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Curious about a Shinshinto with a lot of Tobiyaki/Muneyaki


AntiquarianCat
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Hello again, I'm still on a gunto detour and would appreciate any thoughts others have on this sword I grabbed from our forum and would especially value ideas regarding what schools it might be tied to:

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It's seems to be another civilian sword converted to gunto use, hence the simple haikan and leather cover combined with the a civilian tsuba and other parts.

 

I'm quite sure the blade is Shinshinto as it is fairly large and has little taper or curvature, and the nakago is also large and has patina somewhere between the thin growth on gendai and thicker growth on a Shinto era. Also doesn't have masame on the shinogi like the modal shinto. The sword's proportions are a nagasa of 70.5cm, Motohaba of 3.1 and Sakihaba of 2.3, which also seem within the shinshinto norm. Like the nakago, the kisaki is also bigger than the kanbun examples I've held.

 

The first thing that struck me is the fittings on this sword are pretty nice: gold foiled habaki, shakudo fuchi, old iron ken menuki and a tsuba that seems to be made of wrought iron with copper alloy inlays above, rim is silver-grey and some scratches on it look silver so might be shibuichi. Makes me think the owner was pretty fond of it.

 

Second was of course that it was a shinshinto and seemed to have a lot of patches of hardened steel on the ji and mune, most of the blade is out of polish hindering study but the the monouchi more or less is in polish and from studying the hardened spots there I can see they're composed of very dense amounts of nie that are at also acompanied by nioi like white clouds, in fact, the clouds in the densest area (just before the kisaki) look a lot like an extension of the hamon. I hope the photos I took show what I mean. There are a lot of rust spots and scratches in the tsubamoto so please focus on the monouchi to see the tobiyaki/muneyaki

 

I've been pouring over Markus Sesko's Shinshinto-shi and other reference books to try and get an idea of what school the smith might have been trained by but so far have no solid suspect(or at least not one I'm brave/convinced enough to stick my neck out for). Apart from the hardening other possible Kantei traits I can see are the yakidashi, the gunome midare hamon that does gunome in salvos of three, the boshi with marked turnback and some hakikake, and osujikai with kesho for the nakago. It's worth mentioning the hamon has konie (although because the poor polish they're easiest to see in the monouchi) and right before the kisaki there is a lot of terminal widening of the hamon. Given how much hardening exists outside the hamon I wonder if it would be right to call this Hitatsura?

I'd be happy for any thoughts or a suggestion on which page to focus on in Shinshinto-shi.

Thanks

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I forgot to mention, the hamon, particularly in the later half of the sword while not identical on both sides is quite similar: the gunome salvos for instance will happen at the same location with the peaks/valleys on both sides being located the same spot.

 

 

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Hi juan, thanks for sharing your new sword, Muneyaki can be a valuable Kantei point if it is controlled. If it is random it can be a sign of poor Yaki-ire as it means the clay has come off on the Mune. The mounts look to be civilian modified for wartime use, the exception being the Kabutogane which is from a Type 95 NCO and looks to be very crudely added. 

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Thanks for mentioning the Kabutogane John! I was actually wondering why this sword did not have officer indicators despite undergoing gunto conversion. I can’t find the example I saw in war relics but it’s mentioned there that due to a severe Type95 shortage they allowed NCOs to bring ancestral blades if they forfeited possession of a type 95. https://www.warrelics.eu/forum/Japanese-militaria/deflating-another-myth-type-3-army-officera-s-sword-expanded-version-584796/
I wonder if the converted civilian fittings and NCO part might show this one was used in place of a Type95? Throw on NCO fittings so that it wouldn’t seem like the wearer was dressing as an officer?

 

Regarding the hardening, I did wonder if it was accidental but the small size of the nie throughout the sword, including the yaki patches made me wonder if there could have been a degree of intentionality. The other sword I saw with muneyaki -a clear example of an accident even to someone inexperienced in this like me- had random splotches of Ara-Nie on the hardened spots. Here the size seems oddly uniform.

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That would be interesting for sure. It looks like it could be done without harming other parts. I’m not quite brave, or practiced enough to try though. If I can make it to the sword show this one might tag along with the other converted civilian. That way more skilled eyes can handle it in person.

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Very fitting that not paying enough attention to the Mino tradition meant I missed that.  
Thank you very much for that pointer, Chris. I’ll go and read up on Mino. See what the smith was trying to emulate.

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