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Everything posted by Johnno

  1. I don't know about everyone else here but I know for me I am not an expert on Nihonto and that I will always have something to learn. I find Karl's theories and research interesting - and its a bit like any field of knowledge - that field of knowledge will never change or increase or expand *without* researchers - without people coming up with theories and hypotheses and stirring the pot a little bit at least In a perfect world I would have translations of every significant Nihonto work there is - in English - and probably quite an extensive collection also - and therefore a much better knowledge base than I have right now - but sadly finances preclude me from having either of these things at this time... But I have to admit it, research like Karl's does get me thinking - and at my age that is not a bad thing
  2. Very cool Karl... One thing I do know about the Japanese is that they do tend to have a very specific way of doing things and once its established they tend to not like to change it. Definitely printing this one out for my ''sword file''
  3. Guys - this is something from Karl that I found MOST interesting indeed... Thoughts ?
  4. Well Darcy - this one sword has definitely caused me to catch ''the bug'' again - so that is not a bad thing Now I just have to wait till I have some money before I start thinking about sword number two
  5. Darcy - what can I say? Thanks so much for your in-depth post above - you've given me a lot to think about and at the end of the day (if anything) I guess you have brought me back to where I was at the beginning when I bought the sword in the first place (or in my case traded for my old katana and 2 tanto). I'd be lying if I said that the mei means ''nothing'' to me - but in reality I bought this sword the same way I bought every other sword in the past - because of the sword herself - the overall look and ''feel'' of the sword - she ''spoke to me''. I would not claim that she is a ''masterwork'' but to me she is definitely a fine sword. Would I like it if she had already been through shinsa and had passed it and had some papers ? Of course I would. But in reality if I do send her for shinsa in the future my expectation is that she will not pass and that the signature will be found ''gimei''. In a sense that is not even my focus - because I believe she was made by a better than average smith for the time so I guess my curiosity here is, more than anything else, to know who actually DID make her. I've read a few things about the Hizen School and the early work of the Shodai and of course - not unlike your pictorial comparison above - I recognize that there are features of the work in my sword that is the sort of thing the Shodai himself did in his early years. Does this *make* my sword the work of the shodai? No, not necessarily. But of course, as you have said already, this is where the ''hope thing'' comes in. I do not ''definitely'' know anything about my sword - all I can say is that I have ideas - I believe she was made in the early 1600s, I believe she was made by a better than average smith and is a fine sword - I know she is longer than the average katana for the time (77cm nagasa) and that looking at her in sunlight you can see more activity in that hamon than many. There is great sunagashi and kinsuji all over the place and she is a most enjoyable sword to sit with and study and to have. Wonderful jigane, wonderful hamon, great activity. Beyond that, she is a mystery - but for me (as a small time collector who seldom has the money to ''own'' more than one or two swords anyway at any given point in time) she is a wonderful sword and one that has given me immense pleasure to study and get to know so far. What can I say? Food for thought - my journey continues
  6. Thanks for that Jussi - in a perfect world I would like to be able to look at and compare signatures and also look at works like this more closely: https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22380/lot/3217/ (Not saying this is an identical match but there are similarities that make it interesting...)
  7. Thanks for the suggestion Paul - I might have a look and see how much that would set me back - a reference like that would probably be worth having. I guess that with all the travelling I have done I'm the sort who nowadays wants to get everything in electronic format (pdf or whatever) but I guess that in the world of Nihonto that is not so do-able...
  8. Guys - in my attempts at online research I've been trying to find the best examples of Shodai Tadayoshi's work from around the time he changed to using ''Tadahiro'' in about 1624. Does anyone know where I might be able to find better pics of this sword in particular: http://www.samuraisword.com/nihontodisplay/CUTTING_TEST/gold_inlay/Tadayoshi/(its a long shot but I thought I would ask). Thanks, John.
  9. Thanks for the feedback so far guys... I have to admit it - the idea of sending for shinsa in the US at some point would probably be the way I *would* go Brian... Why? Because in that way I get to have my cake and eat it too... I can get the opinion of a shinsa team without automatically having to go for mei removal - but if based on the judgment of the shinsa team they say you have ''x'' or ''y'' - and it sounds like its worth it - well, then I would be able to consider that option still (for papering etc.)
  10. (Correct me if I am wrong here Karl and in advance apologies for the wrong term - I am sure there is a more correct term than daisaku mei if we are talking nephew/uncle rather than father/son... At any rate - this is *great* stuff - just wish I had more electronic references to hand...)
  11. I think Karl's idea here is that the sword could be daisaku mei but tadakuni/hironori FOR Tadayoshi/Tadahiro - something along the lines of this: http://www.aoijapan.com/katana-izumi-kami-fujiwara-kunisada-inoue-shinkai-daimei
  12. Thanks for that Darcy I was wondering, have you been able to see any of the Sukehiro Yamashiro-den work up close and personal (?) I might be off the mark here - I can't remember WHERE I even read about this - but apparently he DID Yamashiro-den work (katana especially) that were so good that at the time there were dealers who passed them off as the works of famous koto masters - I *hope* I've got it right there but I think it was specifically Soboro himself they were talking about... Wonderful pic btw (the one above) - it certainly gives you a sense of the quality of the guy's work...
  13. Thanks for that Karl I just wish I had more books here lol Having said that - everything I have read and looked at online so far doesn't rule out Sukehiro - in fact it confirms the fact that he did work like my sword demonstrates - and did make the longer blades also (in my case a 77cm nagasa) - the only thing that didn't seem to fit perfectly was nakago-jiri... I have a feeling it was Paul or Darcy who mentioned the idea that if you were going to put a signature like Tadayoshi/Tadahiro on a blade you would make sure it was a damn GOOD blade or else you wouldn't get away with it... And the idea that such a blade would then command a higher price (''market forces'') also works... All I can say so far is that this sword is definitely one of the better blades I have handled or owned - and as you know I lived and worked in Japan and got to study some nice stuff up close and personal when I was there... I am no ''expert'' but I believe I have a ''good eye'' for a quality blade when I see one - and she is definitely that - quality Who knows - maybe one of these days I will send her for shinsa - but I'll be honest, I don't know I would want to go through the mei removal process and re-submitting just to ''get her papered'' because for me the signature in this sword now is also a part of the sword and her history... Call me strange - but I really do believe that what they say is true - we never ''own'' a sword - we are just its temporary custodians... In the case of the one sword that IS my ''collection'' now - she is not my ''possession'' - I am just her custodian until such time as I die or its time for her to ''move on''... My ''job'' then is to look after her as she is - keep her in the perfection condition (fresh polish) that she is in - and learn everything I can from her - and feel honoured that she has chosen me as her custodian - for now Just my 2 cents
  14. Thanks Randy - wonderful I'm keen to get my hands on as much electronic reference material as I can
  15. Guys - its all good I'm enjoying my sword and I believe she has a lot to teach me And yes Paul, the curiosity thing - it *is* hard to control lol
  16. PS Another REALLY interesting possibility - which I think Darcy threw into the mix - and okay - maybe I am really going ''out there'' on a limb right now - but WOULD it be plausible that we are talking Sue-Koto here ? I mean nothing is ever totally ''hard and fast'' when it comes to the Nihonto world I am thinking - and the sugata of the sword is kanbun shinto I think... Okay - Saturday is always a long hard shift for me and maybe I need more black coffee or something - but that one just came to me so I threw it in there
  17. I can't help thinking that with my sword - the Yamashiro-den thing must be a part of the answer - knowing what better smiths at this time worked (maybe not exclusively but were good at this tradition) in Yamashiro-den... I believe the Shodai Tadayoshi did - I believe the Sukehiro smiths in Osaka did too...
  18. Thanks Darcy and Paul - you've definitely given me a bit more food for thought... The learning experience continues - but its not an unpleasant one In terms of the quality of my blade - well - I believe she is a fine sword - certainly one of the better blades I have owned - but yes, what something one of you said is definitely the case - there is SUCH a difference between what you can see in pictures and what you can see IN THE HAND... The difference really is staggering - I mean I am not much of a photographer to be honest and I tried to use the mobile phone camera to get the best shots I could but they don't even come close to doing justice to this sword in terms of how she looks in real life...
  19. PS Darcy - what you said above: ''You can also find the edge cases where the smith did make departures from what is considered to be normal. Sometimes those cases do exist and if you just examine a handful of examples then go back and use them to rule something out you can be wrong. Fujishiro for instance if you use his book and go by 3-4 examples in there, they are not representative of the hundreds of times that a smith may have signed. Hasebe Kunishige in the Juyo zufu uses an alternate KUNI character in a handful of cases. If you stumbled into one of those you would assume it is gimei by looking at 3-4 reference examples. But they are apparently not. I am still working on the why of this one. But I know it is.'' THIS is most most interesting to me - if you get any closer on the WHY - well, I hope you will share your findings or hypothesis with everyone else... THIS is something that I find *most* intriguing with my sword - putting it simply - if she is ''gimei'' and not made by Tadayoshi (Tadahiro) what I find interesting is this - she was made by a smith of equal ability (IMHO) who chose - for whatever reason - to sign the sword this way (unless it was done after the event and the sword was a commission that was done unsigned and was later signed by someone else) - the WHY question here is what I find interesting... Once again - as I am oft to remark (lol) I am no expert - but I *can* understand a smith of inferior ability signing with a fake signature trying to impersonate a superior smith - but where the smith is obviously a highly capable smith in his own right - THIS is where *I* start scratching my head and asking WHY
  20. Thank you for that Darcy... As you can see I am (with limited access to books and reference materials) very much on the quest to try and learn more about my new sword... She is a wonderful sword (in my humble opinion) and definitely a learning experience. I have already spent many hours studying her and the more I look the more I see - I don't believe I will get ''bored'' with her in a hurry
  21. And some more (I seemed to do okay with the mobile phone camera and natural daylight - well - okay for an amateur I mean )
  22. A few more pics - for me still looking at ''Yamashiro-den'' I believe - looking at the work what do you guys think ? In particular - the boshi on one side - is it just me or is THAT looking more Shinto Osaka School (?) THIS is where I am really at a loss - I do not have all my sword reference books I used to have - I am limited to only being able to compare with stuff online and materials that are available online
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