64|Part 2 of — 28 Shin-To Main 7 Region (part B)

 

This chapter is a continued part of chapter 28 Shin-to Main 7 Regions (part B).  Please read chapter 28 before reading this chapter.  Below are the regions 2,3,7, skipped 4,5,6.

0-timeline - size 24 Shin-to

The circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section    

29 Map with number 7

 

2. Settu (摂津) at Osaka (大阪 )

Settu Osaka has many well-known swordsmiths.  They are 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 the Settsu Osaka sword is: The surface is beautiful and fine, almost no pattern, no design like a flat surface.  The below two photos are Settsu’s sword.

65 Ikkanshi illustration 65 Ikkanshi photo 

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

Ikkanshi Tadatsuna (一竿子忠綱) is famous for his carvings.  His father was also a well-known swordsmith, Omi-no-Kami Tadatsuna (近江守忠綱).  Ikkanshi Tadatsu is the second generation of Omi-no-kami Tadatsuna.  Therefore he is also known as Awataguchi Omi-no-Kami Fujiwara Tadatsuna (粟田口近江守藤原忠綱), as you see on the Nakago above photo.  The characteristics of Ikkanshi Tadatsuna: Longer Kissaki and Sakiziri (curved at a higher part of the body)The wide tempered line with Nie.  Osaka Yakidashi (transition between the sugu-ha above machi and midare is smooth ).   Refer to 27 Shinto Sword –  Main 7 Regions(part A) for Osaka Yakidashi.  O-notare with Gunome.  Komaru boshi with turn backVery 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 was the second generation of Izumi-no-Kami Kunisada (和泉守国定), he was the student of Kunihiro.  The characteristic of his sword:  Osaka Yakidashi.   The tempered line gets wider gradually toward the top.  O-Notare and deep Nie.  His Ji-hada is very fine, almost no design on the surface.

3. Musashi (武蔵: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), and more. 

 Two photos below are swordsmiths from Musashi (武蔵:Tokyo).   

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

Yasutsugu  From Sano Museum Catalogue.  Permission granted to use

Characteristics of Yasutusgu (康継):  Shallow curvature.  Chu-Gissaki (medium Kissaki). Hamon is wide Notare, Midare, O-gunome (sometimes double gunome).  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 (虎徹) 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 began to make swords after he passed 50 years old.  Before that, he was an armor maker.   The characteristics of Kotetsu: Shallow curvature and wide width.  The wide tempered line with Nie.  Around the Machi area, the hamon is small Irregular, then the upper part of the blade becomes wide Suguha like Notare.  Fine Nie.  Boshi has Komaru with a short turn back.  Ji-hada is fine wood grain and burl.  Sometimes, you see O-hada (black core iron show through) at the lower part above the Machi area.  The illustration above shows the thick (or wide? Which should I use) tempered line between Ha and Ji consisted of Nie.  This is Kotetsu’s characteristic.  Once you see it, you will remember.  The next region is 7; skip the regions 4,5,6.

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 the Shimazu family of Satsuma Han (Satsuma domain).  Later he was chosen to go to Edo to forge swords for Shogun Yoshimune.  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 the Aoi crest (the hollyhock crest of the Tokugawa family) on Nakago.

 

 

 

 

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).

img070

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)

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                            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)

img073

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

18| Nanboku-Cho Period Sword (南北朝太刀) (North and South Dynasty Sword)

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                           The circle indicate the time we are discussing in this section

During the Nanboku-Cho period, Samurais demanded large, elaborate, and impressive, yet practical sword.  The Soshu-Den style sword in Nanbochi-Cho time was just that.  This type was the most popular style then.  The Nanboku-Cho period was the height of the Soshu Den.  Many swordsmiths moved from other provinces to the Kamakura area and forged the Soshu-Den style swords.   Other schools and regions outside the Kamakura area also made the SoshuDen style swords in their own places.

19 Nanboku-cho Sword style

Sugata (姿: Shape)———-The original length of swords was 3, 4, or 5 feet long, but shortened to approximately two and a half feet long at a later time.  A significantly shortened blade is called O-Suriage.

The Nanboku-Cho style sword has a shallow Kyo-zori (also called Torii-zori).  Refer Chapter 5 Heian Period Sword.  The highest curvature comes around the middle of the body: a wide-body, high Shinogi, narrow Shinogi-Ji.  Refer to Chapter 3, Names of parts.   The thin Kasane (Kasane is the body) is a distinctive feature for the Nanboku-cho style.  High Gyo-no-mune or Shin-no-mune, sometimes Maru-Mune (round back).

19 Nanboku-cho 3 kinds Mune

Hi (樋: groove) and Horimono (彫刻: engraving) —  Often, a single hi (Bo-hi), double hi, Suken (dagger), Bonji (Sanscrit), Dragon are engraved on the Shinogi-Ji area.  Refer to Chapter 3 Names of  parts

9 Hi, Suken, Bonji

Hamon (刃: Tempered line) —- The lower part of the body shows a narrow tempered line; gradually, the tempered line becomes a wider and showy.  Course Nie.                              O-midare (large irregular hamon), Notare-midare (wavy irregular hamon), Gunome-midare (a mix of repeated half-circular and irregular hamon).  Inazuma, Kinsuji (refer to Chapter 14 Late Kamakura Period Sword) also sometimes appears.

19 Hamon Notare 319 Mamon choji gunome19 Hitatsura Hamon Hiromitsu

*From Sano Museum Catalogue ( Permission granted).

Jihada (地肌: Area between shinogi and tempered line)  Refer to Chapter 3 Names of parts——Woodgrain pattern (Itame 板目). Sometimes Tobiyaki (a patchy tempered spots) appears on jihada.

 

Kissaki (切っ先) and Boshi (Tempered line at Kissaki area) —– O-Kissaki (long and large kissaki). Fukura kareru (less arc).  Midare-komi (body and boshi have a similar tempered line), with kaeri fukashi (hamon deeply turns back), sometimes Hitatsura (entirely tempered).  See the above illustration.

Sword-smiths during Nanboku-Cho Period Soshu Den (school)

From Soshu———————————————————Hiromitsu (広光)  Akihiro (秋広)  From Yamashiro ————————————————–Hasebe Kunishige (長谷部国重)  From Bizen (called So-den Bizen)————-Chogi (長儀 )group  Kanemitsu (兼光 ) group  From Chikuzen —————————————————————-Samoji (左文字 ) group

19 Chogi photo from Sano book

The distinctive characteristics of the Nanboku-Cho period sword on the photo above      

  • The engraving trace of Suken on the nakago indicates this area was once a part of the main body.
  • Large and Long kissak