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To-Ken Kantei Wakimono Swords


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I am also finalizing an addendum to that article. I want to add in a Meibutsu Kaifu blade named "iwakiri" (stonecutter) I read about and have a couple of Oshigata on. It is interesting that I have now found a few Juyo or TBH quality Koto Kaifu blades, particularly from Ujiyoshi and Yasuyoshi that are very interesting and worthy of praise. Personally I would love to own any of them. Would like to hear comments from anyone who may own one.

 

Regards,

Brent Tanner

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The Kaifu School is very interesting and I did some research on it a while ago. A theory says that the resemblance to Go (i.e. what the 24th Juyo setsumei actually means, not "transformed itself into a big river" as mentioned in the newsletter) goes back to the fact that the former owner of the Iwakiri, Miyoshi Nagayoshi (1522-1564) had the Kaifu master smith Ujiyoshi, who worked for him, study the originals. This approach is supported by the "fact" that Nagayoshi was known for owning two great Soshu meibutsu, the Miyoshi-Masamune and the Miyoshi-Go, which were both unfortunately damaged in the Great Meireki Fire of 1657.

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Thanks Markus. This makes a lot more sense. My Japanese colleagues were perplexed by the statement and didn't understand the historical context. Any conjecture on why there is so little written about koto kaifu swords?

 

Regards,

Brent

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Any conjecture on why there is so little written about koto kaifu swords?

 

I think it is a mixture of very few high quality Kaifu blades available (i.e. collectibility/availability) and the overwhelming focus on mainstream work. From my own experience, the far out of sight wakimono are often only addressed if someone has a special interest in them, e.g. by acquiring or coming across a very nice piece, and then he does some research and submits that. It is ususally not that experts who write day in, day out on the Gokaden wake up one day and decide, well, why not doing some research on the Kaifu group today? Or in other words, there is no checklist to work off topics. Suggestions have to come from outside. But that's just how I perceive Nihonto studies in general.

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Doing part 11 right now on Japanese swordsmiths who came to Brazil in the Meiji and Taisho era. There are three we have identified. One came from the Enju line of KiKuchi smiths. Interesting part of Japanese history not often talked about. Tough to break into the community to get information. Hopefully will complete by year end.

Regards

Brent

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Anyone know of any other smiths or toshigi who emigrated and continued their craft in countries other than Brazil? I am sure some must have moved around the far east to Thailand or Korea ?

Wonder if any properly trained and appreticed smiths DID move to China and continue ?

 

Interesting thread and lots of questions raised.

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