This chapter is a continued part of chapter 27| Shinto Main 7 Regions (Part A). Please read chapter 27 before reading this section.
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.
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.
- Yamashiro (山城: Kyoto)
Horikawa 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.
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 A. Iga-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.
- 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.
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.
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.