This chapter is a detailed part of Chapter 8| Middle Kamakura Period –Yamashiro Den（鎌倉中期山城伝). Please read Chapter 8 before reading this chapter.
The red circle indicates the time we discuss in this section
During the Middle Kamakura period, there were three main groups among the Yamashiro Den. They are Ayano-koji (綾小路) group, Awataguchi (粟田口) group, and Rai (来) group.
When we refer to a certain group, we say, “xxx ha”, “xxx ippa “, or “xxx ichimon “. We use those three words interchangeably. They all basically mean a “group”. For example, we say Ayano-koji Ippa, means Ayano-koji group.
Ayano-Koji Ippa (綾小路 )
- Sugata (shape) —————- In general, gentle or graceful Kyo-zori shape. The difference between the width of the Yokote line and Machi is not much. The sword is slender yet thick. Small Kissaki
- Hi and Engraving ———————- Bohi (one groove) or Futasuji-hi (double grooves)
- Hamon ————————– Nie base with Ko-choji (small clove shape) and Ko-midare (small irregular). Small Inazuma (lightning like line) and Kin-zuji (golden streak) may show. Double Ko-choji (two Ko-choji side by side) may appear.
- Boshi (tempered line at tip area) ——————Ko-maru (small round), Yakizume (refer to the illustration below), and Kaen (flame like pattern)
- Ji-hada ————– Small wood grain with a little Masame (straight grain) Ji-nie shows.
- Nakago (hilt) ————————– Long, slightly fat feeling
- Ayano-Koji swordsmiths–——Ayano-koji Sadatoshi (綾小路定利), Sadanori (定則)
Awataguchi Ichimon (粟田口)
Many swordsmiths from Awataguchi Ichimon (group) received the honor of the Goban Kaji (meaning top swordsmith) from Gotoba Joko (Emperor Gotoba 後鳥羽上皇 ). Their general characteristic is as follows.
- Sugata (Shape) ————————————– Elegant shape Torii-zori (or Kyo-zori) shape
- Hi and Engraving ————– The tip of Hi comes 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
Maru-dome (rounded end) Kaku-dome (square) Kakinagashi
- Hamon ————— The slightly wider tempered line at the bottom then it becomes narrow tempered line at the top. Nie base (this is called Nie-hon’i). Straight tempered line mixed with Ko-choji (small clove) or wide straight line mixed with choji. Awataguchi-nie appears. Awataguchi-nie means fine, deep and sharp shiny Nie around tempered line area. Fine Inazuma (lightning-like line) and Kinsuji (golden streak) appear.
- Boshi (tempered line at the tip area) ————- Ko-maru (small round) or O-maru (large round). The return is sharrow. Yakizume, Nie Kuzure, and Kaen (flame)
Yakizume O-maru Ko-maru Yakikuzure
- Ji-hada ————- Fine Ko-mokume (wood swirls) with Ji-nie. Nie on Ji-hada. Yubashiri, Chikei appears.
- Nakago ——————————– Often two letter inscription
- Names of Awataguchi swordsmiths —– Awataguchi Kunitomo (粟田口国友 ), Hisakuni (久国), Kuniyasu (国安), Kuniyasu (国安), Kunikiyo (国清)
Rai Ha (来)
A general characteristic of Rai group is as follows. However, each swordsmith has own characteristics.
- Sugata (shape) ———— Graceful with dignity. Thick body. Rai made Ikubi Kissaki.
- Hi and Engravings ———————— Wide and shallow Hi.
- Hamon —————— Nie base. Suguha (straight). Wide Suguha with Ko-midare (small irregular) and Choji (clove). Sometimes large Choji at the lower part and narrow Suguha at the top. Inazuma and Kin-suji appear around Yokote area.
- Boshi ———————————— Komaru, Yakizume (refer to the illustration above)
- Ji-hada –———– Finely forged Itame (small wood grain) sometimes mixed with Masame (parallel grain). Fine Nie. Rai group sporadically shows Yowai Tetsu (weak surface) which may be the core iron.
- Swordsmiths of Rai Ha —— Rai Kuniyuki (来国行), Kunitoshi (国俊), Ryokai (了戒 )
Rai Kunitoshi is said to be Rai Kuniyuki’s son. Ryokai is said to be Rai Kunitoshi ‘s son.