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.





15| The Revival of Yamato Den(大和伝復活)

0-timeline - size 24 Late Kamakura

The circle indicates the time we discuss in this section

It is said that the first sword making started from Yamato province (present Nara prefecture) during the Nara period (710 to 794).  In the early sword making days, their forging technique was primitive.  At that time a large number of swordsmiths lived in Yamato, yet as time passes, the sword making declined in this area.

At the end of the Kamakura period, several powerful temples had power struggles against each other in the Yamato area.  Temples had 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)*.

The groups of Sohei demanded more swords to arm themselves.  The high demand for the swords from Sohei revitalized the Yamato Den (School) and led an increase in the number of swordsmiths in Yamato.   As a result, Yamato Den became active again. Yamato Den’s style is somewhat similar to that of Yamashiro Den.

*Nanto Sohei (南都僧兵)———Since around the 11th century, Buddhistic temples became powerful under the protection of the Joko (retired Emperor).  Those temples had a large number of Sohei (low-level monks who also acted as soldiers) under them.  When the power struggles between the temples occurred, Sohei fought 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. 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.  Mainly Nie (沸).  Chu-Suguha-Hotsure (medium straight with frayed look中直刃ほつれ), Ko-Choji-Midare (small clove-like pattern and irregular mixture 小丁子乱), Ko-Midare ( fine irregular小乱), Ko-gunome-komidare (small irregular continuous half-circle 小五の目小乱).  The main characteristic of Yamato school is Masame (straight grain), therefore, the tempered line often shows a double straight line called Nijyu-ha, Hakikake (brushed sand), and Uchinoke (Crescent-shape line).  See the illustration below.

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 pattern as shown below.  This is called Higaki Yasuri (檜垣).

16 Higaki Yasuri

Names of the Yamato School Sword-smiths

Taema(当麻) Group————–Taema Kuniyuki(当麻国行) Taema 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 Sadayoshi ( 保昌貞吉) Hosho Sadamune (保昌貞宗)

16 Shaya Ensou

Yamato Senjuin Shaya Enso (大和千手院沙弥円宗) was once family sword