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Babu

Mei removal, is it a bad thing

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I have a sword with orakaeshi mei that although preserved by the samurai on shortening is none the less not correct in spite of his belief at the time in the muromachi that it was. 

The problem is that the smith its claiming to be had a sword length of 70cm approx and rarely exceeded this if ever. 

 

It's tachi mei and the mei "panel" is quite easy to remove with only nominal Work and is also easy to replace. 

If I submit it to shinsa as removed with its little slot empty, will it likely be rejected? Fortunately the panel steel is as corroded as the Nakago so colour wise it's OK. 

I feel the sword worthy of shinsa and need to know more about it. 

IMG_20200909_104119135~2.jpg

IMG_20200909_104109348~2.jpg

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Babu, why wouldn't you submit it first with the mei panel as is?  Would you have to actually cut it out?  In other words, is it truly folded over or just inserted?  I wouldn't deface the sword unless I had an authoritative opinion that the blade was not made by the name on the orikaeshi mei.  

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My gut feeling is that you reaaaaally shouldn't have removed the orikaeshimei even if its gimei. Better to have an intact history than a tampered one. You cut the metal where it was folded?

Never trust an online consensus with something possibly valuable; it is preferable to go with an expert's opinion in person.

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In my opinion we are custodians so we should try to conserve.  Generally, you shouldn't remove a mei unless you have several authorities all agreeing that it is gimei (and even then, you should only have it removed in rare cases).

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I have only removed a mei three times among the hundreds of swords I have owned.  Once, it was signed Masamune and failed shinsa twice with gimei as the conclusion.  Once, it had a shumei that was carved and lacquered to Taira Nagamori.  Also rejected twice with advice to remove it.  Finally, one that had two famous signatures on it - Masamune and Ryokai.  Clearly bad and never submitted.  Two of these got a fresh polish afterwards and are now definitely better preserved.  I still own two of them.  I will caution that it is important that it be done by an expert who knows how to file it appropriately and restore the patina.  I believe that most sword polishers do this periodically. 

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"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt".

 

Adam has not only spoken, he is yelling through a megaphone at this point.

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if you want the mei removed, have it done by a professioanl before sumitting it. or just live with it. w

 

the NMB has a strong stance agains DIY or amateur  work

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Adam, why would you go and remove the Bishu Munemitsu orikaeshi yourself?!?!?!

 

You should have just sent it to Paul Martin, as you planned to, get it through Hozon Shinsa (or fail it, but Paul could get comments from the Shinsa Panel as to why it failed) and only if it fails because gimei, could you consider having it done by a professional in Japan......
 

Frankly, disappointing..... 

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Submit to shinsa before anything further is done to it. It can pass Hozon shinsa in its current state of polish. If it fails, submit again, maybe to the NTHK instead and after that think about removing the mei but if you do it get it done in Japan by a professional. You might want to submit to the NTHK in first instance anyway as you will receive more information as to whether it is worth pursuing higher papers via the NBTHK. Paul Martin can handle this for you - he has done the same for me and he can probably get someone to evaluate the blade in-hand before shinsa.

 

If you remove the mei yourself it will look like the blade has been messed with as the state of the tang under the folded metal won't be the same as the rest of it. If you take it off and put it back on, the chances are that it won't look right and a shinsa panel will draw the inference that a mei has been added to a mumei blade and that it is gimei and fail it on that basis.

 

Edit: Sorry, didn't see Michael's reply.

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Guys, can’t you see the mei has already been removed. No point crying over split milk.   Too late for advice 

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Most people I showed it to including everyone on here shouted Gimei.

I asked Paul and he eventually (due to time and distance delays agreed with the appraisal) 

A very noted expert in this field kindly researched this blade for me and told me in a very Japanese way that in its current guise it would be a total waste of money to send it to shinsa with that mei as that smith was noted for never producing swords over 70cm. This sword was at least 85cm.

He also stated it would not be worth the cost of polishing in its current state. 

The mei was wrong. Confirmed by many. 

The panel was easy to slide out and as I said easy to slide back in. The fold has been cracked to facilitate this. 

It still matches the two sides perfectly when pushed back in and you can barely notice. So I could send it with the gimei or remove the gimei then get it to shinsa and once I knew more about the sword return the mei back into the panel. 

History preserved, but me a little more informed on what I have. 

So really is it worth all this stress over a solution I have found that can be reversed? 

 

Also I do not do things lightly or without significant advice as I quite hoped it was shoshin orakaeshi mei. But frankly too many experts say its not. 

What I asked is will it be acceptable for judgement if they (the shinsa panel) assume that mei lost to history? 

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29 minutes ago, Gakusee said:

Guys, can’t you see the mei has already been removed. No point crying over split milk.   Too late for advice 

 

I can now. Ouch.

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Adam, if the blade papers with one of the shinsa and they put the nakago in a photo, then it is fraudulent to reinsert it after receiving the certificate without a mei.  Of course you can keep the mei as a souvenir but not reattach it after it has papered. 
 

There are swords that have had mei removed and have papered. I can think of at least one. But in that case someone had made an effort to redecorate the nakago a bit, even though it was still barely visible where an orikaeshi or gakumei  (cannot remember which one) had been. 
 

The problem here is that you have received advice from the board (there are knowledgable people here, but not “experts” in the true sense). If Paul has seen it in hand, it is different. But even he cannot give a fully qualified opinion via photos. The blade has not been to any shinsa and, I am sorry, but to me, only they alongside Tanobe sensei are “experts”. 
 

Yes, it would have been a “waste” of £150-200 If it failed die to gimei. but this is not a cheap hobby. 

 

 

 

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Ok...I'm confused. Has the mei been removed already? And by whom if so?

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Here is a removed orakaeshi mei that is non reverseable

 

Here also is mine with the mei reinserted. 

Screenshot_20200912-111435.png

_20200912_111539.JPG

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Ah...ok. So the plate was removed in that pic. The mei is still present on the removed part.

As mentioned then, forget about all the sources you asked, and submit with the mei. If gimei, and the sword is good..have it polished and enjoy as is. It will not get papers without the plate imho. If the shinsa says the sword is good, then remove the mei as per usual and resubmit.

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Ok let me offer a description of the sword for you to contemplate.

I have been told by a very respected expert that it very much reminds them of something.

nagasa 70.3 cm
sori 2.0 cm
motohaba 2.8 cm
sakihaba 1.8 cm
kissaki 2.8 cm
nakago nagasa 18.2 cm
nakago sori 0.1 cm

Configuration (sugata) with longitudinal ridge line (shinogi-zukuri), shallow peaked back (iori-mune) and medium point (chu-kissaki); length (nagasa) 2 shaku, 3 sun, 2 bu (70.3cm.); curvature (sori)koshi-zori of 2.0cm.; increase in width of blade (fumbari) 10 mm.
Forging pattern (jihada) wood grain (itame).
Tempering pattern (hamon) very wide Ichimonji midare with juka-choji and widely scattered utsuri all extending close to and into the shinogi.
Point (boshi) omaru on the outside and slight flame-brushed tip (hakikake) on the inside.
Tang (nakago). Shape (keitai) regular with the shinogi extending the full length, slightly shortened (suriage); file marks (yasurime) slanted (katte-sagari); end (nakagojiri) straight (kiri); holes (mekugi-ana) three; signature (tachimei) obscured.

 

 

 

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There is no kantei out there that I know of that relies on measurements.

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Munemitsu swords significantly over 70cm will fail shinsa. 

This is from a very respected sword expert. 

Fumbari is based on measurement as is Nagasa. 

In fact almost every expert I've consulted has asked for all measurements, so I'm not entirely sure where your information is supplied Brian. 

It goes without saying if measurements are required then they play a pivotal role in kantei. 

 

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"Relies"
I didn't say they aren't necessary. Just that you seem to be doing kantei by measurment alone. This topic is the proverbial dead horse. It has run it's course and you have been given ample advice.
You seem to assume you are going to get a definitive answer here. The answer is submit it to shinsa.

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