The red circle indicates the subject we discuss in this section
There are seven main prosperous areas where a large number of swordsmiths gathered and actively made swords. Those are Yamashiro (山城) in Kyoto, Settu (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 these areas have their local characteristics common among themselves. Knowing each of these characteristics of their area is the easiest way to understand shin-to. But keep in mind that even in each group, swordsmith has his way of making a sword. The following descriptions are only in general.
Below is the map of Japan. Hokkaido is omitted from the map because swords were not made there during the Edo period.
- Yamashiro (山城) Kyoto
Yamashiro Shin-to sword has a solid and strong look. Hamon at the bottom part of the blade right above machi (区) area shows suguha (straight hamon), this is called Kyo-yakidashi (京焼出), that means to start with a straight hamon. Then it shows a sudden change to the design of O-midare (大乱). O-midare (irregular waviness) changes to less waviness one or two inches below the yokote line, then continues into boshi with a wavy hamon. The design inside the boshi is Komaru-boshi. See the illustration below. Ji-hada is somewhat rough (this depends on the swordsmith). Masame-hada (straight grain pattern) may show on Shinogi-Ji (the area between ridgeline and back). Among Yamashiro Shin-to, there was a group called the Mishina Group (三品). They are Mino Den (美濃) related, therefore, often boshi is Jizo-boshi (地蔵鋩子), this is called Mishina Boshi ( 三品鋩子). Jizo-boshi is the profile of a human 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)
Iganokami Kinnmichi (伊賀守金道) previously family owned
2．Settu (摂津) Osaka (大阪)
Settu (Osaka now) created more wakizashi than katana. They tend to make it slightly sakizori (top half curves outward) and slightly stretched boshi. Settu sword also has yakidashi the same way as the previous Yamashiro sword, except the area where suguha changes to notare (wavy pattern) are 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).
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)