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.
Kyoto— Umetada 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.
- 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.
- Koto sword feels light. Shinto feels heavy.
- Bo-hi ends around Yokote line. The Bottom of Hi ends round above Machi.
- In general, carvings are less common. Yet some swordsmith is famous for its carving. The design is fine and in detail.
- If it is mainly made with Nie, coarse Nie.
- 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.
- All the area in Japan, sword material (iron) is the same kind. Very hard, dark color, and glossy.
- 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.