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Smaller blades thread


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Have very much enjoyed the above presentations. Hoping someone can clarify my offering.

Purchased here at NMB just over a year ago from Mark who was very generous to me after being given something of a barracking from one, maybe more spectators on the "For Sale' sidelines.

A Kwaiken, a concealable women's knife, great condition, about 16.8cm blade, originally a Kikutchi Yari cut down to make a small tanto in 1897 as per inscription on reformed tang. The maker's name is more obscure ?-Kane ? Koto period ?

Actually it was Mark then BaZZa who put me in some of the picture.

It is a lovely Kwaiken in my opinion.

Thank you.

Kwaiken 1.JPG

Kwaiken 2.JPG

Kwaiken 3.JPG

Kwaiken 4.JPG

Kwaiken 5.JPG

Kwaiken 6.JPG

Kwaiken 7.JPG

Kwaiken 8.JPG

Kwaiken 9.JPG

Kwaiken 10.JPG

Kwaiken 11.JPG

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Thank you Piers and Mark for your comments. And to Jean (ROKUJURO) for your advice.

I should clarify the "barracking from the sidelines" was directed at Mark(the other Mark ,'CHISHIKI", the seller) and not me. I was surprised at the comments, impressed by the tanto, further surprised it hadn't sold after enquiring about 'the state of play'.

One further thing about CHISHIKI- he was more than fair to deal with as I have found with other items also, tsuba etc .So thank you again Mark

Roger j

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On 3/30/2021 at 8:39 AM, roger dundas said:

originally a Kikutchi Yari cut down to make a small tanto


Kikuchi yari were straight, so this tanto wasn't one. Lovely blade, BTW.

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Hi Roger,
Thanks for your kind words and I am happy this lovely tanto found a good home.   Here is the translation of the inscription.   Best Regards Mark
My original sale thread
   On 8/23/2019 at 1:48 AM, Nobody said: 

明治三十年一月日 – Meiji 30th year (1897), 1st month

備前國貝原守美揚摺之 – Bizen no kuni, Kaibara Moriyoshi shortened this.

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  • 5 months later...

Hope this one is not too big but I've got a little dagger I'm fond of, I think it was a kaiken. It's mumei and I don't know much about it but I'm guessing the flamboyant hamon and masame at the bottom and mokume-itame elsewhere means it's probably from the Edo period.



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True, I should remember just because a word is similar doesn't mean it's appropriate. If it is older than Edo that would be very interesting for sure. The kasane did certainly seem quite thick for a blade its size.

Is it possible to make a rough guess as to the jidai and what tradition might have influenced it? Thank you again for your help, I always wind up learning something each time come here.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Bought this for my Christmas present from me to me. It is signed Kanesaki near the habaki which makes me wonder whether it was originally a yari blade that was shortened, which is much higher up than a normal yari signature, or is as made and is pretending to be a cut down yari.

Ian Bottomley



DSC_0005 (5).JPG

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  • 2 weeks later...


Small knife


Recently I came across a word that I should have known but didn't. 刀子, for which the English given was 'Tosu'. This piqued my curiosity.


In the exhibition of (O)mamori-gatana (see separate thread), was this specially made kozuka in a jewellery-like brightly-decorated koshirae, described as a To-su, or small knife. The blade and koshirae were a special order for the Manga artist Akiko Hatsu, 波津彬子 Hatsu Akiko.



The Kanji suggested that the To- must be a long sound, as in Nihontō. Eventually I found that this word has been used in Japan throughout history to describe a small knife, and that it can be pronounced either Tōsu or Tōshi, (although the former seems to be more common).


Her name contains the Kanji 波 (Ha/Nami) for ‘wave’, so the koshirae has silver waves, according to the description.






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Dear Piers.


Sweet tosu but to go back to Ian's yari tanto for a moment.  Given the relatively small size of the blade I am pretty sure that this started life as a yari but with a modest tang length.  The mei is cut high up the nakago because the tang is wider there.  I believe the current nakago ana was added when the yari was mounted in this koshirae which accounts for the slight off set in placing.

The mekugi ana is very near the fuchi because the straight yari nakago fitting into the curved tanto koshirae soon places the metal outside the centre line of the tsuka, any further away from the fuchi and it would be in danger of missing!


This example demonstrates both the high mei and someone wrestling with the nakago ana alignment problem, in this case an off set mekugi ana and a copper insert to bring it into position to fit the tsuka.



All the best.

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Geraint, I think you are right on the point about the width of the original tang being too narrow and hence the signature placement. It seems that Kanesaki specialised in yari which again suggests it is a modified sasaho yari blade. Irrespective of shape, it would be a devastating little weapon to tuck into your obi. While I am at it, I have often wondered about the hole and shitadome at the bottom end of the saya. These often seem to originally held a leather tab. I may be wrong but their purpose may have been to help prevent the saya pulling out of the obi too easily when the blade is drawn. Ant other ideas?

Ian Bottomley 

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  • 1 month later...

Just got this one, similar to Pier's first post, as a gift from someone very gracious.  Mumei, and the nakago looks new to my eyes, though with some rust.  Shirasaya seems to have some age, but not a great amount.  I'm thinking post-war souvenir?  Mostly because the habaki is fairly ugly and long.  Most of it slides into the tsuka with only the "normal" amount sticking out, to look like a habaki.  And also the squared and thick nakago.


But I wanted to run it through you guys.  I'd like to buff it up, but I don't want to if it's something older.  If it's just a trinket/souvenir/letter opener then I'd feel easy with cleaning off the rust.







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