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SteveM last won the day on September 18

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    Tokyo, Japan
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    Shark-skin and abalone shell koshirae, antique furniture, tansu, ukiyoe

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  1. NBTHK's tatara makes three grades of tamahagane (Grades 1, 2, and 3). The site says Japanese swords are made from Grades 1 and 2. This also repeats the information about the carbon content of the steel, namely Grade 1 is between 1.0% - 1.5% carbon, while Grade 2 is between 0.5 - 1.2% carbon. It doesn't say what happens to Grade 3 tamahagane... maybe Grade 3 ends up in the souvenir shop of the sword museum. https://www.touken-world.jp/tips/19308/ 靖国たたらと日刀保たたらは、それぞれ異なる基準のもと分類されており、靖国たたらでは、「鶴」、「松」、「竹」、「梅」の4段階で品質を分けていました。日刀保たたらでは、「1級品」、「2級品」、「3級品」の3段階で品質が分けられており、作刀の際に用いられるのは1級品や2級品など、最高品質の玉鋼です。 As far as I know, there is no official translation of these grades, so when people like me translate into English, we'll use whatever English translation makes sense. So I have used "Grade 1" for 一級品, but another translator might decide to call this "1A". Note that the predecessor of the Nittōho Tatara was the Yasukuni Tatara, and Yasukuni had 4 grades of tamahagane: Crane, Pine, Bamboo, and Plum. Crane would be the highest grade of tamahagane, while Plum would be the lowest.
  2. The fuchi/kashira are traditional symbols of good luck and longevity: pine, bamboo, crane, and turtle. Together with the plum on the tsuba, they would all be considered auspicious symbols. The menuki I am not so sure about; something related to the 7 lucky gods? Or, some kind of Daruma theme? Hopefully someone will pitch in with a proper answer.
  3. My guess is plum tree. Similar to the photo below (snipped from a Japanese auction site) The long "stalks" are tree branches. Plum blooms at the end of winter, when there are no leaves yet on the tree.
  4. Also, the Japanese Embassy now helps repatriate war items. Check out the link below https://www.us.emb-Japan.go.jp/english/html/world-war-2-artifact-recovery.html
  5. Looks like the first name is Yūsaku (祐作). Can't get the family name.
  6. Yes, with a weird variant of 崎 that looks more like 嵜. And at the end is 造. So 三河国岡嵜住筒井橘清兼造 岡 is also written in a pretty stylized way.
  7. Here is another sword with a cutting test by Gotō Heisaku. https://www.nipponto.co.jp/swords6/KY332229.htm Guido made an index of sword cutters (it should be available on this site somewhere), but this name doesn't appear in it.
  8. It's not the script (all the kanji on this tag are still in use today). It's more likely the condition of the tag and the folds and shadows and smudges making it difficult to read. One often hears the "its ancient script" excuse as a way of avoiding the embarassment of not being able to read sword tags - or maybe its a way of saying "this tag is too smudged to read clearly", but they don't want to cause you embarassment. Anyway: One Guntō sword Length: 2 shaku, 2 sun Unsigned (spelled wrong, but understandable) This sword belongs to: Chiba Prefecture, Chōsei-gun, Yatsumi-mura the name is too badly smudged for me to read it, but maybe someone here can decipher it.
  9. The box says nothing about why or for whom it was made. The box just says its a mamorigatana (well, shugo-tantō) made by the Sand Steel Industry, then gives the dimensions. We can kind of assume it is a gift, but it is unknown if they were corporate gifts, or if it was specifically made for someone. It kind of feels like a corporate gift (maybe a few made for executives?). If it were a personal gift I feel it would have the intended recipient's name on it.
  10. Saya says Yoshida (吉田), a typical Japanese surname.
  11. I forgot about the "Den" in the NBTHK's attribution, so my post needs some revision. The attribution of "Den Senjūin" doesn't quite mean that the sword has all the attributes of a Senjūin sword. It means the sword has enough attributes to make a judgment of Senjūin plausible. So it isn't exactly a full-throated endorsement of Senjūin. I'm curious if there is a Senjūin attribution on the sayagaki, or on some other document that accompanied the sword. If so, the "Den" is likely a nod to that earlier attribution, as if to say; "We note that this has received an appraisal of Senjūin from an earlier scholar. We do not endorse or deny that appraisal - we just note it and acknowledge it as plausible".
  12. Hello Jon, The NBTHK aren't attributing it to Yoshimasa. Yoshimasa is the name already on the sword. The NBTHK is attributing this smith/sword to the Senjūin group based on the attributes of the sword. Another way of reading the certificate is: "Great looking Senjūin sword. Never heard of this Yoshimasa guy, but by all the evidence in the sword in front of us, he was for sure a Senjūin smith". Does that make sense?
  13. 雲州善金作 Unshū Yoshikane saku on the reverse side 守刀 陶山忠司 mamori-gatana Suyama Tadashi Made for (or as a gift for) Suyama Tadashi
  14. Fabulous! Hiōgi 檜扇 https://kamon.myoji-yurai.net/kamonDetail.htm?kamonName=檜扇
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