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Everything posted by SteveM

  1. The inside of the lid reads 出願中 shutsuganchū, or patent pending.
  2. 長雲斎 江村 Chōunsai Emura would be the name. Emura the family name, and Chōunsai is kind of his artistic nom de guerre. 鍛之 Kore (wo) kitaeru  means "made by"
  3. Hello Wayne, As far as I can tell, the chalked in version makes it a bit clearer to see, but it doesn't change how anything looks. The mei still reads 長雲斉江村鍛之 But the 村 is very odd. I changed the 斎 to the simplified version 斉, but the reading/meaning is the same.
  4. Looks like 長雲斎江丹鍛之 I would have expected 村 rather than 丹, but it looks much closer to 丹 than 村. (But, if it is 江村, you would expect 長運斎). Edit: Actually, I take that back, it does look closer to 村 than 丹. So, 長雲斎江村鍛之   Chōunsai Emura kore wo kitaeru (but perhaps still a puzzling 雲 which I would expect to be 運. Pronunciation is the same either way.)
  5. And, it is written in Man'yōgana, which is a mostly phonetic representation of (basically) eight-century Old Japanese original; 都流藝多知 伊与餘刀具倍之 伊尓之敝由 佐夜氣久於比弖 伎尓之曽乃名曽 katakana: ツルギタチ イヨヨトグベシ イニシヘユ サヤケクオヒテ キニシソノナソ modern: 剣大刀 いよよ研ぐべし 古ゆ さやけく負ひて 来にしその名そ The "modern equivalent" is still above my pay grade. I also notice a variation in the original vs. the one on the sword. 尓 has become 爾 on the sword. Cribbed from the site below http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~sg2h-ymst/yakauta_h.html. The inscription on the sword is oddly attributed(?) to a 19th-century writer, Sugawara Natsukage 菅原夏蔭.
  6. In addition to the Sanseido entry for Kōfu there is also the Edo castle blueprints 江府御天守図 (Kōfu gotenshu no zu), as well as the Edo Chorography 江府名勝志 (Kō/Gōfu meishō-shi). This reading is consistent with the present-day 江東区 (Kōtō-ku), not to mention consistent with Japanese lexicology. Note it is not uncommon for Japanese people to mispronounce 江東区 as Etō-ku. http://tinyurl.com/pm5v44u http://tinyurl.com/nn2kf33 The association of 江 with the pronunciation "e" is so strong that to pronounce it any other way is almost counter-intuitive, hence Ginza Choshuya's kind answer to Ed. I agree completely with them. The right answer is Kōfu, but many people would naturally say Efu - and they would be completely understood. It doesn't mean they would be right. Ed - I have lived in Japan since the late 80s, the bubble years. Good times. I passed JLPT 1 (Japanese language proficiency level 1) in the early 90s. I obtained my translator's certificate shortly after getting the JLPT1. I now work in Tokyo in an industry which has absolutely nothing to do with translating (or swords, for that matter), but I love the challenge of a puzzle like Kōfu vs. Efu. By the way, JPLT1 is a very low bar (as is the translator's certificate) so don't consider that any kind of an appeal to authority. As a form of authority, it is only slightly higher than "I asked my friend who is Japanese, and he said...". It is not at all uncommon for foreigners with JLPT1 to be very poor speakers of Japanese. Likewise, I know of people in the translation business who are diabolically bad translators. Therefore, I do what I can to continue learning Japanese. It is a lifelong work-in-progress. Nowadays, the puzzles are getting so tough, I'm wrong nearly as many times as I am right. But I do continue to plug away.
  7. On matters of swords and tōsōgu, I wouldn't presume to know more than Tsuruta-sensei, but in matters of translation, I don't think he's a very cunning linguist. http://www.weblio.jp/content/%E6%B1%9F%E5%BA%9C As a matter of fact, in the prefecture of Tottori there still exists a city called 江府 (Kōfu). The reason many Japanese are able to mispronounce this with such confidence is because they associate the kanji 江 with 江戸 Edo, and they assume the E reading carries across to compound words like 江府 or 江都.
  8. This should help http://www.nihontomessageboard.com/articles/sword_law.pdf
  9. 江府 is pronounced Kōfu In the Japanese papers it would only appear as 江府. Translating this into English as Efu would be a common mistake, particularly for a novice. I wouldn't freak out about it.
  10. If the smith is a pre-war smith, and if his mei is established as being 廣光, its very unlikely (I would say unbelievable) that you'll find any of his swords that use the simplified version of 廣.
  11. 廣 (hiro) is the traditional (old) way of writing 広. The writing was simplified after the war, and now you no longer find 廣 except in historical references. Families have the option to continue using the old/traditional kanji in their family names, but generally nowadays one only sees 廣 in old documents, etc.. 弘 (hiro) is a different word with the same pronunciation. Actually, it is almost exclusively used in proper names, and has no practical meaning if used by itself, opposed to 広 above which means wide, and is used frequently in everyday Japanese.
  12. Hello Ben - I don't know about the painted markings. Gunto is uncharted territory for me. People used to hold up their noses at gunto, but looking at the quality of some of the pieces and at the prices they are starting to fetch, its interesting to see them gain a bigger following. You are on the right track for the first character. I think the radical (left side of that kanji) may indeed be 扌or 礻or 衤or possibly 子, but I don't think the character would be 掾 because that is a part of a title that was used in earlier days, and you wouldn't see it used as part of a two-kanji name. I looked for showa smiths whose names ended in 久, but there are only a few and none of them have names that resemble the kanji on your sword. Of course 久 could be completely wrong too. Sorry, its just a bit too indecipherable for me. Maybe somebody else will have some luck in picking it out.
  13. It may not be a date. I mean, it seems like one, but it could just be some random identification number. The 平 in front of the 1953 might be a clue, but it means nothing to me.
  14. The wooden tag says 井野兵曹長 Sergeant-Major Ino The white paint says 平一九五三 (Hira/Taira 1953). Don't know the significance of that. The second kanji on the tang seems to be 久 (hisa), but I can't make out the first one.
  15. 徳= A fairly popular kanji for era names. A lot of candidates for the first kanji. 天徳 長徳 寛徳 応徳 承徳 元徳 建徳 永徳 至徳 明徳 宝徳 享徳 延徳 I think of all these, 元徳 looks like the most plausible candidate (visually). Looks like a fairly typical stylization of 元. As far as the sword shape and other aesthetics go, I leave it to the experts. The one thing I don't like is how the 元 appears above the mekugi-ana, and then the 徳 appears well below the mekugi-ana, as if the mei were engraved after that particular mekugi-ana were opened. It may have been retroactively carved (which sometimes happens, as I think this came up on another recent thread). If it wasn't retroactively carved, it means the original engraver left a very accommodating gap between the 元 and the 徳.
  16. SteveM


    Oops, sorry, missed that one. It does look fabulous. Love the photography too. Wish I could figure out how to take close ups like that. Guess I need to invest in a proper macro lens.
  17. SteveM


    It's already gone Juyo It says the habaki is also believed to be by Hankei, and that there is a similar habaki also on another Hankei piece that is currently the property of the Sumiyoshi Jinja.
  18. I disagree with this. But the disagreement may be a semantic one. Provenance and authentication definitely influence value. In any form of art. And an NBTHK certification is an important piece of provenance. The certification does nothing to change the quality of the sword itself, but the sword's value is influenced by the NBTHK certificate.
  19. I think its one of three possibilities 1. Authentic mistake (typo, as you say) 2. Mistake made by counterfeiter 3. Correct kanji (only we don't understand the reference) I actually think #1 is the most improbable. I think #2 is probable, as it is a nicely executed kanji (by someone who knows how to write kanji) its just that this particular kanji doesn't fit in with the context - so it was carved by someone who knows how to write, but doesn't know enough about swords. But I also don't completely discount #3. Maybe there is some contemporary thing or some - I don't want to say code, but let's call it a deliberate carving of a wrong kanji for some purpose that we don't understand.
  20. For me, there are four elements to this: ebay, questionable papers, high price, neophyte. And maybe all of these issues are wrapped up in one inevitable, recurring, problematic theme: valuation. Its a beautiful sword, and at $9000, it should be. Considering the request for general thoughts and comments, the advice given was pretty appropriate. It would be irresponsible to encourage a neophyte to buy a $9000 sword with old papers even though there is a chance that the papers are valid. The obvious question is; why didn't the previous owner (or the current dealer) re-submit to shinsa? In Japan, the big dealers would certainly have done this to validate the sword, and to increase the price. Or, they would guarantee the sword will pass shinsa, which mitigates the consumer's risk pretty effectively. I don't know whether or not the dealer on ebay will do the same. If so, the risk is mitigated (but it is still a rather expensive sword for a neophyte, but this is my subjective opinion...for Ken S it might not be that big of a purchase). The old authentication could still be valid, but as long as there is doubt over the old papers, we have to treat them as suspect, and we have to tell/remind the neophytes that the papers are suspect. If we were just enjoying the sword and talking about its shape and hamon and activity, we can look at and judge the sword for what it is. Once we start talking about price, the question of papers and shinsa cannot be ignored. On the signature itself, this is where the NBTHK becomes a frustrating black box for me, as they will not publish the details of why they pass or fail certain signatures. If I compare the signatures of the sword in question, with a certified signature from the same smith (for example, here http://www.samuraisword.com/nihontodisplay/Hozon/Koretsugu/4%20koretsugu0003.JPG)the signatures look very similar. If it is a counterfeit, we can say that the counterfeiter was pretty skilled. Still, there are some differences. The tsuki part of 前 in the ebay sword is squarish, while the same part in the authenticated sword is roundish. The 住 in the ebay sword is somewhat horizontally elongated, with the horizontal strokes all intersecting as they should, while the authenticated signature is elongated vertically, with a distinct separation of the main horizontal stroke. If I look at yet another NBTHK Koretsugu (http://www.aoijapan.com/img/sword/2014/14473-1.jpg) it has the same rounded tsuki in 前, and the same separated bits of 住. So it has these bits in common with the other papered Koretsugu. Are any of these minor variations problematic enough to cause the ebay sword to fail shinsa? I don't know, and I can't know unless I'm friends with the gentlemen of the NBTHK. That, for me, is enough to make me paranoid about paying $9000 for a sword - even though it means I may be rejecting a perfectly beautiful sword with obviously beautiful features. This is kind of an irrationality imposed on the market by the NBTHK, albeit an irrationality which is set up to try to protect the industry. SteveM
  21. I agree with Jean: Bizen Osafune-ju Kane (cut off) 備前長船住兼 It almost looks as though one mei was chiseled over another mei. There are a number of confusing marks or scratches near the mei that make the individual kanji take on characteristics of other kanji. Particularly the 住 looks like a completely different kanji. There is enough space under the 兼 to accomodate the second half of the name, but all I see are the three prominent parallel scratches. Edit: I looked again at this, and I can't completely reject the possibility of Chikakane, but of the many Chikakane smiths, most of them use a different "kane" (近包). I couldn't find any 近兼 smiths from Bizen. There was only one smith by this name in Hawley's (CHI61), and he is from Mutsu.
  22. Raku = 楽 (樂 in old style kanji) means fun/entertaining, ease, comfort, and a million other things. Ban = 蛮 (蠻 in old style kanji) means crude, uncivilized, barbaric I have no idea why the engraver would use 樂 instead of 蠻. 南樂 doesn't make any sense. Raku and Ban don't sound anything alike, so its a very odd mistake to make.
  23. And, the syntax is what's called 漢文 (sort of classical Japanese patterned on Chinese grammar). It is not what is used in typical Japanese, so translating into modern Japanese and then translating that into English requires a bit of creative accounting. 南蠻鉄造之 なんばんてつつくりこれ これをなんばんてつでつくった Made using "Southern Barbarian Iron" (Iron imported from overseas, usually Europe - Spain and Portugal). Probably you already knew this, so perhaps surplus to your requirements. Anyway, maybe useful for someone else reading this thread.
  24. 濃刕 Nōshū (刕 is an alternate form of 州 - or, I should say, it is a completely different kanji, with a different reading, but it seems to have acquired an alternate use as a substitute for 州)
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