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waljamada

Kanemoto wazikashi w/bohi koto? Or nokoto?

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Looking for some insight, I purchased a gamble wazikashi from a seller with some conflicting information in listing.  Finally have the sword in hand and hoping a more experienced eye can shed some light.  Seller had it listed as koto wazikashi, muromachi/eiroku era (1558-1570) and also mentioned the kane period (1716-1736) in the same description.  The Kanemoto line is long and deep so matching the mei has been difficult and could even be gimei for all I know.  The tsuba was listed as signed Shaomi.  Sword is a 21.5" nagasa in a wood laquered saya and I can't tell exactly what creature the menuki represents.  It does have some age but how much im finding difficult and its in old polish...so here you go!

 

*seller had also claimed the tsuba was a $500 tsuba...any truth?

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My thoughts are it is an older blade as is the polish.  Maybe muromachi but the nakago looks like the shape of shinto katana of mine but the color/patina of a koto.  Im not very familiar with wazikashi tangs.   The hamon has aspects of crab claw choji midare and has a few tobi-yaki hamon that seems misplaced for a Kanemoto blade and the mei is just off.  It resembles the first four generations but the moto kanji just looks a bit different as does the top and bottom of kane.  Not sure if this is the right term but the "ten ten uu" or lines at the bottom of the Kane kanji are reversed from the other mei ive seen.  The fat end is on the wrong end.  So for now I'm going with gimei that was done a very long time ago.

 

Fitings are possibly edo and of meh quality but still nice.  The menuki are some kind of reptile or mythological creature.  Japan didn't have alligators or crocodiles but China did...maybe a kappa...might have seen a komodo dragon from Indonesia...giant salamander...frog/toad? 

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Adam,

the TSUBA is signed SHOAMI, and its value may be considerably below $ 500.-- on today's market. I like the blade, but I cannot tell the age. It might well be a later (SHINTO) attempt to copy a MINO KANEMOTO, but as you wrote, there are some of them with that name.

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Kanemoto is classic target for gimei. This blade is either gimei, or "another Kanemoto" which is the Japanese way to go about it. 

 

Magoruku (first gen Kanemoto) had a great reputation for creating sharp, no-nonsense blades, which were in fashion by the more austere martial artists of the time, and even today. You'll find them associated with tea ceremony influences, bearing Higo koshirae, for instance, and quite popular with the Hosokawa. Muromachi Seki Magoroku and Nosada were very talented and shine far above what we usually associate with Seki works and can be considered the founders of the Mino tradition (unlike Shizu offshoots, which were clearly Soshu, or Kinju, but that's another topic). 

 

The first generations of Kanemoto worked in a "sanbonsugi" hamon which shows three little spikes in a repeating pattern. The first generation had a very organic expression of theme which is highly valued today, and as you move down the line it becomes more regular and ultimately less interesting.

 

As for the Tsuba, couple hundred bucks on AOI or paperweights in Japan bought by the kilo. If I'm not mistaken you've been hoarding all sorts of Ebay freak circus blades, and it could be time to consider a trip to Japan, books, or other education tools to sharpen your eyes. "Buy before you learn on EBAY" will put you into a dire predicament...

 

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Valric, thank you for the feedback and advice.  I also appreciate what you shared on Kanemoto.  The way you worded it added some cool on the ground level that many rewrite ups lack.  Gives it some humanity rather than pure academics.  

 

The tsuba I had assumed was more like a $150 tops tsuba so your, French and Pier's answers validates that.  

 

It depends on your definition of hoarding and circus freak blades.  I have 8 swords, two papered, four guntos (all type 98 two being early), a 1500's Kanekado with 2 ato-bori horimono and one Ko type 32.  Ive sold four swords including a second Ko 32, a 1930's ww2 era blade with bohi, horse themed early edo sword, and a muromachi blade with leather gunto saya and made a bit of money on all of them. 

 

Now I also have this wakizashi that all in cost me $680.  For a blade with these bohi that I really like, an interesting hamon, some real age, full koshirae and an old imperfect polish and probable old gimei that im ok with.  

 

I actually think I've done very well with what I have and what I've spent which by the way is an actual challenge.  

 

I lived 8 years in Tokyo, Japan, graduated from Jochi/Sophia University, worked for a Japanese International film festival for many years and tend to visit once every four years.  Sadly didn't have an interest in swords during that time but have seen many in museums there.  My relationship with this hobby currently is just that I refuse to spend say $3,000 on a single sword.  I can tell that I'm in a bracket that this forum isn't quite for and can wear ones welcome down quickly if you actively stick around in a pre-well learned "lower bracket" blade phase.  I understand that as it can sometimes be like a child interjecting themselves at the adults table.   I feel safe amongst the gunto guys though.

 

I do strive to be better.  Will continue learning and upgrading my collection and for now I buy in a price range that I will never lose money as I do it.  

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Actually most folks on this board are financially in your "bracket", Adam! 🙂

 

However, you will find a preference for quality over quantity because quality is ultimately more instructive over time (especially when coupled with books and trips to Japan, where you are likely to see a lot more good swords).

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Michael,

 

Thanks for that.  Thats good to know actually. 

 

*hops on soap box*

 

I understand and respect the notion of quality over quantity.  It not easy in this bracket but for the health of the hobby and to absorb the wider variety of blades that do require care and inherent value it is important to acknowledge the middle road.  The ideal path is rarely traveled and most go off on side trails that potentially lead to beautiful views and new expanses.  Yes, you may also hit a dead end or find yourself looking or falling down a little cliff.  You can recoup a wiser individual.  But the wary yet adventurous traveler arrives at the destination with unique insights.  Like that Kurt Vonnegut quote, "I want to stay as close on the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center."

 

However the knowledge of the ideal path is important to share and the pitfalls mapped and marked for those that follow.  I appreciate those that share it.

 

George....would have preferred a kappa but ill take wrestling toads.

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Ah Vonnegut, one of my favorites. My favorite quote of his is (and does not apply to this conversation at all): "opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one."

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8 swords, and selling 4 successfully all sounds quite healthy to me. if you've been able to recoup, buy and sell, and kindle your passion this way then more power to you.

 

You're also correct in stating that the 500$ range is the less risky of all brackets, due to the liquidity of the market and the numerous "deal hunters" you'll find on Ebay. Spice up a description, add blurry photos, mention Grandpa Binmore GI bringback as well as a mysterious tsuba and it'll move on to the next with little friction. 

 

As soon as you break out of the the EBAY treasure hunter range then this is where the minefield begins.

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1 hour ago, Tanto54 said:

The Menuki are two "wrestling" toads.

OMG - George... I find this very interesting... Is there an explanation ? Legend ?

 

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Ha, Vonnegut left us a quote for almost everything.  The quote I use the most is from a novel of his called "Timequake" which is one of my favorites.  It goes simply, "you were asleep but now you're awake and you've got a job to do."  I tend to use it when someone learns something new and then has to do it.  Can be used quite effectively and very smarmy like.   Also "If there is one thing I know, damnit child, you've got to be kind". 

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Hi Adam, I think you did well with this one at that price. Nothing not to like there for what you paid and the blade looks like it has something about it - well worth further research and maybe a polish and shinsa. 

Any chance of some close-ups of Boshi, hamon and Hada? 

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Hi Moley, for at least 800 years since the initial publication of the Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga (鳥獣人物戯画, literally "Animal-person Caricatures”) four comic scrolls, the Japanese have been using anthropomorphic Toads, Mice, Rabbits, etc. illustrated in human activities (like wrestling) for humor.  On Adam’s menuki, I think that I can see the Sumo Referee’s (a 3rd Toad’s) Gunbai (wooden war-fan used by the referee to signal the winner) in this case a leaf (I’ve circled the leaf on Adam’s menuki and the one in the famous Woodblock Print of Sumo Wrestling Toads below).

 

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George, wow and thank you.   Sumo wrestling toads...I'm a fan now.

 

John, here is the best I can do with a cellphone that fights against close shots, an old polish and choji oil (i think i use too much).  The boshi is hardest to capture but is visible in perfect angles as the kissaki has taken the most brunt of time, but here's what I've got.

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Hi Adam, 

I’ve had a look through my Mino books and haven’t turned anything up. I think I’d stick with late koto or as an outside maybe early Shinto Mino.
 

The patina on the tang says koto to me. The yasurimei are In line with Mino, the hamon with the togariba; gunome/ crab claw elements don’t necessarily rule out Mino as Bizen influences crept into some smiths’ work. 

 

I can’t make out much of the Hada: it looks like itame but I might be seeing some oil as well. I’d expect to see some mokume with masame above the shinogi for classic Mino.

 

My guess would be that it’s not necessarily gimei but not one of the big name Kanemoto. 
 

Sorry, doesn’t tell you much more than you already know but thanks for posting an interesting blade. 

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Thank you everyone for helping me learn about this blade, both its good and its bad and its inherent "qualities".  This one feels a bit like an poor orphan sword to me that im taking under my wing warts and all.  I will one day have it polished and the sumo wrestling toads will stay as.....I just like it.

 

Also, I finally upped and purchased two books as a start so that I may upgrade my knowledge and ability to contribute.  Shout out to Paul Martin.

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Adam Adam Adam

I say you can sit at the ADULTS table any day of the week. You have done better than many of us old timers. Id be very happy own what your putting down.

Thanks George my first skim over pix i for some reason thought octopi.

Great background on toad images.

The wak BTW was a steal id not worry about the mei. 

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Bob, thanks for the advice.  I will search out Sesko. 

 

Stephen and Tom, thank you both for the kind words.  I will keep on that shared diligent nihonto path learning along the way with inevitable waylays and stops and the adult table to ask for wisdom.   Aim to return the favor in the future to those starting along.

 

Gonna quote another author Robert Frost that ill use to starting in Nihonto,  "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep."

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6 hours ago, Stephen said:

You just turned on my hidden spy!

 

Shooting blind, randomly and dangerously from the hip.....I'll say "Spies Like Us" with Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase..."The Master of Disguise"..."Pink Panther"...also I remember loving how Kurt Russel's character quoted that Robert Frost "the woods are.." poem in the Quentin Tarantino film "Deathproof".

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