2 | Timeline (part 2)

Original Timeline 0

 

In the chapter 2 Timeline, I mentioned Gendai-to ( 現代刀 ) is the swords made after the Meiji Revolution (明治維新1868 ) until now. It has been about 150 years.  Even though I simply categorized all swords made during this time into one group as Gendai-to, there is quite a difference in quality and variety.   The big difference is Gunto (軍刀).  Those are military swords that were made to take to the World War I and World War II.  Some of them have a saber like a handle.  Those were not made for artistic purpose nor to appreciate the beauty of the surface of the blade.  Compare to the swords made today, Gunto is usually considered much less valuable.  It often has a brown color scabbard.  The color is similar to the Japanese military uniform.  Those Gunto are usually not part of the study of the Japanese sword.  Also, at the time of the Meiji Revolution (明治維新), Meiji-Ishin-to (明治維新等刀  ) or Kin-nou-to ( 勤王刀 ) were made.  They are a long sword and some of them are almost 3 feet long and have no curvature.  The representative ones are like the one owned by Saigo Takamori ( 西郷隆盛  ) and Sakamoto Ryoma (坂本龍馬).

*Refer to ” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunt%C5%8D”  for Japanese military sword.

 

1 Preface (part 2)

In the present time, we have many serious swordsmiths. I am a good friends with two of them personally.  One is Yoshindo Yoshihara (吉原義人) and the other is Tsunahiro Yamamura (山村綱廣  ).  We met each other when we were still the early 20s before each of us got married.

I met Mr. Yoshihara at one of the sword meetings when I attended it with my father. That was around the late 60s or early 70s.  Since then, we met at the different sword gatherings here and there.  His son is also a well-known swordsmith, also his grandson decided to be a swordsmith.   He is really excited to teach his grandson.  Mr. Yoshihara often tells me very interesting stories.  Here is some of them.   He once had an apprentice from one of the Arabic countries.  He studied with other Japanese apprentices.  He was sent by the King.  He said this apprentice was a very quiet and good student.  Another time he told me a King from Europe visited Yoshihara’s studio, and he gave Yoshihara a photo of himself with his autograph on it as a souvenir.  A few times, a famous movie director of Hollywood ordered swords and visited his house.  When he told me about this incident, I realized it was about the same time I ordered my sword.  Maybe Mr. Yoshihara started to work on this director’s sword ahead of mine.  Because it seems to me that my sword took longer than it should to complete.

Yoshihara Yoshindo                                                                                                       8-17-11 Takasago Katsushika-ku Tokyo Japan 125-0054           tel  (81)3-3607-5255

Yamamura-kun ( we put kun after the last name for a male friend and san for female friend) and I were students at Mori Sensei’s sword class together.  He was a top student, I was almost the last.  He is the direct descendants of Goro Nyudo Masamune (五郎入道正宗  ) 24th generation.  He now has his studio near Kamakura station.  But back then, he had a store right in front of Hachiman-Gu Shrine (八幡宮 ).

We had one more person in this group. His name is Kurokawa (黒川) who became an owner of a famous big sword store in Tokyo,  “Soken-do (霜剣堂 )”.  Three of us were living in Kamakura (鎌倉 ) then.  We get together Yamamura-Kun’s store in front of the Hachiman-Gu shrine, having a good time and joking around in his store.  Eventually, we were so involved in a fun conversation, Yamamura kun closed the store saying that those customers don’t buy anyway so it’s OK, and he locked the door. And we continued having a fun party.  I still remember seeing customers puzzled face outside of the glass windows, but he ignored them.

Masamune Kougei (正宗工芸 )                                                                                         13-29 Onari-Cho Kamakura-Shi  Japan 248-0012         Tel  0467- 22- 3962

Soken-Do(霜剣堂)                                                                                                               28-1 6-1  Cho-me  Jingu-Mae Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001        Tel 03 (3499) 8080   http://www.sokendo.jp

 

 

 

 

 

34| Background

While I was growing up in Azabu and Mita (near Keio University) in Tokyo, later Kamakura, my father was heavily involved in Japanese Sword Society, called “Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai”.   At that time, the head was Dr. Honma and Dr. Sato.  Originally, Dr. Honma and Dr. Sato’s sword department was a part of the National Museum in Ueno.  Later they built a sword museum in Yoyogi,  Shibuya.  Though the address is Yoyogi in Shibuya, it was almost like it was in Shinjuku.  To get there, take “Odakyu-sen(line)” from Shinjuku ( Sangubashi, the third stop from Shinjuku).  To built this museum, my father,  Mr. Watanabe (owner of Wataki clothing company) and Mr. Suzuki Katei (owner of the construction company) were heavily involved. Those two friends used to come to our house all the time and stayed hours talking and gossiping.  Now, the Museum was moved to Sumida-Ku, near Ryogoku which is near the Sumo Stadium.  Dr. Honma and Dr. Sato used to come to our house in Tokyo.  All those people were deceased many years ago, but they were young then.  I am talking about the 60s to 70s.  I was teens then, so they did not look young to me.  My father was so involved in swords field, people wondered when does he work in his business.

I was told by many people that Dr. Honma and Dr. Sato actually visited the headquarter of General MacArthur during the occupation after the world war II and those two convinced MacArthur that the Japanese swords are not a weapon, it is an art object.  Dr. Honma and Dr. Sato did this because MacArthur ordered all Japanese to turn in the swords and forbid to own one.  I was told that two-person changed MacArthur’s mind.

But by that time, many swords were already turned in at Akabane (the name of the place in Tokyo), though the valuable ones were hidden. Those turned in swords are called Akabane sword.

A huge number of the swords were taken to the US by the soldiers as a souvenir when they went back to the US.   About 30 years later after the war around the 60s and 70s, the Japanese sword dealers came to the US and started to buy back many Japanese swords.  I have a few sword dealer friends who did that.  They advertised that they will buy the Japanese sword in the local newspaper.  As you can imagine, many swords were in bad shape, some had the wrong kinds of chemical put on.  But a few were a good one.

Among those, one of the very famous missing National treasure swords was found by Dr. Compton.  He was a chairman of the Board of Miles laboratory in Elkhart Indiana.  This pharmaceutical company produced many different products.   Among them, one of the well-known items is Alka- Seltzer.  He was a  very wealthy person and he understood the Japanese sword.  My father and I visited his house several times.  When he saw this sword, he realized this one is not a just ordinary sword.  He contacted many sword societies and eventually through the process my father became good friends.  He returned this sword to the Terukuni Shirin in Kagoshima.  A story about Dr. Compton comes next article.

Token Hakubutsu kan (刀剣博物館)

Non Profit organization : Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyoukai ( 日本美術刀剣保存協会 ) 1-12-9 Yokozuna Sumida-Ku Tokyo Japan    130—0015

Tel: 03-6284-1000                                                                                             https://www.touken.or.jp/

bigger train map

 

 

train-map1.jpg

33|References

 

  • “Nihonto no Okite to Tokucho”  written by Honnami Koson.   Issued by Bijutsu Club Tokenbu  
  • 日本刀の掟と特徴 本阿弥光遜著 美術倶楽部刀剣部発行

 

  •  “Sano Bijutsu-kan Zuroku”  written by Sano Bijutsu-kan.  Issued by Sano Bijutsu-kan 
  •  佐野美術館図録 佐野美術館著 佐野美術館発行

 

  •  “The art of the Japanese Sword” written by Yoshindo Yoshihara , Leon & Hiroko Kapp.  Issued by Paolo Saviolo  
  • 日本刀美術 吉原義人,リーオン ひろ子 キャップ著  パオロ  サビオロ 発行

 

  •  “Shousetu Nihonshi” written by Keigo Mochizuki & Kunihiko Fujiki.  Issued by Yamakawa shuppan (High school text book by the Ministry of Education)
  • 詳説日本史 望月圭吾, 藤木邦彦著 山川出版発行    文部省検定済教科書

 

  •  “Token no Mikata” written by Yuichi Hiroi.   Issued by Daiichi Hoki Shuppan Kabushiki Kais
  • 刀剣のみかた 広井雄一著 第一法規出版株式会社発行

 

  •  ‘The sword of Japan” written by Joseph W.Bot.  Issued by ID 13996126 www.lulu.com
  • 日本の刀 ジョ‐ゼフ ボット著

 

  •  “New Explanatory Diagrma of World History” written by Hamashima Book Editorial department.   Issued by Hamashima book   
  • 新詳世界史図録 浜島書店編集部著 株式会社浜島書店

 

  • “New Nihonto Koza”  written by Dr. Junji Honma & Dr. Kanichi Sato.  Issued by Yuzankaku shuppan Kabushiki kaisha
  • 新版日本刀講座 本間順次,佐藤貫一著 雄山閣出版株式会社発行

 

  • “Nihonto Zenshu”  written by Dr. Junji Honma & Dr. Kanichi Sato.  Issued by Tokuma Shoten 
  • 日本刀全集 本間順次、佐藤貫一著 徳間書店発行

 

 

 

 

 

 

32|The process of making a sword

As a part of the sword study, it is necessary to know the construction process of sword making.  But it is a very involved process and each swordsmith has his own secrets, this chapter only explains the very basic procedure.  Anybody interested more detailed explanation, please refer to the book written by a famous swordsmith, Mr. Yoshihara Yoshindo and DVD  as below.  You should be able to buy this book and DVD from Amazon.  If not, contact me.  I can order from the author directly.

The art of the Japanese Sword ————-The Craft of Swordmaking and its Appreciation by Yoshihara Yoshindo, Leon and Hiroko Capp, published by Saviolo Edizioni.

DVD:  Katana / On Ko So Shin —–Katana Project  by Yoshihara Yoshikazu(吉原義一)

Tamahagane (玉鋼  )

In old early sword making time, swordsmiths himself created the steel for sword material by collecting the iron sand and refined himself.  By the Kamakura period, steel making was done by a separate entity.  Swordsmiths buy steel called “Tamahabane” from a steelmaker.  “Tamahagane” is the most important part of the sword making.  “Tamahagane” is the steel made with the Tatara process, that is a unique Japanese smelter.

Kawa-gane(側金) and Shin-gane(芯金 )

The Japanese sword is made from two types of different hardness steel.  Kawa-gane is for outer steel.  Shin-gane for inner steel.  Kawa-gane is harder steel which contains about 0.6% carbon contents.  Shin-gane is a softer steel which contains about 0.25% carbon contents.  Japanese swords are made with the harder steel outside and  softer steel inside therefore,  does not bend, does not break.

Kawagane (outer steel側金) —– Shita Gitae (Base forging 下鍛)

Heat up a piece of Tamahagane —– Hit with a hammer and make a flat piece—– While Tamahagane is still hot, quench in water quickly —– Break into small pieces —– Separately, forge a rectangle plate from Tamahagane —– Connect this plate with a handle (or a lever called Teko) —– Stack up the previously broken metal pieces on a Teko (handle or lever) carefully and closely.

32 Pile up drawing

—– Cover the stacked up Tamahagane with ashes and clay for protection purpose —– Heat this up in the furnace —– Take it out from the furnace, hit with a hammer —– Repeat this process many times to stretch out Tamahgane about twice as long —— While Tamahagane is still hot, make a notch in the center and fold back into half —– Continue the same process of heat up, hammer to stretch out, fold back (half in sideways and half in length wise alternatively approximately 6 or 7 times depends on the original carbon contents  in Tamagahane).  This process reduces the carbon contents to the desired level.

 

32 folding drawing

 

Kawagane (outer steel側金) —–Age Kitae (Finish forging上鍛 )

After Shita Gitae, the block of Tamahagane is chiseled to divide into two or three sections —– quench in water —– Cool down —– break into pieces where marked before —– repeat heating, folding, hammering  6 or 7 times, depends on the original carbon contents in Tamagahane.  This process is for Kawagane ( 側鉄 )

Purpose of heating hammering and folding

  • Each time the heating and folding process is done, Tamahagane loses carbon contents. For outer steel, ideal carbon contents should be approximately 0.6%. If the carbon contents are higher, steel is hard and as a result, the sword can crack.   If it is too low, the sword will be too soft and can bend. A swordsmith judge by his eye to determine the right amount of carbon contents. This is the professionalism and the art of the swordsmith.
  • Removing the slag and impurity from Tamahagane.
  • Each heating and folding processes create many layers of thin steel that create the Jigane pattern (surface patterns like wood grain, burl look, straight look or mixture of those)

Shingane (inner steel 芯金 )

Shin-gane is the inner metal.  By having the softer inside, the sword has flexibility.  Having hard outer steel, it prevents to crack or break.  To make the Shin-gane steel, mix softer steel with Tamahagane.  Repeat the same process as Kawa-gane.

Sunobe (素延 )

Sunobe is the process to wrap the Shin-gane with the Kawa-gane then weld two pieces together by heating, hammering and stretch out to make a steel bar like.  There are several ways to wrap the Shin-gane, but the most common way is called Kobuse (甲伏). Illustration below.

32 Kobuse drawing

 

Hizukuri (火造 )

Hizukuri is to make the final shape from Sunobe by heating and hammering.  At this point, Ha (cutting edge ) gets thinner, Shinogi side gets higher, and starts to form the shape of a sword.

Arashiage (荒仕上げ  )

This process is rough finishing.

Tuchitori (土取)

Mix clay, pine tree ash, ground stone and water. Paint this muddy mixture on the sword.  Around Hamon area, remove a thin layer of the muddy mixture a little, then dry out.  By doing Tuchitori process, Hamon appears and cutting-edge hardens at the same time.

Yaki-Ire (焼入れ)

After the muddy paste is dried, heat up the sword evenly in the furnace.  Judging by the color of the heated sword, pull out the sword from the furnace then quench into the water.  Usually, this process is done after the sun goes down so that the swordsmith can see the color of the metal and can judge the temperature of the heated sword better.  This is the most important process since all the work done up to this point may be ruined if he fails to judge the precise color of the heated sword,  water temperature  and the timing of quenching.

 

 

 

31| Shin Shin-To (Bakumatsu Period 1781-1867)

30 Timeline (Bakumatsu)

The circle indicates the subject we are discussing in this chapter

The end of the Edo period is also called Bakumatsu (Later part of Bakufu).  Look at the circled area of the timeline above.  The swords made during this time is called Shin Shin-To.  They are also called Fukko-To style (復古, means revival). The shape of the sword, Hamon, Boshi, etc, is a copy of the Ko-to and Shin-to.  The characteristics of Shin Shin-To (新新刀) and well-known swordsmiths are those below.

The characteristic of Shin Shin-To

  • Katana, Wakizashi, Tanto, they all tend to be the similar or copy of the previous shape
  • Many swords often have Hi or detailed engraving.
  • Unlike previous time, one swordsmith make several styles like Soshu style, Bizen style, Shin-to style forging.
  • Often shows Katai-ha (refer 24Sengoku period sword.docx).

 

 

24 katai-ha                                                                Katai-Ha

  • Not tight Nioi, the entire surface looks like Nioi.
  • Yakidashi (2,3 inches above Machi) is often Suguha (straight line), even though the rest is irregular Hamon. Boshi is often irregular Midare.
  • Engravings are detailed but more realistic than the previous time.

Settsu (Osaka area)——–Gassan Sadayoshi (月山貞吉)  Gassan Sadakazu (月山貞一)  Gassan family are famous for detailed carvings.

Musashi no Kuni (Tokyo area)——Suishinshi Masahide ( 水心子正秀 ) Taikei Naotane (大慶直胤)    Minamoto Kiyomaro (源 清麿 )   Taikei Yoshitane ( 大慶義種) is famous for his carvings.

img075Minamoto Kiyomaro (源清麿)  Previously owned by my family

 

Tosa no Kuni (Shikoku area)———Sa Yukihide (左行秀)

Satsuma no Kuni (Kagoshima area)——-Oku Motohira (奥元平 )

 

Meiji Ishin-To

Right before the Meiji Revolution time, long swords (approximately 3 feet) with no curvature were made. Well known ones are the one owned by Saigo Takamori or Sakamoto Ryoma (Both are famous historical characters during Meiji Restoration). They are also called Kinno -To.

 

 

30| Bakumatsu Period History (1781 – 1867)

30 Timeline (Bakumatsu)The circle indicate the time we are discussing in this chapter

 

Bakumatsu time is within the Edo period.  As you can see the above timeline, it is not so clear-cut to divide the period.  Azuchi-Momoyam Period (安土桃山) is from 1573 (Oda Nobunaga (織田信長) deposed Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa 将軍足利義昭) till 1614 (Tokugawa Iyeyasu killed Toyotomi Hideyori, (Hideyoshi’s son at Osaka Winter War). Azuchi Momoyama Period was a short time when Oda Nobunaga(織田信長), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉) and Tokugawa Iyeyasu(徳川家康) were actively maneuvering politically for their survival During this time, the society was flourished culturally and economically.  After a long period of wartime, people could see the country is almost united finally.  The story of Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Iyeyasu is the most popular story for Japanese.  Often the stories around this time are depicted on TV programs, in movies and novels.  The Edo period was the time the Tokugawa family ruled Japan.  Their government is called Tokugawa Bakufu.  Throughout the Edo period, the direct line of the Tokugawa family, usually the first born son became a Shogun.  Yet the Emperor co-existed at the same time.  They did not have political power.  But the emperor family had some status their own as an Emperor.  During the Edo period, it was a very peaceful time.  Unlike previous time, there were no wars.  Long last Edo period (last approximately 260 years) became stagnated in the later part.  We call the later part of the Edo period the Bakumatsu (幕末) time. This means the later part of the Edo Bakufu.  As I explained in a previous chapter (26 Edo Period History (1603 – 1867).docx   Japan  closed the country to the outside world (This is called Sakoku).  The only place Japan could contact with other countries was the place called Dejima in Nagasaki area (Southern part of Japan).  During Bakumatsu time, several European ships came to Japan asking and demanding us to open ports for water and other supplies for whaling ships and some country wanted to trade with us.  Those countries were England, Russia, America, and France etc.   In 1853 Perry came to Japan with four warships demanding to open the ports for water, fuel and other supplies for U.S. whaling ships.  At the end of the Edo period, (Bakumatsu time), Tokugawa Bakufu was facing the political and systematic difficulty in governing the country.  Also, intellectual people were afraid that we may get into a trouble like the one in China, the Opium War(1840 -42) in which China was controlled by England at the end.  Russian government sent us the messenger officially to open up for trades (1792).  The pressures to open the county were building up and surrounding us.  It became obvious that Japan can no longer continue to close the country.  At the time like this, Perry appeared with four big warships at the place called Uraga (Kanagawa prefecture) and demanded to open the country.  This four ships really scared Japanese and excelled the big anti-Bakufu movement.  The Meiji Revolution was triggered by Perry’s warships.  Soon Tokugawa Bakufu made treaties with several countries and opened a few ports for trades.  The Bakufu’s authority was lost, Japan was divided into several different political groups and they fought chaotically for their different opinions.  The Meiji Restoration continued on.  1868, the Emperor moved to the Edo castle in Edo (now Tokyo), started a Meiji Shin Seifu (new government) center around the Meiji Emperor and Tokugawa Bakufu ended.

 

 

 

 

29|Main Seven Areas of Sinto Sword (part2)

27 Shinto time line
    The circle indicate the subject of this chapter

28 map with number

 2  Settu (摂津 ) at Osaka ( 大阪 )

Settu, Osaka created more Wakizashi than Katana. They tend to make slightly Sakizori ( outward curvature above half way) and slightly stretched BoshiSettu Osaka sword also has Yakidashi like the previous Yamashiro Kyoto sword, except the area where Suguha changes to Notare (wavy pattern) is smooth.  This is called Osaka Yakidashi.  Illustration below.

Osaka Boshi—– Hamon continues up to Yokote line, then Komaru with a turn. Jitetsu —–Very fine, almost solid like surface especially Shinogi-ji (the area between ridgeline and back) is solid like surface.  This is called Osaka-Tetsu (iron)

29 Osaka Yakidashi Komaru Boshi

Well known swordsmiths in Settsu area are Osaka-Tsuda –Sukehiro (大阪津田助広), Sukenao (助直). Ikkanshi Tadatsuna (一竿子忠綱 )

img073

Awataguchi Ikkanshi Tadatsuna (粟田口一竿子忠綱 ) Previousely family owned

 

3.Musashi ( 武蔵 ) at Edo ( 江戸 )

Both Katana and Wakizashi have shallow sori (less curvature).  Often top area tends to narrow down.  Often but not always, unlike Settsu or Yamashiro, Hamon starts out the same design as the rest of the entire design except a little bit gentler.  Boshi is the same as Kyo-Boshi.  Jitetsu is almost the same as Kyoto.  Masame shows on Shinogi-ji.

Well known swordsmiths in Musashi area are Nagasone-Okisato-nyudo-Kotetsu (長曽根興里入道虎徹), Noda Hannkei (野田繁慶  ).

img070

Nagasone-Okisato-nyudo-Kotetsu (長曽根興里入道虎徹) Previously family owned

4. Echizen ( 越前 ) and Kaga (加賀 )

Many sword makers of Echizen and Kaga moved from Mino (美濃 )area.  Their style of Echizen Yasutsugu  is similar to Mino style.  Because of that, the sword made in this area are called Echizen- Seki, and Kaga-Seki. (refer to 24|Sengoku Period (戦国) Sword. )

Well known swordsmith in Echizen is Echizen Yasutsugu (越前康継 )

5.  Hizen (肥前)

Both Katana and Wakizashi have well-balanced shape. Hizen area tends to make a sword with Chu-Suguha-Hoture (medium width straight Hamon with the frayed look) with fine Nie (沸). Boshi has a standard and ordinary clean line with the tempered line of uniform width. Shinto sword with Chu-Suguha is often made by Hizen Tadayoshi (肥前忠吉). Very fine Ji-tetsu (surface), sometimes called Nukame-Hada.

29 Hizen Tadayoshi Boshi

Well known swordsmith in this area is Hizen Tadayoshi ( 肥前忠吉)

 

6.  Satsuma (薩摩 )

The sword made in Satsuma has a sound shape on both Katana and Wakizashi. Kissaki (the point area) is stretched. Yakidashi (a few inches of the tempered area above Machi ) is small irregular that is similar to Koto. Hamon is O-midare with coarse Nie. Togari-ba (pointed design) appears with coarse Nie. Mino school often have Togari-ba. One of the characteristics of this region is Satsuma-nie. It means that the coarse Nie around Hamon continued into Ji-hada area.  Inside Hamon, sometimes shows a thick line shaped like lightning.  This is called Satsuma-no-Imozuru (sweet potato vine of Satsuma). This is the biggest characteristic of Satsuma sword. Boshi has a narrow tempered line with the small irregular pattern, similar to Koto, this is called Satsuma-Boshi. On  Jitetsu (surface) Satsuma-gane (薩摩金) sometimes shows that is a dark line like Chikei .

29 Satsuma Togari-ba

Well know swordsmiths of this area are Izunokami Masafusa (伊豆守正房  ),  Ichinohira Masayoshi ( 一平安代 ), Mondonosho Masakiyo (主水正正清 )

28|Main Seven areas among Shinto Sword (Part 1)

27 Shinto time line
The circle indicate the subject of this chapter

There are seven prosperous areas where a large number of swordsmiths were living and actively making swords.  Top three are Yamashiro (山城) at Kyoto, Settu ( 摂津 ) at Osaka, Musashi (武蔵  ) at Edo, Hizen (肥前 ) at Saga, Satuma (薩摩 ) at Kagoshima, Echizen ( 越前 ) at Fukui, and Kaga ( 加賀 ) at Kanazawa.  Each of these swordsmiths has its own local characteristics common among themselves.  To know each of that characteristic of this area is the easiest way to understand Shinto. But keep in mind that each swordsmith has his own way of making the sword.  The following descriptions are only general guidelines.

Below is the map of Japan.  Since Hokkaido was a provincial area and swords were not made there during Edo period, omitted from this map.

28 map with number1.  Yamashiro (山城 ) Kyoto

Yamashiro Shinto sword has a solid and strong look.  Hamon at the bottom part of the blade above Machi ( 区) area shows Suguha (straight hamon), this is called Kyo-Yakidashi (京焼出), that means to start out with straight Hamon.  Then abruptly changes to the design of O-Midare (大乱).  O-Midare changes to quiet look below Yokote line about 1 or 2 inches, then continues into Boshi with a wavy Hamon.  Boshi design is Komaru-Boshi.  Ji-hada is somewhat rough (this depends on the swordsmith).  Masame-hada (straight grain pattern) may show on Shinogi-Ji (the area between back and ridgeline).  Among Yamashiro Shinto, there was a group called Mishina ( 三品) group.  They are Mino (美濃 ) related, therefore, Boshi often is Jizo boshi (地蔵鋩子), this is called Mishina Boshi ( 三品鋩子).  Therefore, Boshi often is Jizo boshi (地蔵鋩子), this is called Mishina Boshi.

28 Kyo-Yakidashi, kyo, Mishina-Boshi

Well known swordsmiths in Yamashiro area are Umetada Myoju (梅忠明寿), Horikawa Kunihiro (堀川国広  ), Dewadaijyo Kunimichi ( 出羽大掾国路 )

img067

Iganokami Kinnmichi (伊賀守金道) Previousely Family owned

continue to part two next chapter.

 

 

27|Shinto (新刀)

27 Shinto time line

The circle indicates the subject discussed here

The last chapter 26, stated that the Edo period is from 1603 to 1868.  This is according to the political history.  Also, when you look at the diagram above, Azuchi Momoyama period overlaps into Edo Period.  Some people think Azuchi Momoyama period is from 1575 to 1600.   Around this time, the division of the period has several opinions.  Sword made from around 1596 (Keicho Era, 慶長) to 1781 (Tennmei Era, 天明) is called Shinto.  The sword made after that until the Meiji period is called Shin-Shinto. 

After Toyotomi Hideyoshi almost united the country, the country could enjoy somewhat of a peaceful society.  This peaceful time changed the geographic distribution where swords smiths lived.  There are three major area where sword making took place.  Those are Kyoto, Osaka and Edo area.  Then the rest of swordsmiths were gathered around each big Daimyo’s (大名 feudal lord ) territory near their castles.

KyotoUmetada Myoju (梅忠明寿) group thrived.  Followed by people like, Horikawa Kunihiro (堀川国広 ), Kunimichi (国路 ), Kunisada (国貞), and Kunisuke (国助).

Osaka— Osaka became a commercial city and became the center of the commerce.  They made swords and distributed to the local area.  They produced swords like Tsuda Sukehiro ( 津田助広 ), Inoue Shinkai ( 井上真改 ).

Edo—-Tokugawa Iyeyasu is the shogun, many swords smiths gathered to Edo (Tokyo now, 東京).  Well know swords smiths are; Nagasone Kotetsu (長曽祢虎徹), Yasutsugu (康継), Noda Hannkei (野田繁慶).

By the time the grandson of Tokugawa Iyeyasu became Shogun (Tokygawa Iyemisu, around Kannei era 寛永1624 – 1643), swords smith’s geographical distribution spread to the other provinces.  In each big Daimyo territory, swordsmiths had their shop near their castle, and they fulfilled each Daimyo‘s demand.  By the Genroku (元禄, 1695) era, swords making technic declined and people demanded picturesque designs like Kikusui (菊水, flower design) and Fujimi (富士見, Mount Fuji).

Difference between Koto (before 1596) and Shinto (after 1596)  

Next part is about the difference between Koto and Shinto.   But keep in mind, there is always exceptions to this rule.

  1. The length of Shinto Katana is usually about 2 feet and 3 inches ±.   Wakizashi is 1 foot and 6 inches ±.   Shallow curvature.  Wide width.  Thick body.   Gyo-no-Mune. Chu-gissaki with a little bit stretched look.13 Mune drawing
  2. Koto sword feels light. Shinto feels heavy.
  3. Bo-hi ends around Yokote line. The Bottom of Hi ends round above Machi.27. Hisaki & marudome
  4. In general, carvings are less common. Yet some swordsmith is famous for its carving.  The design is fine and in detail.
  5. If it is mainly made with Nie, coarse Nie.
  6. Around Machi area (the bottom part of the illustration below), starts out with the straight tempered line, then Midare or different types of Hamon, then finish with Suguha (straight Hamon)  around Boshi (the top part of the illustration below). This type of Hamon is done in general, there is always an exception.  27 Keshou Yasuri & suguha
  7. All the area in Japan, sword material (iron) is the same kind.  Very hard, dark color, and glossy.
  8. The Nakago has a properly balanced shape.  The tip of Nakago it gradually  narrows  down.  The type of the Yasurime (file mark) is Kesho-Yasuri.  Engraved inscriptions shows name, area, and province, with an imperial era.27 Keshou Yasuri & suguha