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Boys swords


templar44
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Are boys swords common and treated in terminology as wakizashi or are they rare and not talked about often because they are rare. I am trying to dig up information on them but it is proving difficult. Were the blades treated as utilitarian or were they well made on average. I have only seen one other and have never seen one for sale that was listed as a boys sword. Obviously the blade speaks for itself regarding quality but I was more curious with regards to the overall practice. Were they often commissioned or were wakizashi used? When was the practice regarding boys swords started?

 

Thanks in advance

Tony Martin

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A true "boy's sword" is usually made by a smith to order and they appear as a miniature, essentially. That is, not only are they shorter than a full length sword, but they are proportionately smaller in all dimensions.

 

Quality varies with the smith, as with regular sized swords. Some are very well made, some not so...

 

Depending on length, they would be classified according to the standard length criteria.

 

They are indeed rather rare. I have one here by Kinmichi that is, as mentioned above, a miniature tachi, about 16 inches in length.

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Thanks Chris,

 

I am currently looking at one that I believe is Bizen and koto. Would you know how far back the boys sword practice started. I may be mistaken but I thought the swords were given when the boys came of a certain age. I am wondering if it was done inconsistently in the past and became more popular in the mid to late Edo period. The mounts on the one I am looking at are poor late Edo. Good enough for a young lad but certainly not for a Samurai.

 

Tony Martin.

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Hi Martin,

 

if you think about the Shichi- go- san festival, were boys getting there first hakama and maybe the sword...

Try to google it, I forgot the details :freak:

The festival it self is not very old, but its roots for shure.

So to say, celebrateing the good and healthy "offspring" is common everywhere I think.

 

I saw few so called boys sword from picture just, there were nothing special to see so far.

But check the youtube- link below, it´s about a little handachi- koshirae:

 

Greetings

 

ruben

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Here are a few pictures. It is 18 3/8 inches long. 13/16 at the hamachi. it is 5/8 of an inch at the yakote. The kissaki is 3/4 of an inch. It has two mekugi one of which is square. There is no men . There is however a small horizontal nick! :rotfl: Gunome shifting to an elongated gunome near the kiss saki. Can't see the detail in the kissaki. There is abundant nie in the valleys of the gunome. I think it is not half bad for a boys sword.

 

Tony Martin

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  • 7 years later...

I have a boy's sword (miniature tachi) with pretty high-class fittings (tokugawa mon), and a blade by the 5th? generation Tango no kami Naomichi (Mishina school).    Hamon is one of the fancy shinshinto 'picture' hamons; perhaps waves breaking ("ura no nami" -- I can't find a drawing of that hamon, just a short description).   It's a hump with crests on either side facing it, and tobiyaki (jewels) between the crests and the hump), or perhaps it's a mountain with clouds on each side (I think it's waves, though).  I know I found the hamon once, many years ago, but I can't find it in my reference books now (not in Hawley, or Hakusui, or Yamato, etc, etc).  It's obscure...

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Edited by jesup
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On 8/6/2013 at 10:32 AM, templar44 said:

Thanks Chris,

 

I am currently looking at one that I believe is Bizen and koto. Would you know how far back the boys sword practice started. I may be mistaken but I thought the swords were given when the boys came of a certain age. I am wondering if it was done inconsistently in the past and became more popular in the mid to late Edo period. The mounts on the one I am looking at are poor late Edo. Good enough for a young lad but certainly not for a Samurai.

 

Tony Martin.

 

I believe you are referring to Genpuku, which is the coming of age ceremony. I've heard these swords referred to as Genpuku-To as well, but haven't done much research. A little confusing as I was under the impression that this was when the Samurai child came of age to wear full-size swords, but I could have that wrong. Then again, the ceremony had no set age. Anywhere from very early teens to 17-18 I believe, depending on when the youth was judged to have reached the maturity and skill-level required. So for those very young on the scale, perhaps the "boy's swords" made sense and for those on the older side, standard sized blades would do.

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I'm not sure if its still there bit there was a wakizashi on aoi that was described as a child's sword in shirasaya and came with a walking cane mount as well 

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Hi everyone! I have a tanto with an abnormal shape (see pic). Tantos don't come with shinogi like the majority of katanas. This one does. Therefore it cannot be classified as a true tanto. It looks like a miniature katana in tanto length. So I believe this is a boy's sword also. Some folks on the forum have swords much like this, so I'm wondering about the "rarity" of it. Johan

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3 hours ago, Janrudolph said:

SamSword54972.thumb.jpg.d69e1327171d339c333cda989507b92a.jpg

 

Johan,

 

Yes, your sword does appear to be a "Boy's sword."  In post #5, Ruben provided Youtube videos, one of which James Miller talks about Boy's swords and mentions how rare they are. I had an opportunity several years ago at an estate auction to bid on high quality Boys swords, but unfortunately didn't because I was unsure exactly what they were. I now wish I had gone with my initial instinct regarding the swords because I was impressed with the high quality of the small swords. No one else at the auction knew anything about them either, they all went for less than $100 each. They were all the quality the one in James Miller's video...I try not to think about passing them up too much.

 

Dave M

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Dave, I watched James Miller's videos and was fascinated by them. Not too much info on the Boy's sword he showed, most probably I was feeling a bit sullen because my tanto was of inferior quality compared to his! (A good point of my sword is that all fittings seem to be original to the blade. Nothing seems to have been re-fitted.)

So what is strange, to me at least,  is that a "rare" thing like a Boy's tanto could have been produced in both high & low quality. Differences in quality come to the fore once mass-production is begun, is that not a fair statement? Could a Boy's sword ever have been mass-produced?

And another thing I have been wondering about: should a lower-quality Boy's sword like this tanto be expected to be found in Edo times or rather later as in Meiji?     Johan

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6 hours ago, Janrudolph said:

So what is strange, to me at least,  is that a "rare" thing like a Boy's tanto could have been produced in both high & low quality. Differences in quality come to the fore once mass-production is begun, is that not a fair statement? Could a Boy's sword ever have been mass-produced?

 

My take on that specific question, is that when we discuss "high & low quality" we are talking about the smith's work. Just like in any other discussion of Nihonto, there are both high and low quality blades, regardless of the period. We don't have to get into mass production to see low(er) quality of blades. I'll be curious to hear the more knowledgeable folks take on that, though...

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  • 2 weeks later...

A boys sword I once owned.   Exceptional koshirae, solid silver...., Imperial connection.  Blade was papered to ko-uda.   Koshirae had green papers and it was numver ‘6’ from memory.  So it was once of the first papered by NBTHK.   Gorgeous item I wish I still had.Mark

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have just found a Suguha boy’s chigotō or chigozashi blade in shirasaya. It almost fits into a very nice koshirae that has been waiting for a real blade. 
It is registered, and signed 右作 (鈴木宗栄?) but the condition is not great. Why would anyone bother to Gimei this?
Is it worth drilling another Mekugi ana and finding an extra cm or two inside the Tsuka and Saya? Would such a poor condition blade be better than the Tsunagi in there at present?

These are questions occupying part of my mind just now.

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