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samuraiteddy96

Modern swordsmiths and Gokaden

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Hi everybody,

 

I just wanted to know if anyone knows any modern swordsmiths who are practicing and making blades in the Yamashiro and Mino tradition.

 

I know most swordsmiths these days create Bizen style blades because they are the most popular with collectors. and after Bizen style blades, it’s Soshu den.

 

However, I was wondering if people knew of other swordsmiths who attempt to make blades in the other styles.

 

I know that the late Hiroki Hirokuni and Osumi Toshihira we’re mainly the only modern smiths who made blades in the Yamato tradition. Just wondering about Mino and Yamato den blades of modern times. :)

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There has been some discussion in the past about smiths attempting to recreate Yamashiro tradition blades. The major problem seems to be with the steel composition from modern tamahagane. I think many smiths have experimented with making their own tamahagane in an attempt to get closer to Yamashiro raw material. I am not aware that anyone has succeeded totally although some may have come close.

Chris Bowen has a great deal of contact with modern smiths so a mail to him may point you in the right direction. 

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There are unfortunately few swordsmiths in Japan these days, compared to earlier periods. Piers & I have discussed this for several years, hoping we can figure out a way to expand modern tosho work to other countries. Distinct lack of success, so far.

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Modern smiths are not that different from shinshinto in their technique. I saw Naotane's attempts at Yamashiro - not entirely interesting. So they opt for Bizen and sometimes Soshu. Mino is just a mediocre school to begin with.

 

Kirill R.

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Amada Akitsugu was producing works which followed Yamashiro-den. Enomoto Sadayoshi produced an utushi of a Shintogo Kunimitsu which is one of the finest shinsakuto I have seen. Shintogo is the father of Soshu but this is a pure Yamashiro-den work. Also of course Nambokucho Mino is a popular target, in terms of pursuing Kaneuji and those works by Kiyomaro which emulated Kaneuji masterpieces.

 

Here's a piece by Amada Akitsugu which probably has a target along those lines of Shintogo/Yoshimitsu/Awataguchi:

https://www.aoijapan.net/tanto-akitsugu-sakuhuman-national-treasure/

 

Kiyofusa Rai-utushi

https://www.toukenkomachi.com/index_en_tachi&katanaA071213.html

 

Copy by Aritoshi of an early Yamato Ko-ken / Ko-Senjuin ken

https://www.toukenkomachi.com/index_en_tachi&katana_A060218.html

 

It is also worth mentioning that Ohno Yoshimitsu is an incredibly versatile smith who has worked in a variety of styles including copies of Jo-koto.

https://www.seiyudo.com/ka-120615.htm

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As you've already realised, Bizen-den and Soshu-den are by far the most popular styles being made by modern tosho. Other popular styles are Kiyomaro and Sukehiro utsushi. Those working in Yamashiro-den, Yamato-den or Mino-den are few and far between.

 

Yamashiro-den:

Amata Akitsugu was definitely the best I’ve seen to have worked in Yamashiro-den in modern times (attached are a couple examples of his work in this style), though he was also excellent in Bizen-den and Soshu-den as well. Unfortunately he passed away a few years back and I don’t think his students work in Yamashiro-den.

 

I can’t think of any other smiths off the top of my head who are currently working in Yamashiro-den, but if you go back to Gendaito you have the Yasukuni group of smiths who focused mainly on reproducing the work of the Kamakura Rai school.

 

Yamato-den:

The modern Gassan line often work in Yamato-den, occasionally forging blades in pure masame-hada which are aimed at the Yamato Hosho school. And of course, their ayasugi-hada is a technique that was also produced by the original Gassan school of the koto period, which was a Yamato-den school.

 

Mino-den:

You’ll find that the modern smiths who are working in Mino-den are usually reproducing the style of Shizu Kaneuji. Though a lot of these utsushi are perhaps closer to Soshu-den than Mino-den, Kaneuji being a smith who started the Mino tradition but whose work was strongly influenced by Soshu-den. You won’t find a whole lot of sanbonsugi these days! ????

 

The Kanefusa line are still producing swords in Gifu I believe, the current head of the school is the 24th or 25th gen and his Kaneuji utsushi are excellent.

post-49-0-25240900-1572570753_thumb.jpg

post-49-0-63241300-1572570810_thumb.jpg

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Nick, please set up your signature so you don't have to sign your name on each post, per Brian's rules.

 

And thanks to Ray & Andrew for some interesting info.

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The Kanefusa line are still producing swords in Gifu I believe, the current head of the school is the 24th or 25th gen and his Kaneuji utsushi are excellent.

 

That is interesting as ive been looking into Koto Kanefusa recently, didn't know the lineage continued on so far.

https://japaneseswordindex.com/kanefusa.htm

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