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Kabuto Papers Translation


David Volkwyn
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Line by line or general translation or transcription? To start with, the paper is for a 62 plate iron kabuto of the mid-Edo period. I never heard of the "nihon katchū bugu kenkyū hozon kai" that issued the papers, but I'm not an armor collector.

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Hi Guido and Justin - thanks for the input its much appreciated . I have another 62 plate signed Saotome with the same papers so its useful to know which organization issued them.

 

Guido with your knowledge of Japanese can you make out any of the other kanji on the papers by any chance? In case you don't recall who I am we always sit outside around the corner at the DTI with John and myself .

 

Cheers

 

David

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Hi David,

of course I know who you are. :)

 

This tokubetsu kichō 特別貴重 ninteisho 認定書 appraisal paper of the NKBKHK doesn't give much info except that it's a 62 plate suji kabuto 筋兜 from the mid-Edo period 江戸時代中期. It's dated March 16 , Shōwa 61, and signed by the president Akagi Munetoku (Sōtoku?) 赤城宗徳. That is followed by the certificate number and the (facsimile?) signatures of the officers of that society.

 

Sorry, but it seems that they are even stingier with forwarding info than the NBTHK. :( 

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  • 3 years later...

hi  all, 

 

I see this old post now, maybe I can help and explain something.

In 2017 I was invited to watch the shinsa live, and since last year I have the honour to be a NKBKHK shinsa jury member.

Judging these items is not always easy, there is more info about swords available than there is about armor.   And yes, also for swords, there are discussions  and different opinions.

Therefore, the shinsa only gives an estimated age, and  a quotation about the historical value of the item.

I can testify that the judging happens very seriously and based on true knowledge, provided by the leading experts in Japan.

And also we are learning every day.

I see a certain evolution in Japan to provide more information about the items, but this needs more time.

We (the Japanese Armor Society, this is the western branch of the NKBKHK) are preparing a shinsa in the west, under the supervision of the Japanese jury-members.

the plan is to do more research in advance  and to give more information IF possible.

I hope this gave you a little bit more insight about the NKBKHK Shinsa papers.

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David,  Can I ask if the ukebari (lining) of your helmet is intact? If it is, I suspect the shinsa panel decided not to stick their collective necks out because they were unable to see the inside of the bowl and would not take the risk of possibly being proved wrong. It is much safer to just to state that it is a 62 plate suji bachi - a blindingly obvious piece of information that is not worth the ink it was written with. So much for the value of that particular shinsa and the 'expertise' involved. It is the equivalent of submitting a mumei sword for shinsa and getting back a beautifully written paper telling you it is a 'katana blade'.

Since you ask, and please bear in mind I am working from photographs, My first thought was that it is by one of the Saotome smiths because the plates between the suji appear in the images to be slightly rounded - a feature the Saotome employed. However, they did not file down the suji (the standing flange at the rear edge of each plate) as the approached the top on their helmets that on yours are. Dr. Orikasa who did an amazing amount of research on Saotome bowls states that only 9% of Saotome smiths put the front shiten no byo (the standing rivets on the sides of the bowl) on the 9th plate which yours has. Having eliminated the Saotome I would suggest it has to be Myochin work, some of whom did the S sectioned plates. The problem here is that there are hundreds of them. In fact I now suspect they actually ran a franchise system. So what we need is a Myochin who did S shaped plates, positioned the shiten no byo on the 9th plate and even more unusually only drilled 1 hole through the front of the haraidate (the crest holder). Not a great deal of help and in fact all negative, but it has narrowed the field a bit.

Ian bottomley

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Ian, when a kabuto comes on the shinsa, we are not allowed to open the ukebari if it is closed.
I see that most suspicious kabuto have a closed but recent ukebari. In many cases the item is not judgeable.
So last year, most of these kabuto were withdrawn from the shinsa.
In the case of Saotome, it is really not necessary to open the ukebari. They are easy to recognise from the outside.
And that was how Orikasa sensei tested me time after time.
I can tell you he sees it faster than you can count.
About the ‘expertise’, i notice that your essays and lectures are very often  based on several shinsa members their studies. They are stong Ian, do not underestimate them.

About this particular helmet, I agree with your opinion about the school.

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One more thing.

There are two reasons to bring an item on the shinsa:

The owner want to learn something about the item

Or

The owner want to sell the item and knows he can ask more if it is papered by the NKBKHK.

The first group has no problem with an open ukebari.

The second group, well it depends on the item if you know what I mean.

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Luc,  I agree that it would be totally wrong to remove an ukebari and I have never suggested otherwise.

 

I also agree that a Saotome helmet is easy to recognise, if you know what to look for, and like you I was first taught what to look for by Dr. Orikasa. You will note I always attributed his research in my posts. What I do not do, like some, is make simple statements such as ' It is by the Haruta.' or some such and always say why I come to the conclusion I have.

 

You accuse me of basing my writings and lectures on the studies of shinsa or on the discoveries of others. Of course I do and so do you and every other scholar, that is how all knowledge is accumulated and propagated. However, when I know who did the research or first made the discovery it I say so as I did in my post above. If you Iook at my published work you will see that I always include attributions where I know the author of the knowledge I quote. In the first book I co-authored that was written in1988  I was careful to state the source of most of the information that it contained was given to us by Mr. Sasama, who was even kind enough to write a forward for it. Again in my research on the diplomatic armours sent to Europe there are full  references as there should be. Anyone who studies any subject uses the ideas and conclusions that have been made by others previously. The old saying that 'we stand on the shoulders of giants' is absolutely correct. There is however a time and place whether references are justified or not. If someone asks for a translation of a mei, it is sufficient to give that and state what details are known about the smith rather than quote a load of references as to which dictionary the kanji were looked up in or which book contained the details.

 

The point I was making in my comments in the above post was that the expertise the shinsa panel who wrote the origami was hardly profound. It said it had 62 plates - yes we can count, it was a suji bachi kabuto - yes  that is rather obvious (but I do not know who first decided that these were called that) and that it  was mid Edo - yes I concede a valid opinion based on previous experience. I think even you would agree it is hardly great expertise.

 

Ian Bottomley

Member of the Nihon Katchu Bugu Kenkyu Hozon Kai

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Luc, I have some concerns with regard to Shinsa, would you be happy to answer my questions as they point towards a Conflict of Interest for Board Members.
As I said its just my own concern, so this would be an ideal opportunity for me to voice it in public?

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About the ‘expertise’, i notice that your essays and lectures are very often  based on several shinsa members their studies. They are stong Ian, do not underestimate them.

 

 

 

Luc-

 

This sentence intimates that you are calling Ian a plagiarizer, and this is a very unprofessional thing to do. Maybe it's the translation between the languages, but I wanted to call out that dis-ingeniousness of this statement above. Ian is a scholar, and as any serious scholar and student knows, attribution is provided where known, but at some point, this attribution falls off when the information becomes common belief. At one point, someone kept providing attribution to the person who first promulgated that the earth was round, and not flat. This attribution was appended each time it was discussed, but at some point when it became common belief, they quit attributing the statement to Pythagoras.

 

You'll attract more flies with honey than vinegar.

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I never intended to call Ian a plagiazer, everybody has to rely on someones discoveries and studies. And indeed, Ian do mention them on every occasion. So I am sure that Ian respect them. I just want Ian to know that these sensei are a part of the shinsa.

If this is misunderstood, my deepest apologies Ian.

My point is that the shinsa takes it’s responsability not light. And that the members ( i now exclude myself). are authorities on their field.

Ian deserves respect for his research, so do these Japanese sensei.

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I, for one would not submit my items for shinsa only because as has been said already, the information given is not at all comprehensive and often states the obvious. But that's just me - some collectors/dealers like to have the validation of these documents. It would be good if more information were provided, but as with all things Japanese, changing this situation is much easier said than done.

 

I've had the privilege of being a silent observer for 2 years now and I can tell you that it is a long, arduous and exhausting process, with many items being judged within the day. In fact, at the most recent shinsa, I had to excuse myself as the judging went into the evening hours because I was too tired and hungry and I wasn't even doing anything (except comparing my own judgements to those made by the judges).

 

As Luc mentioned, there is the intention to hold shinsa in the West at some point, and there are a few procedures being discussed which will hopefully improve the process and the information given.

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Armour should be all about the fun of collections and learning.
I fail to see why shinsa is educational when the papers are not really much more than a written observation. As the above paper relates its a suji Kabuto, but the experts on the day have not even identified the school. 
Learning about an item is easy, you just post photos to this board or any of the social media stations as everyone in our community frequents them and information is tendered freely. 

My fear is that shinsa can be used to increase the value of items and that this detracts from its goal.

We know for sure that if an armour is published, appears in a museum or has a high ranking paper that the worth is increased. With shinsa being unregulated, and it is, a self-appointed panel of self-proclaimed experts should hold little water in authenticating a piece, yet as a society, it can parade itself as an official body. Who deems this panel experts other than their fellows?  The society is a club.

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