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.

 

 

 

My Yamato Sword (大和所有刀剣)

Chapter 16|The Revival of Yamato Den(大和伝復活)and  Chapter 51| Part 2 of —– 16 The Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活) was the discussion about Yamato-Den.  It may be appropriate to show my Yamato sword here.  I obtained this sword at the yearly San Francisco swords show a few years back.

Characteristic:  Munei (cut short and no signature).  Yamato Den, Tegai-ha (Yamato school Tegai group).  Length is 2尺 (shaku) 2寸(sun) 8 1/2 分(bu) —27&1/4 inches.  Very small Kissaki and Funnbari.  This shape is typical of the end of Heian to early Kamakura period though nobody said so.

my-yamato-sword-e1555694162999.jpg

 

The Entire view of the sword and Kantei-Sho (NBTHK* Paper).  It is ranked “Tokubetsu Hozon Token”.  * Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyoukai (日本美術刀剣保存協会)

My Yamato sword 4

My Yamato sword.jpg 2

My Yamato sword 3

My Yamato sword 5

On Hamon, Sunagashi, Nijyu-ba shows very faintly.   I could not take a good photo of boshi.  But it is Yakizume like.  Ji-Hada is Itame with faint Masame, almost Nashiji-Hada (possibly because of my eyes).  Nie-Honni . 

 

51| Part 2 of —– 16 The Revival of Yamato Den (大和伝復活)

This chapter is the continued part of Chapter 16|The Revival of Yamato Den.   Please read chapter 16 before reading this section.

17 red-timeline late Kamakura

51 Japan map Yamato

At the end of the Kamakura period, in the Yamato area, powerful temples expanded their territories.  See the map above for the location of the Yamato area.  The big temples used have a political and military power to control the area then, especially, the one with large territories.   Those big territories were called Shoen (荘園).  The demand for the swords increased by warrior monks called Sohei (僧兵).  That started the revival of the Yamato school.  Some of the big temples had their own swordsmiths within their territory.  Todaiji-temple (東大寺) backed Tegai (手掻) sword group.  The Senjuin (千手院 ) sword group lived near Senju-Do (千手堂 ) where Senju Kannon (千手観音) was enshrined.  The name of the sword group, Taima came from Taima-Ji temple (当麻寺).  Shikkake group (尻懸) and Hosho group (保昌) were also Yamato Den sword group, as well.  Those five groups are called Yamato Goha  (Yamato five groups).

General Characteristic of Yamato Den

Yamato Den (大和伝) sword always shows Masame (柾目: straight grain-like) on somewhere on Ji-Hada, Jigane or Hamon.   Please refer to 16|The Revival of Yamato Den(大和伝復活) for its general characteristic.  Masame is sometimes mixed with Mokume (burl like) or Itame (wood grain like).  Either way, Yamato Den sword shows Masame somewhere. Some sword shows Masame entirely or some shows a lesser amount.  Because of that, Hamon tends to show Sunagashi (brush stroke-like) or a double line like Hamon called Nijyu-ha.

Taima or Taema group (当麻 )

Shape —————— Middle Kamakura period shape and Ikubi Kissaki style

Hamon ————-Mainly medium Suguha.  Double HamonSuguha mixed with choji.   Shows Inazuma, Kinsuji, especially under Yokote line Inazuma appears.

Boshi ————– Often Yakizume.  Refer Yakizume on 16|The Revival of Yamato Den

Ji-Hada ———- Small wood grain and well knead surface.  At the top part of the sword, the wood grain pattern becomes Masame.

Shikkake Group (尻懸)

Shape ———- Late Kamakura period shape. Refer 15|Late Kamakura Period Sword

Hamon —————— Mainly Nie (we say Nie-honi).  Medium suguha frayed, mixed with small irregular and Gunome (half-circle).  Double-lined, brush stroke-like pattern.  Small Inazuma, Kinsuji.

Boshi ———– Yakizume, Hakikake (trace made by broom) and Ko-maru ( small round)

Ji-Hada ——— Small burl mixed with Masame.  Shikkake group sometimes shows Shikkake Hada.  That is,  Ha side shows  Masame and Mune side shows burl.

Tegai Group ( 手掻 )

Shape ———– Early Kamakura shape and thick Kasane (body).  High ShinogiKoshizori.

Hamon ————— Narrow tempered line with medium suguha hotsure (frayed suguha).  Mainly Nie.  Double tempered line. Inazuma, Kinsuji shows.

Boshi ———————– Yakizume (no turn back ), Kaen (flame like).

Ji-Hada ———————————— Fine burl mixed with Masame.  

51 Kanenaga photo Yamato51 Kanenaga ilustration Yamato

Tegai Kanenaga of Yamato.  From Sano Museum Catalogue (permission granted).  The illustration shows Notare (wave-like Hamon) and Suguha Hotsure (frayed Suguha) and Kinsuji.

Example of Kantei process how to figure out the maker of the sword using the above photo 

  • To determine Jidai(time) by Sugata (shape) ———-  Heian (possible), Early Kamakura (possible),   Middle Kamakura (possible) Late Kamakura (possible), Nanboku-Cho (unlikely), Muromachi (possibly No), Sengoku (possibly No), Shin-To (possibly No), Shinshin-To (No)
  • To judge from Hamon(actual view shows Masame)—–  Yamashiro- Den (possible),  Yamato-Den (very possible),  Bizen- Den (unlikely but possible) Soshu-Den (unlikely but possible),  Mino- Den (No)
  • From Jihada (actual view shows a lot of Nie) —–Yamashiro Den (possible), Yamato-Den(very possible),  Soshu-Den (unlikely but possible),  Bizen-Den (unlikely ),  Mino-Den (unlikely)

By analyzing the above information, you conclude and come up with the name of the swordsmith.  In actual Kantei, the sword is right in front of you, therefore, more noticeable checkpoints are there.   Finally, guess and come up with the name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

47|Part 2 of –12 Ikubi Kissaki(continuedfrom Chapter 46)

This chapter is a detailed part of Chapter 12 and continued from the previous chapter 46.  Please read Chapter 12 and Chapter 46 before reading this section.

12 Red Middle Kamakura Timeline                    
                       The circle above indicates the time we discuss in this section.

Bizen Saburo Kunimune (備前三郎国宗)

Another swordsmith that needs to be mentioned in this section is Bizen Saburo Kunimune (備前三郎国宗).  In the middle Kamakura period, the Hojo clan invited top swordsmiths to the Kamakura area.  Awataguchi Kunitsuna (粟田口国綱) from Yamashiro of Kyoto, Fukuoka Ichimonji Sukezane (福岡一文字助真) from Bizen area, Bizen Kunimune (備前国宗 ) from Bizen area moved to Kamakura with his circle of people.  Those three groups started the Soshu Den (相州伝).  Refer to 14|Late Kamakura Period History(鎌倉後期)

Sugata (shape)  —– Ikubi Kissaki style.  Sometimes Chu-gissaki.    Thick body.  Narrow Shinogi width.  Koshi-zori

Horimono (Engravings)  —– Often narrow Bo-hi (single groove)

Hamon (Tempered line) —– O-choji Midare (large clove irregular) with Ashi.  Or Ko-Choji Midare (small clove irregular) with AshiNioi base with Ji-nie (Nie in the Hada area).  Some Hamon is squarish with less Kubire (less narrow at the bottom of the clove).  Hajimi (刃染み rough surface) may show.  Often the Kunimure swords are as follows; Lower part shows Choji, the upper part shows less work without Ashi. 

12 «Part 2» 国宗刃紋 佐野

Kunimune Squarish Kawazuko Choji (tadpole and clove-like)Hamon                                                                                  (Sano Museum Catalog, Permission granted)

Boshi  —– Small irregular.  Yakizume or short turn back.

Ji-hada —–Woodgrain.  Fine Ji-hada with some Ji-nie (Nie inside Ji-hada).  Midare Utsuri (irregular shadow) shows.  A few Hajimi (rough surface).

12 «Part 2» 国宗  

Above photo is Kunimune   (国宗 Sano Museum Catalog, permission granted)  Even though Kunimune is famous for Ikubi Kissaki,  and this is the chapter for Ikubi Kissaki, this one is Chu-Gissaki.

12 (second part 2) 照国神社

Above photo is a picture from the official site of Terukuni Shrine in Kyushu.  You can go the site by clicking,  http://terukunijinja.pkit.com/page222400.html

The above photo is the National treasure Kunimune of the Terukuni Jinja Shrine in Kagoshima prefecture.  This Kunimune sword was lost after WWII.  This is the sword Dr. Compton, the chairman of the Board of Miles Laboratory in Elkhart Indiana, found in an antique store in Atlanta.  I mentioned Dr. Compton in Chapter 34.  When he saw this sword, he realized this is not just an ordinary sword.  He bought it and inquired to the Nihon Bijutu Token Hozon Kyokai (Sword museum) in Tokyo.  It turned out to be the famous missing National treasure of Kunimune from Terukuni Jinja ShrineHe returned the sword to Terukuni Jinja without compensation in 1963.  My father became a good friend with him around this time through Dr. Homma and Dr. Sato (both were leading sword experts).  Later, Dr. Compton asked Dr. Honma and my father to examine his swords which he kept in his house (he had about 400 swords) and swords of New York Met, Philadelphia Museum, and the Boston Museum.  Father wrote about this trip and swords he examined in those museums and published a book in 1965; the title is “Katana Angya (刀行脚)”.  For Dr. Compton and my father, around this time must be the best time of their life.  The business for both of them was doing good and could spend time on their interest and having fun.  It was the best time of me too.

One time while I was visiting Compton’s house, he showed me his swords in his basement for hours almost all day.  His house was huge and the basement he built as his study room was with fire prevention system and correct lighting for viewing swords.   It was functionally correct as a storage place for his many different art objects.  Then his wife, Phoebe said to him that he cannot keep a young girl (I was a college student) in the basement all day long.  He agreed and then he took me to his cornfield to pick some corns for dinner.  Basement to a cornfield, not much improvement?  So his wife Phoebe decided to take me shopping and lunch in Chicago.  Good idea,  but it is too far.   The distance between Elkhart and Chicago is about two hours by driving a car then, too far just for shopping and lunch.  To my surprise, we took their company private airplane to fly to the roof of the department store then do the shopping and lunch came back with the same private airplane.

Miles Lab. and a well-known Japanese large pharmaceutical company had a business tie-up then.  Dr. Compton used to come to Japan quite often, officially for business purposes.  But whenever he came to Japan he used to spend days with sword people and I used to follow my father.  One of the female workers of this pharmaceutical company, her job description was to translate the sword book into English.  My parents’ house was filled with Miles products.  Miles Lab. had a big research institute in Elkhart Indiana.  I visited there several times.  One day I was sitting with Dr. Compton in his office, looking into the sword book with our head together.  That day, a movie actor John Forsythe was visiting the research lab.  He was the host of the TV program the Miles Lab was sponsoring.  All the female employees were making a big fuss over him.  Then he came into Compton’s room to greet him thinking the chairman must be sitting in his big chair at his desk looking like a chairman.  But he saw Compton looking into the sword book with his head against my head.  The appearance of Dr. Compton was just like any chairman of the board of a big company one can imagine, and I was a Japanese college student looking like a college student.   John Forsythe showed a strange expression on his face that he did not know what to think.

 

43|Part 2 of — 9 Middle Kamakura Period (Bizen Den) 鎌倉中期備前伝

This chapter is a detailed part of Chapter 9.  Please read 9 | Middle Kamakura Period (Bizen Den) 鎌倉中期備前伝  before reading this chapter.

13 Red Middle Kamakura Timeline
                                          The circle indicates the time we discuss in this section

The Middle Kamakura period was the height for the Bizen Den.  In a different region other than Bizen, swords style was often affected by people’s preferences and politics in each region.  But Bizen was not affected as much by those elements throughout the time.  The clients of Bizen swords were from all over the area.  Therefore, the swords created by Bizen tends to be the kind liked by everybody.

The general style of Bizen Den

  • In general, their style tends to be likable by everybody.
  • Shape, the width of the blade, the thickness of the body, and tempered line are usual style or usual design, seldom out of ordinary.
  • Nioi base
  • Soft feeling Jigane (steel)
  • Utsuri (cloud-like shadow) apperars.
  • The tempered line tends to have the same width, not too wide not too narrow.

Fukuoka Ichimonji group

Names of swordsmiths among Fukuoka Ichimonji group——————-Fukuoka Ichimonji Norimune (福岡一文字則宗),  Fukuoka Ichimonji Sukemune ( 福岡一文字助宗  )Those two are the main smiths among the Fukuoka Ichomnji group (福岡一文字 ).

Among the Fukuoka Ichimonji group, six swordsmiths received the honor as the “Gobankaji” from Emperor Gotoba (後鳥羽上皇 ), Including  Norimune and Sukemune.    I saw Fukuoka Ichimonji Muneyoshi (福岡一文字宗吉) at Mori Sensei’s class on June 25 1972 or 1973.  My note said I saw a lot of utsuri (shadow) on the blade.

 Sugata (shape or figure) ————– Graceful and classy shape.  Generally, well proportioned.  The difference between the top width and bottom width is not much.  Sometimes stout looking Kissaki like Ikubi Kissak (refer Chapter 11) appears.

Hi and Engraving ———-The tip of Hi may follow the Ko-shinogi line.  See below.  The end of Hi goes under machi area with a square, or kakinagashi  (refer to 42| Part 2 of —– 8| Middle Kamakura Period Yamashiro Den (鎌倉中期山城伝)

44 hisaki agaru

Hamon  ———- Wide Ichimonnji-Choji tempered line.  From the bottom to the top, same width temper line.  The same Hamon front and back .  O-Choji –midare (large clove shape), Jyuka-Choji (overwrapped look choji).  Nie base.  Inazuma, Kinsuji appears.

Boshi ———- Hamon continues into Boshi area and end with Yakizume or turn slightly.  Sometimes O-maru.

 Jihada ———- Fine and soft look.  Woodgrain.   Lots of utsuri (cloud-like shadow or reflection)

10«part 2» ichimonji photo

44 Ichimonjio hamon

Ichimonji  Sano Museum Catalogue (佐野美術館) Permission granted                                 Above sword is O-suriage.  The end of hi is lower than mekugi-ana inside nakago.

 

           

16| The Revival of Yamato Den(大和伝復活)

14 Late Kamakura Period timeline                    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 704).  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.  See chapter 6.

*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

15| Late Kamakura Period Sword

14 Late Kamakura Period timeline                      The circle represents the time we discuss in this section

The beginning of the Soshu style

A new sword style called Soshu Den emerged after the Mongolian invasion of the latter part of the Kamakura period.  Kamakura area became prosperous under the rule of the Hojo (北条).  Many swords smiths moved to Kamakura.  Those people are Kunituna (国綱 )and his group from Yamashiro area and Fukuoka Ichimonji Sukezane (福岡一文字助真), Kunimune (国宗) from Bizen area.  They are the origin of Soshu Den (school 相州).  A star swordsmith, Goro-Nyudo-Masamune (五郎入道正宗) appeared during this time.

15 Soshu sword with explanation

 

Shape (Sugata 姿) ——- O-Kissaki (large-Kissaki 大切先) and Chu-Kissaki (medium kissaki 中切先).   Tip of Hi ends lower (see below illustration).  HamaguriHa was eliminated, instead, it became a thinner body.  The original length was approximately 3 feet or so but the majority of them were shortened to 2 feet and 3 or 4 inches in a later time.  This is called O-Suriage(大磨上).

15 Kissak shape of 4

15 Hi ends lower

Hamon——————–Narrow Hamon and wide Hamon.     

Narrow Hamon ——-Suguha (straight) mixed with Ko-Choji (small clove) and Ko-Gumome (continuous half-circle like).  Small Nie base. (left drawing below)

10 Nie & Nioi

Wide Hamon———–Notare (wavy) midare, O-gunome.  Nie base.  Ashi-Iri (short line goes inward, the right drawing below).  Inazuma (lightning-like line), Kinsuji (a gold line like) appears on a tempered line.  But Inazuma and Kinsuji require trained eyes to detect.  It is hard to notice the Inazuma, Kinsuji, etc. for beginners.

15 Late Kamakura Soshu Hamon

Boshi————-The same type of Hamon into Boshi area then turn back a little or Yakizume.  You may also see O-maru  (large round), Ko-maru (small round), Kaen (flame like), and Nie-kuzure.  Refer chapter 13 Middle Kamakura period Tanto for Yakizume and Kaen.

15 three boshi name

 

Jihada or Jitetsu (between Shinogi and Tempered line)—– Strong Ji-Nie (地沸), that is a sand-like small dots appears on Ji (between tempered line and Mune).  Yubashiri (cluster of Ji-Nie),  Kinsuji (lined Nie looks like a golden line), Inazuma  (lightning-like irregular line) and Chikei (similar to Kinsuji appears on Ji-Hada).

15 Yubashiri, Chikei, Inazuma

Late Kamakura Period Soshu School Sword Smiths

From Bizen———–Fukuoka Ichimonji Sukezane (福岡一文字助真) Kunimune (国宗 )   From Yamashiro ————————————–Toroku- Sakon- Kunituna (藤六左近国綱) 

Those above three are the beginning of Kamakura swordsmiths.  Later, Tosaburo-Yukimitu and his son, famous Goro-Nyudo-Masamune appeared.

Masamune Juttetsu  (Main Soshu Style swordsmiths other than above)

From Yamashiro (山城)—— Rai Kunitsugu (来国次), Hasebe Kunishige (長谷部国重) From Ettshu (越中) province ———————Gou- no-Yoshihiro (郷義弘) Norishige (則重) From   Mino (美濃) province ——————————————–Kaneuji (兼氏) Kinjyu (金重) From   Chikuzen (筑前) province —————————————————-Samoji (左文字)

15 Masamune (Sano) 15 Masamune hamon (Sano)     Goro-Nyudo-Masamune(正宗)   Sano Museum Catalogue (佐野美術館図録) Permission granted    *Because Masamune lived in Kamakura that is a beach town, his Hamon style was inspired by an ocean wave.  Therefore his Hamon sometimes looks like wave design.

15 Masamune, Yoshioka Ichimonji Endo

 

15 Masamune, Yoshioka IchimonjiOnce family-owned swords

13| Tanto ( 短刀) Middle Kamakura Period

13 Red Middle Kamakura Timeline

The red circle indicates the area we discuss in this chapter 

It is very rare to see a tanto (small short sword) made during the Heian period.  During the middle Kamakura period, a large number of wonderful tanto were made.  They were called takenoko-zori shape.  Takenoko means bamboo shoot.  The back of the dagger curves inward slightly.

13 Middle Kamakura Period Tanto

Sugata (shape)———-Hirazukuri , it means no shinogi, no yokote line, as you see in the illustration above.  Standard tanto size is about 10 inches.  The width is well balanced to the size of Tanto that means not too wide not too narrow.  The Body is slightly thick.  High Gyo-no-mune (行の棟) and Shin-no-mune (真の棟)

13 Mune drawing

Hamon (刃文) —————- Tempered area is narrow.  Nioi base.  Irregular straight line (suguha midare) or straight line with small choji (suguha-choji).  The tempered edge line may show a frayed look.

Boshi(tempered line at Kissaki area) ———Yakizume,   Kaen,   Niekuzure.

13 Hamon and Hi

Engravings (彫刻 ) ———- Often different kinds of engravings are done at the lower part of the body of Tanto.  These may be a groov or two grooves, Sanskrit, spear (Suken), dragon, etc,.  For Sanskrit and spear, look at the illustration inside Chapter 9.

13 Hamon and Hi

Tanto group and Swordsmiths in the Middle Kamakura Period

Awataguchi group(粟田口)———————————Awataguchi Yoshimitu (粟田口吉光)  Rai group (来) ——————————————————————-Rai Kunitoshi(来国俊)  Soushu Group  (相州) ——————————————Shintougo Kunimitu (新藤五国光)  Bizen group (備前) —————————————————— Bien Kagemitu (備前景光) Bungo no Kuni Group (豊後の国) ——————–Bungo-no-kuni Yukihira (豊後の国行平)

 

13 Rai kunimitsu Tanto photo 2  来国光(Rai Kunimitsu)

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA                         Creative common  Free media  Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

12| Ikubi Kissaki (猪首切先)

12 time line
The circle indicates the time we are discussing in this chapter.

After the live experience of the war of Jokyu-no-ran (Chapter 11), people started to move toward sturdier, grander, wider swords.  The swords made around this time is called Ikubi Kissaki (猪首切先).  Ikubi means a wild boar neck.  Ikubi Kissaki style sword has a stout look like a wild boar neck.  This is the era of the golden time of sword making.  Many top swords smiths created wonderful swords during this time.  It is said that there is no mediocre sword among Ikubi Kissai swords.

12 Ikubi Kissaki sword style

SUGATA (shape) —— Originally 3 feet or longer, therefore it is often shortened at a later time.  Wide width, thick Kasane (thick body) with Hamaguri-ha (蛤刃).  Hamaguri-ha means the thickness of the sword is shaped like a clam (see below).  The width at the Yokote line area and the width at the Machi are not much different.  Shinogi (鎬) is high, and shinogi width is narrow.

12 蛤刃と鎬

KISSAKI  —— Ikubi kissaki.  Ikubi means a wild boar neck.  Wild boar looks like no neck, stout look shape.  Short Kissaki but wide at the yokote line.  The illustration below is exaggerated a little to show the idea

12 Ikubi Kissak drawing

Hamon (刃文) —— Kawazuko-Choji (tadpole head shape). O- Choji (clove-like shape) and Ko-Choji mixed.  Irregular waviness mixed with a straight line and choji, this is called suguha-choji.

12 Hamon Kawazuko-choji                     O-choji                          Ko-choji                  Suguha-choji     (tadpole head)                   (large clove)                (small clove)      (straight and clove)

Boshi(鋩子) ——— Yakizume, that is Hamon ends close to the tip, as below.  Nagamitu(長光), Kagemitu( 景光), Sanenaga(真長) created  Boshi called Sansaku Boshi(三作鋩子).  Sansaku Boshi narrows down at Yokote Line, Illustration below.

12 Yakizume
Yakizume
12 Sansaku Boshi(三作
Sansaku-Boshi

                                                  

Ikubi Kissaki Sword Smiths

Fukuoka Ichimonji Group (福岡一文字) ————–Fukuoka Ichimonji Norimune (則宗) Kamakura Ichimonji Group(鎌倉一文字) ———— Kamakura Ichimonji Sukezane (助真) Soshu Bizen Kunimune Group(相州備前国宗)——– Soshu Bizen Kunimune (国宗)Bizen Osafune Group(長船)——————Bizen Osafune Mitutada(長船光忠) Nagamitsu(長光)   Ugai Group————————————————————————- Ugai Unji (鵜飼雲次)

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From Sano Museum Catalogue (permission granted)                                                                    Osafune Nagamitsu(長船長光 )

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Osafune Mitsutada(長船光忠)                          Osafune Mitsutada(長船光忠)                        *Were family sword This photo was taken by my father and writings on the white paper were written by him.

9 | Middle Kamakura Period (Bizen Den) 鎌倉中期備前伝

12 Red Middle Kamakura Timeline
The circle indicates the time we are discussing in this chapter 

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 in the 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.  In general, the Bizen sword has a higher quality standard than other schools.

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) — The length of the sword is about 33 inches ± a few inches. The width of the blade is slightly wide and it has a stout look.  The curvature of the blade is Koshizori (腰反)  means the highest curvature comes lower part.  The body has an 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.

8 Hi

Nakago — Long and thin with curvature.  The end of the Nakago is rounded which has the shape of chestnut’s bottom.  This is called KurijiriSee 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 — The same tempered pattern continues to go up to the Boshi area.  You can see Choji midare (clove-like pattern) or Yakizume.

10 Boshi --- Bizen

Jitetu — Fine well forged, and soft look steel.  The surface of the steel has small wood grain pattern mixed with the large grain pattern.  Chikei (condensation of Nie) and cloud-like reflection appears.

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)  Nagamitu (長光) Kagemitsu (景光)   Hatakeda(畠田) group ————————————-Moriie (守家)  Sanemori  (真守)          Ugai (鵜飼) group —————————————————— Unsho (雲生) Unji (雲次)

10, Ichimonji Photo

Ichimonji from Sano Museum Catalog (permission to use is granted)