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Jussi Ekholm

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Jussi Ekholm last won the day on August 2

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About Jussi Ekholm

  • Birthday 12/29/1988

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    Tampere, Finland

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    Jussi Ekholm

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  1. I believe Z-Sey bought the production of Simon Lee and put it under their brand. Not exactly sure how everything went down, as I am not really up to date in production sword market anymore. The owner? was participating a little on a different forum with very hostile and aggressive tone, and couldn't take critique well. I would not personally want to deal with him after seeing that. Still they are one of the better non-Japanese maker of Japanese swords around but for the price their good swords (very high for what they are) go I would rather get a real modern Japanese sword or one made by some of their competitors (outside Japan) that in my opinion have much higher overall quality. I owned one second hand of their presumably tamahagane blades made when they were still Simon Lee. It was ok for a Chinese made sword. But in overall I have had better made Chinese made swords. Do not feel down, it can take a long time of reading and looking to start to notice the differences. Are you more interested in antique items or modern made Japanese swords for martial arts practice?
  2. I think traditional way of Japanese sword appereciation has kind of route that you "should" follow (like I feel is very traditional and strict in Japanese culture), and there are some things that experts elevate above others. I personally cannot totally grasp the ideology and Sōshū superiority is one thing I totally lack understanding for. I have been trying to read the reasoning etc. a fair bit this year but I think this art side is where I fall short. As I can often barely see nie with my eyes I cannot understand "utmost beauty" in Masamune nie, or "most important point in appreciating Masamune's work is comprehending nie quality" etc. (granted I have only seen 1 Masamune in museum). Therefore even though some opinions are controversial in sword circles, I think it is nice that someone like Nakahara can voice out some bit controversial opinions contrasting the main stream. To be honest I have next to no clue how Jūyō evaluation works in practice, I just keep record of the results and look into interesting items. I know some very interesting ubu items that have not passed (that I think should be Jūyō worthy) while lots and lots of suriage katana that are in fine condition keep passing year after year. Of course the status of NBTHK evaluation should not be "the" factor in importance, some items will be very important even if they will never achieve Jūyō status. So I may be biased but I would much rather have 2nd signed and dated item from average smith like Bungo Munekage passing than 102nd suriage katana attributed to Rai Kunimitsu / den Rai Kunimitsu or 128th suriage katana attributed to Naoe Shizu / den Naoe Shizu... Of course in those 100+ blades there is a huge gap between the best and worst passing. For example in Rai Kunimitsu attributed blades many of the best ones have passed also Tokubetsu Jūyō evaluation. However I think for Naoe Shizu attribution they will have to "upgrade" it to Shizu at Tokubetsu Jūyō. There are 0 Naoe Shizu at Tokubetsu Jūyō but there is one that passed Jūyō as Naoe Shizu and was changed towards den Shizu at TJ. Then there are in my count 17 suriage katana that are attributed to Shizu at Tokubetsu Jūyō. I think with that it is getting into very difficult rabbit hole where traditional qualitative factors in appreciation come into play for mumei swords. I am not qualified to really comment on that but I admit it can be totally puzzling to me. I feel so much weight is carried by the attribution, and it is confusing. Might be one of the factors why I would rather focus on lower tier signed items.
  3. I was looking at chū-saku smiths (the lowest Fujishiro rank) at Jūyō and there are few that have made it (most have not made it). I excluded lineages that have higher ranked smith generations as I can't check every item specifically and most likely items passing in those cases are work of more famous generation. Yoshii Kiyonori - 9 blades Niō Kiyosada - 2 blades Kai-Mihara Masamori - 1 blade Kanabō Masatsugu - 4 blades Shimada Motosuke - 3 blades Bungo Munekage - 1 blade Terushige - 3 blades Ujishige - 1 blade Of course there are lots of smiths that are not ranked in Fujishiro too. As Jūyō swords are well past 10,000 items I think they can have a sword or 2 from even lesser ranked smiths perhaps representing the top tier of their work. But the correlation between Fujishiro rank and Jūyō is a good one to think about, I admit I haven't really thought about it before.
  4. Jussi Ekholm


    It has been very fun thread. I must admit I wouldn't have guessed Senjuin as I would have expected bit "rougher". Of course the tips with dealer hinting it as early-mid Kamakura and one smith (Nobuyoshi) being featured are now easy to see after knowing the result. I agree that Senjuin has slight "problems" as work by them (and attributed to Senjuin) span from earliest work seen as being from late Heian period up to end of Nanbokuchō. So there is a lot of ground to be covered. For Senjuin Yoshihiro I have 2 dated swords a tachi from 1358 and tantō from 1353. I know there are possibly items from 1340's by him but I have not yet seen pictures of them in references. But perhaps Honami have had different info on him. I enjoyed this a lot, very tricky one
  5. Jussi Ekholm


    I was happy to guess the direction with Yamato Shizu, and there are so many interesting hints by Rivkin about the origin. I am not well versed in traditional practices of kantei so my thinking will be maybe bit out of box, as I do not know traditional style and traditions (who gets featured etc.). I hope I will go forward into right direction following the hints and not in the wrong way (that can often happen for me when I try to think too much). I think my second guess would be Taima. I am not well versed in finer details and traits that differentiate these schools from one another. I would think Taima would be traditionally considered as "the best" of Yamato schools. Taima would also be fitting the late Kamakura - early Nanbokuchō time frame quite well. I feel also the earlier description about very specific attribution to smith for which there are not really mumei attributions would in my opinion suit Taima Kuniyuki. I know several signed tachi by him but not a single mumei sword attributed towards him. He is often thought as the founder of Taima but I believe some Taima work pre-date him in current state of research.
  6. Jussi Ekholm


    I am very clueless without measurements and slight description, as I lack eyes for details many members have. Going to guess Yamato Shizu on this one. Not really fitting what was described in opening so I think it could be not typical work by the maker to whom this was attributed to (as I believe this to be a suriage sword).
  7. I've been used to lone wolfing as living in bit remote location for this hobby. I think learning can be had with and without sword clubs the most important thing is putting in hours. Flying solo I think best way is to spend hour after hour using good quality references. I would agree with Jacques that just Aoi website is not the way for learning. If not having good books and even if you have, I will recommend going through ALL Japanese dealers with good online precence at regular intervals (for example weekly). I strongly believe quantity is important in solo learning, so you must have volume and log in lots of hours. With teachers and good groups you could learn more in less time but I am still in the hard work camp. If you have for example 1 hour of daily sword study you should start to notice some results in few years. Sure it will nice to attend meetings every once in a while but I am firm believer of daily grind and putting in the hours.
  8. My hat is off to everyone running sword groups and involved in it, it is very tough task with few rewards. I have tried getting people interested in Japanese swords locally with pretty 0 success. I felt it took way too much time and stress and I am selfish in that regard and I will rather focus my efforts in my own study and research which might well be totally uninteresting to people but means everything to me personally. I think your living location has a lot to do with accessibility of sword clubs. I am in "relatively good" position where I got Scandinavian branch having meetings in neighbouring country, and I have visited few of them. However unfortunately I cannot afford to fly and have vacation weekends like that at the moment, and in current state I would rather use those funds to add 2-3 extra days to my next trip to Japan than have a weekend in Europe... But living in Stockholm area, I would definately visit every meeting I can get, same with Germany in the area of Main European branch meeting places etc. At least in Scandinavian Branch there was usually bring your own stuff at some point of the meeting, it was nice that there was so great variation in stuff. There were swords, armor, guns, etc. all kinds of stuff. People are often encouraged to bring in items. I remember I brought in my 2 tachi to one meeting, and senior members pointed out things on my swords I hadn't seen with my own eyes. None of the members commented negatively on items of various quality brought in the meetings, and good discussion could be had even on the lower end items. For me one "problem" is that there are so many various groups and sites online and real life, the few people very active in the hobby get spread thinner and thinner. I for one enjoy NMB a lot, and perhaps it could serve as a hub for various sword societies too (I know Brian was maybe toying around with an idea like that some time ago)? Perhaps having members only and open to everyone sections for sword clubs? Being open to everyone and sharing stuff in open is something I feel is important. I know lot of stuff happens and stays in privacy and I do always respect that, as there can be various reasons for that. The same top tier items popping up on a book after another (or online reference) is a problem too. Yes they are excellent items but when I have encountered the same item in c.20 different sources it makes me want to get more and more obscure books from Japan that hopefully do not have the same top items again and again. That is the biggest reason why my book hunts at Japanese sites have gotten to very niche as I want to find new items, not the same ones again in different book. I do understand the point Jeremiah is making, it is nice especially in the beginning to see items that might be possible to own at some point.
  9. It is good that you have a club nearby, I think we have a member from the board in that club too? It will be nice to attend the meetings and get to see some items. I agree that getting an item is also helpful and of course fun. I think part of the idea on the above Sueyuki writeup was also that even though people in general speak c. latish Kamakura being the "golden age" etc. I feel it is not worth to get bottom of the barrel item just to get a potential Kamakura period item. I think it would be much better to get a decent Muromachi or Edo period sword for example. I know people talk perhapas negatively about recommending Shintō when "everybody knows collecting is all about Kotō stuff". I just personally feel that Edo period or late Muromachi item in good condition is much better early on than a questionable Kamakura item. Of course I don't really practice what I preach and I go for quirky old stuff (but it is important to know the downsides of the questionable items and if you are ok with them it is different ball game)... I think the important thing is that you like the item you will buy. You might end up selling it to fund another purchase along the way or you might evolve liking into different types of swords etc. For the mistakes in sword care I will recommend avoid using uchiko on a sword. I know late member Darcy was very vocal in his view in ditching uchiko (I believe you will enjoy reading his very analytical views on rankings, value, etc.), I do believe he is correct. Several years ago I used very slightly pressure when using uchiko and it caused few scratches in the polish. I was bit shocked how easily the scratches came and after that I have been using just pure alcohol for cleaning.
  10. I think there are many in Europe that can wrap your iaito. Here is one in Sweden, I have never worked with him but pics look good: https://www.instagram.com/nihontoiaito.restauration/
  11. I am very happy to read you are doing the research before buying. I think valuation of items is very tricky thing. I've been trying to keep an close eye at the market for items that interest me for perhaps the last 10 years, and I admit I am still often very puzzled. Major Japanese dealers are extremely smart business wise and they have knowledge on swords and sources to get them. So it is safe to assume that they know the market very well. You can sometimes see the same sword pop up at various dealers for slightly different price points, some dealers can perhaps have higher asking price just because of their high reputation. Most swords available are pretty common (even is high level items). For the dealers they are easy to price, I would believe the dealers have pretty good idea about their potential profit very fast. Take something like Hizen Tadayoshi or Tadahiro and there are hundreds and hundreds of good quality signed items surviving by them. I would think dealers will have pretty good idea how they will price a common item by them. Of course sometimes you might come across item judged as excellent work by the smith and it can be priced very differently from others. I can take a late Kamakura smith Ayanokōji Sueyuki as an example here. I saw few days ago a wakizashi in very bad condition that was attributed towards Sueyuki very recently at Tokubetsu Hozon shinsa. In my eyes that is not a good sword regardless of the attribution and I wouldn't look at it twice. The sword is at Yahoo JP for bit over 100,000 yen currently (I don't think it will rise too high): https://buyee.jp/item/yahoo/auction/k1057858498 then you can jump to the other extreme as Iida has signed tachi by Sueyuki for 10,000,000 yen: https://iidakoendo.com/4386/ Now this is almost 100x difference and huge gap, which can be bit baffling. There are 2 signed and 1 mumei tachi by this smith that have made Jūyō, and the one at Iida is one of them. It is often that items with Jūyō status carry a premium and also I think in this case too (but still items that make the Jūyō pass are excellent items in general), and you can combine that to the fact that Iida is one of the premium dealers in Japan. However there are other factors that come to play too. This tachi at Iida is by my research the 2nd longest tachi by Sueyuki surviving. There is longer one at Itsukushima Jinja but it will be impossible to own that one. So far I have only found 6 signed tachi by this smith. I do think the 3 signed tachi with Tokubetsu Hozon appraisal that I have seen online had various issues that of course affect the price. I think the 3 TH signed tachi were generally around 2M yen mark. Mumei tachi and katana attributed to Sueyuki I've seen in the market are generally 1M - 3M range. The 2 mumei items by Sueyuki below 1M have been in bad condition. For comparison there are mumei Ayanokōji attributed katana with Jūyō around 4-5M yen. While I think the price of the tachi at Iida is high and it has been in their inventory for many years, I don't think it is unreasonable. If you want very good signed Ayanokōji tachi and can't afford/get Sadatoshi then this would be the option. This might have been bit boring stuff about valuation of Ayanokōji Sueyuki. I just used the above smith as an example, and similar price searching stuff could be done for any smith (perhaps excluding some legendary ones as they don't generally appear on the open market).
  12. Unfortunately this is outside my personal focus area. From the books I looked that 1st, 2nd and 8th generation had the title Mutsu no Daijō. Here are 4 reference items for I believe by the 1st gen. https://eirakudo.shop/token/tachikatana/detail/986702 https://www.tsuruginoya.com/mn1_3/a00455.html https://www.seiyudo.com/ka-100421.htm https://www.e-sword.jp/wakisashi/2010-2071.htm What catches my eye that in these and other mei references for him I have, mei seems to have upwards tick on the left side of long horizontal strokes. It is bit difficult to explain in words, so I made a crude pic with paint to show my point.
  13. What makes you desire this particular blade?
  14. Well I didn't want to make a new topic for this but as many know I am collecting lot of data about old swords, and I thought I would post this here. Last time I looked through all the items in the new Nagoya museum Tōken World was probably in last summer. I believe since then they have acquired many great items to their collection. Jūyō Bijutsuhin 41 > 43 Tachi - Munetada: https://www.touken-world.jp/search/72627/ Wakizashi - Nobukuni: https://www.touken-world.jp/search/72492/ Tokubetsu Jūyō 56 > 61 Tachi - Naminohira Yukiyasu (mumei): https://www.touken-world.jp/search/72169/ Tachi - Motoshige: https://www.touken-world.jp/search/80274/ Katana - Rai Kunimitsu (mumei): https://www.touken-world.jp/search/78701/ Katana - Sa Hiroyasu (mumei): https://www.touken-world.jp/search/69238/ Katana - Rai Kuniyuki (kinzōgan): https://www.touken-world.jp/search/80104/ They keep expanding their incredible collection with great items.
  15. Markus has done great research in the article. Haven't got really anything to add to it. I do think the Jūyō Bunkazai tachi by Nobukuni is thought to be Nanbokuchō Nobukuni work, most recently it was featured in the Swords of Kyoto exhibition by Kyoto National Museum in 2018, and it is described as Nanbokuchō. Likewise the Agency for Cultural Affairs lists it as Nanbokuchō work. I have only seen Honma Junji list is as work of Shikibu in his Nihon Koto Shi in 1963. I believe the Shodai Nobukuni was working in c. mid-Nanbokuchō, I have found only the same 3 dated ones that Markus has in his article. Then it gets quite difficult at least for me know the differences when you get into late Nanbokuchō to early Muromachi as there were several Nobukuni working. I think NBTHK is just pointing out the approximate age when they put Ōei in brackets and not choosing any specific Nobukuni. There are items signed just Nobukuni for which NBTHK specifies Shodai or Saemon or Shikibu in brackets as they feel confident it is work of the specific Nobukuni. Then on the other hand there are some signed Nobukuni which have in brackets, late Nanbokuchō to early Muromachi, so they give very broad answer.
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