, the cutting test can only be translated as: "[This blade] cut in the fourth month of Kansei twelve (1800), year of the monkey, through a body at the height of ?"
  7. 10 points
    Hello Jiri, it is a typical Jūyō certificate from the NBTHK. It just describes the sword: its dimensions, shape, steel grain (kitae), hamon, tip, tang (nakago). It describes each using the typical vocabulary used in the sword collecting world. I will put it here in Japanese text so you can look it up yourself (which should be easy with a copy and paste into a search engine). I will put in some furigana to make it easier to understand. 大磨り上 無銘 伝来国俊 (Ōsuriage Mumei "Den Rai Kunitoshi) Nagasa (length) 長さ 二尺三寸二分五厘 反り七分 Keijō (shape) 形状 鎬造り 庵棟 磨り上げて 中反り浅く 中鋒 Kitae (steel grain) 鍛え 板目 柾がかり 地沸(にえ)つく Hamon (forging pattern on cutting edge) 刃文 広い直ぐ刃 わずかにのあれごころとなり 小足入る Bōshi (tip) 帽子 直ぐに先小丸 裏掃きかける Nakago (tang) 茎   大磨り上げ 先浅い栗尻鑢目浅い勝手下がり目釘孔二 We hereby judge and deem the article herein to be designated as an "Important Sword" Showa 38, October 25th NBTHK Hosakawa Moritatsu
  8. 9 points
    Yesterday, 03 / 07 / 2021, an event was held in Birmingham, the real one not the US copy, where Nihonto enthusiasts from all over the UK met for the first time after so many months of virus enforced separation. Special thanks must go to Ian Chapman and Mike Hickson - Smith for all their hard work in initiating the event, sourcing a venue and finally bringing the plan to its successful fruition. Unfortunately covid restrictions imposed limits on the number of attendees that could be accommodated in the space, but nevertheless if gave those sword lovers who could attended a foretaste of happier and less restrictive times that undoubtedly lie ahead. On display were a wide selection of fine swords, blades, fittings and accessories, some of which were old friends, but so many were new to me. Sadly I was unable to remain for the continuing festivities, that revolved around an evening meal, and something I find unbelievable, more liquid nourishment, but my few hours of exposure to the items on display and perhaps more importantly the opportunity to meet up with old friends, reignited a passion that this dreadful era of isolation had blunted. One again my thanks to Mike and Ian and let us look forward to making events like this a permanent feature in the future. Ian Bottomley
  9. 9 points
    Hi Arnold, You say you want to buy an original sword; if so, you need to buy only from a dealer you can trust 100% or you need to study first (and, shy of getting lucky, those are the only options you have). The fact that you are asking about such an obvious fake tells us you are a beginner. There is nothing wrong with that; we all have been there ourselves, but as a beginner you need either very good advise or a whole lot more knowledge than you currently possess. Otherwise you will run out of money quite quickly. Grey
  10. 9 points
    Human hands sarute left, ape hand sarute right.
  11. 8 points
    Funnily enough Geraint I had just that experience a couple of days ago. A friend from over the border was able to visit for the first time in more than a year and we had a great afternoon looking at blades and discussing what we saw. Sad to say he forgot one when he left so I now have the opportunity to study a beautiful ko-wakizashi for an extra couple of weeks. It was great to have that opportunity. I find I am increasingly caught between the devil and deep blue sea. I understand Kirill's comment (I think) On various platforms focus on papers is largely used as a substitute and shortcut to study. However the counter that are those with their own agenda damning the attribution systems. We send a very confusing message to anyone starting out in this field. Sorry I don't want to divert the thread I was just motivated by Geraint's comments about meetings. Sitting with friends studying swords in hand is definitely the best way to go
  12. 8 points
    Finally saw more of the blade. I hope that you in here not only you'll enjoy it as much as I did, but also to be educated on certain details.
  13. 8 points
    Gassan Sadakatsu died in 1943, and there is some debate as to when his son started making his swords, as his father became ill/infirm. These swords still paper paper regardless. Bryce, I don't think the term Western Steel can be attributed to what you have researched. Firstly, it was not made in the "west" and secondly, it was still made from Japanese iron sand. Western steel normally applies to rail tracks made in Europe etc. And as you correctly point out, the steel made in the rotary furnace was still a sponge (like tamahagane) and not a melted refined steel. And metallurgically, if it was not inscribed on the sword, there is NO WAY of determining what metal it was made from. It is interesting you say that the Iron Sand Company was established in 1937. When I was searching the world for my Sadakatsu, a number of collectors said "try and find a pre 1937" , coincidence, I don't know. I found a 1933. I have swords by other smiths that indicate different steels being used in their manufacture, and maybe these new technologies were being shown off as advanced technologies back then, and maybe even superior quality. Regardless, they all paper, and are accepted as true nihonto. And to inscribe the steel companies name on the sword, Sadakatsu must have thought highly of the steel, OR made them for the Steel company as promotional swords of the time.
  14. 7 points
    At the San Francisco show coming up will be a OUTSTANDING display for study put on by the NBTHK-AB of Ichijo and Nagatsune fittings it will be the best display ever put on in the USA of there works I believe all of the Nagatsune are in his sketch book and the most of the Ichijo in the original boxes from Ichijo when he made them for the original buyer If you are a Kodogu person or just want to see the best of the best, come the the show and see the display as a grouping like this will not be put together again !!!!!! Fred Geyer
  15. 7 points
  16. 7 points
    With the restrictions imposed on society, it now seems an eternity that I have managed to attend an arms fair, having to make do with on-line auctions as a means of acquiring the odd item. Earlier this year I was attracted by a sword listed by an auction house here in the UK. The description and photographs were not particularly encouraging except for one photo of an oxidised silver kojiri of the leaves and seed head of rice that writhed in relief around the black lacquered scabbard. Hovering above this were sparrows in gold and coloured lacquer. Another rather out of focus image taken of the hilt and tsuba, viewed from the kashira end of the tsuka showed the latter was missing and that the tsuba was textured in some way. To cut a long story short, I bid against another and won the auction, paying rather more than I had anticipated, but in retrospect an acceptable amount. On collecting the sword from the auction house, I realised I had acquired what is probably the finest sword it has been my good fortune to own. I won't go into the details of the blade here, that turned out to be potentially one heck of a bonus, concentrating on the fuchi and tsuba. As the title of this post indicates, it turned out that the 'texture' I had seen in the initial photographs was caused by the wires and partial enamel fill of the cloisonne decoration. I have never pretended to know anything about sword fittings, but I did know that the Hirata specialised in this technique and generally did small badge-like motifs in cloisonne that were then attached to tsuba and other fittings. In this case however, the whole surface of the tsuba and fuchi have been gilded and covered with the raised wires, enamel being confined to only a few places and only becoming obvious when examined closely. I've never seen anything like these and I wonder if it was more common.
  17. 7 points
    Georg, thank you for sharing your journey with us. Similarly to you, we are enjoying the ride and look forward to the end destination. Please do not get discouraged by a few detractions and distractions on the way there.
  18. 7 points
    Well, Michael This background is very helpful: you seem to like old, historic items with proved or provable history / provenance. I am with you personally on Kamakura, even though I venture either side too (Heian and Nanbokucho). Bear in mind that with Kamakura and older, you often have to compromise on condition issues (eg here there are some lamination seam ware on one side of the hamon, which I personally can live with, but some members who prefer younger swords, eg Shinto etc, would not accept). If you are not focused on a certain school or schools and not fixated on how a blade looks like, as long as it is in a good condition, then you could go for any blade that ticks the boxes mentioned above. Personally, I like this Ko-Bizen Tochika a lot, but that is because I like Bizen. What the bonus features here are: the preserved mei, the highly rated provenance and Honami certificate. I shall leave aside the tachi koshirae as it is nice but not super nice. The Honami who appraised it is the highly rated Kojo (big bonus) and the family is an offshoot of the very famous Matsudaira clan (bonus). The sword description in the Juyo paper talks of fabulous choji and excellent deki, so the judges did think rather highly of the sword. As mentioned before, they compare it to Hatakeda (the founder, Moriie, had such glamorous kawazuko choji) and Saburo Kunimune (another Bizen great with expressive hamon). Such comparisons are also a subtle nod to the reader that the blade is from the early 1200s perhaps (they do mention that the blade does not date later than mid Kamakura). The smith himself is not very famous but this blade seems to be one of his tour de force creations. He does not have many blades left to us but those that remain (fewer than ten) have JuBI and JuBu grade items among them and are split between suguha and flamboyant and active hamon. Honma sensei, in his book Kanto Hibisho, speaks favourably of this very sword and compares it to the JuBi and JuBu examples. Fujishiro has also included it in his book. So, clearly this is a famous, well researched and well documented blade that has been reviewed by Honami Kojo, Fujishiro sensei, Honma sensei, the NBTHK shinsa panel, Tanobe sensei (if I were you, I would get his sayagaki of this sword professionally translated by Markus Sesko) etc. Well, it does not get any better than that documentation wise. At this level, you need to trust the dealer as you are not seeing the blade in hand. The photos are all right but sometimes obscure certain details. The oshigata Tsuruta draws for sale are not usually too precise and tend to exaggerate some activities but of course oshigata are works of art and interpretation. So, do allow for some condition issue that might pop up when you get the blade but again I suspect for the age of the blade it will be acceptable. Ask for a video of the sword, ask for daylight photos of the sword, ask for someone you trust to review it in hand if possible. But anyway, with this sword, you get a lot of research done by others in your behalf. Personally, I am surprised that such a caliber sword ended with Tsuruta. But anyhow, do your own research with some of the pointers above and sleep on it.
  19. 7 points
    Item No. 80 - Iron tsuba with shibuichi and gold - 8.05 cm x 7.38 cm x 0.38 cm Subject of pine tree , stream and moon , made approx. ten years ago by Ford Hallam A strong , stately pine tree partially depicted with branches and needles . The plugs shaded to represent the moon , reflected in the calmly flowing water . Overall a contemplative piece , with a quiet , soothing feel that evokes a similar response from the viewer , especially when held in hand. This tsuba was the first entered into the annual NBSK competition to win gold for a non-Japanese maker.
  20. 7 points
    It's a horrible horrible ugly nasty complete mess of a Chinese fake that really doesn't warrant any time spent on it. BAD!
  21. 7 points
    Following Matt's comment, here's a bit of context about what this all means to me (Nihoto, collecting, etc), and "why now". I'm just starting in a new hobby. I want to learn about Nihonto, their history and also the historical context in which they were created. I find all this fascinating and in-line with my long interest in military history (possibly as a result of 12 years service in my youth), so I'm doing a lot of reading, studying and asking questions. The opportunities for studying swords "in-hand" is unavailable to me at present, so reading/asking is my next best option. However, collecting one or more swords will be a hobby, an interest and a pass-time for me; it's not going to be the central factor in my life (I've also got a family and a couple of motorbikes!). If I spend my whole life waiting and saving for something better, I'll just be "some bloke that reads about nihonto", whereas if I buy a sword now (however inadequate), I can learn from the blade, the fittings/koshirae, your comments about it, and (potentially) the mistakes I've made if it's a poor choice. In short, I don't (yet) have the commitment to aspire to a "two kidney" sword or to wait years to find out what owning/studying a sword is like. 5,000 quid (Approx 760,000 Yen or 7,000 USD) is a lot of money to me and is only available after flogging one of my bikes and some militaria (I didn't sell to buy a sword; other reasons, but that's why I have some money available for hobbies now). However, I know what I can afford to spend and what I can afford to risk/lose. Spending years saving-up more to get into a hobby at a higher level doesn't appeal to me and won't make me happy (ref Matt's quote). The original post in this thread asked two questions about a few swords I could afford and liked (i.e. Red-Flags on these swords and questions to ask about them). Thank you very much to all that helped answer those questions and also for the additional advice received. Now that I have had the order confirmed, I'll tell you that I chose the first one in the list, the Owari ( https://www.Japanese-sword-katana.jp/katana/2110-1092.htm ) with the help of the people that responded). If anyone's interested, I can explain why I went for that one (new bloke's view!), but I'll post it in a different thread in a few weeks, along with a report of the buying/importing experience. In that way, my thoughts (and the resulting constructive criticism from members) will hopefully be more useful for other new starters, rather than burying that info in this thread. I'm happy with my choice, but I'm now expecting to be led to the pillory for the commencement of my public humiliation! Cheers, Jon
  22. 7 points
    dear Friends a very beautiful Tojin Masakuni from a 45 year old collection,parctially untouched, new condition
  23. 7 points
    And indeed, most "Koshirae" today you'll see on sites such as Aoe Japan are patchworks bought by the kilo, and fitted to the blade by filing inside of the tsuka. The reason is obviously business: swords with koshirae sell better than single swords. The biggest difference between Japan and the West is that the Japanese see these items are naturally separate, whereas we Westerners seek the full package. Preserved high-level Koshirae from late-mid to late Edo tend to follow a single theme, or more specifically a single story with motives following tradition. You'll find flowers and shishi, waves and marine life, dragons and clouds, tigers and bamboo, chinese sages at different moments of their journey, dragonflies and pond foliage, deities with auspicious symbols, etc. More often than not, there is a real fable to each and it needs to be read in context. Each piece contributes to the whole. The closer you get to Meiji, the more conspicuous the expression, the greater the relief, the more daring the interpretation. In the wake of Somin's creative (and norm-shattering) genius, offspring schools specialised in certain themes: birds and foliage for Ishiguro, waves and marine life for Omori, etc. Early to mid edo, conventions were much stricter. There you'll see most often Clan Mons and formal attires. Sometimes multiple Mons are present to celebrate a particular union between clans, such as weddings and new allegiances. Another classic come to us from the early Goto masters, where formalized designs were repeated with little (but significant) variations between the early masters. Then you have Higo, which was its own world really. Higo had a classical form of mix-and-match: you'll see Ko-Goto Mitokoromono, often sea themes, with F/K and Tsuba by a Higo master. These reflected the austere tastes of the tea ceremony, and for many it is an acquired taste. For the Shoguns of the early days, mix-and-matching did occur quite frequently. A nobuie tsuba with solid gold F/K comes to mind. Not everyone was allowed to play with such formal things! A good way to think about Koshirae is in terms of sumptuary laws. Only few were allowed to do this, and the rules became quite formalised over time: you simply weren't allowed to go with the fashion of your choice at the Shogun's court. Treasured swords had multiple koshirae for different occasions, reflecting the social code of the time and the rank of the wearer. See here for an example - one koshirae for the most formal of occasions, and one for the more relaxed setting. Older koshirae of the muromachi and nanbokucho period often had flower motives engraved, the so-called Ezo and Ko-Mino classical themes. Unfortunately, the curse of knowledge makes it that once you've gained familiarity on the topic, you never quite can get satisfaction back from those patchwork koshirae. Beware! Finally, the tradition of "boxing" tosogu didn't start with 20th century collectors: Old Daimyo families did box their precious Ko-Goto Mitokoromono, and these were accepted as gifts for special occasion - and spare part for the fabrication of new koshirae. In old family catalogues, you'll see remnants of this practice, with vast collections of Tosogu preserved in boxes and documented by the Goto family for their provenance, makers, and various notes. Nowadays, breaking up a Koshirae to make an extra million yen on the sale of the box breaks my heart, but financial incentives being what they are - and with sufficient time - it is probably the case that the few remaining Koshirae will suffer the same fate at some point in the future. Pity!
  24. 7 points
    more pics of a real beauty
  25. 6 points
    Kashu Iyetsugu Katana sue Koto Ubu signed and dated 66 cm with koshirae Two tests Side 1 - Miyai Rokubei - two body cut through the dodan. Dated 1650's Side 2 - Fujita Yoemon - Riokaruma , the most difficult cut through the hips . Dated 1650's
  26. 6 points
    The swords have just been cleaned, thanks for the reporting.
  27. 6 points
    Understanding this... Tokuju papers usually have a period listed right in the setsumei, unlike Juyo. On this one it is very clearly set to middle Kamakura. Their mentioning of Heian is a transcription error or a copy and paste error or two different clerks writing it up. It happens a lot there so you need to be careful. With Ko-Bizen it is kind of a simple error to conflate them with Heian blades, because in the Heian period we classify most things as Ko-Bizen in Bizen. But it needs to be understood as kind of an umbrella under which we place the older Bizen works when we can't clearly define a group to assign them to. So in the Kamakura period if you are an "unaligned" swordsmith that we can't place where you belong, you will fall into the Ko-Bizen classification. In terms of Tochika there may be many generations or just one, there is not enough information to tell and different theories are out there. In these cases the NBTHK can and likes to write about specific pieces, in this case saying that this is a middle Kamakura Tochika while mentioning a theory that he was a son of Masatsune (there are several ways to interpret Masatsune as well in terms of generations and time period). Other times they have mentioned Tsuneto and they have also mentioned that there is a possibility that he is Hatakeda or early Hatakeda somehow. So you kind of can't go wrong by just saying that this one in particular is middle Kamakura and it is certainly authentic and high quality Tochika. But it's really wrong to just pop open Fujishiro and see there is one entry for Tochika and he puts him at the end of Heian so saying that because this is Tochika then it's Heian period. Even the strongest things we can say about dates when we get to middle Kamakura and earlier has to have a big fudge factor of decades to centuries because we literally move back from clearly documented history to poorly documented history to the time of legendary smiths. A lot of that gray area can be dealt with by saying Ko-Bizen or Ko-Kyo and then leaving it as a subject for further research. This it not purely a punt but just the knowledge that swords are still being discovered that can tell us more about what we want to know from the earliest times.
  28. 6 points
    Well we are in the middle of a heat wave, (for the UK that means the drizzle is slightly warm) so even the prospect of a coat is un bearable. Don't even think about getting yours John! Kirill's comment, like so many aphorisms, has a great deal of truth in it but we work with what we have got and on a forum that means we are largely at the mercy of photographs and papers. In this case we have an out of polish sword with a mei and we are not even agreed on what the mei says yet. Sometimes we can help along the way but definitive answers are hard to come by and usually the best results are from some of the swords which have gone on to polish and shinsa. From time to time a friend will turn up with a sword or two and we look at them together, one spots something the other had not picked up on and vice versa, we throw around some ideas and in the process learn a little from each other, it's not high level kantei but it's fun. That's pretty much what is going on here though some are able to offer more informed opinions, generally we are tolerant of each other and if someone throws out an idea somebody else is on hand to counter and in the process, hopefully everyone learns a little more. In spit of the heat wave maybe I'd better get my coat now. All the best.
  29. 6 points
    KABOKU. George Trotter's comment above in 2015, prompted me to put a few pics up of the sword that he commented won the 2011 Sydney Shinsa. I am "the lucky owner" as George describes. The sword is as interesting as is the historical story above, documenting on the killing of his assassin with a severed hand. This sword is in wonderful polish, and any marks seen in the photos are due to cleaning the oil off.
  30. 6 points
    one of my favorites in my humble collection Tsukamoto Kazuyuki Oshû Iwashiro-jûnin Tsukamoto Kazuyuki Tôyama Mitsuru'ô no teinai ni oite Showa 13, August
  31. 6 points
    Jacques, While it is always true that every blade must stand on it's own, your idea is just that- an idea, imagination, speculation. Here are the facts: 1. We have an IJA Regulation stating that all RJT blades will be made with tamahagane, and multi-folded. 2. We have an IJA Regulation showing that the Star is an army material stamp indicating that the material used in the manufacture of the item was provided by the army (and from item 1, we know the material provided was tamahagane). 3. We have first-hand account from Kuniie, who inspected RJT blades and put the star on them. For your idea to be true, a smith would have had to risk violating Army regulations and losing his contract, imprisonment, etc. It's just not likely, and the burden of proving your hypothesis is on you. A similar reverse conversation could be had about Sho and Seki stamped blades. We have evidence from the Seki website and Ohmura-san that blades being inspected by the Seki Cutlery Manufacturers association were all showato. Yet, there are guys who claim their blades are gendaito, and there is even a famous case where one passed shinsa and was papered. So, in this case, the evidence says that blades stamped with Sho or Seki are showato, but someone may prove their blade to be an exception if the can. The burden of proof is on them.
  32. 6 points
    I think there might be some miscommunication with Aoi due to the language barrier. I am not too well versed in later smiths but I think the following. I have always grouped all of them under Tegarayama, perhaps wrongly (but it makes it easier for me to understand). I know some sources like Fujishiro list the first generations as Yamato no Daijō (大和大掾) because they used that title. From the 1st generation Ujishige (氏重) the lineage lived in Himeji city in Harima province. Himeji castle is probably the most famous in Japan. Now when you look at Himeji map, there is Mt. Tegara (手柄山) [Tegarayama/Tegarasan] in the middle of the city. This group of swordsmiths worked in this area. I think Tegarayama is in some sources only used after the 3rd generation. When Aoi is replying to you they are indicating [3rd gen. Ujishige (氏重) / 1st gen. Ujishige (氏繁)] in their answer. So they are not mentioning 1st and 2nd generations that signed with Yamato no Daijō as a possibility in their opinion. That is why they are saying only the 1st generation used 氏重. There is lot of marketing buff for it in the ad but I feel it is a nice sword in overall. Unfortunately I lack sources on the later swords but you can try to google Tegarayama 手柄山, Masashige (4th. gen Ujishige 氏繁) 手柄山正繁 who is the most famous and well regarded smith of the group, Ujishige 手柄山氏繁. The smith in question that changed the character is ranked chū-saku by Fujishiro. For Jūyō swords by Tegarayama smiths I believe 1st gen. (Yamato no Daijō) has 1, and Masashige has 14 items (including 2 daishō & 1 attachment Naginata for koshirae).
  33. 6 points
    Once again, Aoi Art relies on a machine translation and comes up with a monstrous English description. 播州住藤原氏重 Banshū-jū Fujiwara Ujishige Ujishige (first generation) typically signed with "Banshū Tegarayama" in his signatures. Aoi notes the absence of this phrase on this particular sword, and suggests it makes this sword an historically interesting piece. The first character of the cutting test is illegible. The second seems to be 陥, but Aoi is silent about it, so maybe he is unsure. Cutting test would have been performed well after the manufacture of the sword. 寛政十二庚申歳四月  陥胴落之 April, 1800 ... body cut in half
  34. 6 points
    I know the rules and so it should be in normal situations, But in this case I agree with John J . A new seller appears with few previous posts. NMB has an impeccable reputation for quality, honesty and sharing knowledge. People feel safe buying from sellers here. This reputation has to be defended.
  35. 6 points
    Fred was quite a character. I met him for the first time in the late 80‘s while shopping at Namikawa Heibei in Tokyo, and where he was doing some business. I later gave him a ride back to the station, and we exchanged addresses and phone numbers. Imagine my surprise when he sent me a first edition of Shinkichi Hara’s “Schwertzierraten” as a thank you a few weeks later! We occasionally met when he was in Tokyo, and I always had some interesting conversations with him (if I managed to steer him away from topics like politics and kinky sex ). RIP, Fred!
  36. 6 points
    來國俊 – Rai Kunitoshi 但大磨上無銘也 – However, it is shortened and mumei. 同作中十指之出来 – Its quality is one of the top ten of the smith’s works. 刃長貳尺参寸貳分余有之 – Blade length is a little longer than 2-shaku 3-zun 2-bu. 宇土藩細川家旧蔵之一 – One of the collection of Uto-han Hosokawa family 昭和丗七年晩秋(? unsure)日 – Showa 37th year, late autumn(?) 寒山誌 – Kanzan wrote.
  37. 5 points
    11. I propped a few cases up on the left wall to examine the lighting. I noticed a few things and am now debating moving the lights back for a wider field. For one, the lights are only hitting the bottom portion of the stands. I could of course just place the koshirae on top with the blades on the bottom, but the bottom most blade would not be in optimal lighting. Again, please ignore the quality of the photos at this stage. Either way, here is a preview. Would love to hear your thoughts!
  38. 5 points
    I'm new to collecting. Began collecting WW2-era vintage pistols last year, and began Gunto collecting this year. I still add to my pistol collection, but the Gunto collecting has consumed me this year. Parts of my collections are pictured in the photos below. Always had an interest in WW2 since I was a kid (Grandpa served in the war - U.S. Army, ETO), but, as stated, just recently got into collecting. I'm learning these are expensive hobbies. Lol
  39. 5 points
    7. With the beams in I decided to start in on the lighting. I used Hampton Bay mini tracks for this project. Here is what it looked like as I was installing: 8. Lights - check! Time to install the J brackets for the sword shelves. Or in this case level: B-A-L-A-N-C-E...balance (Can you guess the movie?). 9. With the brackets in - it was then time to install the beams. I used 2x4x8 stained in Kona.
  40. 5 points
    It's pronounced Enpō hachinen hachigatsu kisshin. Its kind of complicated to reduce to just a few sentences. Generally speaking, in Japanese most kanji have at least two kinds of pronunciations. There is the Japanese-style pronunciation that is used when the kanji is used by itself or in some context where it is a stand-alone word, and there is a pronunciation that resembles the original Chinese sound of the kanji which is used when the kanji forms part of a compound word (as in the case of 延宝). There is also a third style of pronounciation, which is used almost exclusively for names, but put these aside for now... Most Japanese will know how to pronounce a word from its context. 延宝八年八月吉辰 Enpō hachinen hachigatsu kisshin This is a four word phrase. Enpō is a compound word that employs the chinese-ish style of pronunciation (en+pō). Hachinen - dates are a hybrid of Japanese and Chinese pronunciations (already it is becoming complicated). Anyway, "hachi" is strictly Japanese. Nen comes from the chinese pronunciation. Hachigatsu - Another hybrid. As above, "hachi" is Japanese pronunciation. "Gatsu" comes from the chinese pronunciation. Kisshin is a compound word that uses the chinese-style pronunciation for each character. Just as an aside: all of these kanji are common, and still in everyday use in Japan.
  41. 5 points
    Saw something today that reminded me of this old article - originally published in the newsletter of the Northern California Japanese Sword Club - note many of these swords were included in the recent exhibition; Reborn. Fire Osaka Okaji, Edo Okaji 大坂大火, 江戸大鍛冶 Thomas C Helm @San Francisco in California In a land of paper and wood homes fire was a dread scourge from earliest times, there were great fires in the old capitols of Nara and Kyoto. There were many notable fires during the Heian period and one could argue that it was fire that brought an end to that elegant age. It was 1177 the year of Angen when the record storehouse at the imperial palace burned down with nearly all its precious records inside effectively erasing 400 years of culture. This was followed by great fires in 1180, 1182, 1188 and 1208. The centre of power shifted from Kyoto to Kamakura and as before fire continued to follow earthquake and battle all throughout the Kamakura and Ashikaga shogunates. Toward the end of the age of war Oda Nobunaga sealed his hold on fame or infamy with the destruction of the temples on Hieizan in 1571, followed by the immolation of the Ikko in 1574, and the burning of the Honganji in 1580 before he himself died surrounded by flames at the Honnoji in 1582. In the Edo period fire continued to plague the great cities of Japan prompting one observer to note “… and earthquakes and fires are the flowers of Edo.” It’s said there was a fire somewhere in Edo every week and a great fire once every three years. Great fires were those that consumed more than 15 hectares of land. Some notable fires include the following; The great furisode fire of Meireki 明暦 3 (1657). One of the greatest fires to attack Edo and one of the greatest ghost stories ever told as well. Seems a young maiden died an unhappy death by her own hand, her poor family sold off her good kimono. The new owner, though also a young woman died soon after amid strange circumstance. The kimono was sold again and again the innocent who received it was soon dead. When a third girl died and it was seen to be connected to the unlucky garment it was returned to the family. In an attempt to purge the spirit of the suicide a priest was called in, in performing his exorcism he made to destroy the gown. However as he started to burn it something went terribly wrong and the resultant fire destroyed half of the great city with tremendous loss of life. These fires prompted the Bakufu to organize fire brigades, the houses of the Daimyo did the same. As these were made up of samurai they often would do little to aid the ordinary citizens who were threatened with fire and so the neighborhoods organized their own fire brigades; Hikeshi. In Tenna天和 2 nen (1682), a teenaged girl, Oshichi, caught a glimpse of a young acolyte while sheltering from a fire in her local temple. Hoping to see him again she set a fire only to see it burn wildly out of control. The destruction was incredible and her culpability undeniable. Whether she saw her would-be priest ever again is unknown. Genroku 元禄11 nen (1698) brought the great Chudo fire and not long after came the Mito-sama Kaji. So called because this fire started within the Mito lords Edo mansion. Because of the situation of the mansion the resultant fire destroyed nearly every Edo home of the great lords of Japan at the time, more than 300 in all. Meiwa 明和 9 nen brought the Meguro Gyunin-zaka fire followed in Bunka 文化3 nen by another great fire and in 1855 (安政 2) perhaps the last great fire of the Edo period which came amid tremendous political upheaval and was the result of a great earthquake. Of course you may note a gap in my history, this is because the greatest fire in history was probably the great furisode fire of Meireki mentioned above. However as it pertains to the world of the Japanese sword there can be only one great fire and that is the conflagration of Osaka castle in 1615 at the conclusion of the Summer Battle. As I am sure you know Ieyasu had done all that he could to weaken the defenses of what many considered the strongest fortress then in existence in Japan, when he filled in both moats at the end of the Winter Battle. He wooed supporters away from Hideyori and frustrated the plans of his mother, Yodo-dono at every opportunity. He carefully chose his actions so as not to anger the old comrades of Hideyoshi and when the time was right took to the field to destroy the Toyotomi once and for all. With 100,000 troops to garrison her fortress, her own troop of specially outfitted female guards, a years worth of provisions and a horde of gold never before seen in the history of the nation, Yodo may well have felt her position secure within the tower of Osaka. None of it was to last though, in spite of valiant efforts on the part of her army, the Western troops began to make breaches into the castle on the 8th day of the 5th month of the first year of Genna (元和1615) after a siege of nearly a month. Traitorous hearts seeing the tide turning then set fires here and there turning the castle into a furnace. The main donjon still stood though and held, at a signal, when it was clear all was lost, the Osaka troops themselves set fire to the tower. Somewhere inside Hideyori assisted by Mori Katsunaga and Yodo-dono assisted by Ujiie Doki, took their own lives, along with 13 of her ladies and 23 of her generals, their bodies to be consumed in the flames. That of course was not all that was consumed, besides the golden treasures that Hideyoshi had amassed, mighty swords, famed blades from the age of Yoritomo, were also lost. The Kyoho Meibutsu Cho a compilation of the best known works of the era (Kyoho 享保1716-1735) has a section listing 77 famed swords lost to fire, some to the Great Fire of Meireki but most from the collection of the Taiko lost in the razing of Osaka castle. When the damage was all assessed on that long ago day the losses on the Osaka side included some 14, 534 men along with blades by Yoshihiro, Yoshimitsu, Munechika, Sadamune and Masamune and others. Enter Shodai Yasutsugu, who was charged with re-tempering those of these masterpieces that were recovered. His close association with Ieyasu gave him unprecedented access to the finest swords in Japan, including those captured from Osaka. Almost immediately he was producing copies of the famed works of the Soshu school, which were looked on with special favor by Hideyoshi himself. Sato Kanzan tells us “When we say copies (utsushi-mono) it usually has a negative ring, for many it is a polite way to say fake, however this is not the case with Yasutsugu. He always included a bit of his own personality in his copies and his signatures, his soe-mei, always made it clear these were works made with the best of intentions.” Among the works he copied were the following; 海老名古鍛治宗近 - Ebina Kokaji Sanjo Munechika 若江正宗 - Wakae Masamune a tanto so called for the site in Osaka where it was recovered. 獅子貞宗 - Shishi Sadamune, “the lion” by Sadamune of Soshu あたき貞宗 - Ataki Sadamune, also by Sadamune of Soshu 親子貞宗 - Oyako Sadamune, “mother and child Sadamune” (fig.7,8 and 9) 鯰尾吉光 - Namazu-wo Yoshimitsu, the “Catfish tail,” by Toshiro Yoshimitsu (fig.5,6) 一期一振り吉光 - Ichigo Hitofuri Yoshimitsu, his one and only tachi, this translates as “one life one sword.” Also the work of Awataguchi Toshiro Yoshimitsu (fig.1,2) and among those few not lost to fire at Osaka; 松竹貞宗 - Shochiku Sadamune, named for the Plum and Bamboo horimono. (fig.10) 切り刃貞宗 - Kiriha Sadamune, a wakizashi with shinogi close to the ha. 骨食吉光 - Honebami Toshiro, or the “Bone-cruncher,” by Yoshimitsu. (fig.11,12 and 13) Shodai Yasutsugu made many copies of famous works and seems to have taken quiet a bit of inspiration from the early masters, the nidai also made a number of copies but not as many and the sandai made absolutely none if Sato is to be believed Although we do know that the sandai did do the re-temper on the Honebami Yoshimitsu when it was burned in the great Meireki fire. The structure of Osaka castle built by Hideyoshi was burned in 1615 but the battlements remained. The Tokugawa re-dug the moats and rebuilt the donjon and it stood for another two hundred years only to be destroyed in the restoration wars. Of course at that time there was no great loss of life and no treasures other than the castle itself destroyed, as the Choshu samurai that lay siege to it in 1868 gave all occupants the chance to evacuate before razing it whole with purifying, terrible, inexorable, fire. Kaji-ba 火中kachū in the fire 火先hisaki direction in which the flames are spreading 火宅kataku house on fire, world of suffering, the mortal realm 火災kasai conflagration 火事見舞いkaji mimai sympathy visit or gifts after a fire 火事場泥棒 kajibadorobo (火事ドロkajidoro) thief at a fire 火事場kajiba scene of a fire 火除けhiyo(ke) protection against fire 火柱hibashira pillar of flames 火達磨hidaruma mass of flames, or a person engulfed in flame 火足hiashi the speed of a spreading fire 火移りhiusturi catching fire 火勢kasei force of the flames 火炎hono-o or kaen fire and smoke 小火shōka, boya small fire 山火事yamakaji forest fire 天火tenka fire or natural disaster caused by lightning (Tenpi – oven) 引火性inkasei flammability 失火shikka accidental fire 付け火tsukebi arson 防火用水bōka yosui water for putting out fires 近火kinka, chikabi a fire in one’s neighborhood 自火jika a fire starting in one’s own home 拝火教haikakyō fire worship, Zoroastrianism 怪火kaika fire of mysterious origin 飛び火to(bi)hi flying sparks, leaping flames 急火kyūka a sudden fire; a nearby fire 烈火rekka raging fire 舟火事funakaji fire aboard a ship 貰い火mora(i)bi catch fire (from a neighboring burning building) 魚火isa(ri)bi, gyoka fire for luring fish at night 類火ruika a spreading fire, first mentioned in the Taiheiki Fig.1 Ichigo Hitofuri from Kotoku Katana Ezu Fig.2 Ichigo Hitofuri Utsushi Fig.3 Namazu wo Yoshimitsu from Kotoku Katana Ezu Fig.4 Namazuwo Yoshimitsu Utsushi Fig.5 Ebina Kokaji Munechika from Kotoku Katana Ezu Fig. 6 Ebina Kokaji utsushi Fig.7 Oyako Sadamune from Kotoku Katana Ezu Fig.8 Oyako Sadamune Utsushi Fig.9 Oyako Sadamune Utsushi Fig.10 Shochiku Sadamune Utsushi Fig.11 Honebami Toshiro from Kotoku Katana Ezu Fig.12 Honebami Horimono Fig.13 Honebami Utsushi *Yasutsugu images from Yasutsugu Taikan by Sato Kanichi 昭和35 **Oshigata from Kotoku Katana Ezu by Hon’Ami Kotoku 文禄3 (1594) Fire copy 6.pdf
  42. 5 points
    Item No. 83 - Tsuba in Shakudo 7.60cm x 7.11cm x 0.59 cm at centre , 0.38 cm on rim Repeating punched pattern on heavy shakudo plate , signed Goto Koju. Good quality workmanship , as you would expect from this school , with all punchmarks in nigh-on perfect alignment. Bought direct from Japan , 10 years ago.
  43. 5 points
    當=当 It means "to hit" (as in, to hit a target), or to win something (election, lottery). The kanji on the left, and the one that is on your sword, is the original version. The kanji on the right is the simplified version that is in use in Japan today. There is no difference in meaning or pronunciation. Just two ways of drawing the same kanji. By itself it is pronounced ataru/atari. (If you are "of a certain age" you remember the video game company Atari. It was said that they took their name from this Japanese word meaning to win/hit). However, when this character is used as part of a compound word, it is pronounced tō. On your sword this character is combined with 一 (ichi) to form a sort of compound word tōichi. Actually it is a name rather than a word, but anyway the pronunciation of the two together (當一) is tōichi. There isn't a great amount of detail on Tōichi/Yasuhiro. None that is readily available to me, anyway. As you may know, swordsmiths and other artisans, scholars, politicians, in feudal Japan often went through many name changes in their lives. They may take on two or three or more different names as they proceed through their career. My guess is that Tōichi was a name he adopted early in his career, and then he dropped it as he began to be recognized (or maybe after the death of Yasuhiro 1st). His name at birth was Toda (or Tomita) Gorōzaemon. The use of the kiku-mon was something only allowed only under license/permission from the central government. It's use was a privilege that had to be awarded. The fact that it doesn't appear on your sword, plus the use of Tōichi in the name, makes me think your sword was made early in his career. Tō is indeed a homonym for sword (tō), but this is just a coincidence. Japanese is full of homonyms.
  44. 5 points
    I am, by the photos, 99% convinced it is hagire, a fatality in that its function is totally compromised. Too bad. John
  45. 5 points
    FYI, I have a RJT star stamped blade by Takashima Kunihide of Fushimi, Kyoto - dated August 1944 and numbered on the back of the tang 98. Here also is a pic of a NBTHK papered sword signed by Takashima Kunihide of Fushimi, Kyoto - dated August 1944 and numbered on the back of the tang 90. The star stamp on mine (see pic) is almost invisible - so lightly stamped. The same applies to the papered blade...I think I can see it in the poor pic ...wouldn't say for certain...look just to right of top peg-hole (same place as on mine). So you have two blades made at the same time, same place, by same smith, with same army stamping numbering system and one is papered. Hope this helps,
  46. 5 points
    Hi fellows one of my so called" long time baby's" one of the extremely rare reward swords made by my friend Kenzo Kotani san, aka Yasunori truly a beauty!
  47. 5 points
    Hi Piers, let me help your here: - part of the Juyo certification 'package' is not only the Juyo cetificate (illustrated above) but also the detailed narrative about each Juyo item (be it a sword , kodogu, etc) in particular, which is published in the annual volume Zufu Nado of the items which were accepted as Juyo in that year (well the volume comes out the year after but that is another point). - so, having the certificate is important but so is the narrative - I know you are into armour, so the Juyo Zufu Nado setsumei is the equivalent of the Juyo Bunka volumes for Juyo armour with the narrative about each armour - this sword of Jiri's has come from Eirakudo, judging by the photography, a well known dealer in Nagano - e.g., see this Eirakudo page for what the 'full package' of paperwork looks like for a Juyo sword. So, for this Muramasa, it is the page with Japanese writing, which is immediately below the Juyo certificate and above the Juyo oshigata (which, by the way is part of the same section of the Juyo Zufu Nado dedicated to the particular sword) https://eirakudo.shop/token/tanto/detail/587480 - going into the setsumei of the Muramasa tanto, we can read the definitive statement that this Muramasa is by 'the second generation, who was the most skilled of the generations'. What is the benefit: well the oshigata and certificate do not specify nidai, but the setsumei does. So, the three-four last sentences of each setsumei usually contain interesting nuggets about the specific sword. Sometimes it is confirmation of daimyo provenance, sometimes it is about the generation, sometimes it is praise saying it is among the best masterworks of the smith (which is usually a good tokuju indicator
  48. 5 points
    I also often Google a smith, to find out the first and best links are from here. 14/15+ Years sure does build up a lot of references.
  49. 5 points
    The other cost of dumpster diving is you spend all your time in the dumpster, I'd rather spend my time at a well lit sword shop or the sushi bar! -t
  50. 5 points
    Hi Harry, I think you mean nakago (tang) not mune. This one hasn't been replaced. What you see on the side of the nakago is a stain, not a weld, and the slight indentation at the back is where a tsuba has worn away at the mune of the nakago during decades, if not centuries, of use. Grey
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