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Shugyosha

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Shugyosha last won the day on February 26

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About Shugyosha

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    Sai Jo Saku

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    John J.

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  1. First part, name and title is correct. Second picture top right four kanji refers to era: “jidai Keian” which began in 1648. And I’m done - the rest is for the better linguists. 😬
  2. I'm going to pose what I hope isn't too stupid a question - I think I read in one of Darcy's articles or posts that the spidery mei on Muromachi Bizen swords was to avoid work-hardening the tang and adversely affecting the sword's durability. Would that not be an issue with punching the mekugi ana also? I've not read anything about it but do smiths put the mekugi ana in a heated tang prior to final hardening and tempering? Sorry that's two questions. Hope I haven't doubled down on the stupid.
  3. Hi Mark, Glad to hear that you're on the mend and I hope you recover quickly.
  4. I think the papers give it to Shitahara Terushige - there were a couple of these working at the end of the Muromachi period and into the early shinto period. I don't think they're obvious targets for forgery so there's a reasonable chance that it's a genuine signature. They worked in the Soshu tradition and you can see the remains of the Soshu-style nakago though altered for the suriage. Looks like a decent start to your collection.
  5. I think we are all saying the same thing. Steve's sword is a decent blade and there's no reason to think otherwise but I made the mistake of trying to offer some encouragement as there seemed to be some negative comments and probably didn't do a brilliant job of it. Since then we've been going around the houses as I managed to create more questions than I answered. I'm going to leave this alone now as I think I've said all I usefully (or otherwise) can.
  6. Steve, Most Japanese artists choose an art name to work under, usually a combination of auspicious characters. What you have said is too much of a generalisation. A longer signature doesn’t automatically give a sword greater value than a short one, but it can be an indicator of a custom order blade and often is with swords of this province at this time. Basically, what I’m trying to say works in the context of Bizen smiths from the 16th century signing with a two character signature “Sukesada” because of the sheer number of them. For me there would be no point in faking this two character signature because it could be any one of a large number of low-ranked smiths. Hawley’s Japanese swordsmiths lists 60 or so low to average ranked smiths using the name Sukesada in Bizen in the 16th century, mostly making mass produced blades. So there’s no money in forging one of their signatures. So in this very specific context, a two character signature probably isn’t worth forging and it’s reasonably safe to conclude the signature on yours is genuine.
  7. Markus Sesko lists a Showa era smith working in Dewa signing 羽州住 一忠 “Ushu ju Kazutada”. Civilian name Takada Gosaku.
  8. https://markussesko.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/nihontocompendium-e1.pdf Here’s Markus Sesko’s compendium and the tables of kanji used in mei are at the top. Have a look down the table for 8 stroke kanji. “Take” can be found there and it looks a better match to me.
  9. Hi Steve, The other John has gone a long way to clearing this up, but: I don’t think yours is a fake signature as it’s not a signature that suggests it was done to deceive - a fake Sukesada signature would have aimed at the big name, so I think you’re safe with a two character signature. IMHO. Apologies if I confused you - I was trying to add some information to set what I was saying in context and not trying to run your blade down. I was writing before my third coffee so my brain was not at its best. If it helps, you did way better than me with your first blade - mine was a very tired Bizen blade with an acid polish in a put-together set of fittings. I loved it and there’s no reason not to love yours. 😬
  10. Sorry Steve, I was trying to be encouraging and explain away some of the negative perceptions rather than reinforce them. I guess I’ll never have a career selling used cars.
  11. Hi John, The price or value of any antique is a function of three things: age, rarity and condition. Fortunately, or unfortunately there are lots of low grade (when comparing to the standards of Japanese swords in general - I'm not dissing yours or Steve's blades) swords around from the 16th century because there were lots of Samurai who needed at least one blade and didn't have lots of disposable income for good quality blades and the daimyo had their own armouries to loan out swords in case of emergencies. These "loan swords" weren't of particularly high quality. So if a Masamune daito is the peak of the pyramid, the base is composed of these "low grade" swords and it's fairly broad. Some other observations: the workshops of the late 16th century operated on a kind of production line process. So the head smith (or together with a senior student or students) would be the one(s) who would produce custom order blades whilst there were a lot of other guys knocking out swords that would perhaps have his name put to them, perhaps by someone employed to do the signing as happened with WW2 blades. So the mass-produced blades might not be made by the best smith in the shop and, whilst they might contain some tamahagane which would be a high grade material, they might also contain a higher proportion of scrap steel, "oroshigane", made up of old tool steel, nails or anything they could recycle. It's for these reasons and perhaps a greater tendency towards delaminitions (or greater probability that they have had more use and polishes) that "kazu uchi mono" or "tabagatana" (bundle swords) have a worse reputation in spite of their age. As regards signatures, it's a bit of a generalisation but typically the longer the signature and the more information added to the tang, the more likely a blade is to be custom made. In the case of Bizen swords at this time the form of the signature on a custom blade often takes the form of name of province, followed by family name and then art name and dated on the other side of the tang. Also, there is some theories at play around whether the province is written Bishu or Bizen and the placement of the "kuni" is an indicator of a better blade or simply done to wrong-foot forgers or both. That yours and Steve's blades have a two character signature suggests that they probably weren't the very bottom of the pile which I suspect would go unsigned and also a two character "Sukesada" as a gimei is unlikely given the quantity of smiths with this name. If you wanted to make some money from adding dodgy signatures to blades you would go for a bigger name, who stood out from the crowd rather than blend in with the mass of guys signing this way when the better smiths from this line were known to sign with the long form signature described above. So, for me, there's no reason to suspect that these blades are gimei. I hope you both enjoy your swords!
  12. My attribution would probably be "tsuba".
  13. Check out the sales and dealer section below. You can get a lot of genuine, worry-free sword for that kind of money.
  14. Hi Uwe, you’re right both times. Many thanks. I did consider Hagi but it didn’t look right at the time and I should have thought of Kinai - I was looking for the artist’s name rather than a place name. That’s two more sorted. 👍
  15. Sorry Dale, the Choshu one is 444 - I read the wrong number. That’s fine regarding the credits. I’m confident that the name and first character of the place are correct and a bit of a google lead to the overall conclusion. This one here is a better likeness: ...also discussed here with a reference to tsuba at the Toledo museum of art described as being in his style. Thanks Pietro!
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