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About Toryu2020

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    Sai Jo Saku

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    @SanFrancisco in California
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    Japanese swords, armour, history and art

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    Thomas C Helm

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  1. Bob - Thats the spot! Brian - Sounds perfect! Who's buried there!?! :-) -t
  2. Brilliant! Go ask Yamamura Sensei, I am sure he can clear it up. His place is just the other side of the station and I know a good place to get a drink over there... -t
  3. On the omote you have the kutsuwa (snaffle bit) and tazuna (reins) on the ura you have the shirigai (crupper) What I can't figure is the two right-angled sticks - these are not muchi (crops) still looking thru references to see what they might be... -t
  4. So the temple is steps away from the station, very much in the center of Kamakura - there are houses all around the graveyard. Kamakura is a pretty pricey zip code I'm not sure I would want to house hunt there... -t
  5. As noted - I did find the one Kazutada in the meikan - pretty sure this is him but was hoping someone had seen one of his works. Apologies, I do not have pictures of the blade or of course I would have posted them... -t
  6. What a great afternoon! I spent many a day here when I lived in Kamakura - actually the Kamakura Branch of the NBTHK holds their monthly meetings at this very temple, so we were literally studying at the foot of the great master. I would like to make some small additions to the information. The large stone that Guido is standing in front of is from the Edo period - it was dedicated by a collection of sword dealers, who owed their prosperity to his excellence (Masamune not Guido). If you were to look closely at the square stone at waist height on Guido, the names of all those who donated to have the stone erected are inscribed there but the years have nearly worn them away. The grave where Bob is standing is the grave of Masamune. As Guido pointed out Masamune can also be read Seiso and means "true teaching" however he got the name he was a devotee of the true teaching of Nichiren. The very ancient pair of graves in the last photos are held to be the family graves of the Yamamura Family, so may include Sadamune and other early members of the school (family). Incidentally Yamamura Sensei still practices sword craft in Kamakura as the 24th generation Masamune, Yamamura Tsunahiro. Kamakura is absolutely the place to visit for anyone interested in the sword, Bob is very lucky to make his home there taxes or no... -t
  7. I believe this is read Kazutada 一忠 - there is a Taisho era smith listed using this name. Anyone seen this before? Any help appreciated, -t
  8. Piers - Do you know if anyone received any of the "premiums"offered as enticement for donors? -t
  9. Moriyama san - Thank you very much - I can see the Ko (Oka) but just could not decipher the Hen (Kata)... -t
  10. I only have this one picture - I can read the signature and know the smith is Kunihiro 国広 - what I don't get are the two kanji at the top of the Nakago. Any help appreciated. Please don't ask for more photos this is all I have. Also does this look like a Komonjo special? -t
  11. John - swords are evaluated on their quality and given an assigned number - better than 85 would be something really special and the team would recommend the blade be sent to Japan for Yushu Shinsa. There have been a number of such blades come thru our shinsa and based on our appraisal we know that some have gone to Japan for full restoration and NBTHK papers. So it does happen. We do have a mail-in service and a FAQ page on our website... -tch NTHK Hyogi-in https://nthkamerica.com
  12. Roger - its clear you have a nice blade by Ryumon Nobuyoshi with a sayagaki by Tanobe Sensei of the NBTHK - the photos are a little small, having trouble enlarging them enough to read. Might help if you can post closer up pictures. Of Course there is sure to be someone on here who can translate this for you. -t
  13. Kicking around in my parts drawer for years - a little worse for the wear and tear...
  14. Jason - The Gokaden are "Traditions", really methods of construction and how a blade presents itself. They developed in specific places so share the place-names from whence they came. However as has been stated a smith can learn a smithing style and then go practice in a completely different part of the country. In most cases the "DNA" of the original style is still there even when the smith tries something new. Like the way an artist mixes his paints, he does it the way he was taught probably without much thought but the discerning eye can see the "DNA". In Kantei we assign quality first, then age, then tradition. If you can do this you are a long way to identifying a sword-maker based solely on the workmanship. In Koto "Bizen-den" often but not always means you are looking for someone making swords in the Bizen tradition who resides in Bizen. This is where it is helpful to know the many "Schools" within Bizen - the schools developed over time so if you have correctly identified the age of the piece you have pared your many choices down to just the few schools working in that tradition in that place. This works for all traditions. The closer you are to the original place the stronger the influence of the tradition. (This is why it is good to know the Kuni/Kaido) In Shinto times there developed the Shinto Tokuden and several regional styles but most smiths were inspired by works of the past. If you can identify which tradition the smith was aiming for, say Yamato, you can then eliminate all the other smiths working at the time who did NOT do Yamato inspired work. Kunikane was not in the lineage of Hosho but was inspired by their work. Knowing which styles inspired individual Shinto smiths helps you to get to the correct answer... -tch
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