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Gassan Sadakatsu and Masamune's secret process


Bryce
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G'day Guys,

In the 1930's T Nagahara & Co advertised Gassan Sadakatsu's blades for sale. They could be ordered in Ayasugi or Masamune's secret process. I was never quite sure what Masamune's secret process looked like. I have tracked down about 50 of Sadakatsu's long blades on the internet and about 50% of them are ayasugi and 25% masame. My blade has tight masame hada with a gunome midare hamon. Recently AOIJapan have put up a Sadakazu blade on their site which has Motte Soshu Kamakura Masamune Den on the nakago. This blade looks very similar to my Sadakatsu blade.

 

Is my blade an example of Sadakatsu's Masamune's secret process?

 

T Nagahara & Co produced a booklet called "Nippon Toh" to sell these swords. I have never seen a copy, but assume it included illustrations to show what the swords look like. Does anyone have a copy they can post some pictures of?

 

Below is a shot of T Nagahara's advertisement, AOIJapan's Sadakazu katana and hada and my blade and hada.

Cheers,

Bryce

 

sadakatsu1934.thumb.jpg.ab941340316d15cd43e613066d803820.jpg

AOIJapan Sadakazu2.jpg

Sadakazu Soshu Masamune Den.jpg

Sugata.jpg

Hada2.jpg

Hada4.jpg

Hada7.jpg

Hada8.jpg

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G'day John,

In the description of the Sadakazu katana on the AOIJapan website Mr Tsuruta mentions that Sadakatsu had mastered "Soshuden, Masame kitae, Gassan Ayasugi hada, and Soshu Kamakura Masamune den" as if they are all different things?

Cheers,

Bryce

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From what I've noticed,  Sadakatsu, used Ayasugi, Itame and Masame.    I believe the use of Masamune den, just means Soshu, and just an advertising ploy.  Also, Masame, is usually used with Yamato den.

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G'day Guys,

I would say the jigane of my blade is pure Yamato Hosho, while the hamon is more Soshu. Below is an example of a Sadakatsu blade which I have been calling "Soshu" style up until now. It is sort of a mix of masame with sections of ayasugi...ish. They seem to be much rarer than then masame blades with a gunome midare hamon. It is interesting to me that Mr Tsuruta seems to differentiate between Soshu and Kamakura Masamune Den in relation to Gassan works. The blade by Sadakazu (Sadakatsu's father and teacher) which I posted above seems much closer to my blade, than the example below. Admittedly the photo posted on the AOIJapan website isn't of the highest detail, so perhaps it does have more of the ayasugi...ish hada than the photo shows. Maybe I am reading too much into this.

Cheers,

Bryce

Soshu1.jpg

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Fantastic Thomas!

I guess there weren't any illustrations of this?

I think I will go back to my original stance that this is what the Gassan's called Masamune's secret process, rather than my blade, even though it shares some of these characteristics.

Cheers,

Bryce

 

Soshu1.jpg

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I own this blade, which was intentionally made and signed by Sadakazu as an utsushi of Masamune.  It's an interesting blade, and may be a "practice" piece for a work that he presented to the emperor in the same style.  

 

https://www.aoijapan.net/katana-teisitu-gigei-in-gassan-sadakazu-78-years-made-by-politely/

 

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G'day Robert,

Thanks very much for posting this. This shows the itame hada I would expect much better than the original Sadakazu I posted. I guess the original photo wasn't detailed enough to show the jihada like yours does. Definitely confirms my blade isn't an example of Soshu Masamune Den.

Cheers,

Bryce

 

 

Sadakazu Soshu Masamune Den2.jpg

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44 minutes ago, Jacques D. said:

Masamune's alleged secret forging technique makes me laugh a lot. What did he teach his many apprentices ? Knitting ? 

 

Gotta admit, that's a good point :laughing:

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7 hours ago, Jacques D. said:

Masamune's alleged secret forging technique makes me laugh a lot. What did he teach his many apprentices ? Knitting ? 

 

 

Agreed!

 

I was watching a master smith on youtube squint one of eyes holding the blade at arms length. I wonder if he wasn't wearing his eye glasses, because of the video? 

Watching that furnace / glowing metal all day and night had to burn out the eyesight. Could be I have no idea what I'm talking about either. 

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G'day Guys,

The Gassan's were fond of a nice piece of marketing spin. As David mentioned earlier the phrase "Masamune's secret process" is just an advertising ploy.

Cheers,

Bryce

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G'day Robert,

Please don't take my comment as being negative about your blade, that wasn't my intention. I was simply referring to the phrase used in the T Nagahara & Co's advertisement. In terms of these Soshu blades being different from the Gassan's usual work I agree. Of the 50 Gassan Sadakatsu long blades I have been able to view on the web, these Soshu ones are amongst the least common style produced. Roughly 50% are ayasugi, 25% masame and 14% soshu. Within each of these main styles there are also variations in contrast, hada "tightness" and hamon.

Cheers,

Bryce

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Looks like it may have been a cut and paste error by AOIJapan in their description. The hada does resemble Awataguchi nashiji.

Cheers,

Bryce

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Thanks Steve,

Here are the photos for prosterity. This is another example where the NBTHK has papered it, but the hada looks off and it wasn't signed by Sadakatsu himself. Maybe it was made by his student, but when does it become gimei? Not a great example.

Cheers,

Bryce

 

20392-2.jpg

20392paper-1.jpg

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