This chapter is a continued part of 18| Nanboku-Cho Period Sword.  Please read Chapter 18 before reading this section.

    0-timeline - size 24 Nanboku-cho                     
                      The red circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section

The drawing below is the illustration from Chapter 18 Nanboku-Cho Period Sword .  Please compare this drawing to the photo on the right.  It shows the similarity of the shape.  Keep in mind this illustration is the shape of a once very long sword that was shortened at a later time.   During the Nanboku-cho time, swordsmiths created 3, 4, or even 5 feet long blades, but later, they shortened them to approximately 2 to 2.5 feet or so.

19 Nanboku-cho Sword style      55 Sa photo                                         ” Sa” from Sano Museum Catalogue “Reborn” (Permission granted)     Sa” is pronounced the first sound of “sabotage.”

Chogi* from Sano Museum Catalogue (Permission granted)

55 Chogi

55 Chogi drawing

Chogi* is pronounced: Chocho-san’s “cho” and giggle “gi.” 

Chogi‘s sword style is categorized as one of the Soden Bizen.  See, 18| Nanboku-Cho Period Sword (南北朝太刀).  Chogi (長義) was a swordsmith from Bizen Den school who created swords with Soshu Den’s characteristicsTherefore, in short, called Soden Bizen (Bizen swordsmith forged Soshu Den).

 Chogi characteristics

  • Shape ———– Originally very long. It was shortened to approximately 2 to 2.5 feet.  
  • Hamon ——–Wide showy tempered line.  Nioi, and Nie shows.  Sunagashi (砂流し brush stroke-like pattern) appears.  Notare (wavy) mixed with Gunome.  Sometimes Chogi created the double Gunome-style Hamon (connected one pair of half-circles). This shape resembles a pair of earlobes.  Therefore, it is called Chogi’s Mimigatamidare (irregular Hamon mixed with the earlobe-like pattern).                                                                                                                  
  • Boshi ——————————— Irregular Midare and sharp turn back
  • Ji-hada —————————————— Itame (a wood grain pattern)

 Aoe from Sano Museum Catalogue (Permission granted)

55 Aoe55 Aoe ilustlation                

Aoe (青江) is pronounced “A” like apple, “o” like original, and “e” like egg.  Aoe was a swordsmith from Bittchu (備中) province, which is next to Bizen.  Therefore, the characteristics of Ko-aoe (old Aoe) and Ko-bizen (old Bizen) are similar.

55 Bizen Bittchu map

Characteristic of Aoe (青江)

From the middle Kamakura period to the Nanboku-cho period was the height of the Aoe group. One of the characteristics of the Aoe sword is its Aoe-zori shape.  That is to curve a lot at the lower part. 

During the Nanboku-cho time, because the Soshu Den was the trendy style, even Bizen swordsmiths did Nie, though their main characteristic was Nioi.   However, the Bittchu group stayed with Nioi. 

The tempered area tends to be wide.  Sakasa-choji, which means inverted or backward style Choji (see the illustration above), is the Aoe’s most notable characteristic.  Also, Boshi often has pointed Hamon.  It is often said that if you see Sakasa-choji, the sword has a good chance of being from either the Aoe group or Katayama Ichimonji group.  Sumitetu (澄鉄:  black core metal shows through) is also Aoe’s characteristic.


2 thoughts on “52| Part 2 of — 18 Nanboku-Cho Period Swords (南北朝太刀)

  1. Thank you so much for your wonderfull job!!! The best writing on swords and general history of Japan ever!

    You are doing one of the most valuable job in Japan historical study as the role and importance of the sword is clearly obvious. You have namaged to show and prove that NIHON TO was THE KEY ELEMENT IN shaping Yamato DAMASHI !!

    Kindest regards and thanks

    Sasha Sydney, Australia ( originally from Russia)

    On Tue, 4 Jun 2019 at 3:15 am Study of Japanese Sword wrote:

    > Yurie Endo 遠藤由利江 posted: “This chapter is more detailed part of Chapter > 19. Please read Chapter 19 before this chapter. The drawing below is the > illustration from chapter 19. Compare this illustration and the photos > underneath of it. It shows the similarity of the shape. Keep” >


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