65| The Sword Observation Process

This chapter shows the handling and viewing process of the sword examination.

  1. Wear white gloves or hold a handkerchief in each hand.

how-to-handle-sword-1.jpg

 

  1. Bow lightly.  Hold the Tsuka (hilt) with your right hand and the Saya (scabbard) with your left hand.  Pull the Saya out.  Doing this, the back of the Saya faces the floor, and the Ha faces up.  The Mune should be resting on the inside of the Saya.  Pull the blade carefully.  Do not let the Ha touch the inner wall of the Saya to avoid accidentally getting scratches.

How to handle sword 2

 

  1. Set down the Saya on the left of the sword.  Prepare the sword tool.

How to handle sword 3

 

  1. Using the sword tool, push the Mekugi (peg) out of the Tsuka.

How to handle sword 4

 

5.  Pull and place the Tsuka and put Mekugi in the hole of the Tsuka so that you won’t lose it.

How to handle sword 5

 

6.    Pull the Habaki (metal piece just above the Tsuka, a gold piece in the picture left) and set them down on the right.

How to handle sword 6.a  How to handle sword 6

 

  1. Hold the Nakago with your right hand. With Washi (Japanese rice paper), or handkerchief or tissue paper, support under the blade with your left hand.

How to handle sword 7

 

  1. Using the light reflection on the blade’s surface, look at Jigane, Hamon, Boshi, and Mei, etc. To see Hamon, Jigane, and Boshi well, move the sword up, down, or sideways or rotate it to reflect the light in the right position.

1悦子の絵

  1. When you finish looking at the sword, bow lightly and reassemble it by reversing the process.

How to handle sword 9

64| Part 2 of –30 Shin Shin-To : Bakumatsu sword (新々刀)

Chapter 64 is a detailed chapter of 30|Bakumatsu Period, Shin Shin-to.  Please read chapter 30 before reading this chapter.

0-timeline - size 24 Bakumatsu

                  The circle Above indicates the time we discuss in this chapter.

Swords made between the Tennmei era (天明 1781) and the end of Keio era (慶應) are called Shin Shin-to.  Please see the timeline above.  It was the time Japan was moving toward the Meiji Restoration.  It was the Bakumatsu time.  During the time, sword making was active again.  Below are the well-known swordsmiths in the main areas.

Musashi no Kuni  (武蔵の国: Tokyo today)

Suishinshi Masahide (水心子正秀) ———- When Suishinshi Masahide made Yamashiro Den style swords, the shape was similar to one of the Ko-to time swords; Funbari, elegant shape, Chu-suguha (medium straight), Komaru-boshi, fine wood grain.  When he forged the Bizen style, he made a Koshizori shape, just like a Ko-to by Bizen Osafune.  Nioi with Ko-choji, and Katai-ha (Refer to  30| Bakumatsu Period Sword 新々刀).  I wrote  in my sword textbook that I saw Suishinshi in November 1970 and October 1971.

Taikei Naotane  (大慶直胤) ————-Although Taikei Naotane was within the Suishinshi group, he was among the top swordsmiths.  He had an amazing ability to forge all kinds of different styles of swords wonderfully.  When he made a Bizen Den style, it looked like Nagamitsu from the Ko-to time with Nioi.  Also, he did Sakasa-choji as Katayama Ichimonji had done.  Katai-ha appearsMy note on the textbook says that I saw Naotane in August 1971.

Minamoto no Kiyomaro (源清麿) —————— Kiyomaro desired to join the Meiji Restoration movement as a Samurai; still, his guardian realized Kiyomaro’s ability as a great swordsmith and helped him become one.  It is said that because Kiyomaro had a drinking problem, he was not so eager to forge swords.  At age 42, he committed SeppukuKiyomaro, who lived in Yotsuya  (a part of Shinjuku, Tokyo, today), was called Yotsuya Masamune because he was as good as Masamune.  His swords were wide width, shallow Sori, stretched Kissaki, and Fukurakareru Boshi has Komaru-boshi.  Fine wood grain Ji-gane.

Settsu no Kuni    摂津の国   (Osaka today )

Gassan Sadakazu  (月山貞一) ——- 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.  One needs to pay attention to notice a sword made by Gassan from a real Ko-to.  He also had an amazing ability in carving.  His hirazukuri-kowakizashi forged in Soshu Den style looks just like a Masamune or a Yukimitsu.  He forged the Yamashiro Den style with Takenoko-zori with Hoso-suguha or Chu-suguha in Nie.  He also forged the Yamato Den style with Masame-hada.