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The outfit of Nagoya based Touken Corp whose owner is one of the largest and most affluent sword collectors in the world

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It seems to be quite extensive, but I wonder why the English portion turns to Japanese when I click on a sword?

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Ken, the English says 'to look at the pictures'. They probably have not had time/energy/inclination to translate deeper into the web pages.

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Thanks for posting this Peter. That is an amazing collection, I spent my weekend going through it sword by sword.

 

If all goes planned (and things will calm down back to normal) I will be in June in Tokyo, I definately will try to go to a day trip to Nagoya to visit this museum.

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I did wonder who is behind this website. There is at least one sword on there that I recall was on sale on a dealers website a few years ago that I wanted to buy but was sold so I now know who has bought it. Maybe they might be interested in buying from us?

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200 swords on permanent display and 50 suits of armor on display...

 

that' the biggest sword museum in Japan and wordwide, Jussi please give us large report ..

The concept looks like a "live challange"...

 

Best

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Thanks for sharing Uwe. Congrats for your trip?

But before, may be soon, you have to picture some Shinshinto swords!! And Mr. H. is asking too...

 

Best

 

PS how long will you stay in Nagoya to picture all those treasures

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Wow, thanks for posting that Peter.  I watched all of the sword and koshirae films.  Truly astonishing.  

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At the end, they have a video about how to care for the sword.  It is in Japanese but shown very clearly.  I will point out that they clearly use uchiko in the video, and I assume that the collection is cared for using uchiko.   We have had many debates about uchiko and there are some very vehement NMB members that are opposed to it.  I have never stopped using it, and apparently neither has the caretaker of this spectacular collection.  Don't want to start a debate here about it, but if you are uncertain about using uchiko, this is reassuring to say the least.

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I am well aware of Darcy's views Ken and thanks for the link - he has been a big advocate of microfiber etc. and has been influential.  

 

I just find it interesting that this museum, which houses probably one of the greatest collections in the world, uses the traditional uchiko approach.  

 

I think that using uchiko requires a learning curve.  If one doesn't completely wipe the oil off of the blade before applying the uchiko, it can form larger aggregates (clumps).  That, combined with pinching too hard when wiping it off, can produce scratches.  Careful efforts to avoid this prevent the scratching and enable the uchiko to treat the surface.  

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As a novice, my opinion and information may be inaccurate.

Few months I have in contact with a togishi who is an orthodox sashikomi. It was the Tokugawa collection and his relationship with Mr. Hara that was his source for finding the right way for traditional sashikomi.

Almost all the blades in this collection are in sashikomi and many of them are from the Edo period polish.

The condition for the use of the uchiko in the care of the blade is primarily a uchiko of first-class quality from a proven source.

And its use finds application in blades with sashikomi polish. In the case of blades with hadori, the "cosmetic" hamon is gradually removed and over time the blade loses its "attractive appearance".

Of course, the correct application of the uchiko and its removal also play an important role, otherwise unwanted scratches can occur.

 

I recently bought a Mumei Masamitsu that stayed in Japan. And since the original polish was not the best, I decided to polish this blade in sashikomi.

I myself am curious about the result

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Ha, the old debate ... To uchiko or not .....

 

 

Most novices, and actually even some people who believe they know what they are doing because they have “been collecting for 20 years” or whatever the number is, might not know how to use uchiko and apply it. Mistakes include:

- using bad uchiko (large particles, or too many of them released via the mesh as the silk mesh is substandard)

- overoiling swords and hence creating problems by setting up a toxic mix of oil, dirt and uchiko

- pressing uchiko too hard or hitting the uchiko ball on the sword with too much force

- and of course the micro abrasive power of uchiko, no matter what, on the lustre of the sword which has been newly polished

 

I know myself, as I have scratched swords using uchiko.....

 

Very few know how to apply it properly, ie removing the oil with a soft tissue or microfibre in the first instance, then spreading the very finest uchiko very very gently, then dusting off / brushing off the larger particles with tissue , and only then applying the tiniest of pressures with a soft tissue. As it is risky and an inexperienced hand can do more damage than none, it is safer and better to use microfibre.

I have seen collectors with 30 years experience energetically slamming the uchiko ball on the blade and then zealously wiping it off with paper, which is guaranteed to abrade the polish.

 

And it does not matter whether it is hadori or sashikomi, you are still inflicting micro scratches. Sashikomi vs hadori differs in the nugui being used and the technique for rendering/tracing the hamon but even a sashikomi polish could be “shiny” and could be damaged by uchiko.

 

So yeah, some very experienced Japanese collectors and collections know how to use uchiko but that does not mean the wider majority of us can do it well.

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I "liked" your posting Michael, since I think it summarizes the pitfalls well.  The wisdom in it is quite hard won I think and worthy of passing on.  

 

I don't want to hijack this thread though, so you should have the final word and we can go back to talking about this amazing collection.  

 

It seems like nearly every blade in the collection is tokubetsu juyo or better, and I think that studying the collection can really help with learning some kantei.  I've been told for years that folks outside of Japan can never really learn kantei of masterpiece swords since they don't have access to them.  This gives us some proxy access and is very exciting.  I suspect that I will study those youtube movies and still photos many times, focusing on the swords from certain schools in the gokaden.  Thanks again to Peter for telling us about it.  

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Well due to unfortunate situation worldwide I was not able to go to Japan this year, so I'll have to go next year and visit Nagoya during my trip.

 

Here is a small rundown of the top quality blades in collection

1 Kokuhō

10 Jūyō Bunkazai

41 Jūyō Bijutsuhin

53 Tokubetsu Jūyō

 

Pretty stunning selection, and there are lots and lots of other items too. 

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Jussi, there are also a number that are listed as "formerly kokuho".  It must be the best or one of the best private collections in the world.  Are you aware of others more substantial?  

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I agree Robert it is definately one of the best collections in the world. There are few amazing collections/museums in Japan that are similar in quality (absolute top) to this and I believe are private. I have gone through the Kokuhō, JūBu & JūBi and it is amazing to see where some items are located. Agency for Cultral Affairs holds a database that has all Kokuhō and Jūyō Bunkazai. As Bijutsuhin is outdated designation I don't think there are any databases for those and I have seen that since the Bijutsuhin books c.1985 some items have been relocated, which is no surprise that they might change ownership as years go by but they are harder to track down. It was very apparent with Bunkazai designated items as the book I have on them is from 1977 and the database has what I believe to be up to date info, as many were relocated during that time period.

 

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On 7/31/2020 at 12:02 AM, Surfson said:

 

I just find it interesting that this museum, which houses probably one of the greatest collections in the world, uses the traditional uchiko approach.  

 

Fallacy: call to authority. You assume that this museum is composed of authorities who know better and is just not the hobby of a rich man. Or, you assume that the people advising are not in the 70s to 80s themselves and thereby completely unable to adapt and change. So, if you look at this as a case to cite that uchiko is ok, then you are basing it on bad reasoning.

 

The only thing that matters is results.

 

You are supposed to PRESERVE your sword first and foremost.

 

Constanty grinding it with an abrasive is ALTERING the sword.

 

Every. Single. One. Of. These.  BUT "I" USE UCHIKO "CORRECTLY" whenever i get my hands on the sword and the damage they have done it needs shiage to fix. That is cost and time and money coming out of someone's pocket and it limits the life of the sword.

 

It is patently RIDICULOUS to rub a sword with an abrasive item in order to "care" for it. Do you "care" for your mirrors by rubbing them with sandpaper? Do you "care" for your windows with sandblasters?

Then don't "care" for your swords with uchiko.

 

Honestly this far in, it's just stubbornness. People who are 80, I forgive, they won't learn something new. Tanobe sensei doesn't use uchiko on the swords I bring him to show so I don't see any reason why you should be saying his care system is inferior to yours because you use uchiko. And I can show you so many swords, each one of them destroyed. The same way you ask everyone are you above average intelligence they will say yes. That is what you get from the uchiko crowd.

 

Frankly, the old guys out there 50 and up, you can't even see with your eyes anymore the damage that you're doing, but a young man can and so can the camera. The camera does not lie, it reveals all of the abuse from uchiko and it renders items unsaleable after your life long "care" and so they need to be polished again.

 

As long as you insist that abrasive materials are "care" items and not repair tools, this will happen, a fast cycle of polishes until swords of today no longer exist. And when they no longer exist we will point back and say these guys thought sandpaper was a good material to maintain a steel surface. How sad.

 

ALL YOU NEED IS OIL AND REMOVE OIL

 

You, as a custodian, do NOT need ANYTHING more than that.

OIL

 

REMOVE OIL

 

Sandpaper is not required in this process.

 

I ... my mind is just completely boggled, that people are still in this day and age confused on the matter or saying I am the one who does it right. However I look around me and see Japanese people claiming they are immune to covid due to their enhanced genetics and I see people refusing to wear masks because it's a hoax so I am not surprised that people lack the facilities to determine that abrasives are not care items.

 

CARE

 

MAINTAIN

 

DO NOT ALTER

 

OIl, and rub  oil off. That's all you need to do for your life.

 

On 7/31/2020 at 12:02 AM, Surfson said:

 

I think that using uchiko requires a learning curve.

 

Yeah, here is the curve:
 

It's a rust removing tool and if you don't have rust, don't use it. Otherwise oil it and remove the oil.

 

On 7/31/2020 at 12:02 AM, Surfson said:

 

  Careful efforts to avoid this prevent the scratching and enable the uchiko to treat the surface.  

 

There is no way to avoid this. You with your old eyes you can't even see. I can't even see with my old eyes. You won't get it off, you get it in the oil, you form slurry.

 

The evidence is literally on EVERY SWORD that was "cared" for with uchiko. Swords far more valuable and important than  what you have.

 

Don't use it.

 

There is no reason for it.

 

Microfiber removes the oil better than a slurry of polishing stones rubbed over steel and does no damage.

 

People shouldn't even be fighting for this backwards stuff at this point in time.

 

I am dealing with top level dealers and they're all using microfiber. Tanobe sensei is using microfiber.

 

It's just ... like people who want to drink hot sake because they think it's authentic. People do not do this stuff anymore. It's an anachronism. It's gone. You're using typewriters in the iPhone era.

 

STOP

 

PLEASE


STOP

 

 

 

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Halle-xxxxing-lujah. 
 

Using uchiko is basically like Marlboro saying cigarettes don’t cause cancer. 
 

Uchiko evangelism is the flat earth movement of the nihonto world. 
 

PS: I see the new board has a profanity filter. ;-)

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The fact that we don't go all Third-Reich-censorship on uchiko topics shouldn't make Darcy feel like we haven't taken this on board long ago. I for one listened to his advice loooong ago and I bet most here did too.
Doesn't mean I refuse to read other's opinions. But the education worked Darcy. Your views on this remain official policy here. And are mentioned every time the topic is raised. So it's not like newcomers miss the advice.
It's made a difference even when it maybe sometimes feels like it hasn't.
 

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Well, I guess I should respond.  Even though I am 68, my last eye check a year ago had my eyes both at 20-15, so I can't claim that my eyesight is failing.  

 

In practice, I rarely do use uchiko, especially on fully polished swords.  I only clean and oil my swords around once a year, just after the dry winter months, and I usually do just as you say - wipe off the oil completely (I usually use an unscented but soft kleenex type tissue since the Japanese sword paper seems a bit rough to me), enjoy the sword, and then put a light coat of oil on it.  I have microfiber but haven't gotten in the habit of using it.  I have a number of swords with a very old polish that is not 100%, and will use uchiko on those with the expectation that over time the uchiko will clean the surface.

 

I was just pointing out that the experts that maintain this collection continue to use uchiko, and certainly don't want to get into a debate with Darcy or others about it since I really have no original information or data to bring to the discussion.  These discussions, without data, become pure opinion rapidly. 

 

I would be interested to know what percentage of high end collectors in Japan use it.  Darcy, you have a scientific approach to sword collecting; do you have any hard data on the prevalence of uchiko vs no uchiko use or the relative ability of uchiko vs microfiber to prevent the onset of cloudiness or rust?  

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I think the use of Uchiko is as said, very outdated. What we were taught when I was young and able to do Iaido and Tameshigiri was that Uchiko should only be used on your Shinsakuto after practice to make sure it does not rust and keep the sword oiled. No one was ever, ever advised to use Uchiko on their Nihonto (antique swords). I have not seen any dealer or collector in Japan using Uchiko on an antique sword that was in pristine condition and polished. It is a tool for an age where microfiber was not available and as technology advances so should we. I agree that getting the older minds to change is a frivolous exercise and anyway, the important aspect is making sure younger and new collectors do not go that way and allow the older mindset and habits to go the way of the dinosaur. No one here using Uchiko does it correctly, I have seen it being used in demonstration but even then if you see the sword used in those demos they are not polished blades and they are definitely not Koto masterpieces. Tradition is one thing but interpreting that as law is incorrect when tech is available to give our swords longer lives.

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I just commented on a 3-month-old sword cleaning video on Paul Martin's channel, I was curious to know his thoughts on the subject of uchiko.  (He does use it in the video)

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