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.

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

This chapter is the detailed section of Chapter 10.  Please read chapter 10  one more time before you read this chapter.

Middle Kamakura period was the height for the Bizen Den.  Often, in a different region other than Bizen, swordsmiths are affected by people’s preferences and politics in their region.  But Bizen was not affected by those elements as much throughout the time.  The clients of Bizen-Den were from all over the country.  Therefore, the swords that were created by Bizen area tends to be the kind liked by everybody.

The general style of Bizen Den

  • Their style tends to be likable by everybody in general.
  • Style, the Width of the blade, the Thickness of the body, and tempered line are not unusual. Seldom you see out of ordinary
  • Nioi base
  • Soft feeling Jigane
  • Utsuri (cloud-like shadow) shows.
  • Tempered line tends to have the same width, not too wide not too narrow.

 

Fukuoka Ichimonji group

Names of swordsmiths among Fukuoka Ichimonji group:  Fukuoka Ichimonji Norimune (福岡一文字則宗),  Fukuoka Ichimonji Sukemune ( 福岡一文字助宗  )Those two are the main Fukuoka Ichomnji group (福岡一文字 ).

Among Fukuoka Ichimonji group, six swordsmiths received the honor as “Gobankaji” from the Emperor Gotoba (後鳥羽上皇 ), Including  Norimune and Sikemune.  I saw Fukuoka Ichimonji Yoshimune at  Mori Sensei’s class on June 25.  The year was not written.  Probably, from 1971 to 1973.  My note said I saw a lot of Utsuri (shadow) on the blade.

Sugata (shape or figure) ———- Graceful and classy shape.  Generally well proportioned.  The width difference between the top width and bottom width is not much.  Sometimes stout looking Kissaki like Ikubi Kissaki.

Hi and Engraving ———- The tip of Hi maybe a little bit higher.   Machi area finishes with a square end, or kakinagashi  (refer to chapter 9 «part 2» Middle Kamakura Period –Yamashiro-Den

Hamon  ———- So-called wide Ichimonnji-Choji tempered line.  From the bottom to the top, same width temper line.  Front and back is the same type of Hamon.  O-Choji –Midare (large clove shape), Jyuka-Choji Midare (looks like overwrapped).  Nie base.  Inazuma, Kinsuji appears.

Boshi ———- Hamon continues into Boshi area and end with Yakizume or turn slightly.  Sometimes O-maru.

Jihada or Jitetsu ———- Fine and soft look, with woodgrain,  lots of Utsuri (cloud-like shadow or reflection)

 

10«part 2» ichimonji photo
   Ichimonji  Sano Museum Catalogue (佐野美術館Permission granted   This is O-Suriage.  Because you can see Hi inside the Nakago that means it was shortened

           

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

This is the detailed section of Chapter 9.   Please read chapter 9 one more time before reading this chapter.

During Middle Kamakura Period, there are three main groups among Yamashiro Den.  They are Ayano-Koji (綾小路) group, Awataguchi (粟田口) group, and Rai (来) group.

Ayano-Koji group (綾小路 )

Names of Swordsmiths among Ayano-Koji:  Ayano-Koji Sadatoshi (綾小路定利) Sadanori (定則) .

When we refer to a certain group, we say, “xxx haxxx ippa   “, or  “xxx ichimon “.  We use those three words interchangeably.  For example, we say Ayano-Koji ichimon, indicate Ayano-Koji group.

Sugata (shape or figure) ———- In general, gentle or graceful Kyo-zori shape.  The difference between the width of the  Yokote line and the width of Machi is not much.  The sword is slender yet thick.  Small Kissaki                                   

Hi and Engraving ———- Bohi (one groove) or Futasuji-hi (double groove)        

Hamon ———- Nie base with Ko-choji (small clove shape) and Ko-midare (small irregular).   Small Inazuma and Kinzuji.   Double Ko-choji appears.                      

Boshi (tip area) ———- Ko-maru (small round), Yakizume (refer to the illustration below), and Kaen (flame like shape)  

Jitetsu ———- Small wood grain with a little Masame (straight grain)  Ji-nie       

Nakago (tang) ———- Long, slight fat feeling

Awataguchi group (粟田口)

Names of Swordsmiths among Awataguchi group:  Awataguchi Kunitomo (粟田口国友 ),  Hisakuni (久国),  Kuniyasu (国安),  Kuniyasu (国安), Kunikiyo (国清)

Many swordsmiths of Awataguchi group (or Awataguchi Ichimon) received the honor as the Goban Kaji from Gotoba Joko (Emperor Gotoba 後鳥羽上皇 ).  In general, their typical characteristic is as follows.

Sugata (Shape or figure) ———- Elegant shape  Torii-zori (or Kyo-zori)

Hi and Engraving ———- The tip of Hi are all the way up and fill in the Ko-shinogi The end of the Hi can be Maru-dome (the end is round),  Kakudome  (the end is square) or kakinagashi.

9 «part 2» 大小丸,焼詰,丸角止, 掻流     Maru-dome (rounded end)             Kaku-dome (square)                Kakinagashi

Hamon ———- The slightly wider tempered line at the bottom then the narrow tempered line at the top.  Nie base (this is called Nie honni).    Straight tempered line, straight-tempered line mixed with Ko-Choji (small clove)  or Ko-Choji.  Sometimes wide straight line mixed with Choji.  Awataguchi Nie appearance.  Awataguchi Nie means fine, deep and sharp shiny Nie around tempered line area.   Fine Inazuma (lightning) and Kinsuji (golden streak) appearance.

Boshi (tip area) ———- Ko-maru (small round)  or O-maru (large round) both return is sharrow.  Yakizume, Nie Kuzure, and Kaen (flame).Yubashiri

 

9-«part-2»-大小丸焼詰丸角止-掻流-1-e1547925390685.jpg

Yakizume       O-maru       Ko-maru     Yakikuzure

Jitetsu ———- Fine Ko-Mokume(wood swirls) with Ji-nie.  Yubashiri, Chikei appears.       

Nakago ———- Often two letter inscription

Rai group ()

Names of swordsmiths among Rai group:  Rai Kuniyuki (来国行),  Rai Kunitoshi (来国俊) or Niji Kunitoshi (二字国俊),  Ryokai (了戒 )

Rai Kunitoshi is said to be Rai Kuniyuki’s son.  Ryokai is said to be Rai Kunitoshi ‘s son

A general characteristic of Rai Kuniyuki and Kunitoshi is as follows.  However, each sword has its own different characteristic.

Sugata (shape or figure) ———- Gracefull with dignity.  Thick body.  Rai made Ikubi Kissaki.                                                                                                                 

Hi and Engravings ———- Wide and shallow Hi.                                             

Hamon ———- Nie base.  Suguha (straight), wide suguha, ko-midare (small irregular), and choji  (clove).  Sometimes large choji at the lower part and narrow suguha at the top.  Inazuma and Kinsuji appear around yokote area.

Boshi ———-  Komaru, Yakizume (refer to the illustration above)

Jitetsu ———- Finely forged Itame (small wood grain) sometimes mixed with masame (parallel grain).  Fine Nie.  Rai group sporadically shows Yowai Tetsu which means weak surface.  This may be the core iron.

img017
Rai Kuniyuki (来国行)Juyo Bijutsuhin   (重要美術品)Once family owned Photo taken by my father with his writing on the left

 

9 «part 2» Rai Kuniyuki photo.jpg

Rai Kuniyuki (来国行)Sano Museum Catalogue (佐野美術館)  permission granted

 

 

14|Late Kamakura Period History (鎌倉後期)

 

14 Timeline                                                     The circle represents the time we are discussing in this section

GENKO 元寇  (1274 and 1281)

The grandson of Genghis Kahn, Khubilai Kahn attempted to invade Japan two times in 1274 and 1281.  Both times, a strong typhoon hit Japan.  Mongol sent a large number of soldiers with all kinds of supplies on their huge numbers of ships.  Those ships had to dock side by side and front and back very closely at the limited area of the shore of Kyushu.   When the strong wind came, ships were swayed, hit each other and capsized.  Many people were drowned and lost supplies in the water.  Even though they landed and attacked Japan, because of the typhoon and ships wrecking, they left Japan.  As a result, Japan won.   Actually, Mongol had many superior weapons than the Japanese.  They had guns, the Japanese did not.  Their group fighting method was much more superior and effective than Japanese individual fighting method.  This is the time the word “Kamikaze” (God wind)  was created.

After the Mongolian invasion, the need for changing the style of the Ikubi Kissaki became obvious.  When swords were used in a war, the most frequently damaged area was a Kissaki area.  Japanese soldiers used mostly Ikubi Kissaki swords in this war.  The Ikubi Kissaki Tachi has a short Kissaki, therefore, when the damaged area of the Kissaki was polished down for repairing, the top part of the Yakiba (tempered area) disappeared and the Hi (groove) goes up too high in the Boshi area (top triangle-like area).  Functionally, short Ikubi Kissaki becomes even shorter, and Hi goes up too high into a Boshi area became a flaw.  To compensate for this flaw, a new style began to appear in the later part of the Kamakura period

14 Ikubi kissaki Damadge

During the latter part of the Kamakura period, the swordsmiths began to create a new style of swords to compensate for this fault.  Also, people’s enthusiasm (that was raised by driving back Mongolian) reflected on the surface of swords.  Generally speaking, Hamon and shape of the body became showy and stronger looking.

Kamakura became a very prosperous place under the power of the Hojo family.  A large number of swordsmiths moved to Kamakura from Bizen, Kyoto and other places during this time and created a new style.  This is the beginning of Soshu school (presently Kanagawa prefecture area).  Many famous top swordsmiths appeared during this time.  One of the famous swordsmiths is Masamune.  Masamune’s tomb is in Honkaku-Ji temple that is about 5 minutes walk from the Kamakura train station.  When I was attending the sword study group of Mori Sensei(teacher), one of the students I studied with was the 24th generation of direct descendants of Masamune.  His name is Yamamura, he still makes wonderfull swords in Kamakura.  He also makes superb kitchen knives too.  To find his place, ask the information center at the Kamakura train station.

12|Ikubi Kissaki (猪首切先)

12 time line

After the live experience of the war of Jokyu-no-ran, people started to move toward sturdier, grander, wider swords.  The swords made around this time is called Ikubi Kissaki (猪首切先).  Ikubi means wild boar neck.  Ikubi Kissaki style sword has a style of stout look like a wild boar neck.  This is the era of the golden time of sword making.  Many top swords smiths created wonderful swords during this time.  It is said that there is no mediocre sword among Ikubi Kissai swords.

12 Ikubi Kissaki sword style

SUGATA(shape) —— Originally 3 feet or longer, therefore it is often shortened in the later time.  Wide width, thick Kasane (thick body) with Hamaguri-ha (蛤刃).  Hamaguri-ha means the thickness is shaped like a clam The width at the top and at the bottom is not much difference.  Shinogi (鎬)is high, and shinogi width is narrow.  Illustration of Cross section below.

12 蛤刃と鎬

 

KISSAKI  —— Ikubi kissaki.  Ikubi means wild boar neck.  Wild boar looks like no neck, stout look shape.  Short Kissakii but wide at the yokote line.  The illustration below is exaggerated a little to show the idea.12 Ikubi Kissak drawing

Hamon (刃文) —— Kawazuko-choji(tadpole head shape). O- choji(clove-like shape) and Ko-choji mixed.  Irregular waviness mixed with a straight line and choji this is called suguha-choji.

12 Hamon Kawazuko-choji                     O-choji                          Ko-choji                  Suguha-choji     (tadpole head)                   (large clove)                (small clove)      (straight and clove)

Boshi(鋩子) ——— Yakizume as below.  Nagamitu(長光), Kagemitu( 景光), Sanenaga(真長) created Boshi called Sansaku Boshi(三作鋩子). Illustration below.

 

12 Yakizume
Yakizume
12 Sansaku Boshi(三作
Sansaku-Boshi

 

 

 

 

                                                           

 

 

Ikubi Kissaki Sword Smiths

Fukuoka Ichimonji Group (福岡一文字) — Fukuoka Ichimonji Norimune (則宗) Kamakura Ichimonji Group(鎌倉一文字) ———- Kamakura Ichimonji Sukezane (助真) Soshu Bizen Kunimune Group(相州備前国宗)—- Soshu Bizen Kunimune (国宗)Bizen Osafune Group(長船)——————Bizen Osafune Mitutada(長船光忠) Nagamitsu(長光)   Ugai Group—————————————————– Ugai Unji (鵜飼雲次)

 

Sano Museum Catalogue (permissiogranted)                                                                               Osafune Nagamitsu(長船長光 )

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Osafune Mitsutada(長船光忠)                          Osafune Mitsutada(長船光忠)                        *was family sword

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

7 Kamakura period timeline

The circle indicate  the time we are discussing in this section

 

Introduction Of The 5 Main Sword School (Den)

There are five main sword schools (Den).   They are Yamashiro Den (山城), Bizen Den (備前), Soshu Den (相州), Yamato Den (大和) and Mino Den (美濃).  During the Heian period, Yamashiro Den was the main school.  There was Ko-Bizen, but their style was a little different than Bizen Den we see later.  They were somewhat close to Yamashiro Den.  During the Heian period, Yamashiro Den was the most active sword school.  Swordsmiths lived around the Kyoto area, the capital city of Japan then.  In the early Kamakura period, Yamashiro Den continued their style similar to the one during the Heian period.  Bizen Den appeared in the middle Kamakura period.  Soshu Den appeared in the late Kamakura period in the Kamakura area.  Mino school appeared Muromachi period

 

Early Kamakura Period (鎌倉) (1192 – 1218)

We divide Kamakura period into 3 stages. early Kamakura, middle Kamakura, late Kamakura period.  In the early Kamakura period, sword style is almost the same as the one during the Heian period, the previous time.   Yamashiro Den was the active sword school in the early part of the Kamakura period.

Middle Kamakura Period (1219 – 1277)

In the middle Kamakura period, we have three different styles to talk about. Yamashiro Den style, Bizen Den style, and Ikubi kissaki style (猪首切先) sword.  Ikubi Kissaki is a new style.  We say there are no mediocre swords among the Ikubi-Kissaki (猪首切先) swords.  As I described in the previous section, the Kamakura government (鎌倉幕府) had political and military power, yet the Emperor still existed in Kyoto(京都).  The Emperor Gotoba raised an army and attacked the Kamakura government in order to regain the political power back. This war(1221) is called Jyokyu-no-Ran (承久の乱). The live experience from this war changed the shape of the sword to sturdier looking shape, that is what we call Ikubi-kissaki style.

 

Late Kamakura Period (after Mongolian Invasion— (1274 and 1281)

In this section, adding to the Yamashiro Den and Bizen Den, Soshu Den started to appear.  After Mongolian invasion (that is called Genko (元寇) in 1274 and 1281), a longer Kissaki and a longer in length and wider sword started to appear