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tadayoshi waki expert help on mei


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Great and interesting information Roger, thank you!


OK chaps we have two options .... down tools for 5 years until we train him up, cash the gold, and sell the wife,kids and concubines (to the cries of "no... not the concubines"!), and eat grass with some rice for a while .............., OR we can run off a few (err.......thousand) gimei in the meantime, sign them all Tadayoshi as "Deshi" and "Dai-Mei" on behalf of the spotty teenager, and no-one will know for a few hundred years until Bill Gates and the NMB arrive.....just dont tell anyone in the meantime.


I'm surprised this didn't happen with the Yondai after the death the Sandai and the Nidai.  The loss of them in a relatively short period of time and the very young age of the Yondai had to be a huge blow to the school.  You'd expect there'd be a large number of dai-mei in the early days of the Yondai, but apparently that's not the case.  Any guesses why this is?

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Thanks,   I stopped drinking completely 4 years ago. ... figured I had consumed more than my fair share so haven't touched a single drop since......  Coincidentally I haven't lost a phone, or cut myself on a Japanese sword, or lost my wallet in 4 years also! Amazing coincidence.


If anyone has any Hizento requests please feel free to ask and don't be put off by what you have been reading. As we say often at work, there is no such thing as a stupid question, only a stupid answer!.


I should point out again that whilst there was some pretty heavy banter going on here, it is all healthy discusssion and opinion, and great to hear from everyone, especiialy Karl who raised some interesting points. I really would like to see some Hiroshige oshigata --- I haven't dug through the books in a long time,as I have a large database of images ... clearly not complete so thank you Karl for pointing that out. 


One of the biggest problems we face is the vast amount off corrupt data --- as time passes and more is electronically stored, and questioned, the more accurate it should ? become.  Don't forget, the experts who wrote the books often were looking at gimei.... or got it wrong. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Fujishiro Nidai with a diamond... he got it wrong didn''t he!!


Even the NBTHK Hizento Meikan is riddled with errors.




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Hi Steve,


The Yondai followed the greatest master of the school --- his father the 3rd Gen. His grandfather the Nidai turned a small (ish) smithy into a vast factory output with over 100 deshi, so it was all setup and the Yondai had the greatest of teachers by the time he was the boss. He was talented without doubt, and some of his swords are amazing (Jo Saku 70 Hawley point smith) , but he must have had an inferiority  complex/been highly strung following in such great footsteps and I always think of him as the black sheep of the family.


His work can be quite wild and outside the rather formal and traditional styles so he worked on the edge of tradition, an indication perhaps of his wild ways? He also murdered his own wife and Kikuhira when he found them having a bonk (in todays terminology). 


Your assumption was he was young  when his father died (he was actually 18 or thereabouts so not so young in those days), and when his grandfather passed away he was 25. A young man highly trained, without doubt groomed in the secret techniques. He was skillful and highly rated. There was no need for daimei of his work until his later years (he died aged 80), and then it was by his own son, the 5th gen. 




1680's in Japan ---- still great demand for swords so a thriving industry with the threat of unrest ever present.



(Now the Hachidai is a different story altogether).








And I found the 1819 dated gimei --- kind of 4th gen ??...





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Thanks Roger.  


I was just thinking that the scrap pile in the Tadayoshi forge had to have some really good quality blades in it when the Yondai took over.  Would of expected him to sign some for the dough.  I suppose his perfectionist father beat it into him to only produce and distribute the best of the best.


Based on the work of the Sandai and Yondai, the Nidai was one hell of a teacher.  And yeah by 25 the Yondai would have been more than fully trained.


I now have two dai-saku mei made by the Sandai.  The new one is here:  http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/17728-hizen-tadayoshi-perfection/ You helped me out with the first one and got me hooked on the school.

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Very nice. You can see the surgical precision in every detail so maybe a dai-Saku by the third ... but I wouldn't have said dai-mei.

The filemarks in a 3rd gen Dai-mei are slighlty sloping (noticeably so), deep and evenly spaced, as if each one was done by machine! These don't look like they are sloping and are straight across (Nidai work), not so even and shallow? Hard to tell but have you sat the two swords down side by side and looked at just the filemarks? The mei is circa 1671 or so. If you send me/post a jpg rather than htm file, I can rotate it... saves holding my pc at 90 degrees and arms length  or lying on my desk to view it!


Now having said signature and filemarks in the same breath, I was taught to look for sloping filemarks to see if third gen work... but not so sure how to tell the signature other than by its precision. Does it matter? 3rd gen and 2nd gen gassaku (joint work) . Perfect.


Lovely piece. 

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Hoping the pagination is ok..............


3rd Gen Mutsu no kami                 3rd Gen dai-mei for Nidai                               2nd Gen                 4th Gen Dai-mei for Nidai

                                                       (angled yasurime highlighted)

post-826-0-81201400-1444961379_thumb.jpg                                                  post-826-0-73677100-1444961426_thumb.jpg                                            post-826-0-49689100-1444961481_thumb.jpg                   post-826-0-28213400-1444961748_thumb.jpg                





Gets a bit hard trying to decide whether it is dai-saku and dai-mei, or just dai-saku, or just dai-mei etc, becuse you have to start looking into the sword and using a huge amount of imagination. Scotch used to help, until you drop the blade ... worse still is when you catch it. Dope if you live in LAX. Anyway, some errors and opinion are going to creep in and I guess you can't blame the NBTHK for not going there. It helps if you can lay 3 or 4 pieces next to each other to compare, then it is a lot easier and you see what you didn't even know existed before. Used to have some great kantei sessions with Lee a few years back ... hell ... we even worked out the colour of their underwear when they forged the sword!


Lee is going to hate me for this one ... discussing the merits of Tameshigiri and Seppuku in traditional kantei robes and religious regalia just like they do in Japan !


(Sorry Lee)





I have been worse on occasion... a lot, lot worse!




Does it really matter at the end of the day ...... I think if you have a Nidai sword that was clearly made/assisted by/ or even signed by the Sandai, you are onto a winner because the piece is going to be superb.


Its gone a biit quiet out there ... are we all dumbstruck, bored to tears having heard it before, or scared we are going to put our foot in  it?










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I have been worse on occasion... a lot, lot worse!


Ahhhhh, I remember it well.  Robertshaw in Melbourne, Australia.  And those reports from Western Australia.   Sighhhhh...  Roger Old Chum, I haven't given it up, but I have taken the advice of a mate of mine "Barry, you don't have to give it up.  Just drink it by the glass and not the bottle".  The most important thing is that you are still flying high on Tadayoshi.  So good to see you in action here.




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I emailed you a jpeg of the sword Roger.  


I will defer to you since everything I know is from reading your book.  But I would say the yasurime is a pretty deep katte-agari, even more so than the other wakizashi I have, very similar to the dai-mei you've shown.


I was thinking it was circa 1674 due to the slightly sloping vertical stroke in Tada, that or the Sandai signed it.  The horizontal strokes in Wara are aligned, maybe Sandai?


Does it matter who made it? I'd say no, it is what it is a great piece of work.  I do enjoy the detective work trying to figure out who made it though.

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1 is too much. 1000 are not enough!

Hi Bazza

Still kicking strong?


Steve sent me his wak in a jpg format so I didn't have to contort my old bones to see the nakago. The yasurimei are indeed sloping so 3rd gen work!


Since he already posted it, I am sure he will not mind here again as a jpg. 

Really nice.



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Sorry for not getting back sooner... and apologies to Roger for not understanding his use of 'Musashi Daijo'... in the 'context' that he used it.  I'm just a very literal person. I only 'read-between-the-lines' when reading 'Tadayoshi School' blades :-)


Okey-dokey... you are ALL going to love what I've discovered now... and it's taken 2 years of looking at everything the internet has to offer (up to 2015).


1586-1630 with a few 1601 blades... which is an amazingly great time... as it's not really a fluffy-area to get too bogged down with progeny as they were not born yet - yippee (crossed them off). Show me a signature and I can tell you who wrote it. I've cracked the 'Jo/Myoju' CODE... which once known is actually quite obvious. 


I almost just want to sit on my hands with this knowledge... as it's actually FUN to know something that others don't. 


Roger (aka Omi)... the Tadayoshi sword you are selling is signed by MUNENAGA (1st Gen Tadayoshi's Cousin) and a really great Horimono carver. And this is not speculation... I just really don't know who to tell this information to 1st.


To errr.... sweeten the inquiring 'Sherlock Holmes' minds out there... I WILL mention another TADAKUNI secret I've found... and he seems to have been  very clever indeed at signing his blades... If anyone wishes a eureka feeling... I'll send you a little gift... 2-characters with tracing-paper (that one can lift) ... and what you'll see is HIRONORI (Tadakuni's early name) on the paper... and when you drop the tracing paper over the top of it (which has only a few lines on it... it becomes da-da-DAH > HIZEN! Which is on every blade he made!!! Omg..... the cat is out the bag. 


PS... I did notice another book-error (Not yours Roger... sit back dude, stop sweating) ...well this book does not contain the HIRO character that HIRO-NORI used... so it would not have been found - unless you kinda (blows on nails) lift a few rocks.

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A few 'Masonic lodges' could benefit from what I've just learnt. I have only seen 3 swords actually signed by the hand of 1st Gen. Tadayoshi... 2 are dated 1601 and you can see the horimono detail improving as the years progress...i.e. Those sold at Christies (auction house) ... all are signed by MUNENAGA's hand (cousin and Horimono carver 1st Gen Tadayoshi studied with).


I've seen a 1st Gen. Tadayoshi signed by Kunihiro (dated 1601) more clues as to how the swords overall look would develop...

and a rare Tadayoshi signed by Jo Munetsugu (swordmaking priest) who was like a father to him... and eventually controlled all the Hizen Smiths... but you all know that already.


If you THINK you have a 1st Gen. Tadayoshi signature> you don't > it's curently 100% a MUNENAGA. 


You'll ask to see the genuine 1st Gen... Tadayoshi signature... and I need to know who MR. BIG is? Who is to get shown this information first?


I had to find out EVERYONE's CODE before being able to say what I've just said. No speculation. Just logic. Nothing fluffy. Just fact. No wind-up. (You may wish to sell your blades very quickly).


-Research by Karl Peter Smith 20th Oct, 2015.

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When you lift a few lines off HIZEN... and you read HIRONORI exactly they way he signs it... omg moment.


All 1st Gen.Tadayoshi blades signed by himself ALL have lets-say... more interesting hamon...


...and all the Munenaga signed blades are 'flat-water'... 'fine-sugar'... no matter how they word it... lets say... blades you wouldn't cry over if you scratched one etching them (practicing). But its value would naturally increase once carved really well.

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I am at risk of sounding cynical (which I know I am) but I do truly admire your attention to detail and objective approach. I have two concerns with what you are doing

1. You seem to insist on presenting your opinions, all be they well researched and supported (at least in your view) as statements of fact. And appear to believe that your two years of very studious web research carries more weight than generations of scholars who have gone before you studying work in hand. There is a very thin line between appearing confident and incredibly arrogant. This can seriously jeopardise the information you appear to be presenting

2. You mention you have spent two years studying everything on the net and have seen 3 Tadayoshi blades (in hand or on the net?) Think how much more validity your opinions would carry if you had spent some of that time studying swords in hand.


I am not saying you are wrong, I am nowhere near qualified to do so, but equally  I think a slightly more humble approach might further your views more effectively.

I will leave it to the more up to date Hizen collectors than I am to comment more specifically on the points you raise.

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I'm just dying... Well I think it was just a matter of time until we got our own Prof. R. Langdon here.. :)


Like stated earlier, even a code-breaking genius, as someone here presents himself, is arrogant if he claims to know more than people who have actually done hands on and feet in the ground research on these subjects for decades and have combined knowledge of centuries in the field.


Well it might just be my subtle Finnish nature but... and don't get me wrong, it is entertaining, in a "blows coffee out of ones nose" kind of a way. ;)



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Maybe it's the part-German-ancestry (and precision) that keeps me holding this secret at bay till I can prove who EVERYONE is and not just ONE person... like TOSA for instance... and yes I know who he is too. It was a matter of 'knowing' something. The 'code' and where to go looking (on the sword)... every sword.




Well I needed to reach a point where "if i show something, a blade for instance (signed)" and you say "it is by another sword-maker" I can immediately riposte - like i am doing so now.


 ....Isocyanide here's my email: orphichouse@yahoo.co.uk

Sent me a pic of a blade (any) and I'll show you. You sound ok.


I'll even talk to you on the phone. It is so huge that I was actually going to email the Japanese Embassy first. 


POST on here one of YOUR 1st Gen Tadayoshi blades which you think is signed by him AndyMcK and I'll publicly announce why it aint what you think it is..deal? 

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Very important I'd say..


Would love to have 1st gen Tadayoshi but alas, I am also forced to watch them from afar through endless secrets of the internet... ;)




ps. Had I one, wouldn't show it to you just to keep your braincells bubbling... :)

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