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Bishu Osafune Kanemitsu Tachi 1335 February


Petersan
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Bishu Osafune Kanemitsu Tachi 1335 February Submitted by petersan on Sat, 2019-03-16 00:06

Hello all,

I recently purchased this sword and trying to pinpoint the exact smith or finding examples of his work over the internet.

Any help or opinion would be greatly apreciated.

tachi mei: Bishu Osafune Kanemitsu

Date : 1335 February

nagasa 69.7 cm

NBTHK TOKUBETSU KICHYO paper

I attached a picture with similar mei, this sword is called BUNKAZAI FUKUSHIMA O-KANEMITSU "The Ten Students"

Best regards

Peter G.

 

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post-1404-0-23511800-1552736778_thumb.jpg

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I hope more experienced members will provide you information soon.

 

Interesting piece, I am really puzzled by it, to me it does not seem like Nanbokuchō period Kanemitsu. The features I see on the blade by looking at the pictures do not resemble those I would expect from Kanemitsu.

 

The sword you linked is another Jūyō Bunkazai by Kanemitsu, here is a link to the Fukushima Kanemitsu: http://www.emuseum.jp/detail/100501/000/000?mode=simple&d_lang=en&s_lang=en&word=kanemitsu&class=&title=&c_e=&region=&era=&century=&cptype=&owner=&pos=1&num=3

 

You can see some of the high classed works of Kanemitsu here online: http://www.sho-shin.com/kanemit.htm(Just note that Sho-Shin website has still the old designations, in the current classification there are 0 Kokuhō by Kanemitsu, the ones at Sho-Shin site lists as Kokuhō were deranked to Bunkazai)

 

I am also very surprised this was written as a katana in the NBTHK paper while it is supposed to be a tachi from 1335.

 

I believe this mei type 備州長船住兼光 is a prestigeous form by Kanemitsu, so far I have 17 signed tachi by Kanemitsu listed and only 4 of them have this style of mei and all are Jūyō Bunkazai. In total I have 47 signed works by Kanemitsu listed so far. This particular style appears on few tanto too but it is very rare in general.

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Thank you, Jussi!

 

I have not translated the nbthk yet (I can not read it myself), it is strange it is wrtiten as katana there. Perhaps with old paper they used katana term (as long sword) on any type of long sword including tachi, or it is still unusual?

 

What you wrote about classification is scary, that these works are national treasures, but later this lifted. I hope it will get export permit without problems.

I only just paid for it, and will be exported from Japan in a month (bought from a 15 year old partner who is registered to sell swords in Japan and has absolute trust).

I paid high price for it, but it seems it is much more valuable and rare than I thought.

Do you have any picture of similar picture, can we believe this is the smith who forged my blade:

 

The Ten Students"
O-KANEMITSU KEM-MU (f: KAGEMITSU): He was born in KO-AN period 
        and died at the age of 83 in the EN-BUN. The long 
        KANEMITSU career spans over 50 years from GEN-KYO 1321 
        era to O-AN 1368 era, and theory has long postulated two
        generations. Old writings claim one long career, but the
        accepted chronology finds O-KANEMITSU in KEM-MU 1334, 
        followed by EN-BUN KANEMITSU. 1st period work should be
        attributed to O-KANEMITSU, 2nd period work to ENBUN 
        KANEMITSU.

        KANEMITSU ITAME will seem soft and is famous for 
        YOKOME-no-KITAE, a circular spreading, and running CHIKEI.
        There is BOTAN "Peony" UTSURI or DAN-DAN "Spotted" UTSURI.
        A comparison of the YAKI-IRE or hardening shows his UTSURI
        master work of the first rank.

 
Best regards and greeting from Hungary
Peter G.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

I hope more experienced members will provide you information soon.

 

Interesting piece, I am really puzzled by it, to me it does not seem like Nanbokuchō period Kanemitsu. The features I see on the blade by looking at the pictures do not resemble those I would expect from Kanemitsu.

 

The sword you linked is another Jūyō Bunkazai by Kanemitsu, here is a link to the Fukushima Kanemitsu: http://www.emuseum.jp/detail/100501/000/000?mode=simple&d_lang=en&s_lang=en&word=kanemitsu&class=&title=&c_e=&region=&era=&century=&cptype=&owner=&pos=1&num=3

 

You can see some of the high classed works of Kanemitsu here online: http://www.sho-shin.com/kanemit.htm(Just note that Sho-Shin website has still the old designations, in the current classification there are 0 Kokuhō by Kanemitsu, the ones at Sho-Shin site lists as Kokuhō were deranked to Bunkazai)

 

I am also very surprised this was written as a katana in the NBTHK paper while it is supposed to be a tachi from 1335.

 

I believe this mei type 備州長船住兼光 is a prestigeous form by Kanemitsu, so far I have 17 signed tachi by Kanemitsu listed and only 4 of them have this style of mei and all are Jūyō Bunkazai. In total I have 47 signed works by Kanemitsu listed so far. This particular style appears on few tanto too but it is very rare in general.

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Hello,

 

It has old paper and not repapered, the reason why it was left like this decades ago is unknown, but still I believe the NBTHK paper is trustworthy (or can they mistaken?)

 

The tang has been pictured with strong flash but has deep color patination,  no extended corrosion and ware like often seen, that's true, but looks like a very well preseved untouched blade which was kept safe from the elements, and thickness is pretty close to original :

 

motohaba 10mm

sakihaba  6mm

 

I am not an expert but I think tachi can have below 70cm nagasa.

 

 

Curious.

Katana length, signed tachi mei. Kunzan sayagaki (apparently), signed, dated, ubu, and yet never repapered up from green.

The nakago looks younger than early 1300s to me.

My spidey sense is tingling.

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I think if you read Jussi’s post closely, where he lists the number of signed Kanemitsu blades, you will see the odds involved here. It is extremely unlikely this blade, if shoshin, sat hidden in Japan and then emerged without being repapered. But you never know.

 

Do a bit of research – search this forum for “green papers” – and you will see that these papers can be problematic, especially when they attribute to such an important maker.

 

I think it’s fair to describe many of us here as pragmatic optimists... but the emphasis is definitely on the pragmatic part. :-)

 

I’d love to be wrong and certainly hope members with more expertise will contradict me.

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An old NBTHK paper, usually not worth the paper it is written on, a great name, a fresh looking nakago, tachi mei on an uchigatana, bought from eBay. That sums it up.

 

 

Not from ebay (please find the link on ebay for it then) , purchased from 15 year old Japanese partner in Japan. 

I hear many negative comment that sound very sure. I know there was problems with old papers in the past as many blank was stolen, but here everyone is certain it is a gimei?

 

Can someone give me contact to NBTHK to confirm the authenticity of this paper?

On their website I see no contact info.

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Ok, not from eBay, then. Still, the other points apply. The NBTHK are not a secret organisation, you can find them on the internet. Not sure what you want from them, because since the old papers are not being honoured anymore, they will advise you to submit your sword to shinsa. Which is exactly what you should do.

 

If you need an agent, I recommend Paul Martin.

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Peter G,

I need to inspect the sword hada and hamon photos on a larger screen but it does not look promising.

Kanemitsu produced one of the best hada in Bizen and in general. Yours has many rough patches.

The nakago jiri is different from what one would expect from this master.

 

And now - onto the mei. Look at the difference and lack of certainty in some of the strokes on yours. Look at how some are deep and others shallower on your nakago. The calligraphy is messed up. Then look at two genuine TokuJu mei I have attached below and compare.

post-1910-0-36936400-1552755301_thumb.jpeg

post-1910-0-69952000-1552755420_thumb.jpeg

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Dear Peter.  (Sorry, post crossed)

 

Can we assume that you bought this through a business contact whom you have known fro 15 years and not from a teenage sword dealer?

 

I think Michael's reply was a very good one and do please accept that we would all love it if you had found a masterpiece for your collection.

 

It is understood that these NBTHK papers should not be relied on, especially for significant smiths.  It should also be clear that no one can give an accurate assessment of your sword from a limited number of relatively poor pictures.

 

If after examining the sword in hand you are confident that it is genuine then the thing to do would be to submit it to a shinsa.  However before you do that take several long hard looks at the blade and the work.  Is the hada typical?  Is the hamon typical?  Can you find another ubu tachi from this period of this length?  Is the nakago jiri right?

 

Tom suggest that you send an oshigata or a photograph to the NBTHK for their opinion, I do not think they will confirm the validity of the papers without seeing the blade in hand at a shinsa.

 

As Michael has pointed out the odds are against this being by the man you hope but until you get a proper Japanese opinion then we are all guessing.

 

All the best.

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Ok, not from eBay, then. Still, the other points apply. The NBTHK are not a secret organisation, you can find them on the internet. Not sure what you want from them, because since the old papers are not being honoured anymore, they will advise you to submit your sword to shinsa. Which is exactly what you should do.

 

If you need an agent, I recommend Paul Martin.

 

On the official website there is only adress and phone, fax number. It is crazy they do not have email adress displayed or a link to send messages.

The sword is still in Japan, Kyoto area. Is this person living in Japan? I might ask my Japanese partner in case he can help me with resubmitting for Shinsa.

 

I understand for obviously reasons why the safe opinions, but about size and tang coloration it can not be determined, especialy that these pictures are not reflecting the true look of it. 

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The sword is still in Japan, so I will try to arrange it for a new sumbission to nbthk before leaving Japan.

No, it is not from a 15 year old person (hope it was a joke). I can give you his name privately if you need, he is a pensioner who deals with swords for minimum 20 years, with legal permit to do so. I know him from around 2013 and bought many sword before , he is no expert though just an average knowledged seller who visits local auctions and markets, also heritage auctions. This sword was bought with 2 other nbthk papers sword, all had old paper with old registration card, so the owner who passed away had them for long time.

 

I will arrange it for nbthk shinsa as I can see it is important because it can be a highly prized sword if turns out to be real.

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Thank you, I will definietly check the blade again with nbthk and if the old paper turns out to be fake I will cancel the purchase and take a full refund.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter G,

I need to inspect the sword hada and hamon photos on a larger screen but it does not look promising.

Kanemitsu produced one of the best hada in Bizen and in general. Yours has many rough patches.

The nakago jiri is different from what one would expect from this master.

 

And now - onto the mei. Look at the difference and lack of certainty in some of the strokes on yours. Look at how some are deep and others shallower on your nakago. The calligraphy is messed up. Then look at two genuine TokuJu mei I have attached below and compare.

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I just sent a message to Paul Martin for his assistance.

I am still waiting for the reply from my Japanese partner, but I do not think he can be of help in this case.

we will see, I have to see how it turns out.

 

 

 

Ok, not from eBay, then. Still, the other points apply. The NBTHK are not a secret organisation, you can find them on the internet. Not sure what you want from them, because since the old papers are not being honoured anymore, they will advise you to submit your sword to shinsa. Which is exactly what you should do.

If you need an agent, I recommend Paul Martin.

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I’m curious about the sayagaki. If it’s legitimate that complicates things (sake sayagaki, anyone?).

 

Seems more likely to be a forgery or perhaps a legitimate shirasaya that someone paired with this blade.

 

Here’s a photo of the bottom of my Honma Junji sayagaki, written in 1983. I see some not insignificant differences, but would love for others with more experienced eyes to weigh in.

 

post-3990-0-58485300-1552759214_thumb.jpeg

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While I do not support the thesis that most green papers are not legit, there are too many issues adding up regarding this sword. Most were mentioned already, I might add another one: The style of the mei is definitely different from the style of the date characters.

 

Best, Martin.

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To be honest Peter I would seek a refund, there is simply too many things ringing alarm bells:

 

1: Old green paper

2: Top level smith

3: Sugata not a strong match

4: Atypical Mei strokes

 

If the seller offers to submit for verification (at no extra cost) with a full refund being given if not authentic then it might be worth the wait if you like the blade more than the story.

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I dreaded even clicking this thread, it's always a Bizen sword that is going to be the question. Another reason I don't bother with them.

 

The pictures provided are not good enough for any real assessment of the blade, so I will just go by the mei. It's not close at all, not by a long shot. Agree with John above, free shinsa, why not? Not free, move along.

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The sayagaki looks ok to me. The signatures are close enough to not make me suspicious. 

post-34-0-96428400-1552805290_thumb.jpg

 

The calligraphy looks OK to me too. 

The one on Michael's has the word 神無月 (October), and the one on Peter's has the word 水無月 (June) which allows us to compare the writing pretty well. From my layman's point of view, this also looks OK to me. 

 

post-34-0-80357000-1552805598_thumb.jpg

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Nihontoclub is not Peter G’s but Stan Kazarena’s, member here.

 

In response to Steve M above: I know only the most basic of Japanese but to me the calligraphy is not close. The kanji are probably properly written by a native speaker but the rest.....

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The real question we should pose ourselves is why is this even put into question. We do not need even to evaluate the workmanship, the signature, and these otherwise essential attributes but simply the characteristics of the exchange to infer whether or not it is Gimei. 

 

The following characteristics together ensures it is Gimei with a very high degree of certainty. 

 

1) it is sold by a Japanese dealer (i.e has knowledge, as opposed to say a widow liquidating her husband's assets)

2) It has famous name and big signature

3) it has green papers

 

This holds unless you believe that the dealer is irrational, or pro-social in that he desires to give you money.

 

Ubu kanemitsu tachi in good health, signed and date is Tokuju/Bunkazai level. We're talking 100-300K USD. That's a very pro-social dealer. 

 

A word of caution: If you indeed know the dealer for fifteen years and you believe he has your best interest in mind, then assume it is misunderstanding: he assumes you know it is Gimei, but you like the sword. Sometimes in Japan things which are obviously needed in communication for westerners are left unsaid or merely left between the lines. It's easy for someone who has been dealing with swords for twenty years at a professional level to think that what is obvious to him is also obvious for you. 

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