30| Bakumatsu Period History (幕末)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|Seven Main Areas of Sin-To Sword (partB)

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 )


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  ).


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 )