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Toku Hozon Katana 32" Nagasa Opinions/Observations Please


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Ken, yeah it's got some good clusters, have to wait to see it in hand but in full critique mode I do see some areas that may be a little too "hard"ori polished.  Posted good and maybe bad pics below.

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  • 2 months later...

Anyone by chance know how to get an old picture off aoijapan.com blade posts that isnt on the archived version?  I realized that the pictures of the guy who always looks at the swords at the bottom of the page is actually holding the specific blade they are selling.  Now I kinda wish I copied that photo of the guy (Mr. Aoi?) holding/kantei-ing my blade.

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On 4/1/2022 at 12:16 AM, Ken-Hawaii said:

I'm surprised that no one has commented on the splendid nioi-guchi, Adam. That was the first thing that jumped out at me, & it almost always indicates a superioir blade.

 

You did good.

 

For my personal knowledge, i would love to know what a splendid nioi-guchi is.

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On 6/24/2022 at 2:37 AM, Shugyosha said:

Jacques,

Just out of interest, would you say that the blade in this thread had a splendid nioi guchi?

 

John J.,

 

You've asked Jacques this question, and now I pose the same question to you. Would you say this blade has a splendid nioi guchi? Please explain?

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Filming and photographing blades is so hard and balancing/holding straight a 32" nagasa blade in one hand is near impossible!  Also I had a bit too much choji on it.

 

Aoi link to blade: https://sword-auction.com/en/product/10563/as20031-刀:沼田直宗/

 

A short terribly shot and out of focus video in all the wrong lighting: splendid nioi-guchi!?! and a pic.

 

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I will say that Numata Naomune was big into metallurgy and even wrote books on it.  This blade does have more nioi-guchi than usual which is at that layer area at the top/inner edge line of the hamon.  I forget some of the names/terms but during the tempering process it creates the softer pearlite hamon area and the harder martensitic steel area.  The clusters/activity in that top/inner layer kinda bordering between the pearlite hamon and martensitic steel (I believe it has its own name) but in this blade that area has more going on.   It does have the most interesting nioi-guchi (as I understand it) out of any blades I have.  I think a guy like Numata Naomune would try for just such things.

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On 6/24/2022 at 6:57 AM, Jacques D. said:

 

For my personal knowledge, i would love to know what a splendid nioi-guchi is.

The word “splendid” is not a precise scientific term as far as I know. It therefore does not have a precise scientific meaning. It therefore follows that it is a matter of personal taste and opinion which in the world of Nihonto is really pretty common. To ask for an “explanation” is unscientific and  is like asking “what is a splendid meal?” Opinions will thankfully vary.

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12 hours ago, Matsunoki said:

The word “splendid” is not a precise scientific term as far as I know. It therefore does not have a precise scientific meaning. It therefore follows that it is a matter of personal taste and opinion which in the world of Nihonto is really pretty common. To ask for an “explanation” is unscientific and  is like asking “what is a splendid meal?” Opinions will thankfully vary.

 

splen·did
/ˈsplendəd/
 
adjective
 
  1. magnificent; very impressive.
     
     
     
    "In conclusion it must be said that apart from merely recognizing the nioiguchi to draw conclusions on a possible school or smith, there is also the point of view of technical and artistical skill and quality. That means, a bright and clear and first of all consistent nioiguchi is desirable and shows that the smith was adequately skilled. So if the nioiguchi varies considerably and “unnaturally” in width and/or brightness, it is a sign that the smith lacked skill and that you are not facing a work of one of the top masters."
     
     
    The reality is that these terms are indeed already well defined. It then becomes left to our understanding to appropriately apply them, or not.  
     
     
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I think some of what I appreciate seeing in the blade is some of it's hataraki: for example the consistent sunagashi and togari.  Nie and nioi both play their parts.   It's splendid.  I picture Numata Naomune more like book smart smith compared to natural "God given" talent type like a Kiyomaro.  

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On 6/25/2022 at 2:13 PM, Jussi Ekholm said:

Adam I think you could ask Aoi for the picture, I would think Tsuruta would be happy to send the picture for you, if you explain your reasoning like you did above. :)

 

That most sensible way worked.  Thanks Jussi.

20031p.jpg

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On 6/26/2022 at 9:44 AM, Matsunoki said:

The word “splendid” is not a precise scientific term as far as I know. It therefore does not have a precise scientific meaning. It therefore follows that it is a matter of personal taste and opinion which in the world of Nihonto is really pretty common. To ask for an “explanation” is unscientific and  is like asking “what is a splendid meal?” Opinions will thankfully vary.

 

It's not a matter of taste, but of know-how. It is also a criterion of quality; a well-made nioi-guchi will be homogeneous in its thickness as well as in its shine (I won't talk about nie, it is too complex). I have seen perfectly executed nioiguchi, others less so and others with some small defects.  So yes, we can say splendid but only in term of execution.

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On 6/26/2022 at 9:46 PM, Franco D said:

 

splen·did
/ˈsplendəd/
 
adjective
 
  1. magnificent; very impressive.
     
     
    That means, a bright and clear and first of all consistent nioiguchi is desirable and shows that the smith was adequately skilled. 
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

 

I strongly disagree with that. bright and clear is not synonymous with quality. 

 

 

Sadatsuna.jpg

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39 minutes ago, Jacques D. said:

I strongly disagree with that. bright and clear is not synonymous with quality. 

 

Then you do not understand materials and control. Which in turn means that you're not qualified to make such a judgement.  But, you are welcome to your own opinion. As you were.

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On 6/24/2022 at 6:57 AM, Jacques D. said:

 

For my personal knowledge, i would love to know what a splendid nioi-guchi is.

 

On 7/1/2022 at 7:19 PM, Jacques D. said:

 

It's not a matter of taste, but of know-how. It is also a criterion of quality; a well-made nioi-guchi will be homogeneous in its thickness as well as in its shine (I won't talk about nie, it is too complex). I have seen perfectly executed nioiguchi, others less so and others with some small defects.  So yes, we can say splendid but only in term of execution.

If you already knew the answer why ask the question?

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While i understand the respect for perfect controlled and skillful execution, for me personally, in any art/skill I feel extremely strict rigidity/narrowing in appreciate is a losing man's game.  Like in painting the control and harnessing of paint and brush (mastery of material and execution) in realism is amazing but personally I find the homogeny of perfection somewhat boring.    I prefer the imperfections that allow impressionism to be more resonant for example.  Sword makers are probably much the same, each found different things beautiful and worthy of attempt.  Sometimes purposeful imperfectness or even attempts and "other" can actually be more beautiful and require impressive skill/knowledge.  Perfection are things you can write computer programs for with repeatable and predictable outcomes.   Predictable, repeatable and perfect even when requiring immense skill might not inspire me to want to describe it as "splendid".   A beautiful mistake will though....  

 

Don't tread on my splendid =|:^)

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46 minutes ago, waljamada said:

While i understand the respect for perfect controlled and skillful execution

 

Apparently you do not. 

 

46 minutes ago, waljamada said:

in any art/skill I feel extremely strict rigidity/narrowing in appreciate is a losing man's game. 

 

Sorry, Adam, but you're missing the whole point. Nihonto are first and foremost weapons designed to cut!!! Form follows function. They call the golden age period of Japanese sword making the golden age for good reason!

 

As you were.

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3 hours ago, Franco D said:

 

Apparently you do not. 

 

 

Sorry, Adam, but you're missing the whole point. Nihonto are first and foremost weapons designed to cut!!! Form follows function. They call the golden age period of Japanese sword making the golden age for good reason!

 

As you were.

 

 

I don't believe I am.  They are more than just cutting tools.  They are a science, an art and a passion...literally.  To some they were a job/tool, to some a necessity, to some there were an art and to some they were a school of study etc...  So experimentation and stretched attempts take place.  This maker directly demonstrates that.  He took an academic and practical study approach mostly focused on the metallurgy of swordmaking.  Studying the variety and variations within the perfections are infinitely interesting.   This happens with x and if you combine y you get z etc....   It's evolution is part of its interesting features.  To only idealize the epitomes (which are deserved) misses the breadths.

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17 hours ago, Franco D said:

 

Then you do not understand materials and control. Which in turn means that you're not qualified to make such a judgement.  But, you are welcome to your own opinion. As you were.

 

 

LOL   :laughing: 

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Quote

Swords tempered by Gotoba´in (retired Emperor Gotoba) are called ‘gyo-saku’, ‘kikugyosaku’ (菊御作) or ‘kiku-saku’ (菊作). Kiku-saku is derived from the family crest of chrysanthemum with 16 or 24 petals engraved in the habaki area of the nakago in kebori. There are several extant works and all of them are tachi. They have narrow mihaba and beautiful tachi-sugata. There are two different workmanships of Yamashiro and Bizen styles. The one in Yamashiro style resembles to the work of the Awataguchi school tempering suguha and forging much finer jihada than that of Bizen style. The other in Bizen style resembles to the work of the Ko-Ichimonji school but the start of the hamon tends to be yakiotoshi then mizukage appears on the ji and the hamon consists of subdued nioi accompanied with a little weak nioi-guchi. It is interesting to know that there are some Bizen swords of the Kamakura Period that has a kiku-mon and a smith name on the nakago. I suppose that they were made by the Imperial order.

 

Low quality nioiguchi ? Of course, no.

 

ps for me, nihonto is not a hobby, when it comes to blades worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of euros, I take it very seriously, we are very far from sharp metal bars like showato.

 

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I suggested earlier in this thread that the word Splendid had no scientific meaning….and it doesn’t.m The dictionary definition posted by Franco was “impressive, magnificent”…….these are also very subjective words. We could go around in circles here for ages and get nowhere. 
My understanding (possibly wrong but it’s what I was told by a Mukansa polisher when visiting my abode) is that the formation and appearance of the nioiguchi is influenced by and depends on many things, the actual forging method, the composition and structure of the iron/ steel(s) used, quenching temperature (steel and water)  etc etc.  Add to that the age/school and condition of the blade, the skill of the polisher etc and we end up with a large range of nioiguchi appearances. They can be sharp, thin, wide, diffuse, dull, bright…….but all can be  a technically well made nioiguchi ie consistent in appearance and with no skips or gaps.
Some of us would like a thin sharp crisp bright nioiguchi on an itosuguha hamon, others might like a more diffuse example following a wild choji midare hamon. The variety is quite wide.

So, let peace break out…..a nioi guchi could be “splendid” from a technical forging perspective or it could be “splendid”from a personal artistic preference perspective.

I believe the Japanese use many rather artistic, esoteric and somewhat vague words to describe many Nihonto features which I’m sure could be debated ad nauseam……let us accept “splendid” in a similar fashion.

Just my 50p worth!

fire away…..

Colin

 

 

 

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