30| Bakumatsu Period History (幕末)1781 – 1868

30 Bakumatsu timeline
The red circle above  indicate the time we discuss in this chapter

As you can see the above timeline, it is not so clear-cut to divide the period.  Bakumatsu time is within the Edo period.   Azuchi-Momoyam Period (安土桃山) is from somewhere around 1573, when Oda Nobunaga (織田信長) deposed Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (将軍足利義昭) till somewhere around the time 1615, when Tokugawa Iyeyasu killed Toyotomi Hideyori, (Hideyoshi’s son) at Osaka Summer War or a little later.   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 working actively in a political maneuver.  During this time, the society was flourished culturally and economically.  After a long period of wartime, people could see finally the country is almost united.  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 and in movies.  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, but they did not have  political power.  But the emperor family had some status of 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 latter part.  We call the latter part of the Edo period the Bakumatsu (幕末) time.  Bakumatsu means the latter part of the Edo Bakufu.  As I explained in a previous chapter (..\Chapter 26 Edo Period History, Japan closed the country to the outside world.  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 or more like demanding us to open ports for water and other supplies for their whaling ships and some country wanted to trade with us.   Those countries are like England, Russia, America, and France, etc,.  In 1853 Commodore 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 economic difficulty in governing the country.  Also, intellectual people were afraid that we may get into trouble like the one in China, the Opium War(1840 -42) with England.  The Russian government sent us the official messenger 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, Commodore Perry from the U.S. appeared with four big warships at the place called Uraga (Kanagawa in Japan) and demanded to open the country.  These four ships really scared Japanese and excelled the big anti-Bakufu movement.  This incident triggered the Meiji restoration movement .

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, the Meiji Restoration continued on.  1868, the Emperor moved to the Edo castle in Edo (now Tokyo), started a Meiji Shin Seifu(Meiji new government) center around the Meiji Emperor and the Tokugawa Bakufu ended.


Commodore-Perry-Visit-Kanagawa-1854       File:Commodore-Perry-Visit-Kanagawa-1854.jpg      From ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/黒船 Public Domain

Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s visit of Kanagawa, near the site of present-day Yokohama on March 8, 1854. Lithography. New York: E. Brown, Jr.



29|Main 7 Areas Among Shin-To Sword (part B)

29 Shinto Timeline
   The red circle indicates the subject of this chapter


29 Map with number 7

3.Musashi ( 武蔵 ) in Edo ( 江戸 )

Both Katana and Wakizashi have shallow sori (less curvature).  Often the upper part  tends to be narrower.  Often but not always, unlike Settsu or Yamashiro, the Hamon starts out small irregular, that goes up a little wider, then a few inches under the Yokote line becomes narrower.  The Boshi is Komaru Boshi.  The Ji-Hada is somewhat rough.   Masame-Hada 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. 5. Echizen ( 越前 ) and Kaga (加賀 )

Many swordsmiths from Mino (美濃) area moved to Echizen and Kaga area.  Because of that, the sword made in this area is called Echizen- Seki, and Kaga-Seki.  Refer to 24|Sengoku Period (戦国) Sword.  The style of Echizen Yasutsugu (越前康継) is similar to the one of Mino Den.

The name of the well-known swordsmith in Echizen is Echizen Yasutsugu (越前康継 )

6.  Hizen (肥前)

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

29 Hizen Tadayoshi Boshi

The name of the well-known swordsmith in this area is Hizen Tadayoshi ( 肥前忠吉)

7.  Satsuma (薩摩 )

For both Katana and Wakizashi, the sword made in Satsuma has a solid look.Kissaki (the point area) is stretched out a little.  Yakidashi (a few inches above Machi ) shows a small irregular HamonHamon is O-Midare with coarse Nie.  The coarse Nie forms Togari-ba (pointed design)One of the characteristics of this region is called Satsuma-nie.  It means that the coarse Nie around Hamon continues into the Ji-Hada area, therefore the border of Ha-Nie and Ji-Nie is unclear.  Inside Hamon, sometimes shows a thick line shaped like lightning.  This is called Satsuma-no-Imozuru (a line like sweet potato vine)This is the biggest characteristic of the Satsuma sword.  Boshi has a narrow tempered line with a small irregular pattern, this is called Satsuma-Boshi.  On the Ji-Hada surface area,  a dark long line like Chikei appears.  This is called Satsuma-Gane (薩摩金).


29 Satsuma Togari-ba


The name of the well-known swordsmiths of this area: Izunokami Masafusa (伊豆守正房),   Ichinohira Masayoshi ( 一平安代 ),  Mondonosho Masakiyo (主水正正清)