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Everything posted by Gakusee

  1. Is this the NTHK shinsa session in the US? And under whose senior stewardship was it done? Thanks.
  2. I agree Jacques that it would have been ideal to watch the shinsa so that I could verify if they indeed do that. But as I said - it is closed to observers. So we have to go by hearsay, which I also don’t like. Jussi’s analysis is the closest we can go to a scientific analysis of what might happen.
  3. Ok, Kiril, good conversation finally in otherwise dispiriting sea of posts. Thanks for the intellectual challenge. Agree on the point that it is not always lesser schools and can apply to Sue-Sa, Shizu-Naoe Shizu spectrum, etc The Hiromitsu daito (one of 'lost' ie repatriated out of Japan 25 JuBi, discovered in California, etc etc ), which recently went to Switzerland at the plump cost of €600k: indeed both Dimitry and Darcy speculated was a Sadamune blade....one of the Sadamune signatures per some old scriptures. Could be they did not want to stick the necks out and redact old books/approaches. So fair point. Den is too complex to summarise here and in a short argument. Den evolved over time (so, say up to sessions 10-20 it is one thing, then different afterwards in the mid sessions and slightly different from sessions probably something like 50/55 onwards or whenever the shinsa committee went through a wholesale change (Tanobe sensei retirement, etc). Also, den is influenced by factors such as documented provenance, presence/lack of kinzogan, etc. But it is rather important to differentiate between kinzogan, kinpun, shusho etc as they have different weights and also of course - who put the signature / which judge. Also placement of Den is important and although rare, there have been instances of Den XX or XX den.... To mei ga aru: well, you take the harsh/conservative path in discounting them as gimei. Probably half of them are such. But as we know it means 'there is a signature of...'. The reality is there are various 'to mei ga aru' blades which lost that statement in transition from Juyo to TJ. So, you cannot wholesale discount them. In fact, I dare say, and that is a more advanced topic for the more adventurous here, that sometimes if one does the homework and pursues a to mei ga aru Juyo, they might get a discount (as to mei ga aru could) and might lose the to mei ga aru and get an uplift overall. It has happened that a Juyo blade with to mei ga aru was resubmitted in a later Juyo shinsa and got the statemet removed still within the confines of Juyo. So, it could simply mean that it needs more study/more research/more conviction or the one (or two) judges who voted against studied more or changed their views or the shinsa panel changed whatever....That game is a game of patience and deep research and study and conversations with authorities etc.
  4. Mark, it is not quite like that :)) I have heard Juyo and TJ take several days. They approach it seriously.
  5. The NBTHK shinsa is not open to outsiders and is behind closed doors. So Darcy would not have been able to attend a session. And why even ask that question in such a petty and irrelevant manner, as it is not pertinent to the discussion whatsoever! In fact Darcy has not talked about the shinsa panel being pressed and looking at signatures only. That statement came from elsewhere (two different sources in fact) and I do not wish to quote names. But I have also heard that when an attestation is obvious (eg a very clear Sanbosugi hamon with some nie and some sort of nagare itame, etc) and the signature is OK, they would not spend too much time and give it to the obvious maker with the signature on the tang (eg Kanemoto sandai, yondai, whatever). Next, not all members of a shinsa panel are disclosed or known outside of the NBTHK so as to minimise external influence. What is however possible is to sit down with a shinsa member some time afterwards and ask about a certain attestation or the opinion of the shinsa (member). I have had the pleasure of such a sit-down, facilitated by another well-known friend and contact in Japan, and listened to the gentleman explain what he thought. Fortunately, the friend could translate for me what the NBTHK gentleman was saying. Is this part of the standard procedure? Or is this something that my friend could organise because he was well known / connected in sword circles? I do not know... But it is possible to get a little extra colour beyond just the paper. However, it happens at the NBTHK HQ in Tokyo. As far as I know, only in the USA, with the NTHK, were some of the American organisers allowed in the shinsa room. But again, I have not really participated in those processes so US members will know better. I have read reports here of submitters being able to peer over in the shinsa room, and also some of the NMB members. Kiril makes some very good points, which Darcy also made by the way. Darcy had an excellent post about 'fungibility' of certain attributions. Some nondescript schools, or indistinct makers, made such generic work that an attribution could swing one way or another on a mumei blade but roughly fell within the same quality bucket with the similar features and craftsmanship. One should not take it personally. It is what it is. So for the blade here, indeed Mino seems right and fair enough. The owner could spend a lot of time looking for features that differentiate it from other sub-schools of Mino but the blade will not become a Soshu masterpiece. However, the owner can still learn in the process and eventually that is part of the hobby and pleasure of this pursuit.
  6. I have always been taught not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
  7. Mark, it is not a big issue. It is kind of giving back... we all started somewhere and frankly I learnt a lot when I was starting to use NMB some 15+ years ago, initially as an unregistered lurker/reader, then as a registered passive user and eventually as a poster. I find if people are polite, balanced and courteous, and come across as genuine (making an effort to do some work themselves or to study) we can get a lot out of the board. Now the text I circled I think talks about a Hidenobu Kako (the rest is that it is a spear, the date 1760 and length and by Fujiwara Kunishige). The actual Japanese speakers here can chime in on the actual meaning. However, it seems that your yari is the one on the following page / p27 (the top page here) as opposed to the first page (with the red rectangle) on p26. So, apologies I circled the wrong text above. Ganbatte!
  8. Ok, there you go. You are lucky it is one of the few issues I have. Unfortunately I do not have a translation of that page. The NTHK branch (Gordon) translated some pages of each publication but not all.
  9. Gakusee

    Tachi Bringback

    Thank you, Georg! There were several generations of HI, spanning from the end of Nanbokucho well into Muromachi and their origins lie in Yamato via Mihara Masaie and Kokubunji (but apparently HI did more nie than these). Interesting.
  10. Excellent point, Jacques and I was not aware the yari saya was made of oak rather than the typical magnolia. Thank you. I used a photo of a blade I used to own in both instances so as not to cause issues..... The katana mei was quite removed/impacted and not too visible but the yari one was pristine.
  11. Kiril I beg to differ. The hamon is rendered in tight ko-nie (the rest is hadori obfuscation) and the outline is very, very Mino. In fact, I would go as far as saying that this hamon is not Muramasa at all.
  12. Well, well, let us not take one book as the definitive answer to the mystery of Masamune.....But it is overall probably true that smiths changed names, mei and so on.
  13. Well, if we are talking about Ise Sengo Muramasa, I would not even go into chisel strokes and patina just yet. Look at the configuration of the nakago and mei. Remember - for Sengo Muramasa, we are not in the Kamakura time period, hence not in tachi-mei timeframe, and Muramasa forged katana.....So, on which nakago side should the mei be? The very old books did try to put Muramasa back in Koto but this has been superseded. In fact, the numerous genuine Muramasa I have seen (papered by the NBTHK) are all signed katana mei. The same applies to all the blades in the Ise No Toko book dedicated to Muramasa and his lineage. I have only seen illustrated two tachi-mei blades and as far as I know they are not NBTHK papered and do not a have government designation (JuBi, JuBu, Kokuho)either. They were exhibited in the Kuwana Museum for the special Muramasa exhibition and have very long mei and nengo. So, they are special blades (perhaps commissioned or dedication pieces) and of different type to the one above. The usual niji-mei blade was always the typical katana with katana mei. The two tachi below are dated Tenbun 12, so 1543, which should be the nidai as the shodai was generally deemed to work in the era Bunki. But there could be an overlap there between sho/nidai as it is not such a long period between 1501 (start or Bunki) and 1543. In fact the oldest dated is a JuBi dated 1513, so not even 1501. So, please do not let the 0.01% exception (and then, different exception to the posted green papered Mino blade above in the original post that someone put a Muramasa signature on) mislead you into believing that such a tachi mei is either normal or common.
  14. OK, Jesse. I think we have started making it very easy for newcomers here on this board and people just ask for answers and get pre-digested opinions. This is not how one is supposed to learn/progress (even though at school that is what teachers do but they also set homework :). So, let us jointly look at this: - easy one: do you think the mei is on the appropriate side for a 1520s-1550s sword (ignoring the generational argument for a moment); does the patina look right in the mei - slightly more difficult: do you think this is a Muramasa hamon (tips: look at the nioiguchi, look at presence of lack of sunagashi/kinsujiu, look at the shape, etc) - the hada question is a bit more difficult yet again but again, look at hada (itame vs nagare and loose vs tight and presence or not of jinie) - even more difficult: can we see a slight, shirake-like utsuri (not always there but often there in Muramasa) - most advanced: look at the chisel strokes, particularly the last two-three atari of the Masa character vs genuine/recently (Hozon and above) papered examples As a reference, please consider the yasurime and patina of the attached (TH Muramasa nidai).
  15. The blade looks good, the smith is good (Iesuke is an Oei Bizen smith, so rates to the end 14 c.- beginning of 15c) , the blade is papered and you have nice Higo style koshirae (so, different aesthetic). His signed blades tend to be 72-75cm, so here due to the suriage the mei was lost. The consignor/dealer might have felt this is at most a TH blade, hence if selling why bother with additional time/expense of TH when can sell with a Hozon only. Anyway, who knows....
  16. Gakusee

    Tachi Bringback

    Post polish, it does indeed look late Yamato (Muromachi) blade with the sugu hamon, the nagare hada and also the wider shinogi-ji. Still some side shots pointing towards a light source would be useful. However, the hada and jigane are not indicating Shinto to me…. And I am very glad for Georg that it polished so well. I was initially concerned about some deep rusting (and hamon not being consistent throughout) but that seems to have fortunately been addressed and resolved!
  17. Well done to the Gaijin! Very, very impressive accomplishments! And thank you, Dirk for flagging it.
  18. Gakusee


    The first gut feeling looking at the hamon outline is Tsuda Sukehiro or Sukenao. However, the nioiguchi feels different and also the boshi with the kaen and some hakikake is different. Echigo Kanesada sometimes had such pointed or sharper boshi and also did toranba like hamon with more sunagashi. i feel it needs a bit more analysis.
  19. Interesting document, Kiril. Is this Rai Kanemichi on the right and tracing down the generations? i also like old, historic documents. Sometimes they reinforce the same error as they copy each other, but sometimes they contain hidden / lost knowledge.
  20. The torokusho is a certificate for circulation of the sword inside Japan. It is not permitted for it to even be outside of Japan. On export, it is surrendered and an export permit issued to the purchaser who wants to export it. You cannot rely much on the torokusho. It only means the sword was once in Japan and it is a genuine Nihonto (as fakes or gunto or foreign swords do not get a torokusho) which was allowed to exist in Japan. If not, ie without torokusho, the sword would be confiscated and/or destroyed. Please do make an effort to read the page Ray linked above. I know it is heavy and technical but is very useful. It is highly unlikely that the Marine had the sword issued with a torokusho initially. These people (who applies for torokusho) were the families, descendants of samurai or collectors, dealers etc - ie Japanese, in whose ownership and custody the blades were when the registration process kicked in in Showa 26.
  21. Just one small correction: registered internally in Japan. Not for export. The export process is different
  22. Colin, unfortunately what you are saying is all true…. It has become very difficult ….
  23. Well, there are polishers in France and Italy who have submitted pieces to the NBTHK and received various certificates of merit from that organisation. The usual caveats apply. They are not 100% fully apprenticed in Japan, or underwent their training solely in Japan at a togishi’s house etc, but frankly the same applies to the polishers in the U.K. One needs to know what they are doing when submitting a blade to polish, as the best course of action most of the time is submission to Japan.
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