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Surfson

Ubu and Mumei

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Just to clarify -

 

I put tempering in quotes because I understand it as an oft used word but that may not convey what is really going on. For English readers I think yaki is most often translated as tempering, and I know that tempering really isnt what is happening.

 

The use of the two different kanji 足 vs 走 is from context, I agree I think this is a typo that was included in the orignal text.

 

I have read thru the introduction to the Rai section, and Tsuneishi general description of Rai work (the section this little note was taken from). I really think he is just referring to the first line when he says "the aforementioned" and not to any statement he made earlier on.

 

I really am hoping we dont skid off the tracks here as I am finding some very interesting notes on muneyaki, focusing on Rai work for now.

 

Hon'Ami Koson describing Rai works seems to say;

 

"There are yubashiri. There are muneyaki, muneyaki though that are strong yubashiri and not quite true muneyaki"

 

He talks about yubashiri as the precursor to tobiyaki, a nie formation, but he also seems to be saying that muneyaki is very much like tobiyaki if not the same thing. So far no mention of the meaning/value of muneyaki, or whether it was intentional in Rai works or not.

 

My interest here is to learn...

-t

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Nice to see the thread back....

 

Regardless of the translation and the other semantic issues, yubashiri, being a nie formation, is formed from a higher heat than that which leads to nioi, all other things being equal. Typically, muneyaki appears as nioi in my experience. I would imagine that this why the distinction is being made.

 

I am unaware of any source which states definitively that the nie based muneyaki on Rai blades was done intentionally- or not. I would be interested in hearing of any. As Nakahara mentions, most first rate smiths remove muneyaki if it does form accidentally for reasons already mentioned. We can theorize that Rai smiths must have intended it, since they could have removed it and didn't, but they may have also felt it wasn't worth the effort to remove. Doubtful we will ever know with certainty. Not that it matters in any case for Rai blades.

 

Thanks Tom for the clarification.

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The use of the two different kanji 足 vs 走 is from context, I agree I think this is a typo that was included in the orignal text.

 

I have read thru the introduction to the Rai section, and Tsuneishi general description of Rai work (the section this little note was taken from). I really think he is just referring to the first line when he says "the aforementioned" and not to any statement he made earlier on.

 

-t

 

Also thanks for the clarification!

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Is there not also the muneyaki being formed intentionally to reduce the flexibility of the sword to acceptable limits especially with chu or hoso hamon and/or steel content tending to the lower carbon level in the body of the sword? Like little hagane and predominately shigane in kobuse forging. John

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Some sources indicate muneyaki can make a blade prone to breaking, others say that it can make a blade stronger. :dunno:

 

Another factor to consider is the fact that normally, the edge of the blade is in compression because the martensitic edge is a physically larger structure than that of the back of the blade. As it expands in the quench, the back resists, and the blade curves. If the both the back and edge are martensitic, there is probably less compressive stress in the edge. The very brittle martensite edge benefits greatly by being in a state of compression -that is, the brittle edge can resist greater stresses before failure. I would think this would have consequences...

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I'd hazard a guess that it would depend upon the overall balance of soft/hard steel as opposed to the presence of muneyaki itself. So it could be either more prone to breaking or stronger with muneyaki but not due to muneyaki itself. The geometry of having a hardened mune on the other hand is hard to say. It may improve it's strength yet have trade offs with less hardened steel on the yakiba to maintain the overall balance.

 

Another factor to consider is the fact that normally, the edge of the blade is in compression because the martensitic edge is a physically larger structure than that of the back of the blade. As it expands in the quench, the back resists, and the blade curves. If the both the back and edge are martensitic, there is probably less compressive stress in the edge. I would think this could have some consequence.

 

That's a good point and could help Rai blades survive quenching from a higher heat? This is all just speculation, however topics such as this make me want to take up swordsmithing and spend 20 years in a cave experimenting :glee:

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Nice to see the thread back....

 

Regardless of the translation and the other semantic issues, yubashiri, being a nie formation, is formed from a higher heat than that which leads to nioi, all other things being equal. Typically, muneyaki appears as nioi in my experience. I would imagine that this why the distinction is being made.

 

I am unaware of any source which states definitively that the nie based muneyaki on Rai blades was done intentionally- or not. I would be interested in hearing of any. As Nakahara mentions, most first rate smiths remove muneyaki if it does form accidentally for reasons already mentioned. We can theorize that Rai smiths must have intended it, since they could have removed it and didn't, but they may have also felt it wasn't worth the effort to remove. Doubtful we will ever know with certainty. Not that it matters in any case for Rai blades.

 

Thanks Tom for the clarification.

This is just nonsense skipping all the discussion and input given over the past few pages, and going back to your original statements as though nothing happened inbetween.

This is a Rai kantei point and is not unintentional. The thought that they did it by accident and just left it because it wasn't worth the effort to remove is ludicrous.

I suggest we all make up our own minds why it is found in some top schools, read the existing posts, and stop going in circles.

Enough of this one, sorry folks but the arguments here are becoming droll.

 

Brian

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Ok, against my better judgement, I was asked to unlock this for a member who has done further research.

Please note that any rehashing of points already covered, or any personal comments at all, will be deleted without comment. Suggest people only post if they have something very relevant to add.

 

Brian

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This is a Rai kantei point and is not unintentional. The thought that they did it by accident and just left it because it wasn't worth the effort to remove is ludicrous.

I suggest we all make up our own minds why it is found in some top schools, read the existing posts, and stop going in circles.

Enough of this one, sorry folks but the arguments here are becoming droll.

 

Brian

 

Because something is a kantei point does not mean ipso facto that it is intentional.

 

There has been nothing posted here that proves muneyaki in Rai blades was intentional. Or unintentional. I have never seen any proof either way; of course, it may well exist. You state with seeming certainty it is intentional-If you have information that supports this, please post it.

 

The fact is many smiths have left unintentionally produced muneyaki when they could have removed it. Why not Rai?

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The fact is many smiths have left unintentionally produced muneyaki when they could have removed it. Why not Rai?

 

The fact (I have no experience on Rai blades) from what I have read through this post is that:

 

1 - often due to clay slipping there were muneyaki and that good smiths removed them as it seems a drawback but not the others

2 - nowhere I have read in this post that these muneyaki applied as a kantei point but for the Rai school which is considered as one of the finest one.

 

It leaves different options:

 

- muneyaki have absolutely no importance and Rai school smiths had understood it and left them accordingly

- muneyaki were an asset and they produce it willingly

 

Muneyaki are not so terrible if you contemplate hitatsura blades

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Keep in mind too Jean that the muneyaki in Rai blades is mostly scattered nie formations here and there. It looks random and natural, like tobiyaki does in the ji. Do we think that tobiyaki or yubashiri is consciously made, or is it serendipity, a result of the process? I have watched yaki-ire tons of times, and have done it under the supervision of smiths many times as well. I can tell you from these experiences that what you intend to get and what actually happens can be quite different. That is the magic of the metallurgy.

 

Rai muneyaki is also usually confined to the peak of the mune and doesn't fall off the sides...It is not a heavy, long formation as you see in others...I doubt there is any material mechanical effect on the blade from these scattered nie sprinkles...At least that is how those I have seen look..I have handled more than a couple Rai blades so I do have some first hand experience.

 

In contrast, there are sue koto blades (and others) with muneyaki all down the mune in an obvious attempt at providing strength in the mune to either laterally stiffen the blade and/or provide it with protection from strikes. This would clearly have a material effect on the blade.

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Because something is a kantei point does not mean ipso facto that it is intentional.

It does not mean that it isn't. Frankly, the fact that the Rai school is and was a top school and they did this repeatedly, allows me to sleep soundly with the assumption that they knew what they were doing and repeated it deliberately.

There has been nothing posted here that proves muneyaki in Rai blades was intentional. Or unintentional. I have never seen any proof either way; of course, it may well exist. You state with seeming certainty it is intentional-If you have information that supports this, please post it.

As above. How about you prove it wasn't intentional?

The fact is many smiths have left unintentionally produced muneyaki when they could have removed it. Why not Rai?

A lot of smiths produced hitatsua accidentally by clay falling off.

Why counldn't most of those Soshu smiths have done the same accidentally? :?

The arguments do not hold up. You already have been provided with a LONG list of top smiths that have muneyaki appearing. Just go back and read, instead of ignoring what was already posted.

This thread was opened for someone else to post some research. Awaiting his input so that I can close this topic.

 

Brian

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Old wine in new wineskins http://www.nihontomessageboard.com/nmb/ ... =1&t=14417

 

Nobuo Nakahara, p.128 (Viewing the Blade)

Sometimes there is mune-yaki (a tempered line or spot on the mune) to be considered. If you do not notice at first it is not so serious, but there are some cases that should not be ignored, as it is an important kantei point.

 

The whole discussion whether intentionally or unintentionally made is fruitless, fact is that a number of first rate swordsmiths are associated with mune-yaki.

 

Eric

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Indeed, a whole lot of first rate swordsmiths are associated with muneyaki. No one has argued otherwise. It is an issue in many cases when it was unintentional as it is, in general, a sign of a second rate blade. The quotes from Japanese sources stated this as well.

 

No smith produced hitatsura when the "clay fell off" unless the clay fell off all over the blade. That simply doesn't happen. Your argument is meaningless.

 

My original comment in this thread before we took a ride on the crazy train was:

 

Muneyaki is frequently done intentionally; it is seen often in sue koto. We can only say it is unintentional when it appears in a blade by a smith who is not known to feature it; it is usually rather obvious as it appears random and without form. When it appears unintentionally, it is usually not viewed positively as it is a sign that the smith was not in complete control.

 

With Rai, we do not know with certainty one way or another if the scattered yubashiri/nie like formations along the peak of the mune were done intentionally or not. They could have easily occurred as a byproduct of their quenching process. If you have seen many Rai blades and have done/witnessed yaki-ire, you can understand why it might be thought unintentional. The simple fact is we just don't know. And whether or not it was unintentional is simply not important when it comes to Rai blades as it is not viewed as anything negative in their case. I can't explain it any clearer.

 

This horse is well past dead....

 

:bang: :bang: :bang:

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No smith produced hitatsura when the "clay fell off" unless the clay fell off all over the blade. That simply doesn't happen. Your argument is meaningless.

Clay can and does fall off the sides of the blade sometimes, or can be applied too thin in places. Often this causes tobiyaki...sometimes intentionally, and sometimes unintentionally. Lots of tobiyaki = hitatsura. Do you know at what point lots of tobiyaki becomes hitatsura? I am not aware of a formula.

Is this lots of tobiyaki or hitatsura, and do you know that the smith intended it this way?

 

file.php?id=45412&sid=5c9603f652db984ae99c6c0514ccdb64

 

The point is sometimes we just have to trust that smiths know what they are doing, and create things intentionally, espacially when they repeat these things often.

 

Brian

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Sure, clay can fall off here or there, or be thinly applied. However, it doesn't fall off in little patches all over the blade; it usually falls off along the edges where it scrapes off while the blade is drawn in and out of the charcoal to heat it. Sometimes a large chunk will spall off, but again, not all over the blade. So no, hitatsura is not an accident.

 

Different people will have different interpretations of what constitutes hitatsura. Usually, it covers the complete blade from ha to mune, not just tobiyaki in the ji. If the tobiyaki become abundant, sometimes the blade will be described as "tending to hitatsura", or "somewhat like hitatsura". That is how I would describe this Hasebe blade from what is visible in the photos. Others may do so differently.

 

Here is an example of clear hitatsura:

 

post-1462-14196935256348_thumb.jpg

 

The tobiyaki of the type in your example Hasebe blade was not placed specifically where it is, in the shape it is, on purpose, rather, it is a random occurrence from the quench. The smith was quenching at a higher temp and as a result, these random nie formations occur. They are a byproduct of the process. Hasebe smith produced this style of work regularly -it is the result of their quenching, steel, and construction methods. Were they specifically tailoring their process to produce random tobiyaki? These tobiyaki formations serve no practical purpose so I tend to doubt it but we don't know with certainty....and that is my point.

 

Here is a purposely formed tobiyaki. I think the difference should be obvious:

 

post-1462-14196935258341_thumb.jpg

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OK so I am not arguing, I witnessed an argument between friends and what they said got me to thinking...

 

I was curious as to what my references had to say about the quality of muneyaki - I had seen and read it was a kantei point but could not recall any discussions on the differences so I went digging.

 

Specifically on the Rai school I found Tanobe Sensei describing the work of Rai Kuniyuki in his Meihin Katana Ezu;

 

"in general the hadori shows midare in the lower half, especially the koshi. In the upper half what you see is hirosugu-ha cho with ashi and just as it says in the old books you see a lot of yubashiri in the mune, in most works muneyaki can be seen. It is the norm to see muneyaki in Odeki works such as hitatsura and choji midare but to show muneyaki in a gentle hadori such as sugu-ha cho, that is what is unique (outstanding) in the works of Kuniyuki. This is inherited by Niji Kunitoshi, Rai Kunitoshi, Rai Kunimitsu and Rai Kunitsugu."

 

From this I conclude;

 

1. This sounds a lot like what has already been said about Rai works.

2. It was part of their work-style.

3. at least in this case, for this one writer, it seems it is a positive feature.

4. As Franco pointed out long ago, it is yubashiri or yubashiri-like within the works of this group.

 

I have not found anything to suggest that they didnt know it was there or seeing it they wished they could erase it. I agree we cannot say with certainty that it was intentional but my feeling is that it was. I am not inclined to fight over it if there are other opinions.

 

It seems in the few hours that this thread has been unlocked Chris clarified his view quite succinctly and I for one did not see anything off-base there. (not that youre waitin around for my approval)

 

-t

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On the general topic of muneyaki I found a few lines of interest from Fukunaga Sensei;

 

"Muneyaki is nie-deki, when it is nioi it is often referred to as mune-ba (mune-ha). Muneyaki makes the area where it is applied stronger because it will not bend and it prevents kirikomi being too deep. If the muneyaki is too strong however it makes the sword prone to breakage, so there are smiths who will try to erase it if they see it."

 

and

 

"Tobiyaki has nie in the center or nie may form the outline, if it is oblong we call it tama. Tobiyaki that are seen in the mune are called muneyaki or munetsuru. Yubashiri is where the jinie (has gathered up) and is strong in one area but the outline is fuzzy, akin to seeing the milky way in the night sky"

 

and then this is the stuff that I get the most kick out of;

 

"One theory of why munyaki came to be (more common?) is the practice of commanders encamped during battle would strike stones on the mune of their swords (hiuchi) as a sign of fortune, a prayer for luck in battle."

 

We know that it used to be common practice for the wife to strike a flint as a purification or prayer for safety when someone left the house on a trip, so it was something like this but I cannot imagine this last bit would have been done.

 

If I had to say it seems we've come full circle - what I take from all this is we need to look at how muneyaki is applied and in what era and in consideration of the school/work-style of the smith. As my Japanese friends would say "Case by case." Sorry John not sure we got anywhere closer to helping you with your sword...

-t

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From this I conclude;

 

1. This sounds a lot like what has already been said about Rai works.

2. It was part of their work-style.

3. at least in this case, for this one writer, it seems it is a positive feature.

4. As Franco pointed out long ago, it is yubashiri or yubashiri-like within the works of this group.

 

-t

 

1. 了解。

 

2. 了解。 But we don't know with certainty if it was a result/byproduct of their process or that they were consciously producing it.

 

3. Is he making a value judgment or simply noting that it is unique and stands out?

 

4. 了解。

 

It seems in the few hours that this thread has been unlocked Chris clarified his view quite succinctly and I for one did not see anything off-base there. (not that youre waitin around for my approval)

 

All I did was repeat my original statement....

 

If I had to say it seems we've come full circle - what I take from all this is we need to look at how muneyaki is applied and in what era and in consideration of the school/work-style of the smith. As my Japanese friends would say "Case by case." Sorry John not sure we got anywhere closer to helping you with your sword...

 

And that is basically what I said before this thread became one long, nutty trip down the rabbit hole.....

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異色ぶりがあり

 

 "Ishokuburi ga ari" is the phrase he uses. I believe it has a positive sense to it - the other evidence would be that he included these works in his magnum opus which I think is a pretty positive statement as well...

-t

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I am not sure there is any qualitative connotation (my Japanese wife doesn't think so...). My dictionary says "distinctive ・ unique ・ novel ". It is indeed that...We know that in Rai blades it is not considered a negative-it not a mistake in the sense that clay has fallen off-as has been said repeatedly by me and noted by others- so it should be no surprise that they are included in this book....

 

Thanks for your additions to this thread Tom....

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Well, I submitted this blade to the NTHK at the Chicago show last weekend and it papered to Komihara, with an estimated date of 1350.   Good enough for me to go ahead and send it to Japan as I think Darcy originally suggested.  When I studied Komihara blades online, they do have the turn back that is found in the boshi of this sword.   Cheers, Bob

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I am reviving this older thread since I have finally gotten around to posting some photos after polish.  The blade is awaiting shinsa in Japan.  The thread itself has been interesting, and went into a long debate about muneyaki and koto schools.  This is the time to get your guesses in as to what school or maker it will paper to, so have at it.  Cheers, Bob

 

post-620-0-52449800-1518305112_thumb.png

post-620-0-29214800-1518305130_thumb.png

post-620-0-08742500-1518305146_thumb.png

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Uda was mentioned earlier in the thread as a possibility, so you are not alone John.  James, I haven't received it back yet, so I don't know.  That would be nice if there is!  

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In the absence of more info I'm going to have to agree with the NTHK and say ko-mihara dating to the end of nambokucho/oei. There's many similarities to oei bizen smiths/kozori working in an osafune- mono suguha of late kamakura  like kagemitsu. However there's simply too much nagare/masame.

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Thanks James.  Remember that it is over 31 inches and the mekugi ana is a full four inches from the machi, suggesting that it was mounted as a tachi.  Also, the NTHK gave a call of Ko-mihara, putting it at late kamakura, early nambokucho.  We shall see what the NBTHK comes up with...

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Yes, almost certainly a Tachi but they were still common up to Oei and while they were most common around 72-75cm from what I've seen from this era a good percentage with 78-80cm+.

This papered Toshimtsu from 1399 was the first example I found but certainly over 31" before suriage. Also p162 and p384 of Markus' Koto Kantei Zenshu from a brief scroll shows a couple more though most seem to of been shortened.  Ko-Mihara lasted up until the start of muromachi from what I've read so anything 1300-1400ish could be considered not having seen the NTHK papers whether they specify a date. I'm just going off other schools really as to sugata putting it later. Although I guess for ko-mihara it could just as easily be late Kamakura.

 

Kantei from photo's is not easy unless it's a bit obvious as there's so much info gained in hand and especially suguha like this is one of the hardest imho. Did Mishina-Sensei give an opinion? As I'd trust him more than almost anyone else.

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