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

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

This section is continued part of18|Nanboku(Yoshino) Cho Period History—— North and South Dynasty History(1333-1393) .  Please read Chapter 18 before this section.

Nanboku-Cho Period (1333 to 13930 is after the fall of Kamakura Bakufu till Muromachi Bakufu was established.  That is the time when the North dynasty and the South dynasty existed at the same time.  Right around the Mongolian Invasion, Emperor Go-Saga passed away without deciding the heir.  Because of that, from this time on, two lines of his heir, the Daigakuji-To line and the Jimyoin-To line became the emperor alternatively.  This is a very unstable situation politically.  On top of it, the inconvenient situation happened like, one Emperor was too young, the other Emperor died young while he was playing on the slippery stone and hit his head, etc.   At the time like this, Emperor Godaigo was put on the throne.  He was put on the throne as an Emperor to fill in the gap between the other young Emperors to be.  Around this time, the Emperor’s power was weakened, they were controlled by Kamakura Bakufu (government).  Also, after the Mongolian Invasion, even though typhoon chased Mongolian troops away, Kamakura Bakufu was in financial trouble because of the cost of the war.  A large number of Samurai who fought during the Mongolian Invasion were never rewarded nor paid for the cost and they were also in trouble financially.  All these problems piled up and people resented Kamakura Bakufu. Go-Daigo Emperor did not want to stay as a filler between the Emperors, he decided to stay as an Emperor himself, and decided to attack Kamakura Bakufu. Somehow, this plan was revealed by Kamakura Bakufu.   Emperor Godaigo managed to avoid being accused as an instigator.  After this happened, Kamakura Bakufu appointed another heir as a next Emperor.  But Go-Daigo insisted remain as an Emperor, and he planned another attack one more time.  This time around, he had carefully planned and allied with big powerful temples in Nara (Yamato), since they were not controlled by the Kamakura Bakufu. Refer, 16|The Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活)and 51| Part 2 of —– 16 The Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活)

This time again, the rebellion plot came to light.   Go-Daigo sneaked out Kyoto and fought with Kamakura army.  Go-Daigo’s army had a smaller number of soldiers than Kamakura army, but several uprising groups who were opposed to Kamakura Bakufu appeared from the different areas of Japan.  Eventually, Go-Daigo was captured and sent to the Oki island (same place where the Emperor Go-Toba was sent to). Kamakura Bakufu still had to fight with other uprising groups who were against them.  One of the famous ones is Masashige Kusunoki (楠正成 ).  Also, Go-Daigo’s son was still active fighting with Kamakura Bakufu and he went around to ally with more people to side with the Emperor.

Those who want the Kamakura Bakufu to be overthrown was increasing more and more.  Even Ashikaga Takauji (足利尊氏), he was one of the Kamakura Bakufu’s top men who was sent to fight against Emperor Go-Daigo betrayed Kamakura and changed his side and became the Emperor’s ally.  Meantime, Go-Daigo escaped from Oki island.  More and more uprising against Kamakura Bakufu from different areas.  Eventually, the main political center called Rokuhara Tandai (六波羅探題 ) of Kamakura Bakufu fell.  Nitta Yoshisada (新田義貞)*, who was another uprising group attacked Kamakura and won. Kamakura Bakufu fell at 1333.  Go-Daigo started a new political system called Kennmu no Shinsei (建武の新政).  This was a disaster.  He tried to do the right thing so that he can show he is the great Emperor.  But this reform created a big commotion.  It was bad for everybody and nobody could gain.  Ashikaga Takauji and his men did not receive any high-rank job.  Noble men’s income was stopped.   His new policy only invited chaos and corruption.  Now Ashikaga Takauji turned against Go-Daigo and Ashikaga won.  Go-Daigo left the Imperial Palace and opened a new government in Yoshino, that is south of Kyoto.  Therefore called South dynasty.  Ashikaga Takauji established a new Emperor, Komyo Emperor in Kyoto, this is a North dynasty.  This is how North and South dynasty came about.  This state lasted about 60 years.  Little by little, many Samurai group went under the North dynasty and after Go-Daigo and his several top key men died, South dynasty became weaker and weaker.  The South Dynasty accepted Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s (足利義満 ) offer and the south and the north united in 1392.  During all those fights between emperor side and Kamakura Bakufu,  the sword style changed to wider and longer.  Majority of the Nanboku-Cho style sword was shortened later.

53 Ashikaga Takauji

Kibamusha (騎馬武者蔵)    It once believed this is a portrait of Ashikaga Takauji, now several other opinions this is somebody else.   “Public Domain” owned by Kyoto National Museum

*Nitta Yoshisada (新田義貞 )

When Minamoto no Yoritomo opened Kamakura Bakufu, he chose Kamakura area as the center of Bakufu because Kamakura is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and one side facing to the ocean.  That means it is hard to be attacked and easy to protect.  And there are seven narrow steep roads called Kiri Toshi (切り通し) that connect to several different directions. This is the only way to go out and to come in.  When Nitta Yoshisada tried to attack Kamakura, first he tried to attack from land road but failed.  So he came from the ocean side but the cliff sticks out to the ocean too far, that made impossible to pass.  It is said that when Nitta Yoshisada came to the place called Inamura gasaki (稲村ヶ崎) 、he threw his golden sword into the ocean and prayed. Then the tide went out and all the soldiers could pass the place.  There are several opinions about this.  Some scholars say that is not true, some say it really happened but the date is wrong, some say unusual ebb tide happened that day and so on.   Today, Inamura Gasaki is a very beautiful place in the evening.  Sunset is the most beautiful scene from Inamura Gasaki to Enoshima direction.  This is one of the favorite places for young people to go for dating in the evening.

53 Inamura gasaki

Inamura Gasaki                 Photo is “Creative Commons” CC 表示-継承 3.0 File: Inamuragasaki tottanbu.jpg 作成: 2008年6月25日 メディア ビューアーについて | 議論 | ヘルプ

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

My Yamato Sword (大和所有刀剣)

Chapter 16|The Revival of Yamato Den(大和伝復活)and  Chapter 51| Part 2 of —– 16 The Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活) was the discussion about Yamato-Den.  It may be appropriate to show my Yamato sword here.  I obtained this sword at the yearly San Francisco swords show a few years back.

Characteristic:  Munei (cut short and no signature).  Yamato Den, Tegai-ha (Yamato school Tegai group).  Length is 2尺 (shaku) 2寸(sun) 8 1/2 分(bu) —27&1/4 inches.  Very small Kissaki and Funnbari.  This shape is typical of the end of Heian to early Kamakura period though nobody said so.

my-yamato-sword-e1555694162999.jpg

 

The Entire view of the sword and Kantei-Sho (NBTHK* Paper).  It is ranked “Tokubetsu Hozon Token”.  * Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyoukai (日本美術刀剣保存協会)

My Yamato sword 4

My Yamato sword.jpg 2

My Yamato sword 3

My Yamato sword 5

On Hamon, Sunagashi, Nijyu-ba shows very faintly.   I could not take a good photo of boshi.  But it is Yakizume like.  Ji-Hada is Itame with faint Masame, almost Nashiji-Hada (possibly because of my eyes).  Nie-Honni . 

 

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.

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

This chapter is a continued part of Chapter 13 Tanto Middle Kamakura PeriodPlease read Chapter 13 before you read this section.  13|Tanto ( 短刀) Middle Kamakura Period

As Chapter 13 described, during middle Kamakura period, the shape of Tanto is called Takenoko zori . That means the tip of Tanto curves inward a little.  The drawing on Chapter 13 is a little exaggerated to show the curve.  Refer 13|Tanto ( 短刀) Middle Kamakura Period.   But the real Tanto is not so obvious. Maybe a few millimeters.   Usually, the length of the Tanto is approximately 12 inches or less.  10 inch Tanto is called Jyosun (定寸 ), longer than that is called Sun-nobi (寸延び ), and less than that is called Sun-zumari (寸詰り )

 

13 «Part 2» Tanto photo 

The above photo is Tanto by Shintogo Kunimitsu (新藤五国光). This style is called Kanmuri Otoshi.  That means the steel of Mune side (opposite side of cutting edge)  is shaved off. The length is approximately 10 inches.  Wood grain surface, Nie on Ji (refer to the name of the parts 4 |Names of Parts ).  Very finely forged.  Hamon is medium Suguha (straight).  Boshi is Ko-maru (small round).  Because of the Kanmuri-Otoshi style, it may not be easy to see the Takenoko-zori, the Mune side bend inward very slightly.  Among Tanto producer, Shintogo Kunimitsu is considered the top Tanto Maker.

 

13 «Part 2»Tanto photo with Saya

Above photo is the same Shintogo Kunimitsu with Saya.  Saya is a scabbard.  The top white handle part is made with Sharkskin.  Both photos are from Sano Museum Catalog.  Permission granted.