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Need more info.

The first three are normally a name, or part of a given name: Jibei

The last is normally part of a rank or title ~丞 (~no jō).

 

Japanese is a language for which context can completely change the meaning of the text, so it really depends on what comes before it - but it looks like "name + title".

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3 hours ago, SteveM said:

Need more info.

The first three are normally a name, or part of a given name: Jibei

The last is normally part of a rank or title ~丞 (~no jō).

 

Japanese is a language for which context can completely change the meaning of the text, so it really depends on what comes before it - but it looks like "name + title".


Hi Steve, thanks for the quick response. Here's the full mei:

九州肥後同田貫次兵衛丞

I have the first 7 characters to be a Dōtanuki
 

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Kyūshū Higō Dōtanuki Jihei ... those are the first 10. 

 

Could it be that the 衛 character, which is usually written in grass script on this smith's swords, is being mistaken as 丞?

 

There is an article on this smith and how hard it is to read the name, and the potential for these swords to be forged. Look at the illustrations numbered #40 and #41 in the article. He hints (whithout stating explicitly) that the name on #41 is engraved differently enough to be considered a forgery. 

https://www.token-net.com/knowledge/62_about_gibutsu_14.html

Nowhere does it mention anything about 丞 being added. 

 

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7 hours ago, SteveM said:

Kyūshū Higō Dōtanuki Jihei ... those are the first 10. 

 

Could it be that the 衛 character, which is usually written in grass script on this smith's swords, is being mistaken as 丞?

 

There is an article on this smith and how hard it is to read the name, and the potential for these swords to be forged. Look at the illustrations numbered #40 and #41 in the article. He hints (whithout stating explicitly) that the name on #41 is engraved differently enough to be considered a forgery. 

https://www.token-net.com/knowledge/62_about_gibutsu_14.html

Nowhere does it mention anything about 丞 being added. 

 

Hi again and thanks for that. Here's the mei and what NBTHK had to say-

Screenshot 2021-08-15 020633.png

Screenshot 2021-08-15 020721.png

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(jo) on the NBTHK paper is a variant of the last kanji on the nakago. I do not have the font of the original kanji, so refer to the attached image. SteveM already explained the meaning of (jo).

Ref. u2dd60-j (𭵠) - GlyphWiki

 

This is my guess as a possibility.

If the last kanji on the nakago is also equivalent to another kanji (jo), it might mean “to present".

画像4.jpg

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11 hours ago, Nobody said:

(jo) on the NBTHK paper is a variant of the last kanji on the nakago. I do not have the font of the original kanji, so refer to the attached image. SteveM already explained the meaning of (jo).

Ref. u2dd60-j (𭵠) - GlyphWiki

 

This is my guess as a possibility.

If the last kanji on the nakago is also equivalent to another kanji (jo), it might mean “to present".

画像4.jpg


So it's a rank?

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4 hours ago, Bugyotsuji said:

That final character has many possibilities, but also contains the meaning of 'help', 'assistant' or 'deputy'.

 

See:

 

35CB8D27-7B18-43CC-947E-D85153798141.jpeg

Thank you Piers.  I'm suspecting that this was an order or a gift for a "deputy's" guards. It's a very large omi-yari from muromachi period.

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Current hypothesis:

九州肥後同田貫  (Dotanuki signature)                            

次兵衛丞 (dedication/ who it's for: "second guard in the *insert translated rank here*'s guards"

丞 = prime minister in Chinese, apparently, and or maybe deputy, whatever that might mean.

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I am bit confused where the information about guards comes in?

 

The signature on your sword is 九州肥後同田貫次兵衛(丞) - Kyūshū Higo Dōtanuki Jibei (X) As seen above even members very proficient in reading signatures are bit uncertain of the use of the last character.

 

Here you can find some other works of Dōtanuki smith Jibei:

https://www.sanmei.com/contents/media/A62300_Y1407.htm

http://ginza.choshuya.co.jp/sale/gj/h30/06/10.htm

https://www.aoijapan.jp/刀九州肥後同田貫次兵衛/

 

Dōtanuki smiths were known to make very large yari, here are some reference items of 70cm+ yari by named Dōtanuki smiths.

Matahachi: https://sanmei.com/contents/media/K44018_Y1410_PUP.html

Hyōbu: https://www.e-sword.jp/yari/1610-4031.htm

Minamoto Saemon: https://www.samurai-nippon.net/SHOP/V-1304.html (notice that this one has the same last kanji as your yari)

Genzaemon: https://www.tsuruginoya.com/mn1_3/a00381.html

 

I do think your yari is very nice item and historically quite interesting. Surviving signed yari of this length are important.

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7 hours ago, Jussi Ekholm said:

I am bit confused where the information about guards comes in?

 

The signature on your sword is 九州肥後同田貫次兵衛(丞) - Kyūshū Higo Dōtanuki Jibei (X) As seen above even members very proficient in reading signatures are bit uncertain of the use of the last character.

 

Here you can find some other works of Dōtanuki smith Jibei:

https://www.sanmei.com/contents/media/A62300_Y1407.htm

http://ginza.choshuya.co.jp/sale/gj/h30/06/10.htm

https://www.aoijapan.jp/刀九州肥後同田貫次兵衛/

 

Dōtanuki smiths were known to make very large yari, here are some reference items of 70cm+ yari by named Dōtanuki smiths.

Matahachi: https://sanmei.com/contents/media/K44018_Y1410_PUP.html

Hyōbu: https://www.e-sword.jp/yari/1610-4031.htm

Minamoto Saemon: https://www.samurai-nippon.net/SHOP/V-1304.html (notice that this one has the same last kanji as your yari)

Genzaemon: https://www.tsuruginoya.com/mn1_3/a00381.html

 

I do think your yari is very nice item and historically quite interesting. Surviving signed yari of this length are important.


Thank you so much for the detailed response and links! Much appreciated. Just by working with the kanji in different translation services and asking a few friends.

次兵 - tsugi-hei could literally mean "second soldier" couldn't it?

 

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Hello Jake,  次兵衛 is just a name: Jibei.  In this case, you shouldn't try to parse each kanji for its individual meaning. The three kanji are combined together to form the name Jibei. If course, the individual kanji have meanings, and these meanings, in turn, add to the understanding of the name. But Jibei (次兵衛) is just a masculine name, that when combined with Dōtanuki means  "Jibei of the Dōtanuki Group", and we know this because there are written records of Jibei of the Dōtanuki Group. 

 

It is this last character 丞 that is causing us to speculate. Typically it is an honorific title of the kind that local Daimyō or the central government would grant to very talented smiths. It would make the whole name into something like "His Lordship Jibei of the Dōtanuki Group", and would be pronounced Jibei-no-jō. 

 

However, these titles are usually well-documented in various sources. The smith is then free to use this title on all of his signatures. In the case of Dōtanuki Jibei, there seems to be no record of him ever receiving the honor of a title, and there are no other swords of his that are extant with that particular title on it (as far as I know). So we are kind of scratching our heads as to what this last kanji could mean. It could be that the record of him receiving the title just didn't survive in any written form. It could be that this isn't a title, but instead means something else that isn't yet apparent. In any event, none of this changes the quality of your sword, and none of this changes the NBTHK's judgment that your sword is indeed a sword made and signed by Jibei Dōtanuki. 

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WOW!!!  A masterclass by our Wunderkind members.  Fascinating stuff to read and lets me know I'm still in pre-school on my way up.  The road is steep and long, but the view keeps getting better!!  Hats off to all our members who make this a good place to be.

 

BaZZa.

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8 hours ago, SteveM said:

Hello Jake,  次兵衛 is just a name: Jibei.  In this case, you shouldn't try to parse each kanji for its individual meaning. The three kanji are combined together to form the name Jibei. If course, the individual kanji have meanings, and these meanings, in turn, add to the understanding of the name. But Jibei (次兵衛) is just a masculine name, that when combined with Dōtanuki means  "Jibei of the Dōtanuki Group", and we know this because there are written records of Jibei of the Dōtanuki Group. 

 

It is this last character 丞 that is causing us to speculate. Typically it is an honorific title of the kind that local Daimyō or the central government would grant to very talented smiths. It would make the whole name into something like "His Lordship Jibei of the Dōtanuki Group", and would be pronounced Jibei-no-jō. 

 

However, these titles are usually well-documented in various sources. The smith is then free to use this title on all of his signatures. In the case of Dōtanuki Jibei, there seems to be no record of him ever receiving the honor of a title, and there are no other swords of his that are extant with that particular title on it (as far as I know). So we are kind of scratching our heads as to what this last kanji could mean. It could be that the record of him receiving the title just didn't survive in any written form. It could be that this isn't a title, but instead means something else that isn't yet apparent. In any event, none of this changes the quality of your sword, and none of this changes the NBTHK's judgment that your sword is indeed a sword made and signed by Jibei Dōtanuki. 

Thank you for walking me through all of that. I was jumping the gun a bit on the last character. Best - Jake

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