Table of contents

By clicking below, it will take you to that chapter directly.   Part 2 is a detailed part of the correspondent chapter.

1 | Preface     –   

2 | Time line

3 | Joko-to(上古刀)

4 |Names of Parts

5 | Heian Period History(平安時代) 794 – 1192

6 |Heian Period Swords

7| Kamakura Period History (1192 – 1334)

8| Overview of the Kamakura Period Swords (1192-1333)

9| Middle Kamakura Period —Yamashiro School(鎌倉中期山城伝

10 | Middle Kamakura Period — Bizen School(鎌倉中期備前伝)

11|Jokyu-no-ran (承久の乱) 1221

12|Ikubi Kissaki (猪首切先)

13|Tanto ( 短刀) Middle Kamakura Period

14|Late Kamakura Period History (鎌倉後期)

15|Late Kamakura Period Sword

16|The Revival of Yamato School (山城伝復活)

17 | Late Kamakura period Tanto ——- Early Soshu Tanto

18|Nanboku(Yoshino) Cho Period History—— North and South Dynasty History(1333-1393)

19|Nanboku-Cho (North and South dynasty) Period Sword

20 | Nanboku-Cho Tanto(南北朝短刀)

21|Muromachi Period History (室町時代)

22|Muromachi Period Sword

23| Sengoku Period History (戦国時代)

24|Sengoku Period Sword(戦国時代)

25|Sengoku Period Tanto (戦国時代)

26| Edo Period History (江戸時代)1603 – 1867

27|Shinto (新刀)

28| Seven Main Areas of Shin-to Sword (Part A)

29|Seven Main Areas of Sin-To Sword (partB)

30| Bakumatsu Period History (幕末)1781 – 1867

31| Shin Shin-To (Bakumatsu Period Sword 新々刀)1781-1867

32|The Process of Making a Sword

33|References

34| Background

35|Part 2 of —– 1|Preface

36| Part 2 of —– 2|Timeline

37|Part 2 of —– 3|Jyoko-To (上古刀)

38|Part 2 of —– 4|Names of the Parts

39|Part 2 of —– 5|Heian Period History (平安時代) 794-1192

40|Part 2 of —– 6|Heian Period Sword (792-1192)

41|Part 2 of —– 7|Kamakura Period History (1192 – 1333)

42|Part 2 of —– 8|Overview of the Kamakura Period Sword 1192-1333)

43| Part 2 of —– 9| Middle Kamakura Period Yamashiro Den (鎌倉中期山城伝)

44|Part 2 of —– 10|Middle Kamakura Period Bizen-Den (鎌倉中期備前伝)

45|Part 2 of —- 11|Jyokyu-no-Hen and Gotoba Joko 後鳥羽上皇 1221

46|Part 2 of —- 12|Ikubi Kissaki(猪首切先)

47|Part 2 of —–12|Ikubi Kissaki, continued

48|Part 2 of —– 13|Middle Kamakura Period Tanto 鎌倉中期短刀

49| Part 2 of —-14|Late Kamakura Period (鎌倉後期歴史)

50|Part 2 of —– 15|Late Kamakura Period Sword

My Japanese Room

51| Part 2 of —– 16 The Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活)

My Yamato Sword (大和所有刀剣)

52|Part 2 of —–17|Late Kamakura Period Tanto (Early Soshu-Den Tanto)

53| Part 2 of —- 18 Nanboku-Cho(南北朝) Period History (1333 – 1393)

54|Masamune Tombstone in Honkakuji Temple (本覚寺)

55|Nanboku-Cho Period Swords (南北朝刀)

56| Nanboku-Cho Tanto (南北朝短刀) 

57|Part 2 of —– 21|Muromachi Period History (室町時代) 1393-1467    – – – – –                                    – – – – – – –  Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and Ashikaga Yoshimasa 

 

 

 

57|Part 2 of —– 21|Muromachi Period History (室町時代) 1393-1467


This is the continued chapter of 21 Muromachi Periods History Please read chapter 21 before this chapter one more time.

57 Muromachi time line      The circle indicate the time we are discussing in this chapter

Until the Muromachi (室町) Period, the way to divide the political history and sword history is the same.  Please look at the above timeline.  The middle line is for sword history and the bottom line is for political history.   The style of the sword has a distinct difference between Nanboku-Cho period (南北朝時代 ), Muromachi period, and the Sengoku period (戦国時代).  Therefore, it has to be divided into three separate periods for sword study.   But school history textbook shows that Muromachi Period is from 1333 (Fall of Kamakura Bakufu ) until 1573 when Oda Nobunaga(織田信長) removed Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki (足利義昭) from Kyoto (the fall of Muromachi Bakufu).   The school history textbooks describe that the Nanboku-Cho period and the Sengoku period is a part of the Muromachi period.  For the purpose of sword study, we need to divide into three periods, Nanboku-Cho period, Muromachi period, and Sengoku period.

Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (足利義満)

The best time for the Muromachi period was when Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (足利義満, Grandson of Ashikaga Takauji) was in power.  Ashikaga Yoshimitsu moved the Bakufu to the place called Muromachi (室町), therefore Muromachi period.  By Shogun Yoshimitsu’s time, the majority of the South Dynasty Samurai went under the North dynasty.  The South Dynasty side accepted Shogun Yoshimitsu’s offer to end to oppose to the North Dynasty that completed the power of Muromachi Bakufu of the Ashikaga family.  Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu created a huge amount of profit from trade with China (Ming).  One of a famous beautiful temple in Kyoto, Golden Pavillion (Kinkakuji-temple 金閣寺) was built by Shogun Yoshimitsu*.  It is said that he created the Golden Pavillion to display his power and wealth.  The beautiful culture around this time was called Kitayama Bunka (Kitayama culture 北山文化).

*Golden Pavillion (Kinkaku-Ji 金閣寺)  —— Correct name is Rokuonji –Temple (鹿苑寺 ).  This is a Zen temple of Rinzaishu Sokoku-Ji group (臨済宗相国寺派 ).  The Kinkakuji-temple is one part of the Rokuonji-Temple.  Kinkakuji-temple is a Buddhist hall containing relics of Buddha.  This place was once owned by Saionji Kintsune (西園寺公経 ) in Kamakura period.  Shogun Yoshimitsu acquired it in 1397, and he rebuilt it as his own villa.  It is also functioned as an official guesthouse.  Kinkakuji-temple represents the height of the glory of Kitayama Bunka (Kitayama culture)After Shogun Yoshimitsu’s death, his villa was converted to a temple, called Rokuon-Ji temple.  In 1994, it was registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

57 Kinkakuji trip 2019

The photo was taken in May 2019, a family trip to Kyoto

Ashikaga Yoshimasa (足利義政 )

After Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (足利義満 ) died (49 years old), the Muromachi Bakufu became financially weaker that made the military power weaker.  As a result,  Daimyo (feudal lord) became powerful.  A few generations after Shogun Yoshimitsu, Ashikaga Yohimasa became a Shogun (8th Ashikaga Shogun).  His wife is the famous Hino Tomiko (refer 21|Muromachi Period History (室町時代.  It is said that Shogun Yoshimasa was not interested in his job as a Shogun, but he was a great culture person who influenced the base of today’s Japanese art, such as Japanese garden, Shoin Zukuri (書院造り)*, Tea ceremony, Flower Arrangement, Painting, and other art forms.  His cultural attribute is called Higashiyama Bunka (Higashiyama culture (東山文化).   As it is described in Chapter, 21|Muromachi Period History (室町時代, Shogun Yoshimasa did not have a child, his brother Yoshimi (義視) was supposed to be a next Shogun.  But his wife, Hino Tomiko gave birth to a son, Yoshihisa (義尚 ).  Hino Tomiko asked Yamana Sozen (powerful family 山名宗全 ) to back up her son, and brother Yoshimi joined with Hosokawa Katsumoto (powerful family 細川勝元).   The problem was Shogun Yoshimasa was paying attention too much to all his cultural hobbies, did not pay attention to the problem he created by not being clear who should be the next Shogun.  He did not yield Shogunate to either one.  He kept enjoying his cultural hobby.   In 1467, on top of the successor problem, because of the other conflict of interest of other powerful Daimyo, “Onin-no-Run (応仁の乱 ) started.  All the Daimyo sided either Hosokawa group or Yamana group.   Eventually, the war spread to the rest of Japan and last over 10 years.  Finally at 1477, after both Hosokawa Katsumono and Yamana Sozen died, Shogun Yoshimasa decided to transfer Shogunate to his son Yoshihisa.  This war caused Kyoto to be devastated and weakened the power of Ashikaga Bakufu.  While all this is happening, people were suffering from the war, Yoshimasa still spent money to build Ginnkakuji Temple (silver Pavillion, 銀閣寺 ).  He died without seeing the completion of Ginkakuji temple.  Onin-no-Run will lead to the next Sengoku-Jidai (100-year warring States period).

*Shoin Zukuri (書院造り )———- Traditional Japanese residential architecture style.  That is with Tatami mat, an alcove on a wall and Shoji sliding screen.  Below picture.

Below Shoin Zukuri style Japanese room

57 Shoin zukuri

Public Domain   GFDL,cc-by-sa-2.5,2.0,1.0 file: Takagike CC BY-SA 3.0view terms      File: Takagike Kashihara JPN 001.jpg

 

56| Nanboku-Cho Tanto (南北朝短刀)

This is a detailed part of chapter 20.  Please read 20 | Nanboku-Cho Tanto(南北朝短刀)  first, before reading this chapter.

 

20 Enbun Jyoji Kowakizashi Tanto

The characteristic of the picture above, the shape is emphasized in the drawing.

At the end of chapter 20 | Nanboku-Cho Tanto(南北朝短刀, there is a list of swordsmith’s names.  Hiromitsu and Akihiro represent the most common characteristic of Nanboku-Cho Tanto.

56 cropped Hiromitu photo 20 HitatsuraHiromitsu From Sano Museum Catalogue (permission granted)

 

Enbun Jyoji Ko-wakizashi Tanto is also called Sun-Nobi Tanto.  The top part of the Tanto bends outward slightly, this is called Sakizori.

Hiromitu and Akihiro Characteristic

Shape———-wide width.  Usually 1 foot and 1, 2 inches long.  Thin body.  Sakizori

Hamon ——-Tempered line can be wide and narrow.  Yakidashi (1, 2 inches above a Machi area) is narrowly tempered and wider tempered line above.  Hamon around Fukura area is showy.  Mainly Nie.  Sunagashi, Kinsuji, Gunome, Umanoha-Midare (shape like horse teeth), Hitatsura appears (see above drawing).

Boshi———-Irregular, uneven temper line, the almost entire area. Deep turn back.

Jihada ———Wood grained

Nakago ——-Tanago-Bara shape (refer 20 | Nanboku-Cho Tanto(南北朝短刀).

Nobukuni

The first generation Shodai Nobukuni is the top three students of Sadamune.  He is called Sadamune San Tetsu (貞宗三哲).     The characteristic of Nobukuni is almost the same as the characteristic of Hiromitsu and Akihiro.  Nobukuni also created Sun-nobi  Tanto like the one below which has a Hoso-suguha (narrow straight tempered line), Ko-Mokume (fine small burl),  Ko-maru Boshi (small round)

56 Nobukuni 1 Nobukuni4 56 Nobukuni 2

This is my sword.  Shodai Nobukuni (初代信國).  This is Juyo Token

Certification

number Juyo 3220,    Certification Juyo-Token

Wakizashi  Nobukuni,    31.4cm length, 0.3cm curvature, HirazukuriMitsumune (three-sided Mune ),  Sunnobi, Ji-hada is Wood grain and Jinie (Nie on the surface)Hamon is Chu-Suguha ( medium straight),  Front carving shows Bonji (Sanscrit), Sanko-Ken. The back side of the sword, engraving is Sanscrit and Hoko (pike).   Original Nakago.    The examination by the Nihon Bijutu Token Hozon Kyokai.  It is certified as Juyo-Token.  The Chairman Moritatu Hosokawa

 

 

55|Nanboku-Cho Period Swords (南北朝刀)

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 in mind this illustration is the shape of a very long sword that was shortened at a  later time.   At Nanboku-Cho time, swords smiths created 3, 4, 5 feet long swords.  Later shortened to 2.5 feet or so.

19 Nanboku-cho Sword style.jpg

 

55 Sa photo

From Sano Museum Catalogue “Reborn”  Permission granted

 

55 Chogi

 

55 Chogi drawing

“Chogi” from Sano Museum Catalogue (permission granted)

 

The style of Chogi is categorized as So-den Bizen.  19 Nanboku-Cho Period Sword. Chogi (長義 ) was a swordsmith from Bizen-Den school who created swords with a characteristic of Soshu-Den.

 Characteristic of Chogi (長義)

Shape ——— Originally very long.  Shortened to approximately around 2.5 feet.

Hamon ——–Wide showy tempered line.  Basically Nioi, but Nie shows a lot.  Sunagashi (砂流し) appears.  Notare  (wavy) mixed with Gunome.  Sometimes Chogi’s created one pair of ear robe shape called Chogi’s earlobe shape midare.    

Boshi ———  Irregular Midare and sharp turn back   Ji–Hada ——- Itame ( a wood grain)

55 Aoe55 Aoe ilustlation

Aoe from Sano Museum Catalogue (Permission granted)

Aoe is pronounced “A” as apple, “o” as original, and “e” as edge.  Aoe is a swordsmith from Bittchu province that is next to Bizen.  Therefore the characteristic of the sword, Ko-Aoe, and Ko-Bizen are similar.

55 Bizen Bittchu map

From middle Kamakura period to Nanboku-Cho period was the best time for Aoe group.   

Characteristic of Aoe (青江)

Aoe sword has Aoe-Zori shape that is to curve a lot at the lower part.  During Nanboku-Cho time, because of the Soshu-Den was the trendy style, even Bizen sword smiths did Nie.   Yet, Bittchu stayed Nioi.  The tempered area tends to be wide.  Sakasa-Choji (means inverted or backward, 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, it should be either Aoe group or Katayama Ichimonji group.  Sumitetu (澄鉄  black Jigane from the inside shows through) is also Aoe’s characteristic.

54|Masamune Tombstone in Honkakuji Temple (本覚寺)

I was in Japan earlier this May.  Here is the Tombstone of Masamune (正宗) in Honkakuji Temple (本覚寺) and Masamune kogei store in Kamakura .  This store is owned by Tsunahiro Yamamura who is the 24th generation of Masamune.

Here is the map of Kamakura that shows the location of the Honkakuji Temple (circle) and Masamune Kogei store marked the circle with X in it.

54 Kamakura map with circle & X

This map is from Kamakura station information center.

The direction to the Masamune Kogei store (marked circle with X on the map)

Take Yokosuka Line  from Tokyo (approximately one hour)———– Get off the train at Kamakura-Eki ————Exit from the East exit (or front exit) ———Take Komachi Dori street (narrow street toward left) ———-the first narrow street to the left ——— Cross the railroad track ——— Very short distance from the railroad track ———On your left, you see the sign of Masamune kogei store.

54 Yamamura 1

Mr. Yamamura and I

The direction to the Honkakuji Temple (本覚寺 )

Take Yokosuka line from Tokyo station (approximately one hour) ———-Get of the train at Kamakura-Eki ———-Exit from the east exit (front exit) ———-Go straight and cross the road ———-Turn right and go until you see the post office ———Turn left on the side of the post office (Honkakuji sign is at the corner of the post office) ——— Honkakuji Temple is short distance from the post office.

All of the pictures below are from Honkakuji Temple.

54 Honnkakuji 2 54 Honnkakuji 1

54 Honnkakuji 3 54 Honnkakuji 4

Below are Masamune’s tombstone.

54 large Masamune 6 54 Small Masamune 1

Both tombstones are the memorial tower erected for Masamune in Edo Period

52|Part 2 of —–17|Late Kamakura Period Tanto (Early Soshu-Den Tanto)

Chapter 52 is the continued part of chapter 17 Late Kamakura period Tanto (17 | Late Kamakura period Tanto ——- Early Soshu-Den Tanto.  Please read Chapter 17 before chapter 52.

After studying the general common characteristics of the late Kamakura period Tanto style (that is early Soshu-Den Tanto) on chapter 17, what points do the next two swords fit in with the common characteristic of early Soshu-Den Tanto?

53 Masamune Tanto photo53 Masamune Tanto Oshigata

Goro Nyudo Masamune (相州伝五郎入道正宗) from Sano Museum Catalog (permission granted).

Masamune was born in Kamakura as a son of Tosaburo Yukimitu.  Masamune is a very well-known sword smith even among those who are not interested in a sword.  His tombstone is in Honkaku-Ji (本覚寺) temple near Kamakura train station, approximately 6 minutes’ walk from the station.

Characteristic—– Hira zukuri.  Very slightly sakizori (tip area curves slightly outward).  Bo-hi and Tsure-hi.  Boshi is Ko-maru.   Hamon is Notare (wavy).  From the illustration above, Sunagashi, Nijyuu-ba can be seen.  One of the important characteristics to connosseur sword is Nie or Nioi and Ji-hada.  It is not possible to see it from this photo, but Masamune does Nie and usually wood grain surface.  Nie is the Soshu-Den characteristic.  This type of Nakago is called Tanago-bara.   Masamune Tanto is often MuMei (no signature).

53 Kunisuke photo53 Kunisuke illustration

Higo Province Enju Kunisuke  From Sano Museum Catalogu (permission granted)

Enju  group lived at Kikuchi county in Higo Province (Kyushu).  The characteristic of Enju group is very similar to the one of Yamashiro style.  Because  Enju Kunimura who started the Enju group was said to be the son-in-law of Rai Kuniyuki of Yamashiro-Den. 

Characteristic—-Hamon is Hoso Suguha (straight temper line).  Boshi is Ko-maru.  Front engraving is Suken (left photo of the sword) and the engraving on the back is Gomabashi ( right photo of the sword).  Jitetsu or Jihada is tight Itame.  Nie

51| Part 2 of —– 16 The Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活)

This chapter is the continued part of chapter 16|The Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活 .   Please read chapter 16 before reading this chapter.

51 Japan map Yamato

At the end of the Kamakura period, in the Yamato area, powerful temples expanded their territory.  They had the political and military power to control the area.  Especially a few powerful temples owned a large territory.   They were called Shoen (荘園).  The demand for the Sword increased by warrior monks called Sohei (僧兵).  That started the revival of Yamato school.  Some of the big temples had their own swordsmiths within their territory.  Todaiji-temple (東大寺) backed Tegai (手掻 ) group.  Senjuin (千手院 ) group lived near Senju-Do (千手堂 ) where Senju Kannon (千手観音 ) was enshrined.  The name of the Taima group came from Taima-Ji temple (当麻寺).  Shikkake group (尻懸 ) and Hosho group (保昌 ) as well.  Those five groups are called Yamato Goha  (Yamato five groups).

General Characteristic of Yamato Den

Yamato Den (大和伝) sword always shows Masame (柾目, straight grain like) on somewhere on Ji-Hada,  Jigane or Hamon.   Please refer to the 16 Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活) for its general characteristic.  Masame is sometimes mixed with Mokume (burl like) or Itame (wood grain like).  Either way, Yamato sword shows Masame somewhere.  Some sword shows Masame entirely or some shows a lesser amount.  Because of that, Hamon tends to show Sunagashi (brush stroke like) or a double line like Hamon called Nijyu-ha.

Taima or Taema group (当麻 )

  • Shape —– Middle Kamakura period shape and Ikubi Kissaki style
  • Hamon —–Mainly  Medium Suguha.  Double Hamon.  Suguha mixed with Choji. Shows Inazuma, Kinsuji, especially under Yokote line Inazuma appears.
  • Boshi —– Often Yakizume. Refer Yakizume on 16 Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活)
  • Ji-Hada Ji-Tetsu —– Small wood grain and well knead surface.  At the top part of the sword, wood grain pattern becomes Masame.

 Shiikkake Group (尻懸  )

  • Shape —– Late Kamakura period shape. Refer 15 Late Kamakura Period Sword
  • Hamon —– Mainly Nie (we say Nie Honni). Medium suguha frayed, mixed with small irregular and Gunome (half circle).  Double lined, brush stroke like pattern.  Small Inazuma, Kinsuji
  • Boshi —– Yakizume, Hakikake (swept trace by broom) and Ko-maru ( small round)
  • Ji-Hada, Ji-Gane —– Small burl mixed with Masame.  Shikkake group sometimes shows Shikkake Hada.  That is,  Ha side shows  Masame and Mune side shows burl.

Tegai Group ( 手掻 )

  • Shape —– Early Kamakura Thick Kasane (body).  High Shinogi.  Koshizori.
  • Hamon —– Narrow tempered line with medium Suguha Hotsure (frayed Suguha).  Mainly Nie.  Double tempered line. Inazuma, Kinsuji shows.
  • Boshi —– Yakizume (no turn back ), Kaen (flame like).
  • Ji-Hada Ji-Gane —– Fine burl mixed with Masame.  

 

51 Kanenaga photo Yamato51 Kanenaga ilustration Yamato

Tegai Kanenaga of Yamato.  From Sano Museum Catalogue (permission granted)

The illustration shows Notare (wave-like Hamon) and Suguha Hotsure (frayed Suguha) and Kinnsuji.

Example of Kantei process how to figure out the maker of the sword using the above photo

  • To determine Jidai (time) by Sugata (shape) —-—-Heian (possible),  Early Kamakura (possible),   Middle Kamakura (possible),  Late Kamakura (possible),  Nanboku – Cho (unlikely),  Muromachi (possibly No),   Sengoku (possibly No),  Shinto ( possibly No),  Shinshin-To (No)
  • To judge from Hamon (actual view shows Masame)——-Yamashiro-Den (possible),  Yamato-Den (very possible),  Bizen-Den (unlikely possible),  Soshu-Den (unlikely possible),  Mino- Den (No)
  • Jihada (actual view shows Nie a lot) —–Yamashiro-Den (possible),  Yamato-Den (very possible),  Shoshu-Den (unlikely possible),  Bizen-Den (unlikely ),  Mino-Den (unlikely)

By looking at the bold letter above, analyzing the above information, you conclude and come up with the name of the swordsmith.  In reality, to Kantei, bring more checkpoints and come up the name.

 

50|Part 2 of —– 15|Late Kamakura Period Sword

This chapter is the detailed part of chapter 15| Late Kamakura Period Sword.  Please read chapter 15 before this section.

14 Ikubi kissaki Damadge

As I explained in chapter 14 Late Kamakura Period History (鎌倉後期), Ikubi Kissaki sword shows a flaw (above illustration) when the damaged area was repaired.  To compensate for this flaw, in Late Kamakura Period, swords smiths started to forge swords with longer Kissaki and a tip of Hi ends lower than Yokote-line.  So that in case the Yokote-line was lowered after the repair, Hi does not go higher than Yokote-line

15 Masamune (Sano)15 Masamune hamon (Sano)

Above photo is Goro Nyudo Masamune( 五郎入道正宗 ).  Please look at the size and shape of Kissaki.  This is definitely different than previous Ikubi Kissaki, or Ko-Gissaki.  This is a typical late Kamakura period Kissaki style.  This is O-Suriage (largely shortened).  Under Kamakura Bakufu, many swordsmiths moved to Kamakura.  They were Toroku Sakon Kunituna (藤六左近国綱 ) of Yamashiro Awataguchi  group(山城粟田口),  Fukuoka Ichimonji Sukezane (福岡一文字助真) and Kunimune (国宗 )of Bizen area.  They are the origin of Soshu-Den (相州伝).  Eventually, Tosaburo Yukimitsu (藤三郎行光)  appeared and his son is the famous Masamune (正宗)On the illustration above, Kinsuji, Inazuma is shown inside the Hamon.  The clear line inside the Hamon is Inazuma and Kinsuji.  Kinsuji, Inazuma are the collection of Nie looks like a line.  Masamune is famous for Inazuma, Kinsuji.  Masamune lived in Kamakura, his Hamon looks like an ocean wave when it is viewed sideways.

50 part 2 of 15 吉岡.photo50 part 2 of 15 吉岡

The above picture is Yoshioka Ichimonji (吉岡一文字).  Kissaki is also like the one of Masamune.  It is longer than previous Ikubi Kissaki or Ko-Gissaki.  This is Chu-Gissaki.  Kissaki like this is the important point to determine what period the sword was made.  Hamon has Choji, Gunome, Togariba (pointed tip), very tight Nie.

 

50 part 2 of 15 運生 photo50 part 2 of 15 運生 

Above photo is Ukai Unsho (鵜飼雲生).  This is also the sword from the late Kamakura period.  But it has Ko-Gissaki.  This sword does not have the late Kamakura period Chu-Gissaki style.  Narrow Hoso-Suguha is somewhat like earlier time than the late Kamakura period.  I chose this sword here to show that the sword does not always have the style of that period.  To Kantei*, first, look at the style and shape and give yourself some idea of the period of the time you think it was made.  But in this case, Kissaki does not indicate late Kamakura periodNext thing to do is to look at the different characteristic of the sword one by one like Hamon, Nie or Nioi, Jihada, etc,  and determine what period, which Den, which province and finally come up with a swordsmith’s name.  This process is called Kantei.

*Kantei – – – – – – to determine the name of the swordsmith by looking at the characteristic of the sword without looking at the Mei (inscription).  Mei is not always there either because it is shortened or some other reasons.

All the photos above are from Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission to use is granted.

49| Part 2 of —-14|Late Kamakura Period (鎌倉後期歴史)

This is the detailed part of chapter 14|Late Kamakura Period History (鎌倉後期.  Please read chapter 14 before starting this chapter.

Genko (元寇) —  Mongolian Invasion 

In Chapter 14, the Mongolian invasion was simply described.  Here is the more detailed description.  The Mongol Empire was a vast empire spread between present Mongol areas to all the way to Eastern Europe from 1206 to 1368.  Grandson of Genghis Kahn, Kublai Kahn sent several official letters to Japan demanding Japan to become a dependency state of the Mongol Empire (Yuan) and demanded to send a tribute to them.   They threatened Japan that they will invade if Japan did not accept their demand.  Hojo Tokimune (北条時宗 ) who was in power in Kamakura Bakufu (government) then, refused and ignored the letters many times.  That caused the two times invasions by the Mongol Empire.  The prevailing notion is that the strong typhoon hit Japan on each invasion, Mongols were chased away by the typhoon.  There were more to it to the story.

Bunnei-no-Eki (文永の役  )  1274

The first Mongolian invasion is called Bunnei-no-Eki.  The early part of October 1274, 40,000 Mongol troops (Mongol, Han people, and Korean) departed heading to Japan from Korean peninsula on 900 large and small ships.  After they arrived on the Tsushima island (対馬 ), Mongol troop burnt villages and killed many people including the island people.  Many people were captured and presented to the top officials of the Mongols as their slaves.  It was a really miserable sad scene.  The Mongols moved to Iki Island (壱岐の島), then to Hizen shore (肥前 ),  Hirato Island (平戸 ),  Taka-Shima (鷹島 ), then to Hakata bay (博多).   At each place, the disastrous scene was the same as everywhere.   At each battlefield, Japanese soldiers and villagers were killed in great numbers.  Kamakura Bukufu (government) sent many Samurai to the battlefield, the Japanese side won and pushed the Mongols back here and there but mostly Japanese sides lost.  Many wives and children were captured, eventually, even no soldiers dared to fight against Mongols.  Mongols arrows were short and not so powerful, but they put on the poison at the tip, and they shoot the arrows like rain.  Also, this is the first time the Japanese saw the firearms.  Their loud sound of the explosion made horses and Samurai frightened.  Japanese troops had to retreat and the situation was really bad for Japanese.  But all of a sudden surprisingly, on morning of the of October 21st (today’s calendar, Nov 19thall the ships were gone, nowhere to be seen on the shore.   Mongols were all disappeared from the shore of Hakata.  What happened was Mongols decided to quit the fight and went back.  For Mongols, even though they were winning, they also lost many people and lost one of the major key person in the army.  The different history book of Korea and Mongols had several records about the reasons to leave Japan.   The Mongols realized no matter how Mongols were winning, the Japanese kept coming more and more from everywhere.  The Mongols could not expect reinforcements from their country over the ocean.  Also, their stocks of weapons were getting low.  It was the Mongols decision to go back.  Here is a twist.  Around the end of October (November by the today’s calendar), the sea between Hakata (where Mongols were) and Korea was very dangerous because of the bad weather, unless the clear daytime of south wind day.  This place is called Genkai Nada (玄界灘 ) famous for the rough sea.   Yet Mongols decided to go back at night.  They may have caught the moment of the south wind, but it did not last long.  As a result, they encountered the usual severe rainstorm.  Many ships hit against the cliff, ships capsized, people fell into the ocean, and several hundred broken ships were found on the shore.  This is called Bunnei- no- Eki (文永の役 ).  Mongols lost a large number of people, ships, troop, food, weapons, and Korea who was forced to supply all of them by the Mongols lost a great deal.  Only old men and children were left to work on the farm, on top of it, they had drought and long rain.

At this Bunnei-no-Eki (文永の役), it was not a typhoon that caused the Mongols to be defeated, Mongols decided to leave but encountered usual bad weather.

Koan-no-Eki (弘安の役) 1281

The second Mongolian invasion is called Koan-no-Eki in 1281.  After the first attempt to invade Japan, Kublai Khan kept sending messengers to Japan to demand to become a dependency state.  Kamakura Bakufu kept ignoring and they killed messengers.  Kublai Kahn decided to attack Japan again in 1281.  Kublai Kahn’s top advisers suggested not to attack Japan because it is too far, the ocean is too dangerous, the country is small, and nothing to gain even if Mongols win.  But Kublai Kahn still insisted to attack.  This time they came in two groups.  They were the East-route troop, the number was 60,000 soldiers on 900 ships, and the South-route troop, the number was 100,000 soldiers on 3,500 ships.  This is the largest scale forces in history.  Their plan was to depart from each one’s port and join on the Iki-no-Shima island (壱岐の島 ) by June 15th, then work together.  The East-route troop arrived before the South-route troop came.  Instead of waiting for the South-route troop, the East-route troop started to attack the Hakata Bay (博多) on their own.  But by that time, Japan already prepared to fight and built a 20 kilometer long stone wall.  This stone wall was 3 meters high and 2 meters thick.  The East-route troop had to give up to land on Japan from Hakata and moved to Shiga-no-Shima (志賀島 )At this place, the fight between Mongols and Japan was even battle but at the end, East-route troop lost and retreated to the Iki-no-Shima and decided to wait for the South-route troop to arrive.  The South troop never arrived there, they changed the plan.   On top of that, while they were waiting for the South-route troop to come, they lost over 3,000 men over the epidemic.   With difficulty like this, the East- route troop discussed the choices they can take.  One opinion was going back home but in the end, they decided to wait for the South-rout troop to arrive as long as the food last.  Meantime, the South-route troop changed the plan and decided to go to Hirato-Shima  (平戸島 ) where it is closer to Dazaifu (太宰府).  That is the final and most important place they wanted to attack.   Later, the East-route troop found out the South-route troop went to Hirato Shima.   Finally, two troops joined at Hirato-Shima and each group stationed nearby island called Taka-shima (鷹島 )The problem was this island had very high tide and low tide, the ships were not easily maneuvered.   Meantime, 60,000 Japanese men were marching toward where the Mongols were stationed.   Before those men arrived to fight against Mongols, A big typhoon came on July 30th and Mongols were caught in a big typhoon, ships hitting each other,  people fell from the ships and drowned and the majority of ships sank.   July 30th was about three months after the East- route troop left Mongol on early May.  That means they were on the ocean and the shore of Japan for about three months or so.  Around North Kyushu area (九州 ), usually, a typhoon comes average 3.2 times between the month of July to September.   Mongols were on the ocean and the shorelines of Japan for approximately three months; they were bound to be hit by a typhoon soon or later.

The Mongol Empire lost 2/3 of its naval forces.   After Mongols failed two attempts to attack Japan, Kublai Khan still insisted to attack Japan the third time, no matter how much his men reasoned him.  But the plan was delayed and terminated because of many rebellions, upheavals and no lumber was left to build ships.  Soon, Kublai died in 1294. The record book of Mongols and Korean indicated that Mongols officials gave a high evaluation of Japanese swords.  Some even say one of the reasons it was not easy to defeat Japan was because of the long sharp swords.  The experience of the Mongolian invasion changed Ikubi Kissaki (猪首切先) sword to a new Soshu-Den (相州伝) style sword.

49 Photo of part 2 of 14 Late Kamakura

The stone wall scene.  Photo from Wikipedia.  Public Domain

*Wikipedia was referred for the chapter 49 article.