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ROKUJURO

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ROKUJURO last won the day on June 27

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  • Birthday 08/11/1944

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  1. Bruce, I don't think that would make it Japanese. I have the impression that the MACHI of the blade are not on the same level, but to be sure, we would have to see the naked blade.
  2. Dawid, there is no such thing as an "original WWII TANTO". What troops could it have been made for? Instead, this is a non-Japanese weapon, made quite recently. The TSUKA-ITO is dead wrong (material and wrapping technique) as is the rest. Sorry for you if you bought it!
  3. James, there is not much to see on your photos. Those of the NAKAGO (tang) are upside-down. The painted characters are usually assembly numbers or worker names and don't tell us anything about the possible maker. The blade itself does not look traditionally made to me. More detailed photos might help.
  4. Bruce, signing an undecorated TSUBA has probably more to do with good metal, work quality, and craftman's pride, not with value. Unfortunately, I cannot help with the maker. There are a number of famous NOBUYOSHI, but they worked in different styles.
  5. John, interesting item! The arrows were always worn tip down, be that SHIKO, EBIRA or UTSUBO. This has to do with the shooting technique. In an UTSUBO, the feathers were nicely protected from the weather, the YAnoNE (tips) were held firmly by the tiny bamboo raft.
  6. TSUBA photo is upside down, but could be NOBUYOSHI.
  7. Ken, I am not sure that an OROSHIGANE GAMA necessarily produces inferior material, and the same applies - in opposite direction - to TATARA. Because of their size, TATARA need a team of experienced and knowlegeable workers to prevent failure. A small refining kiln (OROSHIGANE) can be built and operated alone. In both cases the resulting KERA (bloom block) is not homogeneous and will have to be worked on very carefully. If you don't do this, your steel will not have predictable properties. As I tried to explain, operating an OROSHIGANE furnace successfully depends mainly on the iron material used. You don't have the direct reduction process to transform SATETSU into iron which takes some time. You just have to keep the temperature up to the correct level and feed good iron. Slightly higher temperatures and a lot of charcoal may even increase the carbon content so you can produce high grade steel. But most probably many 'wannabe' swordsmiths of that period did not have access to good steel, and in addition to that, not enough knowledge about steel in general. We have to consider that metallurgy was not known in Japan until the beginning of the industrialization! I could imagine that the appearance of so many KAZU UCHI MONO on the arms market of that belligerent period had several causes. It seems that less qualified smiths tried to take their piece of the 'cake', offering cheap swords made in a cheap way. We have to remember that special information about sword-making was not available except from a master smith, and understandably these kept their secrets to maintain their position. But there was certainly a general knowledge about knife forging, fire-welding and laminating techniques as well as about the hardening and tempering process. But what worked sufficiently with household knives and cutting tools for craftsmen is not necessarily good enough for the manufacture of sword blades which had to be resilient while keeping a very sharp edge at the same time. Refining the steel components for a blade and the heat treatment after the forging process were (and are still) very special and need time and a lot of experience. Any shortcuts in the process will inevitably lead to failure, and so I am convinced that the lack of special expertise and faulty heat treatment of sword blades were the main reasons for bent or broken blades besides unsuitable or low quality material. Hope that helps a bit!
  8. Yes Ken, you are correct. That is the OROSHIGANE GAMA I mentioned above. These look like small bloomery furnaces, and today they mostly work with normal forge blowers. Nowadays, the smiths often build them with a metal jacket so they can re-use them multiple times. Simple versions are just built on the ground with stones and lots of clay. You can fill it with different types of steel, even scrap metal, but in Japan, they try to use (pure) old iron that was previously made from traditionally processed TAMAHAGANE. Anchor chains, old nails, old tools can be used to get a steel that is very close to TAMAHAGANE. Old broken TETSUBIN (water kettles) are used to introduce more carbon into the steel, depending on what type you need. Working temperature is as high as 1.300°C or higher, so iron will not be melted, but sintered as in the TATARA process. TAMAGAGANE is very pure concerning alloy metals, but it has widely varying carbon content and some silica (from the slag) which can be driven out in the refining process. For your information, I attach a photo of such an OROSHIGANE GAMA in construction. In the end, it will not be much higher.
  9. Ken, an interesting question! Of course you can use any scrap metal to forge something suitable. With broken blades you have a steel mix with widely varying carbon content, so I think it could be used to make SHINGANE for new blades. Many swordsmiths had - and stll have - their own OROSHIGANE kiln, so it is always possible to recycle any type of steel. Depending on the material that you feed into this kiln, you can produce different grades of steel. The resulting KERA will mostly resemble the traditional TAMAHAGANE. It is also known that broken blades were transformed into smaller blades, not only for 'military', but as well for household use.
  10. Hi Dan, if (big IF) I am correct that it is cast, then I would think it was indeed made in the very late EDO period.
  11. Colin, my impression is that it might be an old reworked TSUBA as the patina is nice and even around its circumference. As you write correctly '....I can see no signs of reworking although of course the artisan would have been more than capable of concealing them....', so this was probably done a whila ago and by a trained TSUBASHI. I don't think that a TSUBA could not have been made in this form, but it seems quite unlikely, at least in my experience. I have seen the theme too often.
  12. Dan, difficult to read! My attempt: TOSHINAGA (or SUKENAGA?). From the little that we can see, it looks like a cast TSUBA in bad condition. The iron around the NAKAGO-ANA seems to be brittle and not at all ductile which could be a hint.
  13. So if is was not made from a broken long sword, it is a genuine SHINOGI ZUKURI TANTO. I don't think it was ever intended as a boys' sword.
  14. Piers, the structures on your hex brass TSUBA are probably caused by segregation, not by a treatment after the production process. I read this can occur naturally as an effect of casting, and it may show different forms. Aging can enhance this.
  15. Andrew, the important part of a sword is the blade. Could you please show the NAKAGO (tang) without HABAKI in a sharp photo, vertically tip upwards?
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