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Prewar70

Sword Information * Shinsa Update 2/14/18 *

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I'm sure folks are taking a big exhale, another post by that guy from MN, but who cares  :) So i found a sword in military mounts but had a feeling it might have been older with the one pic I received of the hamon.  Seller could not remove the handle, price was right, so I thought why not (audible gasp by sword connoisseurs).  Tsuka was sticky and quite a bit of active rust underneath.  Overall the sword is in really good shape sans some kissaki handiwork by someone but looks repairable.  No nicks or openings or flaws, it looks healthy and would most likely polish well.  Now for the signature, please have mercy and don't make this a test.  At some point I will sit down with some of you (San Fran?) and someone will take mercy and get me started on translating.  I learn much faster with a teacher.  I'm looking forward to your feedback, thank you.

 

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Hizen (no) Kuni ju Mutsu (no) kami Tadayoshi. This is the signature of the 3rd generation mainline. You will find plenty of information on this smith online. Roger Robertshaw is the best resource for evaluating mei of this school.

 

http://hizento.net/index.php

 

http://www.sho-shin.com/shinto-hizen.html

 

- Ray

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Hi James

As Ray said check out Roger's site there is a wealth of information on the Tadayoshi line.

3rd generation was  arguably the best of the line and his work is exceptionally beautiful. This sword looks to be in ok condition and would most likely polish. Whether the mei is right or not I will leave to others. Although the nakago is in poor condition the yasurimei slanting slightly to the right are in line with the third generation but the mei looks to be less convincing.

If it is right you may have just realised the dream of every Hizen collector. However you have some way to go before that can be confirmed

good luck

Paul

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Paul B wrote:

>Although the nakago is in poor condition the yasurime slanting slightly to the right are in line with the third generation

 

Paul, Mutsu no Kami's yasurime should slant slightly UP to the right, not down.  Gimei IMHO.

 

BaZZa.

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Hi Bazza

Damn I always get the first and third the wrong way round. I'd like to use age as an excuse but I think it is just stupidity!

I also am tending towards gimei but have not spent any time with books to compare

Thanks for the correction

cheers

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Ray thank you, great information.  What's your opinion, how's it look to you?

 

Like Paul and Barry, I am leaning towards gimei.

 

Best regards,

Ray

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I contacted Roger to get his input. Regardless of the mei, what can you tell me about the sword, being in military mounts, etc. Does it look to be of good quality? Was this most likely a family sword that accompanied a soldier in WWII?

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Hi James

I think it has potential. It is hard to say in it's current polish but at first sight there are no major issues (not too  sure about the kissaki, it looks reshaped)

The "family blade" idea is a little over worked I think. there is no doubt that some people did take their family sword in to war. However others simply bought a traditional blade in preference to a factory produced one. This looks to be a traditionally made sword in gunto mounts. To judge the quality I honestly think you need to have someone see it in hand and spend some time with it.

Also send some images to a reputable polisher and ask their opinion

Hope this helps

Paul

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Hi All,

 

Nice hawk crossed feather mon - check Hawleys Mon for that one.

So a family blade someone was proud of (if the koshirae fits properly ... never know if they were swapped).

Whilst it is an indicator of a good family, doesn't mean they werent ripped off by the sword merchants.

Anyway ---- On the right track.....

 

Kissaki has been dinged for sure - and reground. Note the nie line that almost  parralels the fukura (reshaped fukura ever so slighlty), but as already said could be polished out.......Some large nie in there so a good blade?

 

Sorry not an expert on Gendaito so not sure about the fittings.

 

Hard to tell if the blade has any flaws or not, but with the 3rd gen, ANYTHING spells death other than recent flaws (eg rust).

Any grain opening, blemishes, forging pits etc usually mean gimei as he made perfect swords and in my opinion he was the best of the entire School so as already pointed out, one of the few holy grails of the Shinto period.

Cant see anything.....

 

Suguha with a fairly bright nioguchi you can see across the room--- I like it.

 

Sellers type photos :-) --- shots of parts of the sword. It would be nice to see the whole sword to get a feel for the curve and shape (proprtions) but this all adds to the mystique, and the thrill of the chase. So not sure about the overall sori.

 

So we have that hope and thrill it is genuine, which means we lose sight of a few things.

Because he was so highly valued and a great smith, he was faked a great deal. Bit like Kotetsu, for every 10 blades you see, 11 are fake. The thought process should be gimei, ....... prove/show me something that says without question it is genuine, not the other way around. I am as guilty of this as anyone.

 

 

Then we get to the rusted nakago.

 

Yuck ... to the rust..... But the hope in us says rust obscurring the quality.

 

Shape is good and typical of the School and smith.

Typical of Mutsu no Kami!

Tachi mei.

Yup like that.

Sloping yasurime --- i had to check myself!

 

Are they deep and fine quality or do we see different angles in them? Hmmmmm

 

And what is that big ugly mekugi-ana doing in that funny place half way down?

Apparently it was OK to drill the blade when fitting a new tsuka... but would you really do that on a great blade? Dont know but I am starting to smell a rat.

 

Signature ------- Well Mutsu no Kami varied his signature (Mutsu part) --- possibly secret dating method or something so you never really see two the same. Take a look at the Tada and Yoshi kanji. Looks OK. Nothing really out of place here and the small variations I have seen before. Again nothing unusual ort way out of place.

 

What I do like is the very bottom kanji --- the stroke right down the bottom right. Slightly offset ..... and nothing abnormal in the rest of the mei.

 

So....... along with Paul and pretty much the rest of the crowd, and when considering a potentilly  high end sword, get it to the experts. I would be 65/35 in favour of genuine. Spend the money (yes I know everyone hates this bit), and take a punt.  Whoever faked this (if it is fake) was pretty good at his job, so I think the odds and gods (that rymes) are on your side.

 

DO NOT TOUCH THE NAKAGO with that special cleaning tool and WD40 you keep in the garage!  Let the polisher do it.

 

Good luck....... If it were mine I would be sending it off after some serious cuddling ........ er ...... study.

Any flaws in the blade at all???

 

 

VERDICT --- worth a shot.

65% GENUINE, maybe 70%.

Dont cry if it comes back gimei..... as you would have done the right thing.

 

PS I will give you 50 Bucks for it.

 

cheers,

 

Roger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

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Roger thanks for all that great information.  I went back and took a few more photos, I hope it helps.  The curvature seems shallow to me.  I do not see any flaws other that poor polish.  No grain openings, etc.  It's all very tight.  I forgot to include the saya, which I did now.  The habaki is moves about an inch down but its fit is very tight and will not make it over the rust so I'm leaving it alone.  All of the other fittings match in number, 17, and very good fit as well.  I know that the tsuka had not been removed ever.  Did some reading on the crossed hawk feathers mon, apparently samurai families liked to use them.  If anyone is passing through Minneapolis and would like to take the sword to Chicago next weekend please get in touch with me.

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Roger,  thank you for that. Very educational. Your input is always highly valued here.

I think even if Roger had given it a 25% shot, I would consider a polish and evaluation. This is a big name, and even a chance at discovering one out of the woodwork is exciting.

Good luck, hope it pans out for you. Even if gimei (and chances are good it is) it still looks like a nice sword.

 

Brian

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Ah so you were the sneaky man who won it while I was sleeping.. :)

 

Nicely done and the price was not bad if it indeed is the same blade (looks like it).

 

Hope to see this one polished!

 

Br,

 

Antti

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Nice.

Boshi/kissaki still looks slightly out of shape, but you can see that nioiguchi is standing out.

Good luck---  Not being in the sword loop these days, I presume the Chicago show is next week?? Any Japanese Shinsa team there?  -----otherwise get it to Japan would be my advice.

 

Paul Martin could help you there......

 

 

Cheers,

Roger

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I would second that opinion and if you get positive remarks from Chicago it is likely VERY much worth your time and money to send it to Mishina SSan = all will top notch and he could probably arrange a shinsa while there if he thought it worthy. I may have missed but where exactly did you come across this blade and obviously the seller who could not remove the tsuka had no idea what he may have has so no doubt you were very please with the price = jealous I am

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Not to speak for Mishina San, but he can arrange for shinsa while its there. After he is done with mine, we'll discuss whether it has a shot at TH or not. If so, I'll give it a go.

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So much great advice thanks. So if I send it to Japan, is it always polish first then review or can it be reviewed first in its current state and if it's good you spend the big money on a proper polish. I think I would like this to be polished regardless however I believe there are varying levels of polish available.

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Good question. For Mishina-San, one of the best polishers in the world, it's best to let him tell you what the blade needs. My recommendation would be to send it to him and have him open a window. He's surely seen hundreds of Hizen blades and could give you a fair opinion on whether it's likely right or wrong. After that, if it's good, finish the polish and submit for hozon at least and if he feels it could make it (and it likely could), go for tokubetsu hozon.

 

If the blade is gimei, you'll have a couple options.

1. Try for papers anyway because he could be wrong (though that's not a bet I would take)

2. If the blade is of good quality, remove the mei and submit as mumei and see where it lands - he can likely remove the mei and repatinate for you too

3. Pay to have it shipped back and scrap the whole idea. You wouldn't be out a ton except some time and maybe bruised ego

 

That's what I would do if I were you. The gentlemen at the show can give you a better guess with the blade in hand too, but most if not all would admit that Kenji Mishina likely knows better than they do.

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Throwing this out to you guys for further opinion. From private discussion with Roger, as I understand, Hizen swords are somewhat notorious for being thin skinned. However, this is not necessarily the case for a master such as Mutsunokami Tadayoshi. He was renowned for producing very tight steel. Where weld openings are not of great concern on some swords, they are usually a sign of gimei for this smith. It could also be a sign of over polishing on a legitimate sword? Again no way to tell for certain until it has gone through Shinsa, but I wanted to open it up for discussion. I've studied the blade and found 3 openings in the weld lines in the shinoji. I've cleaned up some of the loose rust on the mei as well, I've included those pics. No worries, I haven't used a steel wire brush or grinding wheel, just some duct tape pressed on and ripped off to pull away loose particles.

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Hi James , you asked for further comment so here goes .Barry is right that the file marks should slant up to the right and not down . Not only is this wrong but the characters themselves don't match up well . Hizen mei are beautifully cut and to my mind the mei on your piece isn't.  I also doubt that you would get kizu like those on a mainline piece . With due respect to Roger I think the piece is almost certainly gimei . That is not to say that the sword is not worth having ,( indeed it looks far more desirable than most that are put up for discussion ) , just that it is not by the third generation

Ian Brooks

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Very interesting, if someone like Guido would be kind enough to make a good translation of that is written about nakago and mei of the sword on the right (mine is too approximative) it will be very informative.

 

note the way of the yasuri.

 

 

 

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Ian thank you.  I'm posting some pictures, can you tell me which way these are slanting?  If it's up and to the right it's very slight, I was thinking it would be more pronounced but I don't know for sure.  One might not be 3rd generation.

 

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Hi James ,the examples Jacques shows are interesting as  although they are wakizashi and not tachi the yasurimei slope up on one and down on the other . Before I stuck my neck out I checked a fair number of oshigata in Japanese texts and from memory on tachi the file marks always slope up to the right as shown in the second and fourth examples that you have shown . The third example that you have shown is a wakizashi so the mei is on the katana side . You would have to check books ,as Jacques has done, to see what the rule is for wakizashi . It is clear though, as Barry pointed out, that for tachi by Mutsu  no kami the yasurimei should rise slightly to the right.      Ian Brooks

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Before examine the mei, 

The Yasurime of Nakago, Omote and Ura are different.
The condition and patina looks different as well.
Furhermore, the Shinogi-line of the side the signature on is less perfect compare to the other side.
 
What do you think ?

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