Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
george trotter

Unusual nakago inscriptions...

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

had a great show and tell with some of the members who live local here this past weekend and it has prompted me to raise a discussion on unusual tang inscriptions. I have been meaning to raise inscriptions for some time as a discussion thread and having looked at some great swords and inscriptions on Sunday I thought it might be nice to see what members have and to also discuss some of the difficulties, not only of reading, but also of meaning.

Over the years I have seen long 4 column inscriptions telling a story, father/son joint efforts, cutting tests, patriotic slogans and on one gendaito "made to be carried by my husband (name)".

I'd like to start with the attached pics of a gendaito...definitely made as a WWII copy of a Sue-Seki uchigatana of the Zenjo Kanesada/Kanetsune line. Mounted in private order Type 3 fittings for a trained swordsman. Sword is made for a trained swordsman or by a trained swordsman for his own use IMHO. Inscriptions are definitely unusual for WWII, or for any period for that matter...

 

Date inscription in Reisho script "Showa Ju Kyu Nen Ju Ni Kichi Sho Nichi" (1944 year, 12th lucky auspicious day) that is, 12th of January 1944 or possibly it is 12th month (gatsu missing) of 1944...not sure which...hard to believe a man who can write like this would leave out the kanji for "gatsu" by accident!...thus I'd like to think it was 12/Jan/1944...the wear and "use" on the fittings suggests 20 months of combat rather than a mere 8 months of combat, but happy to hear comments.

 

(you have to open the mei attachment)

The mei inscription in Reisho script (RH column) "Oite Minami Shinshu Daitoto Ju Nin Seisui Tsukuru Kore" (Seisui, a resident of Tokyo, made this at Southern Nagano) Seisui is a gago (pseudonym)...presently an unknown Tokyo smith. (see Seisui Ken Ryu below).

 

(use the enlarge function and it is quite readable)

In Sosho script (LH column) is a kendo kata IMHO: "Ippo susumite tsuki, ippo susumite tatsu" (One step forward stab, one step forward slash. ..thanks to Morita san for the translation).

 

In terms of kendo kata, I think a member here was looking for some feedback on which possible kendo kata from his iaido and kenjutsu circles (Ted?)..so hopefully there is some info out there that will help pinpoint this blade/owner(there was a "Seisui Ken Ryu" which existed for a time at the Toyama Military Academy, but I don't know the details).

I would be interested in having comments on the readings and meanings as given and any possible alternatives or history members may be aware of, and also, importantly, seeing similar inscriptions from members.

Hope this is of interest.

post-787-14196826244828_thumb.jpeg

post-787-1419682624637_thumb.jpeg

post-787-14196826251108_thumb.jpg

post-787-14196826252377_thumb.jpg

post-787-14196826253828_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a question along the line of the o.p. Are there swords with for instance a poem inscribed on the tang ?

 

So far I have seen name, date, cutting test and words like auspicious et cetera, or Hon'ami appraisals.

 

Just wondering.

 

KM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi George,

yes, a shocker indeed; especially if you held it up during a storm!!!...must refer to a lightning god? There are a lot of these short sayings...even in modern times...

Here is a short saying on a silver medal winner of 1939 Shinsakuto Exhib. Inscription at the top says "Hassho" (8 righteous acts).

Maybe Morita san or Moriyama san could explain these sayings?

 

Henk Jan, I have a vague recollection of seeing (on a kogatana?...can't remember now) some lines that could be poetry, but I think it was only the first few words...everyone would know the rest of the poem .

Regards,

post-787-14196826349311_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

George M.´s is a date.

 

 

Tenna ninen nigatsu hi (天和二年二月日)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Markus, yes the later part is a date, but I was really referring to the two kanji at the top - "Kaminari Yoke" (George Trotter caught my poor pun....)

"Lighting Rod"

Like Sasaki Kojiro-san's "Clothes Rod"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

I just had a look at my OP and notice that while 400+ members have looked at the date inscription and the colour pics of the sword, only 30+ have opened and looked at the mei inscription with kendo kata...I don't know why it didn't display like the rest of the pics, but please take the time to open it and comment...it is directly below the date pic.

Thanks,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi all,

I just had a look at my OP and notice that while 400+ members have looked at the date inscription and the colour pics of the sword, only 30+ have opened and looked at the mei inscription with kendo kata...I don't know why it didn't display like the rest of the pics, but please take the time to open it and comment...it is directly below the date pic.

Thanks,

Same reason as always George...oversize. Wider than 800 pixels...it becomes a link to prevent forced scrolling.

Edit, resize, display directly, voila! ;)

 

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting George.

 

Do you just collect the text (write it down) or do you take photos?

 

I'd be really interested to see some photos of the gendaito "made to be carried by my husband (name)"!

 

Thanks and keep it up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kaminari Yoke, along with a kiku, is often seen on the works of the Kinmichi group. It means "lightning protector" or "lightning arrestor"....The sword will protect the owner from lighting....seems Ben Franklin never flew his kite in Japan...

 

Special inscriptions are always interesting as they add an additional perspective on the smith, the blade, the times, the owner, etc.

 

Many of the blades I own were made to order and thus have the name of the person who ordered the blade engraved-this is perhaps the most common addition, followed by cutting tests, construction materials and methods, celebration of auspicious events and anniversaries, the age of the smith, prayers, etc. Many WWII era blades have patriotic phrases, poems, and the like.

 

In many cases, blades with these additional inscriptions are better than average work for the smith and can be an indicator of sorts for a blade that bears further inspection and consideration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Brian, I couldn't fix the OP...is this Ok.

 

Just to repeat the OP

RH column is Mei in Reisho script "Oite Minami Shinshu Daitoto Ju Nin Seisui Tsukuru Kore" = Seisui, a resident of Tokyo, made this at Southern Nagano.

LH column in Sosho script " Ippo susumite tsuki, ippo susumite tatsu" = one step forward stab, one step forward slash.

The use of Reisho is quite rare...appears mainly in late Edo - Meiji era. Kendo kata may be partly a patriotic slogan as well.

 

Tobias, I don't have pics of mei, except for inscriptions of my own swords. The "made to be carried by my husband...(name)" inscription was on a WWII sword of high quality...I think it was signed either Hizen Tadatsugu or a navy sword by Suetsugu Shigemitsu.

 

As Chris said, and as many of us have observed, a well cut inscription with important information is often the pointer to a better quality sword...often specially ordered and made with great sincerity.

Regards,

post-787-1419682649043_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you George as well as Adam for the info !

 

Mighty interesting blade Adam and a very interesting read, I always like provenance with a blade and Darcy does that perfect here, as always ! :)

 

Beautiful poem on the sword !!

 

Umi yukaba If I go away to sea,

Miduku kabane I shall return a corpse awash;

Yama yukaba if duty calls me to the mountain,

Kusamusu kabane a verdant sward shall be my pall.

Ohkimi no hen Thus for the sake of the emperor,

Ni koso shiname I will not die

Kaerimi wa seji peacefully at home.

 

KM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A very interesting sword and inscription by Shibata Ka...interestingly, one of my earliest swords was by Sato Shigenori, his teacher as mentioned above.... A cropped mei inscription from this sword is now on Rich Stein's site here

http://home.earthlink.net/~ttstein/shignor2.jpg

Regards,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very familiar with that particular Shibata Ka as I had it polished for a friend of mine. The togishi recognized the inscription and sang it to me...

 

I owned another Ka, over 28 inches long, that had a lengthy inscription commemorating what is called the Rape of Nanking in the West.

 

Ka made relatively few long blades but of the dozen or so I have seen, all but a few had special inscriptions.

 

His sugata is the weakest point in his work. It is usually a bit rustic and clumsy in his longer blades, as can be seen in the blade referenced above. The polisher did a bit of reshaping to correct it but it is still a little rustic...It is said this is because he was basically self-taught and made too few long swords to perfect this aspect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom, that is very nice...hard kanji reading though (IMO)...some of them I can't find. Would you mind running through the translation please?

Regards,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi George

 

An approximate translation is as follows:

 

For Mr. Munehira Hiroshi

Masamichi in Bingo Province forged this.

 

A lucky day in February 1942.

From Parents Always be with you.

 

Regards

Tom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Tom...that is nice.

 

Here is a slogan in place of a date...it says "JinChu HoKoku" (Loyalty and Patriotism). It is on a blade signed "Heianjo Yoshisada Kin Saku" who is of the Okishiba family of Osaka who descend from the Heianjo Nobushige line... He was RJT during the war but this one is private order. His elder brother Masatsugu made a sword for Prince Higashikuni (F&G pink book pp.32-33).

 

I must say that for me, these various inscriptions make the study of swords very enjoyable. WWII gendaito especially are so interesting. I know that inscriptions appear in earlier ages also, but often the exact reference is hard to work out. In these gendaito, we all know of the tension and threat that Japan was facing at this time, so the inscriptions are clearly understandable.

Having said that however, I am a bit surprised that so few members have mentioned their inscriptions...with a membership of several thousand? I would have thought there would be quite few out there? Maybe they are not as common as we thought?

 

Regards,

Edit: sorry, I should have chopped the bottom off the pic.

post-787-14196826611259_thumb.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a slogan in place of a date...it says "JinChu HoKoku" (Loyalty and Patriotism). It is on a blade signed "Heianjo Yoshisada Kin Saku" who is of the Okishiba family of Osaka who descend from the Heianjo Nobushige line... He was RJT during the war but this one is private order. His elder brother Masatsugu made a sword for Prince Higashikuni (F&G pink book pp.32-33).

 

Very unique kesho....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi George,

Just saw your post, and am also surprised at how few unique inscriptions have been posted.

I have had several with custom orders or unique statements inscribed, and put a few on a site page(too lazy to re-size them) in the event you or others care to see them.

 

http://yakiba.com/Unusual_Slogans_on_Nihonto.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have seen the oshigata of the Teruhide sword before...Always thought it interesting as there seem to be few blades by this Teruhide from Saitama....Do you have any pictures of the blade?

 

Thanks for sharing some unique items...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi George

 

I think you are right these unusual inscriptions are less common than is generally thought, especially gendatio. Most were signed by the smith and for the person for whom it was made or patriotic slogans, cutting tests or to commemorate a special occasion. The one I posted to the best of my knowledge is unique. As regards members not coming forward with their unusual inscriptions, they don't have them or they must be the shy retiring type. :)

 

Ed very nice and unusual mei and a great site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

George-

 

I have a fair share of these but am simply too busy (lazy) to haul them all out and photograph them I am afraid....I would imagine others are similarly impaired....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting post, they are all very nice, I especially like the shibata Ka, the one from the parents and the Kendo kata ones.

 

Glad you enjoyed the ones I shared, I do have some others but mostly dual makers, body tests etc. The "Head Cutter" is my personal favorite.

 

I did add one more to the page of a Kaneyasu, which is unique in that he chiseled his characters in reverse.

 

Chris, I was too lazy to re-size existing photos . I do have photos of the Teruhide:

http://yakiba.com/Kat_Teruhide.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you much! Interesting sword....I have seen a gazillion Ishido Teruhide blades but I think this is the only one by Ishihara Teruhide from Saitama I have ever seen....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...