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the dealer wants to sell me this sword, is it the original?


arnold
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Hi Arnold,

You say you want to buy an original sword; if so, you need to buy only from a dealer you can trust 100% or you need to study first (and, shy of getting lucky, those are the only options you have).  The fact that you are asking about such an obvious fake tells us you are a beginner.  There is nothing wrong with that; we all have been there ourselves, but as a beginner you need either very good advise or a whole lot more knowledge than you currently possess.  Otherwise you will run out of money quite quickly.

Grey

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No one has said it yet, but the best way to learn about nihonto is to buy the various books out there, attend sword study groups, and handle authentic pieces in hand (asking collectors in your area is the best way). Once you've got some experience under your belt, then you should start looking towards your first piece. Reliable and safe places to buy one include here from fellow board members and the websites listed under "Nihonto Info - Commercial" pages at the top. Those dealers are also members here and are honest folk. Personal recommendations of mine include Ed at Yakiba and Andy Quirt at nihonto.us; aside from that, stay far away from eBay and other auction sites until you've got experience to be able to identify the key traits that made a nihonto what it is! Auction sites tend to be where the sharks are.

Skipping the above steps, you'll be paying for a rather costly education through the experience of being fooled by imitations and poorly-made/poor condition pieces. I'd recommend against that path as said before, it gets very costly and yields disappointing results most of the time.

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For Arnold’s (and everyone’s) sake, instead of just saying “it’s an obvious fake, hit the books,” can we please list some things that helped you identify it as a fake? 
 

Not all, but here’s what I saw right away:

1. Kanji on the mei was too spread out, on both sides, funkily chiseled (if it even WAS chiseled), and not normally recognizable characters (katakana?)

2. Thought the erotic scene on the kozuka was very out of place, and the figures themselves were too crude.

3. Kogatana’s blade shape was odd; the sori looked almost fantasy-like with the carved-out area.

4. Rust on nakago was an odd color, too bright.

5. Loose/missing seppas

6. seemed like the habaki and blade were off-center through the tsuba

 

There are others certainly, but I think it’s helpful to take an extra few seconds to point out the WHY instead of always pointing towards the books without further context.

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And yes, the sword does yell “I’m a fake” (glancing again, I see the lack of yokote, the “same” ( 😬 ), the tzukamaki, etc. etc. ), and people’s time is limited for commenting. I just know as a fellow beginner, it can be helpful to point out specifics to focus on and think “OH, that is totally fake when I see the real ones side by side.”

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On 7/26/2021 at 7:34 PM, MichaelSeeley said:

1. Kanji on the mei was too spread out, on both sides, funkily chiseled (if it even WAS chiseled), and not normally recognizable characters (katakana?)

 

This is actually fairly recognizable:

山本大佐 Yamamoto Daisuke (a very common-sounding name. Kind of like "John Smith".)

元治二年    Genji 2 (1865)

 

However, your point is still well-made: the characters are indeed funkily chiseled. Amateurish, poorly executed, spaced on the nakago in an unusual size and arrangement. People should recognize the arrangement as unusual even if they cannot read the kanji. It is plausible that this could actually be the owner's name, but a horrible sword with an owner's name cut into it is still a horrible sword. 

 

 

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If I may, I'd like to suggest a change in approach.  Those of us who could easily see the sword as a fake were able to do so, not because we have memorized a list of rules (the kanji shouldn't be too spread out, for example), but rather, because we have looked at so many of the real thing.  Once you set a rule that says no real Nihonto have wide spread kanji in their mei, some sword will pop up with atypical spacing and prove you wrong.  However, once you have looked closely at 1,000 true Nihonto, either in hand or in a good book, you will never be fooled by a sword like the one up top.

Study Grasshopper.

Grey

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1 hour ago, Grey Doffin said:

 Once you set a rule that says no real Nihonto have wide spread kanji in their mei, some sword will pop up with atypical spacing and prove you wrong. 

That’s a great point! I meant it as a specific trait of this sword, but you’re right that this could get extrapolated out out and get someone into hot water.

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On 7/28/2021 at 9:57 AM, nektoalex said:

Hello, maybe Fuchi and Kashira can claim originality in this "set"?

No, as far as one can see. And as the whole sword has never seen Japan from a distance, why should a Chinese (?) worker/factory buy an authentic set of FUCHI and KASHIRA to decorate a cheap tourist piece? 

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