65|Part 2 of —29 |Main 7 Area Among Shin-To Sword (part B)

 

This chapter is the detailed part of chapter 29|Main 7 Areas Among Sin-To Sword (part B).  In Chapter 29, the location 1 to 7 was discussed but here the location 1,2,3,7 and 8 will be discussed.  Please read chapter 29 before reading this chapter.

65 Map with number with 8

  1. Settu (摂津) at Osaka (大阪 )

Settu Osaka has many well-known swordsmiths, like Kawachi-no-Kami Kunisuke (河内守国助), Tsuda Echizen -no-Kami Sukehiro (津田越前守助広), Inoue Shinkai (井上真改), Ikkanshi Tadatsuna (一竿子忠綱), etc.  The main characteristic of Settsu Osaka sword is very pretty fine Jitetsu (surface), almost no pattern, no design flat like surface.  The below two photos are Settsu sword.

65 Ikkanshi illustration 65 Ikkanshi photo

Ikkanshi Tadatsuna from Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission granted to use.

Ikkanshi Tadatsuna is famous for his carvings.  His father was Omi-no-Kami Tadatsuna.  Ikkanshi Tadatsu is the second generation of Omi-no-kami Tadatsuna.  Therefore he is also known as Awataguchi Omi-no-Kami Fujiwara Tadatsuna as you see on the Nakago above photo. The characteristics of his sword are:  Longer Kissaki and Sakiziri.  Wide tempered line with Nie.  Osaka Yakidashi.  O-Notare with Gunome.  On the illustration above, one Gunome between Notare shows.  Boshi Komaru (turn back)Very fine Ji-Hada almost no pattern on the surface.

 

 65-inoue-shinkai-photo-.jpg  65 inoue Shinkai illustration

Inoue Shinkai (井上真改) from Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission granted to use.

Inoue Shinkai is the second generation of Izumi-no-Kami Kunisada who was the student of Kunihiro.  The characteristics of his sword are:  Osaka Yakidashi, gradually wider tempered line toward the top, O- Notare, Deep Nie, Fine Ji-Hada is so fine almost no design on the surface.

3. Musashi (Edo)

We find many famous swordsmiths in Edo also.  They are 1st, 2nd,  3rd generations of Yasutsugu(康継), Kotetsu(虎徹), Noda Hankei (野田繁慶), Hojoji Masahiro (法成寺正弘), etc.  Two photos below are swordsmiths from Musashi.

65 Yasutsugu photo 65-yasutsugu-illustration-e1567313224375.jpg

Yasutsugu  From Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission granted to use

Characteristics of Yasutusgu:  Shallow curvature.  Chu-Gissaki (medium Kissaki). Hamon is wide Notare, Midare, O-Gunome (sometimes same shape Gunome line up side by side).  The trace of Soshu-Den and Mino-Den shows in his work.  Woodgrain mixed with Masame on Shinogi-Ji.

 

65 Kotetsu photo    65 kotetu illustration

Kotetsu From Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission granted to use.

Here is the famous Kotetsu.  The formal name is Nagasone Okisato Nyudo Kotetsu (長曽祢興里入道虎徹).   Kotetsu started to make sword around 50 years old, until then, he was an armor maker.   The characteristics of Kotetsu: Shallow curvature and wide width.  Wide tempered line with Nie.  Around Machi area, the Hamon is small Irregular, the upper part becomes wide Suguha like Notare.  Fine Nie.  Boshi is Komaru with short turn back.  Ji-Hada is fine wood grain, burl.  Sometimes,  O-Hada (black iron show through) shows at the lower part (right above Machi) of the sword.  The illustration above shows the thick (or wide) borderline between Ha and Ji consisted of Nie ( in other words, wide hazy not clear line).  This is Kotetsu’s characteristic.  Once you see it you will remember.

7. Satsuma (Kyushu)

65 Satsuma Masakiyo illustration 65 Satsuma Masakiyo photo

Miyahara Mondonosho Masakiyo (宮原主水正正清) From Sano Museum Catalogue, permission granted to use.

Miyahara Mondonosho Masakiyo was highly regarded by Shimazu family of Satsuma Han (Satsuma domain).  Later he was chosen to go to Edo by Shogun Yoshimune to forge Shogun’s sword.  The characteristics of Mondonosho Masakiyo: Well balanced sword shape.  Shallow curvature.  Wide and narrow Hamon with squarish Hamon and pointed Hamon mixed as in the photo above.  He engraved Aoi crest (the hollyhock crest of the Tokugawa family) on Nakago.
8. Sendai

65 仙台山城大掾藤原国包photo 65 仙台山城大掾藤原国包

Yamashiro Daijo Fujiwara Kunikane (山城大掾藤原国包 ) From Sano Museum Catalogue, Permission granted to use.

Fujiwara Kunikane is from Sendai.  He was favored by Date Masanune (伊達政宗) and was sent to Kyoto to study sword making.   It is said he was the descendant of the Yamato Hosho group.   Characteristics of Fujiwara Kunikane:  The shape of the sword is like Ko-To with Funbari (refer 6 |Heian Period Swords)Narrow width with high Shinogi.  Narrow tempered line with Chu-Suguha Hotsure (frayed medium straight tempered line).  Niju-Ha and Uchinoke shows.   Boshi is Yakizume (10 | Middle Kamakura Period — Bizen School(鎌倉中期備前伝)).  Ji-Hada shows neatly arranged Masame.  Sometimes mistaken as the Yamato Hosho (大和保昌) of Ko-To Yamato-Den.

 

 

 

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

 

 

38|Part 2 of —– 4|Names of the Parts

This chapter is the continued part of a chapter  “4| Names of the Part”.  Please read the chapter “4| Names of the Parts” before reading the part 2.

Let’s discuss how to look for the location of the highest curvature area.  Any sword in a sword book looks like a curvature comes around the middle area.  That is because a photographer places a sword to fit in a certain rectangle space.
The correct way to look for a curvature is to stand the Nakago ( 茎 ) perpendicularly.  That way you can see the curvature more precisely.  Any sword looks like the curvature comes around the middle if the Nakago is not vertical.  Rotate (move or shift) the book slightly so that the Nakago shows as perpendicular.  That way you can see the real curvature of the sword.


4 Heian Bize sori rotated with line

20 | Nanboku-Cho Tanto(南北朝短刀)

18 Nanbokucho time line

The circle indicates the time we are discussing in this section

The type of Tanto during Nanboku-Cho Period was called  Hirazukuri-Kowakizashi-Sunnobi- Tanto.   Hirazukuri means flat sword without Yokote line and without Shinogi. Ko-Wakizashi means shorter sword. Sunnnobi Tanto means longer Tanto. This is called Enbun Jyoji Kowakizashi Tanto.  Because the majority of this type of shape was made around Enbun, Jyoji Imperial era.  Each time the Emperor changed, Japan 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) ——-Usually approximately 1 foot 1 or 1 foot 2 inches long.  Sakizori (curved at the top.  Look at the illustration above).  Wide width and thin body.  Fukura Kareru (No Fukura). Shin-no-Mune.

20 Fukura20 Shin-no-Mune

Hi, Horimono (Goove and engraving 樋, 彫刻) —– Groove on Mune side.  Bonji (sanscrit, refer 17 Bonji Suken), Koshi-bi (Short goove) and Tokko- tsuki Ken, or Tumetuki Ken (see below). Ken (spear) was curved wide and deep at the upper part, lower part was curved shallow and narrower.  This is called Soshu-bori.

20 Tokko, tume Ken

Hamon (Tempered line) —– Narrow tempered area at the lower part, it gradually grows wider as it goes up higher then it becomes Bodhi design.  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)

 

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

Nakago (Tang) —- Short Tanago-bara.

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 ) Arima Province ——————————————————Hojoji Kunimitsu (法城寺国光 )

20 Hiromitu (Sano Museum)

16|The Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活)

15TimelineThe circle represents the time we are discussing in this section

Yamato province (Present Nara prefecture) is the area where sword making first started originally.  It is said that it was during the Nara period (710 to 704).  In early days, they forged swords with their primitive skills.  A large number of swordsmiths lived in the Yamato area at the beginning of the sword making but later time, they became less active.  Yamato Den style is somewhat similar to that of Yamashiro Den (School) which I described in the chapter of Late Heian to early Kamakura period.  At the end of the Kamakura period in the Yamato area, there were several powerful temples existed.  They had a strong political power and military power to control a large territory called Shoen (荘園) with their large number of worrier monks called Sohei (僧兵).  The most powerful group were called Nanto Sohei (南都僧兵)*.   Nanto Sohei and other Sohei (僧兵) of the other temples demanded more and more swords to arm themselves.  This high demand of the swords from Sohei revitalized the Yamato Den (School) and led to increase in the number of the swordsmith in Yamato.   As a result, Yamato School became active again.

*Nanto Sohei (南都僧兵)———Since around the 11th century, Buddhist temples became powerful under the protection of JoKo (former Emperor).  Those temples had a large number of Sohei  (low-level monks who also acted as soldiers) under them.  In the case when power struggles between the temples occurred, Sohei went to fight as a soldier in the battlefields.  Nanto Sohei were monk soldiers of Kofuku-Ji temple (興福寺).  Several large temples like Todai-Ji (東大寺) temple and other temples controlled the Yamato area.

Shape(Sugata姿) —————-1. Graceful Yamashiro style retained. 2. Shinogi is high.  3. Mune is thin.  4. Some group of Yamato school has shallow Sori (curvature).

16 Yamato sword cross section

Hamon (Tempered line)——-Narrow tempered line. Nie base (沸). Chu-suguha-hotsure (frayed medium straight 中直刃ほつれ), Ko-choji-midare (small clove-like pattern and irregular mixture 子丁子乱), Ko-midare ( fine irregular子乱), Ko-gunome-komidare (small irregular continuous half circle 小五の目小乱).  The main characteristic of Yamato school sword is Masame (straight grain), therefore, the tempered line often shows double straight line called Nijyu-ha, Hakikake (brushed sand) and Uchinoke (Crescent-shape line).

16 Hamon Yamato

Boshi (鋩子)———-Inside the Boshi area, straight grain pattern also appears. Yakizume, Kaen(refer 13 Tanto Middle Kamakura period), O-maru, Ko-maru, Nie-kuzure (refer 15 Late Kamakura Period)

13 Hamon and Hi15 O-maru Ko-maru Niekuzure

 

Jihada or Jitetsu (the area between shinogi and hamon )——Mostly Masame hada (straight grain pattern 柾目肌). Fine ji-nie, Chikei, and Yubashiri shows (refer 15 Late Kamakura Period).

16 Masame Hada

Nakago (Hilt)——————Often shows the finishing file design as shown below which is called Higaki yasuri (檜垣)

16 Higaki Yasuri

Names of the Yamato School Sword-smiths

Taima(当麻) Group————–Taima Kuniyuki(当麻国行) Taima Tomokiyo(当麻友清) Shikkake (尻懸) Group———————————————–Shikkake Norinaga (尻懸則長) Tegai (手掻) group —————–Tegai Kanenaga (手掻包永) Tegai Kanekiyo(手掻包清) Hoshou (保昌) group——Hosho Sadamune (保昌貞宗)Hosho Sadayoshi ( 保昌貞吉)

16 Shaya Ensou

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

There are large numbers of swordsmiths in Bizen (備前) school during the Heian period but their sword style is generally similar to Yamashiro school, called Ko-Bisen (古備前). The real Bizen school style started from Middle Kamakura period.  Bizen province had many ideal conditions to produce swords.  It produced good quality steel and a large amount of fuel around the area and also the transportation was convenient.  Naturally, large numbers of swordsmiths gathered in this area and produced swords in quantities.  Because of that, to connoisseur Bizen sword is difficult.  Bizen sword has a higher standard.

Generally speaking, the next three characters are the most distinctive features of Bizen school.

  • Nioi base temper line (Nie is sand like small dots on a tempered line, Nioi is finer dots than Nie, so small, it looks as if a line)  Technically speaking, those two are the same.  See the illustration below.
  • Jigane (sword steel) looks soft.
  • Reflection appears on the surface.

10 Nie & Nioi

Sugata (shape) — Length of the sword is about 33 inches ± a few inches. The width of the blade is slightly wide and it has stout look.  The curvature of the blade is Koshizori (腰反)  means the highest curvature comes lower part.  The body has average thickness.  Small kissaki.

10 Middle Kamakura ---備前刀姿

Horimono(engraving) — Engravings are rare. The shape of the tip of Hi is all the way up to Ko-shinogi and fill up the whole area.

9 Hi --- groove

Nakago — Long and thin with curvature. The end of the Nakago is rounded which has the shape of chestnut’s bottom.  This is called Kurijiri. Look at the illustration of the sword above.

Hamon (tempered area pattern)— Nioi base. The tempered area is wide and the width is even, also the size of midare (irregular tempered line ) is uniform.

Boshi — Same tempered pattern continue to go up to Boshi area.  You can see Choji midare (clove-like pattern) or Yakizume.

10 Boshi --- Bizen

Bizen School Sword Smiths during Middle Kamakura Period

Fukuoka Ichimonji (福岡一文字) group ———- Norimune (則宗)   Sukemune (助宗 )Yoshioka Ichimonji (吉岡一文字) group ———-Sukeyoshi (助吉)   Sukemitsu (助光)         Sho-chu Ichimonji (正中一文字) group ———   Yoshiuji (吉氏)   Yoshimori (吉守)      Osafune (長船) group —–Mitsutada (光忠) Junkei Nagamitu (順慶長光) Kagemitsu (景光)Hatakeda hatakeda(畠田) group —————-Moriie (守家)  Sanemori  (真守)                Ugai (鵜飼) group —————————————-   Unsho (雲生) Unji (雲次)

6 |Heian Period Swords

6-Heian-Timeline.jpg

                         The circle indicate the time we are discussing in this section

This is the time, the shape of the swords changed to curved shape.  Until this time, swords were straight.

The study of swords is the swords made from the Heian period on.  Elegant and graceful taste of Fujiwara culture reflects on the swords made during the Heian period.  Their preference of their lifestyle reflected vividly on the swords.  A group of the sword smiths in Kyoto area was called Yamashiro school.  Their style of the swords had a graceful shape.  During the Heian period, Yamashiro Den (school) represents the Heian period sword style.

6a Heian period sword style

 

General Heian period sword style

Shape———-Lengths of the swords are approximately 30 inches ± a couple of inches.  Elegant and graceful shape.  The width of the blade is narrow.  Small Kissaki(小切先), Kyo-zori (京反り) and deep curvature.  Kyo-zori means the highest curvature comes around the halfway of the blade.  Lower part of the sword has A-line curve (flare out) that is called funbari (踏ん張り).  Deep curvature.

6b A line bottom

Hamon(刃文)———-Hamon means tempered line.  The Heian period tempered area is narrow,  and usually, suguha (直刃), means straight hamon.  Nie (沸) base.  Nie is a tiny granule like a particle on the border of the tempered line.  If you look closely, fine sand-like particles are visible. 6 Straigh tempered line(Suguha)

Jitetu (地鉄) ———- fine wood grained tone. Refer Jitetu, 4 |Names of Parts4

Nakago (中心)———- Nakago is a hilt area.  Sword makers inscribe his names here.  The shape of the Nakago during the Heian period is often Kijimomo shape(雉腿), that means pheasant thigh shape.

6 Kijimomo-nakago

Hi and engrave ———- Hi (樋) means an engraved straight line.  Hi and engraved design is rare in Heian period.  It became more common later time.

Kissaki (切先)———– Ko-kissaki (small kissaki). Boshi (Hamon around kissaki) is usually with komaru (小丸) means small round with a little return.6c Boshi Hamon

Names of the Heian period sword smiths

  • Yamashiro school——–  Sanjo Munechika(三条宗近) Sanjo Yoshiie(三条吉家)    Gojo Kanenaga(五条兼長) Gojo Kuninaga (五条国永)
  • Yamato school ——–Senju-in (千手院)
  • Bizen school ———– Bizen Tomonari(備前友成) Bizen Masatsune(備前正恒) Bizen Kanehira (備前包平)
  • Hoki (伯耆) ———–Yasutsuna (安綱) Sanemori (真守)
  • Buzen (豊前) ——— Cho-en (長円) Sinsoku (神息)
  • Satsuma (薩摩) ——-Naminohira (波平)