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There are main seven prosperous areas where a large number of swordsmiths were gathered and actively making swords. Those are Yamashiro (山城) in Kyoto, Settu (摂津) in Osaka, Musashi (武蔵 ) in Edo, Hizen (肥前) in Saga, Satsuma (薩摩) in Kagoshima, Echizen ( 越前) in Fukui, and Kaga (加賀) in Kanazawa. Swordsmiths of those areas has their own local characteristics common among themselves. To know each of these characteristics of their area is the easiest way to understand Shinto. But keep in mind that even in each group, swordsmith has his own way of making the sword. The following descriptions are only in general.
Below is the map of Japan. Hokkaido is omitted from the map below because swords were not made there during the Edo period.
- 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 straight Hamon. Then it shows a sudden change to the design of O-Midare (大乱). O-Midare (Irregular waviness) changes to less waviness one or two inches below the Yokote line, then continues into Boshi with a wavy Hamon. The design inside of the Boshi is Komaru-Boshi. See the illustration below. 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 the Mishina group (三品). They are Mino-Den (美濃) related, therefore, often Boshi is Jizo boshi (地蔵鋩子), this is called Mishina Boshi ( 三品鋩子). Jizo Boshi is the side look of a human head.
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 )
Iganokami Kinnmichi (伊賀守金道) previously family owned
2．Settu (摂津) Osaka (大阪)
Settu (Osaka) created more wakizashi than Katana. They tend to make slightly Sakizori (Top half curves outward) and slightly stretched Boshi. Settu sword also has Yakidashi like the previous Yamashiro sword, except the area where Suguha changes to Notare (wavy pattern) is smooth. This is called Osaka Yakidashi.
Osaka Boshi —————-Hamon continues up to Yokote line, then Komaru with a turn. Ji-Hada———-very fine, almost solid like smooth surface especially Shinogi-Ji (the area between ridgeline and back) is solid like surface. This is called Osaka -Tetsu (iron).
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)