64|Part 2 of — 28|Main 7 Areas Among Shin-To Sword (part A)

This chapter is the detailed part of chapter 28| Main 7 Areas of Shin-To Sword (Part A).  Please read chapter 28 before reading this chapter.

As it was described in chapter 28, here are the main seven areas of sword making.  They are Yamashiro (山城 in Kyoto), Settsu (摂津 today’s Osaka), Musashi (武蔵 Edo), Echizen (越前) and Kaga (加賀), Hizen (肥前), Satsuma (薩摩).

28-map-with-number-7.jpg

 

During Ko-To time, usually, if a sword has a wide Hamon line with Nie, Ji-Hada is also large wood grain or large burl grain.  Also, when you see a narrow Hamon line, usually with fine or small Ji-Hada on Ko-To.  But on Shin-To, wide Hamon with Nie with small wood grain or small burn grain on Ji-Hada.  And narrow Hamon line with a large wood grain Ji-Hada.  This is the Shin-To characteristic.  Because of that, Some people may confuse with shin-To as Ko-To.   But other features like Ji-Tetsu or other parts should indicate the Shin-To or Ko-To.

*  Early Soshu-Den during the late Kamakura period, some swordsmith did wide Hamon with Nie with small burl.  Because of that whether it was Ko-To or Shin-To was confused.  But other features like Ji-Tetsu or other parts should indicate the Shin-To or Ko-To.

  1. Yamashiro (山城 Kyoto)

64-kunihiro-sword.jpg 64 Kunihiro IllustrationHorikawa Kunihiro    From Sano Museum Catalogue

Horikawa Kunihiro (堀川国広) is considered a great master swordsmith of Shin-To swordsmith.  He forged his sword in different styles and different characteristic.  The types of Hamon are O-Notare, O-Gunome, Togari-Ba (pointed Hamon), Chu-Suguha with hotsure, Hiro-Suguha, with Sunagashi effect, Inazuma, Kinsuji appears.  The shape of the sword Kunihiro liked to create was the one like Nanboku-Cho time O-suriage style (shortened Nanboku-Cho long sword).  Kunihiro’s sword gives you a massive feeling.  Kunihiro did very fine carvings, like a dragon, Sanskrit letter, etc.  Since he did many different styles, there is no general characteristic on his sword other than Hamon is mainly Nie.  Very finely forged Ji-Hada

img067.jpg    img068.jpgIga-no-Kami Kinnmichi (伊賀守金道)                   Dewa Daijyo Kunimichi (出羽大掾国路)

Both photos were taken by my father a long time ago.  The quality of the photo is not good.  Both were once my family-owned.  Both Juyo Token

Characteristics of Iga-no-Kami Kinmichi ( 伊賀守金道)

Iga-no-Kami Kinmichi family is called Mishina group.  Refer chapter 28| Main 7 Areas of Shin-To Sword (Part A)Iga-no-Kami Kinmichi received the honorable Japanese Imperial Chrysanthemum crest.  The characteristic of his sword; Wide sword, Shallow curvature, Kissaki extended, Sakizori (curvature at 1/3 top).  Wide tempered line, Kyo Yakidashi (refer 28|Main 7 Areas of Shin-To Sword (Part A), Hiro Suguha (wide straight Hamon).  O-Notare (large wavy), Yahazu Midare, Hako-Midare (refer 25|Sengoku Period Tanto (戦国時代)Boshi is Mishina Boshi (refer 28|Main 7 Areas of Shin-To Sword (Part A).  Fine wood burl, Masame appears on Shinogi area.

Dewa Daijo Kunimichi (出羽大掾国路)

Dewa Daijo Kunimichi was the best student of Horikawa Kunihiro (The 1st photo above).  Like Kunihiro, the shape of the sword was 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, Inazuma shows.  Among large Gunome, double Gunome (two gunome side by side) appears.  Fine Ji-Tetsu.

 

63|Part 2 of – – – 27|Overview of Shin-To (新刀)

This chapter is the detailed chapter of  27|Over view of Shinto (新刀).  Please read chapter 27 before you start reading this chapter.

The difficulty of Shin-To Kantei

During Ko-To time, one could tell the approximate time when the sword was made by the style and the shape.  The condition of the Hamon,  how the Jigane appears indicates the approximate Gokaden (五ヶ伝) of Ko-To time.  But in Shin-To time, that can not be done.  Even though among Shin-To time, there was some difference between early Edo period that is around Keicho (慶長) era, the middle Edo period that is Kanbun (寛文) and the later part Edo period that is Genroku Era (元禄), but that differences are not much.  The same is true with Gokaden (五ヶ伝). In Ko-To time, Bizen sword smiths forged Bizen characteristic, Yamato sword smiths usually shows Yamato-Den characteristic.  But Shin-To time, a swordsmith of one area did the other area’s Den.  From those reasons, it is hard to determine the swordmaker.  For shin-To, we study the characteristics of 7 main locations.  This will follow the next chapter.

Picturesque Hamon

Around the Genroku Era (1688 – 1704), some picturesque Hamon became a trendy style.  Some swordsmiths made picturesque Hamon on wakizashi or short swords and it became very fashionable.  But many foreigners loved those swords and majority of them were exported to outside of Japan around Meiji restoration time (1868).  Very few are left in Japan today.

The swordsmiths those who made picturesque  Hamon 

From Yamashiro area, Iga-no-kami Kinmichi (伊賀守金道) and Omi-no-kami Hisamichi (近江守久道) forged picturesque Hamon.  From Settsu-no-Kuni (摂津) area,  Tanba-no-Kami Yoshimichi  (丹波守吉道),  Yamato-no-Kami Yoshimichi (大和守吉道) did picturesque Hamon.  And many more.  The below are examples.  Fuji is the Mount fuji designKikusui is chrysanthemum in the water.

63 fuji sakura hamon
 

Fuji                                                      Kikusui

 

 

 

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.   Please read chapter 16 before reading this section.

17 red-timeline late Kamakura

51 Japan map Yamato

At the end of the Kamakura period, in the Yamato area, powerful temples expanded their territories.  See the map above for the location of the Yamato area.  The big temples used have a political and military power to control the area then, especially, the one with large territories.   Those big territories were called Shoen (荘園).  The demand for the swords increased by warrior monks called Sohei (僧兵).  That started the revival of the Yamato school.  Some of the big temples had their own swordsmiths within their territory.  Todaiji-temple (東大寺) backed Tegai (手掻) sword group.  The Senjuin (千手院 ) sword group lived near Senju-Do (千手堂 ) where Senju Kannon (千手観音) was enshrined.  The name of the sword group, Taima came from Taima-Ji temple (当麻寺).  Shikkake group (尻懸) and Hosho group (保昌) were also Yamato Den sword group, 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 16|The 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 Den 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 HamonSuguha mixed with choji.   Shows Inazuma, Kinsuji, especially under Yokote line Inazuma appears.

Boshi ————– Often Yakizume.  Refer Yakizume on 16|The Revival of Yamato Den

Ji-Hada ———- Small wood grain and well knead surface.  At the top part of the sword, the wood grain pattern becomes Masame.

Shikkake Group (尻懸)

Shape ———- Late Kamakura period shape. Refer 15|Late Kamakura Period Sword

Hamon —————— Mainly Nie (we say Nie-honi).  Medium suguha frayed, mixed with small irregular and Gunome (half-circle).  Double-lined, brush stroke-like pattern.  Small Inazuma, Kinsuji.

Boshi ———– Yakizume, Hakikake (trace made by broom) and Ko-maru ( small round)

Ji-Hada ——— 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 shape and thick Kasane (body).  High ShinogiKoshizori.

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 ———————————— 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 Kinsuji.

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), Shin-To (possibly No), Shinshin-To (No)
  • To judge from Hamon(actual view shows Masame)—–  Yamashiro- Den (possible),  Yamato-Den (very possible),  Bizen- Den (unlikely but possible) Soshu-Den (unlikely but possible),  Mino- Den (No)
  • From Jihada (actual view shows a lot of Nie) —–Yamashiro Den (possible), Yamato-Den(very possible),  Soshu-Den (unlikely but possible),  Bizen-Den (unlikely ),  Mino-Den (unlikely)

By analyzing the above information, you conclude and come up with the name of the swordsmith.  In actual Kantei, the sword is right in front of you, therefore, more noticeable checkpoints are there.   Finally, guess and come up with 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.

12 Red Middle Kamakura Timeline

                                     The circle indicates the time we discuss in 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 the Late Kamakura Period, swordsmiths 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 for repairing, 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 were 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)In the illustration above, Kinsuji, Inazuma is shown inside the Hamon.  The string-like line inside the Hamon is Inazuma and Kinsuji.  Inazuma, kinsuji is the collection of nie.  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.photo 50 part 2 of 15 吉岡
The above picture is Yoshioka Ichimonji (吉岡一文字).  Kissaki is longer than the previous Ikubi-kissaki or Ko-gissaki.  This is Chu-gissakiKissaki like this one 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 photo 50 part 2 of 15 運生 

Above sword 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 an earlier time than the late Kamakura PeriodThis sword shows that the sword does not always follow the style of that period.  To Kantei*, first, look at the style and shape then give yourself some idea of the period of the time it was made.  But in this case, Kissaki does not indicate the late Kamakura PeriodThe next thing to do is to look at the different characteristics of the sword one by one like Hamon, Nie or Nioi, Ji-hada, etc. and determine which period, which Den, which province and come up with the name.  This process is called Kantei.

*Kantei – – – – – – to determine the name of the swordsmith by looking at the characteristic of the sword.  The judge hides 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.

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

This chapter is a datiled part of chapter of Chapter 13.   Please read Chapter 13 before reading this section.

12 Red Middle Kamakura Timeline
                   The circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section

Chapter 13 Kamakura Period Tanto described that the shape of a tanto is called Takenoko-zori appeared during the middle Kamakura period.  This style of tanto curves inward a little at the tip.  The drawing below may be a little exaggerated to show the curve.  The real Takenoko-zori curve is not so obvious.  Maybe a few millimeters inward.  Usually, the length of the Tanto is approximately 12 inches or less.  Tantos are described as follows; a tanto of approx. 10 inches is called Jyosun tanto (定寸短刀), longer than 10 inches is Sun-nobi tanto (寸延び短刀 ), and less than 10 inches is called Sun-zumari tanto (寸詰短刀).

Sun-nobi Tanto (寸延び)      >      Jyosun Tanto (定寸)      >      sun-zumari Tanto (寸詰り)(longer than 10 inches)           (approx. 10 inches)                (less than 10 inches)

13 Tanto drawing Mid Kamakur

13 «Part 2» Tanto photo

Tanto by Shintogo Kunimitsu (新藤五国光).  This style is called Kanmuri Otoshi (冠落し), the Mune side (opposite side of cutting edge) is shaved off.  The length is approximately 10 inches.  Woodgrain surface, Nie on Ji (refer to Chapter 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 the Tanto producers, Shintogo Kunimitsu is considered the top Tanto Maker.

13 «Part 2»Tanto photo with Saya

Above photo is also by Shintogo Kunimitsu (新藤五国光) with Saya.  Saya is the scabbard.  The handle of the scabbard (white part ) is made with Sharkskin.  Both photos are from Sano Museum Catalog.  Permission granted.

47|Part 2 of –12 Ikubi Kissaki(continuedfrom Chapter 46)

This chapter is a detailed part of Chapter 12 and continued from the previous chapter 46.  Please read Chapter 12 and Chapter 46 before reading this section.

12 Red Middle Kamakura Timeline                    
                       The circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section.

Bizen Saburo Kunimune (備前三郎国宗)

Another swordsmith that needs to be mentioned in this section is Bizen Saburo Kunimune (備前三郎国宗).  In the middle Kamakura period, the Hojo clan invited top swordsmiths to the Kamakura area.  Awataguchi Kunitsuna (粟田口国綱) from Yamashiro of Kyoto, Fukuoka Ichimonji Sukezane (福岡一文字助真) from Bizen area, Bizen Kunimune (備前国宗 ) from Bizen area moved to Kamakura with his circle of people.  Those three groups started the Soshu Den (相州伝).  Refer to 14|Late Kamakura Period History(鎌倉後期)

Sugata (shape)  —– Ikubi Kissaki style.  Sometimes Chu-gissaki.    Thick body.  Narrow Shinogi width.  Koshi-zori

Horimono (Engravings)  —– Often narrow Bo-hi (single groove)

Hamon (Tempered line) —– O-choji Midare (large clove irregular) with Ashi.  Or Ko-Choji Midare (small clove irregular) with AshiNioi base with Ji-nie (Nie in the Hada area).  Some Hamon is squarish with less Kubire (less narrow at the bottom of the clove).  Hajimi (刃染み rough surface) may show.  Often the Kunimure swords are as follows; Lower part shows Choji, the upper part shows less work without Ashi. 

12 «Part 2» 国宗刃紋 佐野

Kunimune Squarish Kawazuko Choji (tadpole and clove-like)Hamon                                                                                  (Sano Museum Catalog, Permission granted)

Boshi  —– Small irregular.  Yakizume or short turn back.

Ji-hada —–Woodgrain.  Fine Ji-hada with some Ji-nie (Nie inside Ji-hada).  Midare Utsuri (irregular shadow) shows.  A few Hajimi (rough surface).

12 «Part 2» 国宗  

Above photo is Kunimune   (国宗 Sano Museum Catalog, permission granted)  Even though Kunimune is famous for Ikubi Kissaki,  and this is the chapter for Ikubi Kissaki, this one is Chu-Gissaki.

12 (second part 2) 照国神社

Above photo is a picture from the official site of Terukuni Shrine in Kyushu.  You can go the site by clicking,  http://terukunijinja.pkit.com/page222400.html

The above photo is the National treasure Kunimune of the Terukuni Jinja Shrine in Kagoshima prefecture.  This Kunimune sword was lost after WWII.  This is the sword Dr. Compton, the chairman of the Board of Miles Laboratory in Elkhart Indiana, found in an antique store in Atlanta.  I mentioned Dr. Compton in Chapter 34.  When he saw this sword, he realized this is not just an ordinary sword.  He bought it and inquired to the Nihon Bijutu Token Hozon Kyokai (Sword museum) in Tokyo.  It turned out to be the famous missing National treasure of Kunimune from Terukuni Jinja ShrineHe returned the sword to Terukuni Jinja without compensation in 1963.  My father became a good friend with him around this time through Dr. Homma and Dr. Sato (both were leading sword experts).  Later, Dr. Compton asked Dr. Honma and my father to examine his swords which he kept in his house (he had about 400 swords) and swords of New York Met, Philadelphia Museum, and the Boston Museum.  Father wrote about this trip and swords he examined in those museums and published a book in 1965; the title is “Katana Angya (刀行脚)”.  For Dr. Compton and my father, around this time must be the best time of their life.  The business for both of them was doing good and could spend time on their interest and having fun.  It was the best time of me too.

One time while I was visiting Compton’s house, he showed me his swords in his basement for hours almost all day.  His house was huge and the basement he built as his study room was with fire prevention system and correct lighting for viewing swords.   It was functionally correct as a storage place for his many different art objects.  Then his wife, Phoebe said to him that he cannot keep a young girl (I was a college student) in the basement all day long.  He agreed and then he took me to his cornfield to pick some corns for dinner.  Basement to a cornfield, not much improvement?  So his wife Phoebe decided to take me shopping and lunch in Chicago.  Good idea,  but it is too far.   The distance between Elkhart and Chicago is about two hours by driving a car then, too far just for shopping and lunch.  To my surprise, we took their company private airplane to fly to the roof of the department store then do the shopping and lunch came back with the same private airplane.

Miles Lab. and a well-known Japanese large pharmaceutical company had a business tie-up then.  Dr. Compton used to come to Japan quite often, officially for business purposes.  But whenever he came to Japan he used to spend days with sword people and I used to follow my father.  One of the female workers of this pharmaceutical company, her job description was to translate the sword book into English.  My parents’ house was filled with Miles products.  Miles Lab. had a big research institute in Elkhart Indiana.  I visited there several times.  One day I was sitting with Dr. Compton in his office, looking into the sword book with our head together.  That day, a movie actor John Forsythe was visiting the research lab.  He was the host of the TV program the Miles Lab was sponsoring.  All the female employees were making a big fuss over him.  Then he came into Compton’s room to greet him thinking the chairman must be sitting in his big chair at his desk looking like a chairman.  But he saw Compton looking into the sword book with his head against my head.  The appearance of Dr. Compton was just like any chairman of the board of a big company one can imagine, and I was a Japanese college student looking like a college student.   John Forsythe showed a strange expression on his face that he did not know what to think.

 

29|Shinto Sword – Main Seven Regions (part B)

29 Shinto Timeline
   The red circle indicates the subject of this chapter

 

29 Map with number 7

3Musashi ( 武蔵 ) in Edo ( 江戸 )

Both katana and wakizashi have a shallow sori (curvature).  Often the upper part width of the body tends to be narrower.  Often but not always, the hamon starts small irregular, gradually gets a little bigger irregular, then a few inches under the yokote line it becomes small irregular.  The boshi is Komaru-boshi.  The Ji-hada is somewhat rough.   Masame-hada shows on Shinogi-ji.

Well-known swordsmiths in Musashi area are Nagasone Okisato Nyudo Kotetsu (長曽根興里入道虎徹), Noda Hannkei (野田繁慶).

img070

Nagasone-Okisato-Nyudo-Kotetsu (長曽根興里入道虎徹) Previously family owned

  1. Echizen ( 越前 ) and 5. Kaga (加賀 )

Many swordsmiths from Mino (美濃) area moved to Echizen and Kaga area.  Therefore, the sword made in this area is called Echizen- seki, and Kaga-seki.  Refer to 24|Sengoku Period (戦国) Sword.  The style of Echizen Yasutsugu (越前康継) is similar to the one of Mino Den.

The name of the well-known swordsmith in Echizen is Echizen Yasutsugu (越前康継 )

 

  1. Hizen (肥前)

Both katana and wakizashi in Hizen have a well-balanced shape. Hizen area tends to make a sword with Chu-suguha-hoture (medium width straight hamon with a frayed look) with fine nie (沸).  Boshi has a standard clean line with uniform width tempered line.  If you see a shinto sword with Chu-suguha and boshi looks like the one below it is often made by Hizen Tadayoshi (肥前忠吉).  Very fine Ji-hada (surface), sometimes called Nukame-hada.

29 Hizen Tadayoshi Boshi

The name of the well-known swordsmith in this area is Hizen Tadayoshi ( 肥前忠吉)

  1. Satsuma (薩摩 )

The sword made in Satsuma has a solid look for both katana and wakizashiKissaki (the top point area) is stretched out a little.  Yakidashi (a few inches above machi ) shows small irregular hamonHamon is O-midare with coarse nie called Ara-nie.  The Ara-nie forms Togari-ba (pointed design, see below)One of the characteristics of this region is called Satsuma-nie.  It means that the Ara-nie around hamon continues into the Ji-hada area, therefore the border of Ha-nie and Ji-nie is unclear.  Inside hamon, sometimes shows a thick line shaped like lightning.  This is called Satsuma-no-imozuru (sweet potato vine)This is the biggest characteristic of the Satsuma sword.  Boshi has a narrow-tempered line with a small irregular pattern, this is called Satsuma-boshi.  On the Ji-hada surface, a dark long line like chikei appears.  This is called Satsuma-gane (薩摩金).

29 Satsuma Togari-ba

The name of the well-known swordsmiths of this area

Izunokami Masafusa (伊豆守正房)   Ichinohira Yasuyo (一平安代 )  Mondonosho Masakiyo (主水正正清)

25| Sengoku Period Tanto (戦国時代)

 

25 Sengoku period Time line red

The red circle indicates the time we discuss in this section

25 Chukanzori Tanto

Chukan-zori (中間反り) ————— Chukan-zori tanto has a straight mune(back), its back does not curve forward or outward unlike Takenoko-zori, Chukan-zoridoes.   

Hamon (刃文: Tempered line) ———–Sanbon-sugi (三本杉), O-notare (大湾), Yahazu-midare (矢筈乱), Hako-midare (箱乱),  Gunome-choji (互の目丁子),  Chu-suguha (中直刃)  See below.

24 Sannbon sugi,hako, yahazu, O-midare)

Horimono (彫り物: Carving) —————Often hi (grooves) is curved

Tanto Length ———————— The length of a tanto should be up to one shaku* (approx. 12 inches, 30.5cm).  Standard size tanto is called Jo-sun Tanto, which is 8.5 shaku (approx. 10 inches, 25.7cm).  Longer than Jo-sun is called Sun-nobi Tanto (寸延)Shorter than Jo-sun is called Sun-zumari Tanto (寸詰).

                             Sun-nobi Tanto  >  Jo-sun Tanto  >  Sun-zumari Tanto

*Shaku is a Japanese old measurement unit for length.

Takenoko-zori Jo-sun Tanto (筍反定寸) ———– This type of tanto was made during the Sengoku period.  This type of sword resembles the sword made by Rai Kunimitsu of Yamashiro Den.  (Below illustration)

Hamon (刃文)———–Hoso-suguha (細直刃: Narrow straight hamon).  Katai-ha (illustration below) shows somewhere on the blade.  Masamehada (Straight grain pattern) may appear on the mune side.

 

                  13 Middle Kamakura Period Tanto                 24 Suguha katai-ha

 

Ji-hada (地肌: Area between shinogi and tempered line)——— Shirake (白け) whitish surface) sometimes appears.  Uturi (the whitish faint cloud-like effect) on Ji-hada  appears.

Sun-nobi Tanto (寸延短刀)———Tanto of this type is similar to the Sakizori tanto which is the one from the late Soshu Den style.  You may see hitatsura (see below illustration).   But unlike Soshu Den, the hitatsura type hamon shows more on the lower part of the tanto, less on the upper part.

 

                                             25 Sun-Nobi Tanto      25 Hitatsura

Hirazukuri Takenokozori Sunzumari Tanto (平造筍反寸延短刀)

This is a unique tanto for the Sengoku period.   Hirazukuri means a flat surface sword without a shinogi, no yokote line, or no obvious kissaki.   Takenoko-zori means the shape of a bamboo shoot (back of the sword curves inward).   Sun-zumari means shorter than 10 inches long (shorter than 8.5 shaku, 25.7 cm).  The width of the lower part of the blade is wide and thick, the width of the tip is narrow and thin.  It has a sharp look.

  •  Horimono(彫り物: Carving) ——-Deeply carved Ken-maki-ryu (a dragon wrapped around a spear).
  • Hamon (刃文: Tempered line)———Wide tempered line, nioi base.  Irregular hamon, wide suguha (straight) and Chu-suguha (medium straight).  The hamon in the boshi area turns back deep.
  • Ji-hada (地肌)———–fine and wood burl.

Moroha-Tanto (諸刃短刀: double-edged sword)

Double-edged blade with a hamon on both edges. Often bonji (sanscrit) is curved.

  • Hamon (刃文) ——— Wide tempered line.   Nioi base.  Irregular hamon, wide suguha (straight) and Chu-suguha (medium straight).  Hamon turns back deep.
  • Ji-hada (地鉄)——- Fine and wood burl.

 

25-moroha-tanto1 Moroha Tanto

Name of swordsmith during the Sengoku Period (Tanto maker)

Swords during the Sengoku period are called the Sue-bizen sword.  Bizen Osafune Yoso Zaemon Sukesada (与三左衛門祐定) is the representative swordsmith during the Sengoku period.  He also forged tantos.  One thing to point out is that there were many swordsmiths called Sukesada.  Yoso-Zaemon Sukesada is the most representative swordsmith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 | Nanboku-Cho Tanto(南北朝短刀)

18 Nanbokucho time line

The circle indicates the time we are discussing in this section

 

During the Nanboku-Cho Period, the type of Tanto called Hirazukuri-Kowakizashi-Sunnobi-Tanto was made.  Hirazukuri means a flat sword without the Yokote line and without Shinogi.  Ko-Wakizashi means a shorter sword.  Sun-Nobi Tanto means longer than standardThis is also called Enbun Jyoji Kowakizashi Tanto.  It is called this way because the majority of this type Tanto was forged around Enbun, Jyoji Imperial era.  In Japan, each time the Emperor changed, we changed the names of the era.  Enbun was from 1356 to 1361, Jyoji was from 1362 to 1368

 

20 Enbun Jyoji Kowakizashi Tanto

Shape (Sugata 姿) ——-It is common idea that the length of Tanto should be 1 shaku or less.  Shaku is an old Japanese measurement unit, which is very close to 1 foot.  8.5 sun (old Japanese measurement unit) is approximately 10 inches. This is the standard length Tanto called Jo-Sun Tanto.  Anything longer than Jo-Sun Tanto is called Sun-Nobi Tanto.  Anything shorter than Jo-Sun is called Sun-Zumari Tanto.  Most of the Nanboku-Cho Tanto is approximately 1 foot 2 inches long, therefore they are called Hirazukuri-Kowakizashi-Sun-Nobi Tanto Sakizori (curved outward at the top.  See the illustration above).  Wide width and thin body.  Fukura Kareru (No Fukura). Shin-no-Mune.  See the illustration below.

 

20 Fukura           20 Shin-no-Mune

Hi, Horimono (Goove and engraving , 彫刻) —– Groove on Mune side.  Bonji (Sanscrit, described in 17 Bonji Suken), Koshi-bi (Short groove) and Tokko- Tsuki Ken, or Tumetuki Ken (see below) appears.  Curving of Ken (dagger) is done wide and deep in the upper part, the lower part was curved shallow and narrower.  This is called Soshu-Bori (Soshu carving).

20 Tokko, tume Ken

Hamon (Tempered line) —– Narrow tempered area at the lower part, gradually grows wider as it goes up toward the top then similar look wide Hamon goes into the Boshi area.  Hamon in Kissaki area is Kaeri Fukashi (turn back deep) as the illustration below.  Coarse Nie. O-Midare (large irregular pattern).

 

20 Hitatsura
From Sano Museum Catalogue (permission granted)

Jihada —– Loose wood grain pattern called Itame.  Yubashiri (discussed in  17 Yubashiri, Chikei.jpg), Tobiyaki (Irregular patches of tempered metal) appears.  Crowded Tobiyaki is called Hitatsura (illustration above).

Nakago (Tang) —- Short Tanago-bara.  That means the belly of Japanese bitterling(fish) shape.

20 Tanago Bara

Sword-smiths during Nanboku-Cho Period Soshu Den(school)

Soshu Den ———————————————————-Hiromitu( 広光) Akihiro (秋広) Yamashiro Den ————————————————–Hasebe Kunishige (長谷部国重)   Bizen Den ——————————————————— Kanemitu (兼光) Chogi (長義 )

20 Hiromitu (Sano Museum)