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Everything posted by SteveM

  1. Leave it as it is. No need to get any more aggressive with cleaning. The translation meaning will not change much. You have the location, the name of the smith (well, at least a partial name), and you know the rest of the inscription is a dedication to the person/family who comissioned the sword and their location, as well as the date of the manufacture (1842). That is really much more than many people know about their own swords. Regarding the partial name, we know it is Takenaka Kuni-somebody from Fuchū in Bingō province. As Kyle shows, there is a record of a Takenaka Kunihiko from Fuchū in Bingō working around the same time your sword is dated. He also used a few other aliases, including Kunisaki and Kunitora. This is almost certainly your guy. For some reason the last kanji of the name on your sword is not really corresponding with the known names he used. Plus, it is hard to make out, and doesn't really look like the kanji for hiko, tora, or saki. So, we have to decide if that last kanji is just a super fanciful way of writing one of his known names, or if it is a kanji representing a name that has gone unrecorded (that we can't yet decipher). In any event, knowing that last kanji of the name will not change the appraisal of your sword. And trying to clean up that last bit carries the risk of damaging your sword for absolutely no appreciable gain. As always, the sword itself is the thing that gives it its value, and that value will not change no matter if that last kanji turns out to be tora, saki, or hiko.
  2. Wakayama lists him as Yamamoto Toshinobu of Matsuyama. A contemporary (and sometimes collaborator) of Hirata Narimasa (c. 1850).
  3. Hello Gary, I'm looking at this, and it doesn't say ryōkuruma (両車). It says something different, but I can't make it out.
  4. This is actually fairly recognizable: 山本大佐 Yamamoto Daisuke (a very common-sounding name. Kind of like "John Smith".) 元治二年 Genji 2 (1865) However, your point is still well-made: the characters are indeed funkily chiseled. Amateurish, poorly executed, spaced on the nakago in an unusual size and arrangement. People should recognize the arrangement as unusual even if they cannot read the kanji. It is plausible that this could actually be the owner's name, but a horrible sword with an owner's name cut into it is still a horrible sword.
  5. I think you have two choices: google translate, or pay a translator. You have a picture ot the index? Or, do you already know which section you need translated?
  6. The name is Kondō Kiyoshi (近藤精), living at what looks like Seto-kō #3518, in Setozaki-mura. As I say, this city was rolled up into Imabari city, and so the old addresses don't exist anymore. But the location would be somewhere around here https://www.google.com/maps/place/日本、〒794-1404+愛媛県今治市上浦町瀬戸2198/@34.22584,133.0463853,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x355048b4fd728ec9:0xcdee38840ee8a22!2z5pel5pys44CB44CSNzk0LTE0MDQg5oSb5aqb55yM5LuK5rK75biC5LiK5rWm55S654Cs5oi4!3b1!8m2!3d34.2250669!4d133.0437752!3m4!1s0x35504f302809c823:0x3b4f4750bdd1ba15!8m2!3d34.2258356!4d133.048574
  7. Yes, flatten out that tag and give us a good shot of it. I can make out part of an address in Ochi-gun, Setozaki-mura (a place in Ehime Prefecture). The rest of the tag will have the name of the original owner, and maybe pinpoint the address. Edit: I can pick out part of the name. 囗藤精   The 藤 character can be read either as tō or fuji. It depends on what the preceding character is. So that means the family name will be something like 左藤, 斎藤, 伊東 (Satō, Saitō, Itō) or something like that. Or, it could also be 山藤, 高藤, (Yamafuji, Takafuji). The first name is probably is Kiyoshi, but there are multiple possible readings for the 精 kanji when it is used as a name.
  8. It says 二条堀川住 - Nijō Horikawa-jū 顕珠作 - Kenju saku It means Kenju of Nijō Horikawa (a section of the city of Kyōto) made this. It actually looks like it was cast from a mold, rather than hammered and carved. Cast replicas of real tsuba are very common.
  9. And, if you already haven't checked it out, Ohmura's site is good for killing an hour or two (if you are into WW2 swords). A bit about Seki (in English) if you scroll down. http://ohmura-study.net/211.html
  10. Q. After I have assumed that a signature is gimei, how do I consider the validity of a date on that same katana? Assume the whole inscription; date, name, any other extra bits, is the work of the forger, trying to increase the value of the sword. Ideally you focus on the sword itself. It's difficult to do, and I can't say that I follow this rule myself. But the ideal is to focus on the sword (shape, hamon, tip, steel, nakago) and then decide if the signature is accurate to the type of sword you are looking at. Q. Why would the smith falsify the date on which the blade is completed? A smith won't falsify the date, but a forger would. Or, are you wondering about the possibility that a smith put the date on the sword, but left no name on it, and then some years later a forger added a fake name to the sword? I can't say its an impossibility, but I'd say the likelihood of this is so low that one really doesn't need to worry about it. There are cases where the sword is judged to be a good, authentic sword by a known swordsmith, however the name on the sword seems to be a forgery. Maybe the forger did a terrible job when he inscribed the name, or maybe the forger put a name that is too ambitious for the sword (like putting the name "Da Vinci" on a painting that is clearly from the 19th century). In these cases, the NBTHK will refrain from issuing authentication papers until the offending signature is removed. This is the source of some debate in the sword world, as many people don't like the idea of having to remove a signature in order to get the sword authenticated. In the first place, the NBTHK could be mistaken in their judgment, so removing a signature could do irreperable harm to a one-of-a kind item. Also, some sword owners consider even the fake name to be part of the sword's history, and so they are reluctant to remove it. About your other thread where you were discussing the first appearance of Japanese swords in South Africa. I thought it was an interesting topic, but in the end it feels almost unknowable, unless we uncover a new diary or a ship's manifest from the 16th or 17th century. (Plus, I don't know enough about South Africa to make an intelligent guess.)
  11. Yes, that would be the maker's name. Maybe this guy (although there may be others who also used the name Toshinaga) https://nihontoclub.com/smiths/TOS294
  12. Well... 吉辰 might throw quite a few Japanese people off, as this compound word isn't exactly an everyday word. But the individual kanji are learned sometime in elementary school.
  13. 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.
  14. Aoi did another diabolical job on the description. This time, the transcription of the sayagaki in Japanese is ridiculous, and the English translation is no better. To summarize, Tanobe-sensei's sayagaki states that while most old sources name Tōchika as the son of Tsunetō (placing him at the tail end of the Heian period), this sword has the traits of a mid-Kamakura sword.
  15. For the mei, the early inscriptions are Oite Kishū Yasuhiro, or Kii-no-kuni Yasuhiro, and sometimes including the prefix "Tōichi" (Kii-no-kuni Tōichi Yasuhiro).
  16. Clearly I have to lift my sōsho game! Looks like a perfect match in that sample. (Sorry for steering you off course, George).
  17. That would work. Some people post to Imgur and post a link here.
  18. 「囗囗刻」 seems like a good start; a signature telling us who engraved the item. Somebody carved this. 保 feels very close, and it works as a part of a name...so far so good. The first one doesn't fit the sōsho version of 歌, so it should be something else, but I can't figure it out. If it were a sword I would cycle through the common kanji found in swordsmith names (Kane, Yoshi, Masa, etc..) to see if it looks like any of those, which, unfortunately, it doesn't. Sorry I couldn't offer anything substantial.
  19. That's what it looks like to me, too. Toshinaga 歳長
  20. Age is late 1930s to 1945. Maker...let's wait to be sure who the maker is before we dive into the details (but you should be able to find some info in English on the internet regarding Hattori Masahiro). We can be fairly sure of the age because of the distinct chippy style of marking the tang. No need for chalk as the name looks to be inscribed well/deep enough. Also, there may be a date inscribed on the opposite side.
  21. Need a better shot of the nakago to properly read it, but my guess is 濃州関住服部正廣作 (Nōshū Seki jū Hattori Masahiro saku). That sword in those fittings should be worth north of $2000.
  22. I don't recognize that word/words. Nothing comes up in a search, which leads me to think there is a misspelling in the words (or it is so obscure, no other person on the internet has ever made reference to it - which seems unlikely, but it could be possible). When I do a search on that phrase, the closest thing I get is 先手使番指物. Alas, there is no description for exactly what that is. I assume it is merely an identifying banner worn by someone on the very front lines of battle.
  23. Yes, I was going to mention that too. It looks a lot like Sukeie, but I couldn't find any relevant reference either. So, with slight reservation, I'm leaning toward Sukemune.
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