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First Nihonto. Trying to identify its age. More pics added.


oneshot onekill
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What John just said.

 

Also, someone mentioned the nakago has been altered likely to fit a tsuka, think they may be correct.

 

If someone wanted to add mekugi-ana to add an age appearence they went about it assways. Would have made more sense to just put them at different points down the nakago.

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12 hours ago, oneshot onekill said:

Thank you! I wondered about that and wondered if it was just a poor polish job. I never knew what it was called when the Hamon came through there although I have seen it in pictures online. Just couldn't find any this week.

I was going to mention that it appeared to have a "Hamon" look to the Mune and the Shinogi in areas along pretty much the entire length of the blade. In one area it runs down to the Shinoji and the Hamon also almost runs up to the Shinoji. But looking down the blade there is no indication of over-polishing there. The contours of the blade present very smooth and straight when you look down the blade from either end.

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I might be going out on a limb, but the nie in the shinogi-ji and possible muneyaki and some of the other activity might possibly point toward the Bitchu Mizuta school or something similar?  I know this is a wild a$$ guess based on the pics and my limited knowledge.  

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I must say after studying all of the subtleties and features and marks and design I'm more and more mesmerized by this blade and so curious! After doing some extensive research (as extensive as I could being a Newbie) it appears my sword has Tobiyaki?, not Muneyaki? that extends down from the Mune into the Shinogi and Shinogi-ji. (You can see it best in some of the first pictures I posted). It's a larger area on one side than the other and really only shows on the front half of the blade. I think having it properly polished will bring it out more because the blade has a lot of tiny scratches that make it hard to read what it's trying to tell me. I originally thought it was just "rub marks" but when I look down the blade with it pointed away from my eye the current polish job appears very straight and you cannot see those areas reflecting differently. Might this feature explain why it's Mumei because that's a flaw?   

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As I continue to research my Nihonto I'm leaning more and more toward my sword being from Bungo Takada School. My research has revealed that many swords from this school were Mumei. It also revealed that the Nakago is usually long and narrow. The Hada on my sword is coarse in several places and tight in others (Mokume?). You really can't see that feature in the pictures I've posted because my camera doesn't pick it up but also because the sword was not very clean when I took the pictures in this thread. Sorry for that. I've since done a little cleaning with Acetone and Choji oil as well as one wipe after a few taps with a Uchiko Ball and the Hada is quite a bit more noticeable. The length from what I read would suggest a later made sword but the Hada being kind of coarse in places suggests it might be an older blade that was shortened? Also the Hamon on my sword appears to be very similar to the "kind of straight but slightly wavy" Hamon I've seen on most other Bungo Takada blades. I'm not versed enough on other features so obviously I might be WAY off but at least I'm trying to figure this out and I don't have any books or studies ... yet.

 

Thoughts from the experts? 

 

*I'm sorry I used regular english words to describe the features but I wanted to get my points across without butchering Japanese or mis-using a descriptive word.  

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From the first images without reading anyone's posts , as a beginner.  My mind said defo not muromachi or koto. But shinto. This to me looks kanbun at first glance. 

 

There are two fantastic books that might help you. 

 

One is conissour of the Japanese sword and the second even more relevant is markus sesko nihon shinto shi. 

 

Regards 

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11 hours ago, Paz said:

From the first images without reading anyone's posts , as a beginner.  My mind said defo not muromachi or koto. But shinto. This to me looks kanbun at first glance. 

 

There are two fantastic books that might help you. 

 

One is conissour of the Japanese sword and the second even more relevant is markus sesko nihon shinto shi. 

 

Regards 

Thank you. I'll add those to the ever-growing list of publications I'll be trying to acquire.

I believe the Bungo Takada School was making swords into the Kanbun Period so that could be. The determining features for me thinking it might be older are the fact that it appears it have been shortened and the way the Hada looks. It has been looked at by a more knowledgeable collector who told me the Hada does look different in person than the pictures I posted. When I have it polished I think I'll know more.

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Setting sights on Bungo in the Edo period may be a little off. They also moved into soshu style and were capable of any number of variations from Bizen to Mino, i have seen massive Bungo blades from edo in elaborate Hitatsura. What features (for notable study) stand out to you as Bungo Edo?

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53 minutes ago, Nihontocollector752 said:

Setting sights on Bungo in the Edo period may be a little off. They also moved into soshu style and were capable of any number of variations from Bizen to Mino, i have seen massive Bungo blades from edo in elaborate Hitatsura. What features (for notable study) stand out to you as Bungo Edo?

Really the only things that pointed me to Bungo Takada was the overall "look" of the Hamon and the shape of the Nakago which I read about here:  https://www.nihonto.com/bungo-takada/

Also, the blade seems to have more curvature than what I've seen on Kanbun Period blades. I will concede the time frame being later than Muromachi because of the length of my blade but the Hada is confusing to me and someone earlier said it appeared my blade had been shortened. Keep in mind I'm extremely new at all of this so my thoughts and findings could very well be way off. The more I get schooled here the better. Most of the Japanese descriptive words elude me at this point (even when I look them up in some cases), so much of what I'm deciding comes mostly from pictures I find online as well as short articles like the one I linked in this post.  

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I dont get why someone see Shinto in this blade ?

Suguha Boshi ? It look Hakikake/Kaen to me.

Masame in the Shinogi ? Looks like Mokume to me.

I can not say where the shape points i think it is Suriage.

 

And forget the shape of the Nakago, for me it looks clearly modified.

This could be because its Suriage what my opinion is.

I would place it somewhere in Muromachi.

 

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The issue is that during the early shinto period, alot of swordsmith and schools  were either displaced or or moved into different provinces. And this meant alot of smiths learnt different styles and would incorporate methods from different schools. Which can be sometimes harder to pin point a shinto blade. As mentioned before most shinto blades are signed and could easily be put through shinsa /identified. 

 

I don't think any of us can really tell for certain what period this is. But I would question why anyone tried to do that to the nakago, which really jeopardised identifying the blade. 

 

Regards

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1 hour ago, Paz said:

The issue is that during the early shinto period, alot of swordsmith and schools  were either displaced or or moved into different provinces. And this meant alot of smiths learnt different styles and would incorporate methods from different schools. Which can be sometimes harder to pin point a shinto blade. As mentioned before most shinto blades are signed and could easily be put through shinsa /identified. 

 

I don't think any of us can really tell for certain what period this is. But I would question why anyone tried to do that to the nakago, which really jeopardised identifying the blade. 

 

Regards

For what it's worth the Nakago doesn't show any evidence of being modified any time recently aside from Suriage that I can see, which would have happened long ago. The patina on the bottom edge and top edge are the same as everywhere else and the edges seem uniform and correct to my eye. Anything that was "modified" was done long ago. I will say it looks like the Nakago has been handled a lot which I think has made the color look odd. Someone may have even cleaned it some time in the past (Ouch!). When I look past the color and just at the "corrosion look" of a Nakago it looks old. At one point I even thought I saw the remnants of a signature in the form of what look like very old, shallow deliberate gashes but I can't get them to show in pictures. I'll keep trying.   

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31 minutes ago, Paz said:

The blade in its koshiare is still a great showpiece. Still an authentic nihonto which matters. 

Agreed... and thank you for that! As I've said several times this Sword Spoke to Me. I spend so much time (too much according to my wife who doesn't understand) examining it and staring at it and just enjoying it that it doesn't really matter exactly when it was made. But I do want to get it polished. Can I get recommendations? Maybe Stateside? 

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2 hours ago, oneshot onekill said:

Agreed... and thank you for that! As I've said several times this Sword Spoke to Me. I spend so much time (too much according to my wife who doesn't understand) examining it and staring at it and just enjoying it that it doesn't really matter exactly when it was made. But I do want to get it polished. Can I get recommendations? Maybe Stateside? 

Please Japan only if you want it polished. 

 

I have just seen somebody else's work on a koto and it's literally scratched to hell. 

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26 minutes ago, Paz said:

Please Japan only if you want it polished. 

 

I have just seen somebody else's work on a koto and it's literally scratched to hell. 

Il have to look into how that works and how long it takes.

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There are reputable polishers Stateside:

http://www.legacyswords.com/index.html

 

https://nihontoantiques.com/sword-restoration/

 

http://www.bushidojapaneseswords.com/restoration-services.html

 

There are also normally NTHK shinsa either at the Florida sword show or in San Francisco. If you want it to have NBTHK papers then it will have to go to Japan and it would make sense to send it there for polish at the same time. This gentleman can handle receipt of the sword and the registration process and sourcing a suitable craftsman for you:

 

https://www.thejapanesesword.com/services.php

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John, please note that if you send the blade to NBTHK, it will need a quality polish PLUS a new habaki & a shirasaya. You can't send it in koshirae. My guess is that you're looking atb $1500-$2000 before the shinsa. Are you that curious?

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7 hours ago, Ken-Hawaii said:

John, please note that if you send the blade to NBTHK, it will need a quality polish PLUS a new habaki & a shirasaya. You can't send it in koshirae. My guess is that you're looking atb $1500-$2000 before the shinsa. Are you that curious?

Ouch. That's a lot. 

 

I personally wouldn't shinsa this particular blade for that much

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I don't think that this blade would need a polish before shinsa: in its current state it ought to be possible to make an attribution as the boshi, hada and hamon can be clearly seen. Also, I think with the US shinsa a post-in and sometimes a walk-in service is available and as John is in FLA it should be relatively convenient if the next sword show there has a shinsa. That's usually in the winter months if it goes ahead (someone will be more precise than me I'm sure)*.

 

I understand the San Francisco show has a shinsa this year:

 

 

*Not even close, it's in a couple of weeks but no shinsa. https://orlandojapaneseswordshow.com/OJSS/event/orlando-Japanese-sword-show/

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3 hours ago, Shugyosha said:

I don't think that this blade would need a polish before shinsa: in its current state it ought to be possible to make an attribution as the boshi, hada and hamon can be clearly seen. Also, I think with the US shinsa a post-in and sometimes a walk-in service is available and as John is in FLA it should be relatively convenient if the next sword show there has a shinsa. That's usually in the winter months if it goes ahead (someone will be more precise than me I'm sure)*.

 

I understand the San Francisco show has a shinsa this year:

 

 

*Not even close, it's in a couple of weeks but no shinsa. https://orlandojapaneseswordshow.com/OJSS/event/orlando-Japanese-sword-show/

I thought this years Orlando show was canceled because the organizer tragically died recently. That link took me to last year's Orlando show.

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John D -

As Shugyosha has pointed out this blade is in perfect condition for kantei - the hada and hamon are both visible and there would be no need to update the polish before shinsa. If you cannot make it to the San Francisco show we do offer a mail-in service and I believe Nihonto-Antiques may be bringing swords to the show for their customers, if that appeals to you you might contact Moses.

If you have any questions about the shinsa process you can PM me here or email us thru the website...

-tch

https://nthkamerica.com

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On 6/13/2022 at 12:22 PM, Toryu2020 said:

John D -

As Shugyosha has pointed out this blade is in perfect condition for kantei - the hada and hamon are both visible and there would be no need to update the polish before shinsa. If you cannot make it to the San Francisco show we do offer a mail-in service and I believe Nihonto-Antiques may be bringing swords to the show for their customers, if that appeals to you you might contact Moses.

If you have any questions about the shinsa process you can PM me here or email us thru the website...

-tch

https://nthkamerica.com

I just sent a message to you...

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Well... I was able to get my sword into the hands of someone with over 4 Decades of studying Nihonto. In his opinion it is definitely Koto and most likely made sometime in the late 1400's to early 1500's. He suggested having it sent to Japan for Shinsa and also obviously recommended getting it polished. Since he polishes swords I'll likely have him polish it sometime in the coming Months as I can afford it. I realize it's only an opinion but this gentleman actually held and studied the sword. There is no substitute for that from someone with decades of experience who polishes swords as well. The first thing he said which seemed to be because of the weight was, "This is definitely a Koto Sword". I've learned that older doesn't necessarily mean better but I was hoping for it to be a relatively "old" blade. I guess I should have trusted the Previous Owner when he told me the Sword Shop where he bought it in Japan years ago told him it was Muromachi.  

... Oh, he also said it had been shortened considerably and was originally a Tachi blade.

Edited by oneshot onekill
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