The red circle above indicate the time we discuss in this section
After the Onin-no-Ran, Kyoto was in a devastating condition. Distinguished swordsmiths in the Kyoto area were almost all gone. Sengoku Daimyo (warlord or feudal lord) needed a large number of swords from nearby. Mino and Bizen areas were the active sword-making places during the Sengoku time. It was because the Mino province was located in a convenient location from many feudal lords. Also, the Shizu Group from Yamato Den (school) moved to Mino province. Tegai Kaneyoshi from Yamato Den moved to Mino, and many swordsmiths from Yamashiro and Yamato areas moved to Mino. Thus, Mino could supply the high demand for a large number of swords. During this wartime, Samurai demanded a very practical sword that wouldn’t bend or break but cut well. Together with swordsmiths in the Mino area, Bizen Osafune swordsmiths fulfilled the high demand also
Kazu-Uchi-Mono and Chumon-Uchi
- Kazu-uchi-mono was a sword made just good enough for one battle. They were not made for permanent preservation.
- Chumon-uchi was a custom-made sword. Good shape, good forging, often engraved the swordsmith’s name and the name of a person who ordered it.
Characteristics of Mino-Den Swords
Sugata (姿：shape) —– Shallow curvature, low Gyo-no-mune, Chu–kissaki with Fukura. The width and the thickness are not too wide, not too thick. Engraving is rare with the Mino Den swords. On the Bizen Den swords, the bottom of the Bo-hi (single groove) shows a round end (see the last photo below) just above the Machi area (for Machi, see the diagram in Chapter 3 Names of parts).
Hamon (刃文: Tempered line)
Mino Den ——–Mostly Nioi. Sanbon-sugi (pointed Gunome ), O-notare, Yahazu-midare, Hako-midare (box shape), Chu-suguha with Katai-ha. See the drawings below. Also, Mino Koshi-ba appeared. Mino Koshi-ba: approx. 1-inch Sugu-ha at the bottom, followed by irregular Hamon, then Chu-suguha at the top.
Bizen-Den ———-Mostly Nioi. Wide tempered line. Koshi-hiraita-midare. See the drawings below.
Boshi ((鋩子: Tempered line at kissaki area)—————————–Turn back deep. Jizo-boshi (side view of a monk’s head), Ko-maru (small round), kaeri-yoru (lean)
Ji-hada ( 地肌: Area between shinogi and tempered area)————-Mokume (wood burl) mixed with Masame (straght grain). often shows Masame in the Shinogi area. Sometimes, Mokume stands out.
Swordsmiths during Sengoku Period
Mino-Den———Magoroku Kanemoto (孫六兼元) Izuminokami Knesada (和泉守兼定) Bizen-Den ——Yosozaemon Sukesada (興三左衛門祐定) Norimitu (則光) Tadamitu(忠光)