67| Part 2 of —-31|Shin-Shin-To (Bakumatsu Period Sword) 1781-1867

Chapter 67 is the detailed chapter of 31|Shin Shin-to of Bakumatsu Period.  Please read chapter 31 before start reading this chapter.

30 Timeline (Bakumatsu)

The circled area is the subject of this chapter.

Swords made after Tenmei Era (天明 1781) till the end of Keio Era (慶應) is called shin-shin-To (1781).  This is the time the society was moving toward the Meiji Restoration, called Bakumatsu time.  During Bakumatu time, sword making became active again.  Below are the well-known sword smiths during this time from several main areas.

Musashi no Kuni  武蔵 (Tokyo today)

Suishinshi Masahide 水心子正秀----When he made Yamashiro-Den style, the shape is like the one of the Ko-To time; Funbari, elegant shape, Chu-Suguha (medium straight), Komaru boshi, fine wood grain.  When he made Bizen style, Koshizori shape, just like Ko-To Bizen Osafune, Nioi with Ko-choji.  It shows katai-Ha (Refer to  31|Shin Shin-to of Bakumatsu Period.   I saw Suishinshi on Nov/1970 and Oct/1971.

Taikei Naotane   大慶直胤 ーーーーThough Taikei Naotane was under Suishinshi group, he was the among the top swordsmith.  He had an amazing ability to forge all kinds of different styles of sword wonderfully.  When he made Bizen-Den style, it looks like Nagamitsu of Ko-To time with Nioi.  Also did Sakasa-Choji like Katayama Ichimonji.  Katai-Ha appears.  I saw Naotane in August/1971.

67 Naotane photo

Taikei Naotane (大慶直胤)   Photo is from “Token no Mikata (The way to look at swords)” written by Koichi Hiroi,  Published 1971

Minamoto Kiyomaro     源清麿---- Kiyomaro intended to work as a Samurai for Meiji Restoration movement, his supporter realized Kiyomaro’s ability as a great swordsmith,  he helped him to be a swordsmith.  But Kiyomaro drank a lot and he only forged a few swords.  At the age of 42 years old, he committed SeppukuKiyomaro was called Yotsuya Masamune because he was said to be as good as Masamune who lived in Yotsuya (part of Shinjuku today).  His sword has wide width, shallow curvature, stretched Kissaki, Fukura Kareru.   Boshi has Komaru Boshi.  Fine wood grain Jigane.

67 Kiyomaro photo

Minamoto no Kiyomaro (源清麿)   Photo is from “Token no Mikata ( The way to look at swords)”, written by Koichi Hiroi, published 1971

 

Settsu no Kuni    摂津の国   (Osaka today )

Gassan Sadakazu    月山貞一 ーーーーGassan was good at Soshu-Den style and Bizen-Den style, but he could make any kinds of style.  He was as genius as Taikei Naotane.  Because of his ability, when he made Ko-To style sword, it is hard to distinguish his sword and real Ko-To sword.   One needs to distinguish with the Ko-To like a sword made by Gassan and real Ko-To. He also had an amazing ability in carving.  His Hirazukuri-Kowakizashi forged in Shoshu style looks just like Masamune or Yukimitsu.  He forged Yamashiro style Takenoko-zori with Hoso-Suguha or Chu-Suguha in Nie.  He also forged Yamato-Den, Masame -Hada sword.

67 Gassan photo

Minamoto no Kiyomaro (源清麿)   Photo is from “Token no Mikata ( The way to look at swords)”, written by Koichi Hiroi, published 1971

 

 

 

 

65|Part 2 of – – -29 Bakumatsu Period History (幕末時代)

This chapter is a continued part of chapter 29| Bakumatsu Period History (幕末)1781 – 1867.  Please read chapter 29 before start reading this chapter.

0-timeline - size 24 Bakumatsu

                                 The circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section

The latter part of the Edo period is called  Bakumatsu time, around the Tennmei era (天明), 1781 to 1868.  During this time, the economy started to stagnate.   The several Tokugawa shoguns of different generations tried to perform the financial reforms.  At each time, it succeeded somewhat, but it never solved the real fundamental financial problem.   Tokugawa Bakufu tried mostly the fiscal restraint themselves, forced people to lead a frugal life, and banned even a small luxury.  You know this only shrinks the size of the economy, and things get even worse.  On top of it, they raised the prevailing interest rate, thinking that may solve the problem.  This is the typical non-economist solution.  The interest rate should be lowered in a situation like this.  Lower level Samurais became poorer, and farmers revolts occurred often, and many natural disasters struck in the farming area.  The famous Kurosawa Movies, “Seven Samurai,” were staged around this time.  As we all know, “Magnificent Seven” was a Hollywood version of “Seven Samurai” based on Japanese “Seven Samurai.”  The movie “Magnificient Seven” played by actors like Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner, is one of my favorite films.

Yet little by little, small cottage (or domestic) industry began to grow, together with the farming led by the local leaders.  Marchants became affluent, and town people in the city became wealthier.  The gap between rich and poor became wider.  Especially the problem of Ronin (unemployed Samurai) became severe.  It was an almost dangerous level to society.

The Edo town people’s culture

During this time, novels were written for ordinary people, instead of only for the upper-class.  In the past, the paintings were related to religion, and only for the upper class, they became for ordinary people.   This is the golden time for “Ukioe (浮世絵).  Kitagawa Utamaro (喜多川歌麿1753-1800) is well-known for a portrait of ladies, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849葛飾北斎) and Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858安藤広重) were famous for scenery paintings.  Maruyama Okyo (円山応挙) drew a picture using the European perspective method.  Also, Katsushika Hokusai’s daughter drew some of her paintings in perspective.  Her name is “Ooi, 応為Only a few of her works are left now, but it is said that even her genius father was surprised at her ability to draw.

Even though it was a small number of people, few people learned the Dutch language (Dutch was the only country allowed to have contact with Japan then).  They translated the European medical book using French and Dutch dictionaries.   It is called Kaitai Shinsho (解体新書).After this book was translated, history books, economy books, political books were translated.  New ideas emerged from those books and influenced the intellects.  In general, schooling was thriving.  Each feudal domain ran its school for the sons of their men.  Children of the town people went to a school called Terakoya (寺子屋: an unofficial neighborhood school) to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Pressure from the outside world

Even though Japan was in Sakoku state(鎖国: national isolation policy), we knew what was happening outside of Japan.  Since the early 17th century, messengers from Russia came to Japan to demand a trade in 1792 and 1804.  In 1808, English ships came to Nagasaki.  In 1825, Tokugawa Bakufu ordered to fire guns at any ships came close to Japan, but in 1842, when England won the Opium War against the Qing dynasty, Bakufu decided to help Food and fuel for the foreign ships.  We were afraid to have the same fate as Qing.  In 1846, the U.S. sent Japan a fleet commander to open diplomatic relations, but Bakufu refused.  The U.S. needed Japan to open the ports to supply Food, water, and fuel for their whaling ships in the Pacific Ocean.  In 1853, a fleet commander Perry* arrived at Uraga (a port of Japan) with four warships displaying the military forces and opening the country.  Tokugawa Bakufu did not have any clear policy on handling the situation and realized it is difficult to maintain the isolation policy any longer.  In 1854, “the Japan-U.S. Treaty of Amity and Friendship” was signed.  After this,  Japan made a treaty with England, Russia, France, and the Netherlands.  This ended over 200 years of Sakoku (national isolation policy) and opened several foreign ships ports.  Those treaties caused many problems.  The treaties were unequal.  It caused a shortage of daily necessities; as a result, the price went up.  Also, a large amount of gold flowed out of Japan because the exchange rate between gold and silver was different in Japan.  The exchange rate was gold 1 to silver 5 in Japan, but in Europe, it was gold 1 to silver 15.  On top of it, there was a problem who should be the next shogun after Shogun Tokugawa Yesada (徳川家定) since he did not have a child.

At a chaotic time like this, each opposing feudal domain wanted somebody as a shogun whose political idea is on their side.  Many other problems caused a big battle among feudal domains, who already opposed the Bakufu for different reasonsNow the base of Tokugawa Bakufu began to fall apart.  The Choshu-han (Choshu domain) and the Satsuma-han (Satsuma domain) were the main big forces who were against the Tokugawa Bakufu.   In the beginning, they were opposed to each other,  after many strained relations and strained incidents, they both decided to reconcile and went after the Bakufu together.  Because England realized Bakufu did not have much power any longer, they started to be closer to the Emperor’s side, whereas France sided with Tokugawa.  England and France almost started a war in Japan.   

Japanese like the historical drama of the Meiji Ishin (Meiji revolution) time, and we see them on TV and in movies quite often.  For Japanese, the most favorite story is about the Sengoku period (Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu story), then 2nd favorite story is about Meiji revolution time (Saigo Takamori (西郷隆盛), Sakamoto Ryoma (坂本龍馬), and Shinnsen-Gumi (新撰組) story)Though it was fiction, the movie “Last Samurai ” was staged at this time with a real historical character of Saigo Takamori.  Many well-known political figures were the driving forces and played an active role in toppling the Tokugawa Bakufu.  They were People like Ito Hirobumi (伊藤博文), Ookubo Toshimichi (大久保利通), Shimazu Nariakira (島津斉彬),  Hitotsubashi Yoshinobu (一橋慶喜) and many more.   Those were the charactors who established a new government system, center around the Emperor, the Meiji Shin Seifu (明治新政府)

1867, Tokugawa Yoshinobu issued “the Restoration of Imperial Rule (Taisei Hokan, 大政奉還).”  1868, the Tokugawa left the Edo-Jo (Edo Castle), and the Meiji emperor moved in the Edo-Jo.  It is called Kokyo (皇居: Imperial Palace).  The present Emperor is living in there.  But the original Edo-Jo was lost by the big fire, yet the original moat (you can see several swans), massive stone wall, a beautiful bridge called Nijyu-Bashi (二重橋) are still there, and big garden areas are free to walk around.  This area is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms.  It is in front of the Marunouchi side of Tokyo station,  a walking distance from the Tokyo station.

66 koukyo

Imperial Palace (From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository ).  The copyright holder of this work hereby publishes it under the following license: Creative Commons attribution share-alike.

*Perry

Commodore M.C. Perry came to Japan two times with four warships.  In 1853, he brought the sovereign diplomatic document from the president of the U.S.  The following year he came back to demand the answer to the letter.  After his expedition, Perry wrote a book about his journey, “Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan,  Under the command of Commodore M.C. Perry, United States Navy by order of the Government of the United States.”   In his book, he mentioned Japan very favorably;  the beautiful scenery and people’s ingenuities, and lively active females, with drawings.  During his stay in Japan, Perry displayed and presented a quarter sized model train, sewing machine, etc.; the Japanese had a Sumo match, and presented items like silk, lacquer wares, etc.  The Japanese prepared the elaborate banquets for them; Perry invited the Japanese officials to the dinner.  The biggest hit was when Perry served a dessert at the end of the dinner with a small flag of each Japanese guest’s family crest printed on the cake.  Before starting his expedition, he realized the tough negotiation lying ahead.  So he studied Japanese beforehand and realized that the Japanese enjoy parties a lot.  He brought skilled chefs and loaded livestock on his way to Japan for the party.  He wined and dined the Japanese with whiskey, wine, beer, etc.  Initially, the U.S wanted Japan to open five ports, whereas Bakufu was only willing to open one port.  In the end, both sides agreed on three ports.

ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/黒船来航

ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/マシュー・ペリー

64|Part 2 of — 28 Shin-To Main 7 Region (part B)

 

This chapter is a continued part of chapter 28 Shin-to Main 7 Regions (part B).  Please read chapter 28 before reading this chapter.  Below are the regions 2,3,7, skipped 4,5,6.

0-timeline - size 24 Shin-to

The circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section    

29 Map with number 7

 

2. Settu (摂津) at 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 main characteristic of the Settsu Osaka sword is: The surface is beautiful and fine, almost no pattern, no design like a flat surface.  The below two photos are Settsu’s sword.

65 Ikkanshi illustration 65 Ikkanshi photo 

Ikkanshi Tadatsuna from Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission granted to use.

Ikkanshi Tadatsuna (一竿子忠綱) is famous for his carvings.  His father was also a well-known swordsmith, Omi-no-Kami Tadatsuna (近江守忠綱).  Ikkanshi Tadatsu is the second generation of Omi-no-kami Tadatsuna.  Therefore he is 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 Sakiziri (curved at a higher part of the body)The wide tempered line with Nie.  Osaka Yakidashi (transition between the sugu-ha 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 turn backVery fine Ji-hada, almost no pattern on the surface.

 65-inoue-shinkai-photo-.jpg  65 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 the student of Kunihiro.  The characteristic of his sword:  Osaka Yakidashi.   The tempered line gets wider gradually toward the top.  O-Notare and deep Nie.  His Ji-hada is very fine, almost no design on the surface.

3. Musashi (武蔵:Edo)

We find many famous swordsmiths in Edo also.  They are 1st, 2nd, 3rd generations of Yasutsugu(康継), Kotetsu(虎徹), Noda Hankei (野田繁慶), Hojoji Masahiro (法成寺正弘), and more. 

 Two photos below are swordsmiths from Musashi (武蔵:Tokyo).   

65 Yasutsugu photo 65-yasutsugu-illustration-e1567313224375.jpg

Yasutsugu  From Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission granted to use

Characteristics of Yasutusgu (康継):  Shallow curvature.  Chu-Gissaki (medium Kissaki). Hamon is wide Notare, Midare, O-gunome (sometimes double gunome).  The trace of Soshu Den and Mino Den shows in his work.  Woodgrain mixed with Masame on Shinogi-Ji.

65 Kotetsu photo    65 kotetu illustration

Kotetsu (虎徹) from Sano Museum Catalogue, permission granted to use

Here is the famous Kotetsu.  The formal name is Nagasone Okisato Nyudo Kotetsu (長曽祢興里入道虎徹).   Kotetsu began to make swords after he passed 50 years old.  Before that, he was an armor maker.   The characteristics of Kotetsu: Shallow curvature and wide width.  The wide tempered line with Nie.  Around the Machi area, the hamon is small Irregular, then the upper part of the blade becomes wide Suguha like Notare.  Fine Nie.  Boshi has Komaru with a short turn back.  Ji-hada is fine wood grain and burl.  Sometimes, you see O-hada (black core iron show through) at the lower part above the Machi area.  The illustration above shows the thick (or wide? Which should I use) tempered line between Ha and Ji consisted of Nie.  This is Kotetsu’s characteristic.  Once you see it, you will remember.  The next region is 7; skip the regions 4,5,6.

7. Satsuma (Kyushu)

65 Satsuma Masakiyo illustration 65 Satsuma Masakiyo photo

Miyahara Mondonosho Masakiyo (宮原主水正正清) from Sano Museum Catalogue, permission granted to use.

Miyahara Mondonosho Masakiyo was highly regarded by the Shimazu family of Satsuma Han (Satsuma domain).  Later he was chosen to go to Edo to forge swords for Shogun Yoshimune.  The characteristics of Mondonosho Masakiyo: Well balanced sword shape.  Shallow curvature.  Wide and narrow hamon with squarish hamon and pointed hamon mixed as in the photo above.  He engraved the Aoi crest (the hollyhock crest of the Tokugawa family) on Nakago.