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Tokugawa Gord

Wakizashi Identification!

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Hello Everyone.

 

I am a new collector of Japanese antique arms and armour. It is my pleasure to be part of this community, and i have read many posts here about Japanese swords and their smiths. I have an unidentified wakizashi I am struggling with, as it is not signed and is not in its original fittings. The hamon is similar to Bizen school, closest I found in geometry and hamon was Bishu Osafune Morimitsu. The reason I say that is the person I bought the sword from had other blades from the same school, particularly Bizen Osafune Sukesada. Some signed, some not. This particular one has no mei, but has some evidence of a clipped tang, which could help ID it.

 

I notice some open kawagane, with visible shintetsu, which tells me the blade was polished many times. It is in good polish, still as sharp as it was polished and able to perform very well. The blade has obvious signs of action, with minor dents on the lower hamon, and an impact mark on the mune, but is in overall great condition with no fatal flaws.

 

Any information on this wakizashi will help a long way, Japanese swords are a long time passion of mine, and I am so glad to have the opportunity to start this collection. I hope you all admire the ancient beauty as much as I do. Thank you in advance!

 

Warm Regards,

 

Gordon S

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2 minutes ago, DoTanuki yokai said:

It would be helpfull if you put down that "habaki" but i would say from what i see its a shortend sue bizen blade.

I think its a Sukesada 😄

 

I tried to pull it down, but it is in there very tight. I am trying not to risk damaging the blade, and I am unsure what tool to use to make it budge. Welcome to suggestions!

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I am sorry for the bad news, but this is not a Japanese sword. It appears to be one of the Chinese blades we often see made in a vaguely Japanese style. In the details though, sugata, nakago, hamon, habaki, koshirae, it does not look like what you see in an authentic example.

 

http://www.jssus.org/nkp/fake_japanese_swords.html

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What i thought a wakizash with cobbled parts the tsuka chinese nco copy.

If you show us the kissaki i might be 100% with Ray.

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I was also thinking genuine waki, with Chinese fake NCO fittings. But Ray has a good eye, so I never discount his opinion :)

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Weird.... I was thinking real blade and fake, cobbled up mountings too. If the blade is fake, it looks seriously real, at least from afar. :(

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Actually, looking at it again, while I still have doubts about the blade, I’m starting to think the Habaki won’t move because it isn’t a Habaki. The shape looks suspicious, just like a big piece of yellow copper pipe fitted and maybe cemented to the blade.

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You’re seeing more than me. To me the shape looks completely normal (shobu zukuri) except maybe in one photo where the Kissaki looks off but I thought camera angle.  The Nakago jiri.seems a little odd but nothing off the scale. 
 

It looks like it has a hamon and It has a kitae ware suggesting a folded blade.

 

I’m hoping Ray will expand on his post as this is a bit scary. 

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I'm hesitant to comment on the blade, it looks authentic, at least to me but i'm no expert. I find it odd how the blade isn't accompanied by its original habaki though, they usually manage to stay together since it's unique to the blade. Making a new, brass habaki for the sake of stylistic consistency would be a good deal of extra work for little reward. 

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I agree with Ray; at first glance it could be mistaken for an authentic blade with put together fittings, but after more examination it seems obvious that those fittings were made to fit that blade, and not done very well. The tip of the shobu zukuri shape is not proportioned in a traditional way, and the polish is non standard as well.  The Chinese are getting better at some things, but the clues are still there that reveal their handiwork.

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Steve,

 

That doesn’t look like a Chinese polish either. Here, you see the shape of the Hamon as a dark area. the Chinese usually have little difference in color between Hamon and ji. Usually, they just overdo the habuchi with acid. I think it would show on a repro sword. Now, I’m not saying the blade is real or false. Truth is , if I had to just judge according to the pictures, I’d go with real, but since Ray raised a very interesting point, I’ll admit now I’m baffled as to what it is.

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5 hours ago, Ray Singer said:

I am sorry for the bad news, but this is not a Japanese sword. It appears to be one of the Chinese blades we often see made in a vaguely Japanese style. In the details though, sugata, nakago, hamon, habaki, koshirae, it does not look like what you see in an authentic example.

 

http://www.jssus.org/nkp/fake_japanese_swords.html

Thank you Ray for your respectful opinion. Including a picture of kissaki and the space left between the tsuba for your reference. There is a 2cm space between the tsuba and habaki, indicating not original fittings, along with a piece of wood and electrical tape required to keep the blade in place with these fittings. Without the wood and the tape, the blade has no way of sitting in the hollow fitting.

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3 hours ago, Stephen said:

What i thought a wakizash with cobbled parts the tsuka chinese nco copy.

If you show us the kissaki i might be 100% with Ray.

Hello Stephen, thank you for your valued judgement. I am including a picture of the kissaki for your reference. Thank you for taking the time to assess. 

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Im still in true nihonto court but she's heavily abused blade might have been katana at one time.

Light tapping on habaki to see whats under but possible its braised on.

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30 minutes ago, Stephen said:

Im still in true nihonto court but she's heavily abused blade might have been katana at one time.

Light tapping on habaki to see whats under but possible its braised on.

Sounds great, will try later today and see if it budges! I also suspect a shortened katana.

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I’m also still in the "it’s real" team. The mountings are 100% fake and maybe Ray has part of the truth here. Someone may have found a blade in Shirasaya with wooden Habaki and wanted to mount it as a wakizashi, bought one of those awful repros, ditched the blade and mounted that one in. If so, bad idea, a Shirasaya would have looked better.

 

Gordan, let me add that if in doubt though. You should trust Ray's opinion wayyyyyy over mine! :)

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Coming back to this late, but the latest photos are helpful. I am now open to the idea that this an authentic blade (shinto shobu-zukuri wakizashi) that has been put into an amateur polish and fake fittings. Perhaps a bad machi-okuri as well when the amateur habaki was added, giving the blade its odd sugata and proportionately overlong nakago. 

 

 

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I'm in the camp of real blade with bad polish and put together mounts.  I don't think it's Bizen though, mostly because the end of the tang looks more like Kaga or another school. Bizen tangs usually don't taper and have a fairly round end.  

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8 hours ago, Stephen said:

Im still in true nihonto court but she's heavily abused blade might have been katana at one time.

Light tapping on habaki to see whats under but possible its braised on.

Tried my best to tap, but it is indeed braised on there pretty tight. Will have to take it to a professional for a new habaki, polish and some umeghane filling.

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5 hours ago, Ray Singer said:

Coming back to this late, but the latest photos are helpful. I am now open to the idea that this an authentic blade (shinto shobu-zukuri wakizashi) that has been put into an amateur polish and fake fittings. Perhaps a bad machi-okuri as well when the amateur habaki was added, giving the blade its odd sugata and proportionately overlong nakago. 

 

 

Thank you Ray for circling back around, I am glad to hear the blade is real. Now I can get to work: ID smith, match the fittings to the period (I have a Goto school tsuba with shi shi and peonies), some umeghane filling, and new polish should do it. 

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6 hours ago, 16k said:

I’m also still in the "it’s real" team. The mountings are 100% fake and maybe Ray has part of the truth here. Someone may have found a blade in Shirasaya with wooden Habaki and wanted to mount it as a wakizashi, bought one of those awful repros, ditched the blade and mounted that one in. If so, bad idea, a Shirasaya would have looked better.

 

Gordan, let me add that if in doubt though. You should trust Ray's opinion wayyyyyy over mine! :)

Absolutely agreed, I am new to the site and already know that Ray is one of the experts :). I think in this case, the seller may have just had the blade with no fittings, and slapped it together for quick sale to me. Thank you for being on team real!

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23 hours ago, 16k said:

Steve,

 

That doesn’t look like a Chinese polish either. Here, you see the shape of the Hamon as a dark area. the Chinese usually have little difference in color between Hamon and ji. Usually, they just overdo the habuchi with acid.

There is more than one guy in Longquan doing "polishes"....whoever "did" this one is still having geometry challenges, as well as not following stone direction changes to remove hike....I do not think there is enough patina on the nakago to determine  that it is an antique nihonto versus a modern repro.....in hand examination by an experienced polisher would assist.

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Gordan,

do one step at a time! Have the HABAKI dismounted  first - if it was really brazed on, the necessary temperature for brazing may have damaged the blade beyopnd repair.

Should the MACHI prove to be not aligned, the blade is very probably not of Japanese origin.

There is no such thing as 'UMEGANE filing' unless you have a hole in the KAWAGANE. That is the work of a good polisher. 

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The other possibility that i find plausible is an authentic blade obtained by an enthusiastic but unskilled amateur, who "polished" and mounted the blade badly with junk fittings, and then passed it to the OP.

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I'd do what Steve says: get it in the hands of someone skilled to seek their professional opinion on authenticity.

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