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Wakizashi - Thoughts and Opinions?

Matt B

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I recently purchased my second Wakizashi at auction and wanted to see what people’s opinions were on it, specifically the accuracy of the information on the card that was included that a previous owner typed up. 

It was noted that this was sold in 2004 by Bonhams and I was able to track down the listing from them that had the following information.


"Shinshinto; nagasa 39.4 cm; toriizori, chu-kissaki, itame ji, kakikake boshi, suguha, suriage nakago, hitotsu mekugiana, mumei, shirasaya; contemporary koshirae." 


I'm still very new to collecting Japanese swords so I only understand a bit of this information, how well does it Jive with the typed-up information card, where is the makers name coming from, is it based off characters from the Kogai, does the squared off end mean that it was shortened at some point? Thanks for any information.












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What did you like about this blade?  Why did you buy it?  The best advice I can pass on to you right now is to take some time and study more.  Many of the questions you ask are ones you should know BEFORE you make any more purchases.  

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May I suggest you sit down with your favorite book on the topic (or one of the online resources) and start trying to match up what the card says with what you can observe?


Here are a few hints to get you started:

  • There is no maker's name inscribed. (Kogai signatures usually don't mean anything, as they are often honorific.) It is called out as mumei; what does this mean?
  • Shinshintō is a period; what does that tell you about when the blade was made?
  • The hamon is called out as suguha. What does this mean? Does it look like that to you?
  • The boshi is described as hakikake. If you look at the boshi in good light, what do you see? Does this line up with hakikake (hint: it literally means "sweeping").
  • The end is indeed is squared off, as you noticed. Bonham's observed suriage nakago. What does this suggest?
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You bought a genuine wakizashi in ok koshirae. It has some condition issues and ware, but if the price is right, you started off ok.
The kozuka is not bad at all, and the kogatana is in nice polish. It may be entry level but you could do a lot worse.

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Thank you Brian for a helpful response, this was an entry level priced wakizashi and I very much enjoy the design and it displays well with my other one. 

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