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Nakago/signature Question


JH Lee
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Marius, you are a supercilious nincompoop!

 

Obviously he can't read Japanese, otherwise he wouldn't be asking for help. This is not "reading" that you are referring to. You are referring him to a page with kanji symbols in the hopes of finding something that perhaps closely matches the freehand symbols on his sword. If he is lucky, he might be able to pick out a "symbol" that remotely matches the symbols on his sword. It is more akin to decoding (deciphering), than actually "reading" Japanese kanji.

 

This ability doesn't come naturally to everyone. It comes with time and perseverance. Your reply was disguised as an encouragement to learn Japanese (plus a very nice laughing smiley emoticon!), but I think that it was a horse-s**t reply.

 

If I could help John L. with a translation, I would. Unfortunately, I can't.

 

This forum pisses me off most times. There is a certain "attitude".

 

Alan

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Yoshitada and Showa Ni Ju Nen Go Gatsu (Showa 20 (1945) 5 month).  The chippy, poorly cut signatures of many Gunto aren't the easiest to decypher sometimes; not an easy task for a beginner.  But there is nothing wrong when Mariusz encourages a beginner to try.  I see no attitude; at worst a misunderstanding but I doubt even that.  And a nose unnecessisarily out of joint.

Grey

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Thank you, Grey.  There is no arsenal stamp, but there is no star stamp either....  Would it be a mistake to infer that this could be a gendaito and not a non-traditional showato?  According to "Index of Japanese Swordsmiths" by Markus Sesko, there was only one Yoshitada (Kinoshita) active during this period.  But this signature matches none of the other Yoshitada mei I've found....

 

e.g.

 

http://www.ryujinswords.com/yoshitada.htm

 

http://www.hizento.net/index.php?page=sell-S8

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Pretty sure it will be a Showato with that "chippy mei"
Alan, the reason you are unable to assist is that you haven't bothered to try. Easier to sit back and expect others to do it for you. Here's news for you: MOST of us can't read Japanese here. But just trying a few means we recognize a few key kanji after a while.
The policy here is people should at least try. If that pisses you off, you are welcome to try all the other free sword translation services just waiting for your questions.
Have some respect and lose the attitude.

Brian

 

PS - Well done John for trying. See? You did get both kanji after all. And I bet you recognise them next time. :thumbsup:

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Thank you, Grey.  There is no arsenal stamp, but there is no star stamp either....  Would it be a mistake to infer that this could be a gendaito and not a non-traditional showato?  According to "Index of Japanese Swordsmiths" by Markus Sesko, there was only one Yoshitada (Kinoshita) active during this period.  But this signature matches none of the other Yoshitada mei I've found....

 

e.g.

 

http://www.ryujinswords.com/yoshitada.htm

 

http://www.hizento.net/index.php?page=sell-S8

 

Yes, it would be a mistake. The poor quality/style of the mei usually indicates showa-to. Post pictures of the blade and maybe, if the photos are clear and the blade is a reasonable state, we can tell for sure but my bet is it is a showa-to.

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Hi, all.  Just a small contribution to the debate.  I'm sorry that people are still falling out, or having thinly veiled digs at others, over possible attributions - it all seems rather schoolboyish.  I'll try to be as inoffensive as possible. 

I, too, have a '44 Pattern shin gunto with the "chippy" YOSHITADA name and date kanji.  This one came from the late Ron Gregory and still has his handwritten comments on a small tag: JSS. 3  Japanese army officer's sword (shin-gunto) late 1944 pattern.  Blade signed  YOSHITADA and dated February 1945.  No stamp of any sort that I can see.  Unfortunately, the blade has received a bit of  "Wet and Dry" treatment in the past (before Ron found it), so observing activity is impossible until a new polish is done.  Someone I sent images to suggested that the signature was Yoshisada, but Richard Fuller has examined it very carefully and is satisfied that it is Yoshitada.

I understand the points raised in general about the "chippy" style of kanji which appears on quite a few war-time blades.  Given that this distinctive style is not restricted to one smith is it not reasonable to assume that this might be the work of a professional signer in the Seki area?  Not all smiths - even good ones - were literate, even in the 1930s/1940s. 

Another thing that puzzles me is that if this is not Kinoshita (Koichi) Yoshitada, then who is it?  Given the excellent work done by a number of scholars (including John Slough) in recent years why has no-one been able to identify another smith of the period using this art name?  Is it possible that these examples have come out of Kinoshita Yoshitada's forge - made mainly by a student (or students) under his supervision?  I did hear years ago that it was believed that smiths would sometimes pass students' work as being worthy of the master's approval, but refuse to allow the student to claim the credit by identifying himself on the tang.  Just a thought.

Any opinions or observations would be welcome.

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Hi David,

I too have wondered about the similarities between so many gunto mei, as if they have been cut by the same hand.  I think the most logical explanation is that one guy was appointed to sign swords and nothing else, freeing up swordsmiths to make more swords.  The guy was quick but sloppy; I wouldn't call him professional.

Grey

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There is a website (http://ohmura-study.net/206.html) which has very detailed introductions about Showa Gunto, and it also mentioned Yoshitada...It's a bilingual website so you can search for Yoshitada and his name in Kanji (義忠)  I guess it is a little bit confusing since both "義" and "吉" are read as "Yoshi" in Japanese.  Hopefully it can provide something useful to JH.  

 

SInce the arsenal stamp and "Showa Sakura" stamp were introduced in Showa 17~18, I don't know why this sword doesn't bear those stamps.  A wild guess, or a better one to JH, is that this is a hand forged Japanese Sword since those stamps were only applied to those Gunto made with non-traditional way. (made by machines, or semi-traditional way) As for the mei, I personally think it is quite beautiful in a calligraphic viewpoint.

 

I also found another Shawo Gunto made by Yoshitada which was sold at the price of 180K Japanese Yen. Unfortunately I can't compare the mei with yours, but it also doesn't have those stamps on it (http://n-kosen.com/katana/C162.html)

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For what it's worth, the link to the "reading" mei characters has been really helpful and also empowering, enabling me to look up various resources based on the oshigata I come across.  I'm improving at what feels like a glacial pace, but slowly is better than not at all, I think.

Anyway, the fact that there is no arsenal stamp on the nakago adds to the mystery for me of this particular "Yoshitada."  But then, the most logical explanation might be that it was just an oversight.  I'm sure that in mid-1945, there were more pressing concerns on people's minds than making sure that a mass produced officer's sword's tang was properly stamped.  Just my own guess though, because I'm inclined to defer to more experienced collectors' view that this is probably a showato.

 

But "chippy" mei is definitely confusing.  More recently, I've been able to read this one as "Yoshida (__)-tsugu."  I thought it said "Masatsugu" but there was no information that I've been able to find on such a person.  Then, I was able to find a showa smith who signed "Yoshida Yoshitsugu" (1926~1989), then inferred that what I thought was "masa-" was a second "yoshi-" that looked different from the first one.  Of course, I could be totally wrong (wouldn't be the first time).

post-2831-0-53511800-1429750305_thumb.jpg

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Vince, the Ohmura website's English translation is difficult to comprehend.....  

 

 As private Zōhei-tō's swordsmith, of "Yoshimasa, Kaneshige, Yoshitada, and Kanemasa"of Kyōshinsha limited Co. and 
 "Yorimasa"of Hattori Guntō Seizō Inc etc, is checked. They are a commission swordsmith or a swordsmith. Also from
 this thing, it is hard to consider this Zohei-to to be a blade of an army sword steel one-sheet forging. 
 However, the meaning of description of the account of recollection of Major Bito as the party concerned is heavy.

 

In short, what is the conclusion one should draw about such blades that are signed "Yoshitada" or "Yorimasa" etc.???

They are blades made as custom commission by individual smiths...?  and are in whole another category from other lower-quality mass-produced showato...?

That last sentence is completely confusing.....

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This is not Kinoshita Yoshitada who was a gendaito smith from Saga and who signed with a different 'Yoshi' character.

This is almost certainly another Yoshitada (or a mistranslation) and is almost certainly a Showato. There are still lots of undocumented Showa smiths, and remember that not all Showato have arsenal stamps. Plenty were not stamped.

See this sword: http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?250303-late-war-showato-samuari-sword(have to be logged in)

 

Brian

samuari sword 014.jpg

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I note the comments from the last contributor, but must express some concern.  I would suggest that we don't know that this is not Kinoshita Yoshitada.  Perhaps it isn't, but we don't know that for certain at this time.  A different style of signature late on in the war could, as I have suggested already, indicate a professional signer "doing the rounds" among the working smiths.  In this scenario, why should the signer go to the trouble of forging the earlier style - which in any case might be the "writing" style of another professional signer, and not the smith's.  Sword smithing in 1920s/1930s Japan was hardly a white collar job.  Most smiths were not graduates.  Many had received very little schooling - in the 1980s and 1990s I myself worked with very competent men, whom I respected, who were effectively illiterate!  

Clear pronouncements of this kind might be construed, unkindly, as lazy thinking.  I would urge collectors following and contributing to the thread to reconsider all the points raised and to reappraise the logical consequences.  Is it likely that in a career spanning, possibly, more than forty years, professional sword smiths kept to the same style and never experimented with other styles?  Can you imagine the boredom of arriving at the forge every morning for forty years and thinking "I'll just do the same as I did yesterday, because I have no imagination, no creative talent beyond what my master taught me and no interest in trying something new"?  Forty years of that?  It's obviously nonsense.  

John L. has raised an interesting quotation and has not attempted to represent it as fact- he has actually asked for help!  I would suggest that someone fluent in Japanese could help the debate a lot by checking out the source of the article he has found and clarifying the intended meaning.  

I would also suggest that just as we are sometimes urged to "think outside the box" we should think outside the book, or books.  Most of us cannot speak or write Japanese at all, never mind fluently.  We all rely on actually very few books and on articles submitted by others.  The smiths were real people, and probably at heart ordinary people, just doing a job in order to survive, to make ends meet.  There is a danger that we confuse opinion with fact.  I learned an important lesson some years ago when some genuinely eminent gentlemen misidentified spectacularly a blade of mine, being a few hundred years and a few hundred miles out.  I certainly wasn't, and am not, cleverer than they, but because I am an awkward sod I sent it to Japan anyway.  It turned out to be very early, worth a mukansa polisher's time and it has been papered twice!

In summary, I don't know if this is a different, new, unidentified and by implication inferior Yoshitada - but neither does the previous contributor, unless he's holding out on us!  And if somebody actually does know, definitively, the answer to this conundrum, would he/she please share it with us before the handbags start swinging?!

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Umm.....

Again....

This is not Kinoshita Yoshitada who was a gendaito smith from Saga and who signed with a different 'Yoshi' character.

....who signed with a different 'Yoshi' character.....

You don't go from low level Showato to better quality Gendaito and back again, change your signature, and the character you use to sign your name.

Show me a good quality Gendaito signed in that poor "chippy" mei style. Seki style.

Then show me him changing his name (yes...a different kanji was essentially a name change)

 

Sorry, but your theory might apply to a different case. But not to this one.

 

Brian

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  • 6 years later...

Sorry for the thread from the dead, but at work I've been going back over older listings that we never got around to translating, as "practice."

 

We have had two 1945 dated late pattern "Special Contingency" Shin-gunto that are apparently signed 義忠 - YOSHITADA. At first we thought one was YOSHIMUNE 義宗, but going back, they are both definitely YOSHITADA.

MEI01.jpg

MEI02.jpg

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This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one, unless your post is really relevant and adds to the topic..

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