59| Second Part of — 23 Sengoku Period Sword (戦国時代刀)

Chapter 59 is a detailed part of Chapter 23,  Sengoku Period Sword.  Please read Chapter 23 Sengoku period sword before reading this section.

0-timeline - size 24 Sengoku Period

                                      The circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section

During the Sengoku (Warring States) period, the Mino Den group and Bizen Osafune group were the primary sword makers.  During almost 100 years of the Warring States period, all Daimyos needed a large number of swords.  If suppliers were closer, that was even better.  Many Sengoku Daimyos could reach to Mino area easily because the location was convenient (central) location.  Since the Heian period, Mino swordsmiths were creating swords there. 

One of the well-known swordsmiths of Mino Den at the end of the Kamakura period was Shizu Kane’uji (志津兼氏).  He was one of the Masamune Jutteru (正宗十哲)*.   But the real height for the Mino Den was the Sengoku period

During the Sengoku period, the Shizu group and the Tegai group from the Yamato area and many swordsmiths from Yamashiro (Kyoto) area moved to Mino. Mino became the busiest sword making place.  They made very practical swords for the Warring Stated period.

60-mino-map.jpg

*Masamune Juttetsu (正宗十哲) —–The original meaning of Masamuren Juttetsu was the top 10 Masamune studentsBut later, the word was used more broadly.

Three examples of Sengoku period swords

The three swords below are examples of the Sengoku period blades.  Please note that every sword is different.  Even each swords made by the same swordsmith is different.  Please refer to Chapter 23 Sengoku Period Sword for the primary common characteristics of the blades made in the Sengoku period,

60-sukesada-photo-e1563148031935.jpg 60 Sukesada illustration

Bizen Osafune Yosozaemon Sukesada (備前国住長船与三左衛門尉祐定) from Sano Museum Catalog, permission granted.

Common points of Sengoku period characteristics that show on the sword above

Hamon is Kani-no-tsume (crab claw shape, see above hamon).  Kani-no-tsume type hamon never appeared in the Heian, Kamakura, or Nanboku-cho period.  This type of hamon is one of the decisive points of the Sengoku time.  Marudome-hi (the end of the groove is round ) often appears on the Bizen Den sword during the Sengoku period.  Wide tempered area.  Midare-komi boshi (same type of hamon on the body and the boshi) has a long turn-back and an abrupt stop.  Hamon is the Nioi base.  Most Bizen swords have Nioi, with a few exceptions.

60 Kanesada photo  60 kanesada illustration Izuminokami Fujiwara Kanesada (和泉守藤原兼) from Sano Museum Catalog

Common points of Sengoku Period characteristic shows on the sword above

The last letter of the Kanji(Chinese characters) of this swordsmith above is “”.  We use this letter in place of “ 定”  for him.  The reason is there are two Kanesadas.  To distinguish him from the other Kanesada (兼定), we instead use the letter “ “ and call him Nosada “のさだ.”

Izuminokami Fujiwara Kanesada (Nosada) is the top swordsmith of Mino Den at the time.  The shape of the sword is the typical Sengoku period sword style: shallow curvature, Chu-gissaki (medium size kissaki), and pointed Gunome hamon.  The width of the hamon is wide and narrow.  Often, Nosada and other Mino Den swordsmiths have wood grain with Masame on Ji-HadaNioi base, mixed with coarse Nie.

60 Norimitsu photo  60-norimitsu-illustraton.jpg                     Bizen Osafune NorimitsTu (備前長船法光) from Sano Museum Catalog, permission granted.

The common points of Sengoku period characteristic shows on the sword above

Shallow curvature.  Sturdy look.   Marudome-hi (Hi ends round)Pointed hamon called Togari-ba (尖り刃).  Nioi base mixed with Nie.  Slight Masame and wood grain on Ji-hada.

 

 

 

28|Shinto Sword — Main Seven Regions (part B 主要7刀匠地)

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

64Map with number with 8

3Musashi ( 武蔵 ) in Edo ( 江戸 )

The swords made in the Musashi area, katana and wakizashi, have a shallow sori (curvature).  Often the width of the upper part of the body tends to be narrow.  Usually, the hamon starts with a small irregular pattern, gradually becomes a bigger irregular, then a few inches under the yokote line, it becomes a small irregular again.  The boshi is usually Komaru-boshi.  The Ji-hada is somewhat rough.   Masame-hada shows on Shinogi-ji.

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

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Nagasone Okisato Nyudo Kotetsu (長曽根興里入道虎徹) Once owned by my father.

  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 23|Sengoku Period (戦国) Sword.  The style of Echizen Yasutsugu (越前康継) is similar to the one of Mino Den.

Well-known swordsmith in Echizen ————————-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 swords with Chu-suguha-hotsure (a medium-width straight hamon that looks like frayed fabric.) with fine nie (沸).  The boshi has a regular clean line with uniform width tempered line, as shown in the illustration below.  If you see a shinto sword which has Chu-suguha hamon and a boshi that 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

Well-known swordsmith in Hizen ———————————— Hizen Tadayoshi ( 肥前忠吉)

  1. Satsuma (薩摩 )

The swords made in Satsuma have a solid look for both katana and wakizashiKissaki (the top pointed area) is a little stretched.  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 pattern, see the drawing below)One of the characteristics of this region is Satsuma-nie.  That is, the Ara-nie around hamon continues into and blends into the Ji-hada area. Therefore the border of Ha-nie and Ji-nie is unclear.  Inside the hamon, sometimes shows a thick line shaped like lightning.  This line is called Satsuma-no-imozuru (sweet potato vine)This is the most prominent feature 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 long dark line like chikei appears.  This is called Satsuma-gane (薩摩金).

29 Satsuma Togari-ba

Well-known swordsmiths in Satsuma ———————-  Izunokami Masafusa (伊豆守正房) Ichinohira Yasuyo (一平安代)  Mondonosho Masakiyo (主水正正清)

27|Shinto Sword — Main Seven Regions (Part A 主要7刀匠地)

0-timeline - size 24 Shin-to

 

                            The red circle indicates the subject we discuss in this section

In Shinto time, there were seven main prosperous areas where many swordsmiths gathered and actively made swords.  Those are Yamashiro (山城) in Kyoto, Settsu (摂津) in Osaka, Musashi (武蔵 ) in Edo, Hizen (肥前) in Saga, Satsuma (薩摩) in Kagoshima, Echizen (越前) in Fukui,  and Kaga (加賀) in Kanazawa.  Swordsmiths of each area shared their own common regional characteristics of these places.  Knowing each of these characteristics is the easiest way to understand shinto.  But keep it in mind that each swordsmith in a group also has his own unique way of sword making.  The followings are general descriptions of these characteristics.

Below is a map of Japan.  Hokkaido is omitted from the map because swords were not made there at that time.

64Map with number with 8

1.  Yamashiro (山城) Kyoto

Yamashiro Shinto’s sword has a solid and strong look.  Hamon at the bottom part of the blade right above the Machi (区) area shows Suguha (straight hamon).  This is called Kyo-Yakidashi (京焼出), which means starting out with straight hamon.  Then it shows a sudden change to the design of O-midare (大乱).  O-midare (irregular waviness) becomes less wavy at one or two inches below the yokote line, then continues into the boshi as a wavy hamon.  The design inside the boshi is Komaru-boshi.   See the illustration below. 

Ji-hada ———— Somewhat rough (this depends on the swordsmith).  Masame-hada (straight grain pattern) may show on shinogi-Ji (the area between ridgeline and back). 

Among the Yamashiro Shinto group, there was a group called  Mishina Group (三品).  They were Mino Den (美濃) related; therefore, their boshi was often Jizo-boshi (地蔵鋩子).  This is called Mishina-boshi ( 三品鋩子).  Jizo-boshi is a side of a man’s head.

Well known swordsmiths in Yamashiro area: Umetada Myoju (梅忠明寿)                                                                                                   Horikawa Kunihiro (堀川国広)                                                                                               Dewadaijyo Kunimichi (出羽大掾国路)

28 Mishina-Boshi Komaru-boshi, Kyo-Yakidashi

img067 Iganokami Kinnmichi (伊賀守金道) Yamashiro Den previously owned by my family 

2.Settu (摂津) Osaka (大阪)

Settsu (Osaka) created more wakizashi than katana.  They tend to make it slightly Sakizori (top half curves outward) and slightly stretched boshi.  Settsu sword also has Yakidashi the same way as the previous Yamashiro sword.  Still, unlike Yamashiro’s sword, in the area where suguha changes to notare (wavy pattern), the transition is relatively smooth.  This is called Osaka Yakidashi.

 Osaka Boshi ——Hamon continues up to yokote line, then Komaru with a turn back.       Ji-hada————-Very fine, almost a solid like smooth surface especially shinogi-ji (the area between ridgeline and back) is solid like surface.  This is called Osaka-tetsu (iron).

29 Osaka Yakidashi Komaru Boshi

Well-known swordsmiths in Settsu area— Osaka Tsuda Sukehiro (大阪津田助広)                                                                                 Tsuda Sukenao (津田助直)                                                                                                   Ikkanshi Tadatsuna (一竿子 忠綱)

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 Ikkanshi Tadatsuna (一竿子忠綱) previously my family owned