61|Part 2 of — 27 Shin-to Main 7 Regions (part A)

This chapter is a continued part of chapter 27| Shinto Main 7 Regions  (Part A).  Please read chapter 27 before reading this section.

0-timeline - size 24 Shin-to

 

The circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section

In Chapter 27, Shinto Main 7 Regions (part A 主要7刀匠地) and Chapter 28, Shinto Sword Main 7 Regions (part B 主要7刀匠地) described an overview of the seven main regions.  This chapter and next chapter show the photos of the representative swordsmiths from those regions.  They are Yamashiro (山城 in Kyoto), Settsu (摂津 today’s Osaka), Musashi (武蔵 Edo), Satsuma (薩摩).  But Echizen (越前) and Kaga (加賀), Hizen (肥前) are skipped.

29 Map with number 7

With Ko-to swords, the shape, Hamon condition, Kissaki size, the length, and the shape of the Nakago, etc., indicate when the sword was forged.  In Ko-to time, the Bizen swordsmiths forged the Bizen Den swords, the Yamashiro swordsmiths forged the Yamashiro Den swords, the Mino swordsmiths forged the Mino Den sword.  But with the Shin-to-time swords, that is not the case.  The Den and the location of a swordsmith often do not match.  For Shin-to sword, we study the swordsmiths and their seven main regions’ swords and their characteristic.

Regarding the swords made in the Ko-to time, if a sword has a wide Hamon line with Nie, usually, its Ji-hada shows large wood grain or large burl grain.  Also, when you see a Narrow Hamon line, it usually has fine Ji-hada. 

However, with Shin-to, if a sword has a wide Hamon with Nie, it often has small wood grain or small burl grain on Ji-hada.  And if it has a narrow Hamon line, it may have large wood grain Ji-hada.  That is the Shin-to characteristic.   

Here is an exception; some of the early Soshu Den swords during the late Kamakura period show wide Hamon with Nie with small burls on Ji-hada.  Because of that, whether it is Ko-to or Shin-to is confusing.  Even so, other features like Ji-tetsu or other parts should indicate the Shin-to or Ko-to.

  1. Yamashiro (山城: Kyoto)

64-kunihiro-sword.jpg 64 Kunihiro IllustrationHorikawa Kunihiro    From Sano Museum Catalogue (permission granted)

Horikawa Kunihiro (堀川国広) was considered as a great master swordsmith among Shin-to swordsmiths.  He forged his swords in many styles with different characteristics.  The types of Hamon are O-notare, O-gunome, Togari-ba (pointed hamon), Chu-suguha with Hotsure (frayed look), Hiro-suguha with Sunagashi effect, Inazuma, or Kinsuji appears.  Kunihiro liked to make his sword shape looking like O-suriage (shortened Nanboku-Cho style long sword). Kunihiro’s blade gives you a massive feeling.  Kunihiro’s swords often have beautiful carvings on them; designs include a dragon, Sanskrit letters, etc.  Since his swords are in many different styles, there is no general characteristic on his swords other than that Hamon is mainly Nie.  His Ji-hada is finely forged.                                                                                                                                     

img067.jpg  img068.jpg           Iga-no-Kami Kinnmichi (伊賀守金道)           Dewa Daijyo Kunimichi (出羽大掾国路)        Both Juyo Token (重要刀剣), once my family owned swords, photos were taken by my father.

Characteristics of Iga-no-Kami Kinmichi ( 伊賀守金道)

Kinmichi family is called Mishina group.  Refer 27 Shinto Main 7 Regions  AIga-no-Kami Kinmichi  received the Japanese Imperial Chrysanthemum crest. 

The characteristic of his sword; wide sword, shallow curvature, extended Kissaki, Sakizori (curvature at 1/3 top),  wide tempered line, Kyo-Yakidashi (refer 27 Shinto Main 7 Regions  A ), Hiro- suguha (wide straight Hamon), O-notare (large wavy), Yahazu-midare, Hako-midare (refer 24 Sengoku Period Tanto).  Boshi is Mishina-boshi, refer 27 Shin-to Main 7 Regions A.  Fine wood burl, Masame appears on Shinogi-ji area.

Dewa Daijo Kunimichi (出羽大掾国路)

Dewa Daijo Kunimichi was the best student of Horikawa Kunihiro.  The right photo above.  Like Kunihiro, the shape of the sword looks like a shortened Nanboku-cho sword.  Shallow curvature, wide body, somewhat stretched Kissaki, and Fukura-kareru (less arch in fukura).  Wide tempered line, large Gunome, Nie with Sunagashi, or Inazuma shows.  Among large Gunome, double Gunome (two Gunome side by side) appears.  Fine JitTetsu.

  1. Settu (摂津) Osaka (大阪 )

Settu (Osaka) has many well-known swordsmiths.  They are Kawachi-no-Kami Kunisuke (河内守国助), Tsuda Echizen-no-Kami Sukehiro (津田越前守助広), Inoue Shinkai (井上真改), Ikkanshi Tadatsuna (一竿子忠綱), etc.

The Settsu (Osaka) sword’s main characteristic — The surface is beautiful and fine, with no pattern or no designs, almost a flat surface.  The below two photos are of the Settsu sword.

                 62 Ikkanshi photo  62 Ikkanshi illustration                  Ikkanshi Tadatsuna from Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission granted to use.

Ikanshi Tadatsuna (一竿子忠綱) was famous for his carvings.  His father was also a well-known swordsmith, Omi-no-Kami Tadatsuna (近江守忠綱).  Ikkanshi Tadatsu was the second generation of Omi-no-kami Tadatsuna.  Therefore he was also known as Awataguchi Omi-no-Kami Fujiwara Tadatsuna (粟田口近江守藤原忠綱), as you see on the Nakago above photo.                                                                                                                

The characteristics of Ikkanshi Tadatsuna ——- longer kissaki and Sakizori (curved at a higher part of the body), wide tempered line with Nie.  Osaka Yakidashi (transition between the Suguha above Machi and Midare is smooth.  Refer to 27 Shinto Sword –  Main 7 Regions(part A) for Osaka Yakidashi.  O-notare with Gunome, Komaru-boshi with a turn back, and very fine Ji-hada with almost no pattern on the surface.

                   62 inoue Shinkai photo  62 inoue Shinkai illustration

Inoue Shinkai (井上真改) from Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission granted to use.

Inoue Shinkai was the second generation of Izumi-no-Kami Kunisada (和泉守国定).  He was a student of Kunihiro.                                                                                                          

The characteristic of Inoue Shinkai’s swords —– Osaka Yakidashi, tempered line getting wider gradually toward the top.  O-Notare and deep Nie.  Very fine Ji-hada with almost  no design on the surface.

 

60|Part 2 of – – 26 Overview of Shin-To (新刀概要)

Chapter 60 is a Continued part of Chapter 26 |Over view of Shinto (新刀概要).   Please read Chapter 26 before reading this section.

  0-timeline - size 24 Sengoku Period                       The circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section    

The difficulty of Shin-to Kantei

During Ko-to time, one could tell the approximate period when the sword was made by looking at the style and the shape.  Several conditions, like how the Hamon shows, how the Ji-gane appears, indicate which Gokaden (五ヶ伝) and what period in Ko-to time the particular sword was made.  But with the swords in Shin-to time, that does not work.

Even though there are some differences among the Shin-to swords made in the early Edo period, which is around Keicho (慶長) era, the middle Edo period that is around Kanbun (寛文) era, and the later part Edo period that is Genroku era (元禄), differences are not much.

The same is true with Gokaden (五ヶ伝) during the shin-to time.  In the Ko-to time, Bizen sword smiths forged swords with Bizen characteristic, Yamato sword smiths usually shows Yamato Den characteristic.  But in Shin-to time, a swordsmith of one particular Den also forged the style of other Den’s features.  As a result, it is hard to determine who forged the particular sword.  For Shin-to, we study the characteristics of seven main locations.  The following chapters will go over them.

Picturesque Hamon

In and after the Genroku era (1688 – 1704), some picturesque Hamon became a trendy style.  Some swordsmiths made picturesque Hamon on Wakizashi or short swords.  Since it became very popular,  especially among foreigners, most of them were exported outside of Japan around the Meiji restoration time.  Very few are left in Japan today.

The swordsmiths those who made picturesque  Hamon 

Yamashiro area ——————————————-Iga-no-kami Kinmichi (伊賀守金道),                                                                                  Omi-no-kami Hisamichi (近江守久道)

Settsu (摂津) area ———————————Tanba-no-Kami Yoshimichi  (丹波守吉道)                                                                           Yamato-no-Kami Yoshimichi (大和守吉道)

Below are examples.  Fuji is the Mount fuji designKikusui is chrysanthemum in the water.

63 fuji sakura hamon

        Fuji                                        Kikusui

59| Part 2 of — 25|Edo Period History (江戸歴史 1603 – 1867)

This chapter is a detailed part of Chapter 25 Edo Period History (江戸時代歴史).  Please read Chapter 25 before reading this section.

0-timeline - size 24 edo Period                              The circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section

Battle of Sekigahara  (関ヶ原合戦)

Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉), the most powerful man during the Sengoku period (and Momoyama period), died in 1598.  At that time, his heir, Hideyori (秀頼), was only five years old.  Before Hideyoshi’s death, he set up a council system which consisted of the top five daimyos to take care of the jobs for Hideyori as his regents until he came of age.   At Hideyoshi’s death bed, all the five daimyos agreed to be the guardians of Hideyori.  But, little by little, Ishida Mitsunari (石田三成) and Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康) began disagreeing with each other.  In 1600, finally, those two main daimyos clashed, and the Battle of Sekigahara broke outOne side is called Seigun (the western army), led by Ishida Mitsunari, and the other, Togun (the eastern army) by Tokugawa Ieyasu.  

All the daimyos in the country took either Tokugawa or Ishida Mitsunari’s side.  It is said that the Mitsunari’s Seigun had 100,000 men, while the Tokugawa’s Togun, 70,000 men.   Ieyasu had fewer soldiers, but he won in the end.  Ieyasu became the Toyotomi clan’s chief retainer, which means that he was virtually the top person because Hideyori was still a child.    

In 1603 Ieyasu became the Shogun.  Now Ieyasu seized control of Japan, and he established the Tokugawa Bakufu (government) in Edo and eliminated the council system. 

Toyotomi Hideyori was still there with his mother, Yodogimi (淀君or Yodo-dono淀殿), in Osaka Castle, which was built by Hideyoshi before he died.  After a while, the relationship between the Osaka side Hideyori – Yodogimi, and Edo side, Ieyasu, became awkward.  Yodogimi was a very proud and headstrong person with good reasons.  She was a niece of Oda Nobunaga, the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and the mother of the head of the Toyotomi clan.  Later, her pride got her into trouble and led to the destruction of the Toyotomi clan. 

Osaka Winter and Summer siege (1614 and 1615)

During the 15 years between the Battle of Sekigahara and the Siege of Osaka Castle, the tension between the Tokugawa Bakufu and Toyotomi clan built up little by little.  Before the Battle of Sekigahara, the Toyotomi clan ruled Japan.  After the Sekigahara, the Tokugawa Bakufu began to rule Japan.  The Toyotomi clan lost many top advisers and vassals in the battle.  As a result, all the power of the Toyotomi’s centered around Yodogimi.  By the time of the siege, Hideyori grew up to be a fine man, but Yodogimi had overprotected her son, and controlled him.  She even did not allow Hideyori to practice Kendo (Japanese traditional martial art of swordsmanship), saying it was too dangerous. 

She persistently acted as if the Toyotomi clan was still in the supreme power.  Tokugawa Ieyasu tried to calm the friction by having his grand-daughter, Sen-hime, married to Hideyori.  A few advisors suggested Yodogimi yield to Tokugawa, but she insisted that Tokugawa had to subordinate himself to Toyotomi.   A rumor began to spread that the Toyotomi side started to hire and gather a large number of Ronins (samurai without a lord) inside the Osaka Castle.  Several vital persons tried to mediate the Toyotomi clan and the Tokugawa but failed. 

Finally, Ieyasu led his army to Osaka, and in November 1614, began a campaign to siege the Osaka Castle (the Winter Campaign)It is said that the Toyotomi side had 100,000 soldiers, but some of them were just mercenariesHowever, Osaka Castle was built almost like a fortress itself, very hard to attack.  The Tokugawa army attacked hard and fired cannon every day, but they realized that the castle was so solid that it was a waste of time to continue. 

Eventually, both sides went to a peace negotiation.  They agreed on several items of the treaty.   One of them was to fill the outer moat of the Osaka Castle.  But the Tokugawa side filled both the outer and the inner moats.  That made the Toyotomi side angry, and they became suspicious that the Tokugawa side might not keep the agreement.    

Another agreement was the disarmament of the Toyotomi clan.  Yet the Toyotomi side kept having their soldiers inside the castle.  Tokugawa gave the last ultimatum to the Toyotomis to either dismiss all soldiers from the castle or move out.  Yodo-gimi refused both. 

After that, another siege started in the summer of 1615 (the Summer Campaign).  It is said that the Toyotomi had 70,000 men, and the Tokugawa had 150,000 men.  Both sides had several battles here and there, but the fights did not go well for both sides in the beginning because of the thick fog, delayed arrival of troops, miscommunications, etc.   The last battlefield was in the Osaka Castle. The Toyotomis decided to stay inside the castle, but soon a fire broke out from inside and burned the castle.  Yodo-dono and Hideyori hid inside the storage building, waiting for Ieyasu’s answer to the plea for their lives.  They hoped their daughter-in-law could achieve the bargain.  But It was not accepted, and they both died inside the storage building.

Nene and Yodogimi

 Nene was the lawful wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.  She was a brilliant and sensible person but not a high born.  Everybody respected her, including Tokugawa Ieyasu.  Even Hideyoshi often followed her opinions on political matters.  She  helped Hideyoshi to climb up his ranks.  However, Nene could not bear a child.  Toyotomi Hideyoshi went around other women everywhere, hoping to get his heir, but Yodogim was the only one who could have a child with him.  Naturally, a rumor went around about who the true birth father of Hideyori was.  The speculation indicated several men, and one of them was Ishida Mitsunari.   

62 Yodo Gimi

伝 淀殿画像(It is said to be a portrait of Yodo-dono but no evidence.)Owned by Nara Museum of Art    Drawn in 17th century  Public Domain:  Yodo-dono cropped.jpg from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Nene (Kodai-In), Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s lawful wife.  Public domain from Wikimedia, owned by Kodai-Ji

2019 San Francisco Sword show

Here are several pictures of 2019 San Francisco Sword Show that I attended last weekend.  It was a such a pleasure meeting several of you guys.  Mr. Yoshihara brought his grandson to this meeting as debut as a new sword maker. It is nice to see a next generation of sword maker.

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This is the 2019 San Francisco Sword Show

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Mr. Yoshindo Yoshihara (left), Me (middle), Mrs. Kapp (right)

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They also had entertainment, such as singing and dancing.

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Yoshindo and his grand-son (2019 Sword Show is his debut as a sword maker)

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Yoshindo is a very good cook.  He had after party at Kapp’s house.