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bigjohnshea

Do Things Move Slow At The Nbthk?

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Hope you are all doing well.

 

So I submitted a tanto to NBTHK shinsa in March through a well known dealer. Here it is, middle of June. As far as I know my tanto is still in Japan and we have no info.

 

The merchant has told me already that he hasn't gotten any info about the shinsa results. I believe him because I know his reputation, but it just doesn't make sense that it would take so long. There was another shinsa in May already...

 

I have submitted to the NTHK numerous times and you get results back in a week or so from handlers. It has been basically three months. Is this normal for the NBTHK? What is going on over in Japan?

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The NBTHK receives an overwhelming amount of submissions these days, I am not surprised. You should have received a judgement by now, the actual paperwork takes longer. Took me over 5 months to get paperwork and sword back, it should be soon for you, hang in there. Recently I've submitted to NTHK & NTHK-NPO instead of the NBTHK, the wait time is couple months only.

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Last year I know some people were quoting a backlog of 2 or 3 months from Hozon submission before a sword was looked at. Papers took several months after that to be sent (I think this has always been the case) As Nick said the numbers of swords being submitted at all levels of papering has risen dramatically in recent years. This has resulted in dleays between submission and result

Regards

Paul

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Sounds like two things are happening, 1) they're understaffed for their workload, and 2) the market is destined to be flooded.

Thanks for the feedback.

Cheers,

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Yes, the NBTHK papering process moves at between snail pace and glacial :-)

Rich

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I've several swords in Japan at various stages of restoration. The shinsa process is the longest part of the whole deal.

Nbthk hozon takes around 4 months to get your sword back. I've switched to nthk as the wait times are shorter.

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Starting to think that with this kind of turn around time, and the annoying process of swords getting into and out of Japan, it's sort of pointless to submit a blade to the NBTHK if you're just hoping for Hozon.  Hozon papers don't add any greater value than NTHK papers, so unless you're going for TH or Juyo, how does anyone benefit from the pain in the neck it is to send to Japan and wait twice as long for papers?

 

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Cheers,

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Agree with you John, and for a dealers its bad, means money invested is sitting there twice as long before being able to turn it over. 

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So. I'm walking down the street in Sapporo and I am sooooo hungry for R-A-M-E-N, but I want GOOD RAMEN! I see two shops. One has a long line with an hour wait. Next door, the other shop has no wait. Which one do I choose?

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Which one do I choose?

 

The one with no wait?

 

As I see it, good ramen is subjective so potentially it all tastes the same when you don't know the difference. Therefore, it is better to get in and out as quickly as possible and get to the next sword show up there in Hokkaido. 

 

("My point exactly" I hear you say.....)

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So. I'm walking down the street in Sapporo and I am sooooo hungry for R-A-M-E-N, but I want GOOD RAMEN! I see two shops. One has a long line with an hour wait. Next door, the other shop has no wait. Which one do I choose?

The implication appears to be that NBTHK's longer wait is the result of them being superior in some way. And yet most above seem to agree that there is no difference between a Hozon paper and an NTHK paper. Are we all not in agreement on that?

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John,

Saying nothing about the scholarship of any of these institutions, speaking only of a paper's influence on value, I think it is fairly obvious that, here in the US and I would guess the same about Europe, entry level paper from the NBTHK adds more value than entry level papers from either NTHK group.  And when you take into account that NTHK papers often are issued from western based shinsa and NBTHK papers always come from Japan, even more so.  Not saying this should be so, just that it is.

Grey

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So true Grey :) but, is the kanteisho origin a valid reason for NBTHK superiority or is it because of Honma Junji, Sato Kanzan, Tanobe Michihiro fame and the role the first two held in Nihonto history after WWII?

 

The why should be interesting to discuss and the opinion of our Japanese members would be most welcome on this subject.

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I am sorry I am probably letting my own prejudices loose here. I have been involved with two local shinsa's in the UK have been a member of the NTHK in the past and am a member of the NBTHK. I value papers from both bodies, however I put a much higher level of faith in the NBTHK system and papers than others.

As Jean says the quality of experts that have driven the NBTHK is exceptional and I think they enjoy the benefit of these gentlemen's previous experience.

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All,

I had a very similar conversation with a very well known and respected dealer in Japan, who will rename nameless. This is posted strictly to illustrate their opinion on the topic. Much like Grey's post, I'm not saying I agree or disagree.

 

"As you know In Japan NTHK shinsa is minor and not reliable sword organ(ization).

Right now NBTHK hozon paper is the most reliable sword organ(ization)."

 

"In Japan, nobody trust NTHK shinsa at all.

Probably less than 10 pieces of swords will be checked in a month.

Very very tiny sword shinsa organ(ization)."

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"As you know In Japan NTHK shinsa is minor and not reliable sword organ(ization).

Right now NBTHK hozon paper is the most reliable sword organ(ization)."

 

"In Japan, nobody trust NTHK shinsa at all.

Probably less than 10 pieces of swords will be checked in a month.

Very very tiny sword shinsa organ(ization)."

 

That's definitely not true with regards to the NTHK-NPO. With Miyano on the panel they have one of the best (if not the best) judge in Japan.

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Peter

I dont think anyone would or is questioning the ability of members of any of the groups and certainly Miyano sans skill is well known and recorded.

In terms of accurracy I have no direct experience with the NTHK NPO and as I have said before there are many contributing reasons why some apparently strange results occur at the overseas events (maybe they do in Japan as well, I dont know). However from a commercial point of view which was one of the points that cropped up earlier I think there is no doubt that the NBTHK are taken more seriously. At the DTI there were a great number of papered swords these were almost exclusively from the NBTHK (I say almost because I didnt see every sword but I also didnt see evidence of any other papers either) Likewise a number of auction houses appear to have taken a postion of only noting NBTHK papers and no other current bodies.

This is not a reflection on the abilities of anyone it is just the way the current market is and I think explains why the NBTHK are taking so much longer to paper pieces. The volume has gone up vastly in recent years.

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I don't mean to insult anyone, but I'm confused. Here the consensus seems to be NBTHK is more reliable, however, wasn't there a plague of frauds and fakes in the last 30 years or so? Just saying bad things seem to happen everywhere, i don't think any one company/organization is immune to it.

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Hello:

I think Chris Bowen would be posting here, but I believe he is currently in Japan. Anyway, as I understand it, he will be organizing a NTHK (NPO) shinsa to be held in Tampa this next February.

There was a busy shinsa in Chicago this spring, Tampa the year before, so it seems that the pool of blade candidates is more or less endless.

Arnold F.

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Dear Axel

The NBTHK certainly went through a serious bad time in the late seventies/early eighties which did them considerable damage and has resulted in older papers, particuarly those issued by branch offices, being questioned.

I think every one of the main organisations have had issues they would rather forget in the past which seem to be brought up in arguments about who or what is best. The reality is these organisations survive because there is a demand for them. There is a demand because people believe in them. Which is best, better or otherwise is as subjective as which swords you like or dont. At the moment one seems to be more popular than others, in10 years time that might be different. One thing is for sure all of them know a hell of a lot me than I do and I take their opinions very seriously.

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Dear Axel

The NBTHK certainly went through a serious bad time in the late seventies/early eighties which did them considerable damage and has resulted in older papers, particuarly those issued by branch offices, being questioned.

I think every one of the main organisations have had issues they would rather forget in the past which seem to be brought up in arguments about who or what is best. The reality is these organisations survive because there is a demand for them. There is a demand because people believe in them. Which is best, better or otherwise is as subjective as which swords you like or dont. At the moment one seems to be more popular than others, in10 years time that might be different. One thing is for sure all of them know a hell of a lot me than I do and I take their opinions very seriously.

Hi thank you!

 

Wouldn't the last sentence go for the 3 parties in this topic?

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Personally I don't care if papers come from NBTHK or NTHK.  The people conducting shinsa sure know alot more about swords than I do so either one works for me.  If someone truly has enough knowledge to feel like they have equal expertise as the shinsa panel, then they likely don't need the NTHK.  They're more likely to be submitting with Juyo as a goal at the NBTHK.

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At last DTI, i have not seen a single Yushu blade. 3/4 years ago, while at DTI, I was invited by Gordon Robson to the ...th NTHK anniversary. There were about 25/30 blades at study, all coming from NTHK members, believe me some of them were at Juyo +, Tokubetsu Juyo level.

 

NTHK which is the older organization has probably, following second WWII, kept a very discret/traditionnacl activity, while NBTHK born after the war has taken off immediately thanks to the effort of Honma Junji and Kanzan Sato for Nihonto salvation and entered in the modern world. NBTHK, IMHO, is the modern revival of the Japanese world. Most swords papered after being registered, logically passed through NBTHK. NBTHK has its Museum where Juyo blades (so tosogu/koshirae) having passed Shinsa are exposed.

 

Most of Japanese Dealers won't have anything but NBTHK papered swords.

 

Question: what would be the future of NTHK organizations were it not for USA? Local minor organizations?

 

Once again that has nothing to do with the quality of their members, that's life, same for companies. Colt Company is under Chapter 11 so...... :)

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Multiple points of view from people here. It sort of depends on frame of reference.

 

I started collecting actively when in NYC (c. 1999), where the club is very closely linked with Yoshikawa NTHK. The schism happened in 1998?

I have the highest regard for NTHK sword papers pre 1998, especially Bizen since it was Yoshikawa Sr.'s forte. I check the dates on NTHK papers.

Since then, both NTHK groups have been perceived by the collecting community as in Decline. This modern perception means some bargains can be found when pre 1998 papers are attached.

Perhaps the best Naginata I know of has 1980s NTHK papers, and I am fairly confident it would go Juyo if ever given to the NBTHK. Yet it has never been to Japan for Yushu or NBTHK.

 

Post 1998, I largely relied upon the NBTHK as the gold standard. The belief in them grew the more I saw and studied items with papers from 1990-> 2013.

When papers and my opinion differed, it was almost always time for me to go learn why they NBTHK was right and why I was wrong.

Yet, just like the NTHK post 1998.... the retirements and changes at end of 2013, beginning of 2014 seem to have been something dramatic on the Fittings side of collecting.

Apart from the minor things like tsuba being photographed upside down or backwards orientation on papers, some of the attributions have been so for crap that I don't know what to do.

Some have been absurdly [really absurdly] in my favor, and others the opposite way.

 

I've relied upon the NBTHK for about 15 years, but suddenly find their fittings shinsa to be unreliable.

Sort of a wild west crapshoot on the fittings side. I hope that the sword kantei hasn't gotten as totally roulette.

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Chatting with someone on the NBTHK board yesterday about this topic. (A dealer in London had recently expressed anger to me at the delays to Shinsa.) Apparently six of them come together for three days every two months, judging swords at one time, fittings another, etc. There is an increasing number of swords waiting for appraisal apparently.

 

One thing that has really slowed down the process is owners making subsequent claims regarding the state of returned swords. "This mark was not on the shirasaya when I sent it away!"... etc. A fairly recent and growing trend, I was told.

 

Ideally the blade and sheath should be minutely photographed and dated and mutually agreed before sending off, I thought, but who has the time and the patience for that, when there is no limit to the magnification possible?

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A comment about shinsa.

I've just had a beautiful Shinto sword restored. Togoshi felt Ishido, NTHK shinsa came back as just "Ishido" both the togoshi and I feel the the blade is very high quality a what the NTHK did was

un professional with just a school attribution. It will be sent to NBTHK for a more in-depth outcome.

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Not sure you'll get more Reuben. Generally NTHK is more prolific in its comments than NBTHK...

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Yes Jean from my knowlage as a novice hence the NTHK shinsa route. I feel that for minimal cost a second shinsa and opinion could only hurt my pocket a few hundred. I would have gladly sent you the sword and paid you sensei for your educated opinion. Short return time for sure.

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