64|Part 2 of — 28|Main 7 Areas Among Shin-To Sword (part A)

This chapter is the detailed part of chapter 28| Main 7 Areas of Shin-To Sword (Part A).  Please read chapter 28 before reading this chapter.

As it was described in chapter 28, here are the main seven areas of sword making.  They are Yamashiro (山城 in Kyoto), Settsu (摂津 today’s Osaka), Musashi (武蔵 Edo), Echizen (越前) and Kaga (加賀), Hizen (肥前), Satsuma (薩摩).

28-map-with-number-7.jpg

 

During Ko-To time, usually, if a sword has a wide Hamon line with Nie, Ji-Hada is also large wood grain or large burl grain.  Also, when you see a narrow Hamon line, usually with fine or small Ji-Hada on Ko-To.  But on Shin-To, wide Hamon with Nie with small wood grain or small burn grain on Ji-Hada.  And narrow Hamon line with a large wood grain Ji-Hada.  This is the Shin-To characteristic.  Because of that, Some people may confuse with shin-To as Ko-To.   But other features like Ji-Tetsu or other parts should indicate the Shin-To or Ko-To.

*  Early Soshu-Den during the late Kamakura period, some swordsmith did wide Hamon with Nie with small burl.  Because of that whether it was Ko-To or Shin-To was confused.  But other features like Ji-Tetsu or other parts should indicate the Shin-To or Ko-To.

  1. Yamashiro (山城 Kyoto)

64-kunihiro-sword.jpg 64 Kunihiro IllustrationHorikawa Kunihiro    From Sano Museum Catalogue

Horikawa Kunihiro (堀川国広) is considered a great master swordsmith of Shin-To swordsmith.  He forged his sword in different styles and different characteristic.  The types of Hamon are O-Notare, O-Gunome, Togari-Ba (pointed Hamon), Chu-Suguha with hotsure, Hiro-Suguha, with Sunagashi effect, Inazuma, Kinsuji appears.  The shape of the sword Kunihiro liked to create was the one like Nanboku-Cho time O-suriage style (shortened Nanboku-Cho long sword).  Kunihiro’s sword gives you a massive feeling.  Kunihiro did very fine carvings, like a dragon, Sanskrit letter, etc.  Since he did many different styles, there is no general characteristic on his sword other than Hamon is mainly Nie.  Very finely forged Ji-Hada

img067.jpg    img068.jpgIga-no-Kami Kinnmichi (伊賀守金道)                   Dewa Daijyo Kunimichi (出羽大掾国路)

Both photos were taken by my father a long time ago.  The quality of the photo is not good.  Both were once my family-owned.  Both Juyo Token

Characteristics of Iga-no-Kami Kinmichi ( 伊賀守金道)

Iga-no-Kami Kinmichi family is called Mishina group.  Refer chapter 28| Main 7 Areas of Shin-To Sword (Part A)Iga-no-Kami Kinmichi received the honorable Japanese Imperial Chrysanthemum crest.  The characteristic of his sword; Wide sword, Shallow curvature, Kissaki extended, Sakizori (curvature at 1/3 top).  Wide tempered line, Kyo Yakidashi (refer 28|Main 7 Areas of Shin-To Sword (Part A), Hiro Suguha (wide straight Hamon).  O-Notare (large wavy), Yahazu Midare, Hako-Midare (refer 25|Sengoku Period Tanto (戦国時代)Boshi is Mishina Boshi (refer 28|Main 7 Areas of Shin-To Sword (Part A).  Fine wood burl, Masame appears on Shinogi area.

Dewa Daijo Kunimichi (出羽大掾国路)

Dewa Daijo Kunimichi was the best student of Horikawa Kunihiro (The 1st photo above).  Like Kunihiro, the shape of the sword was like a shortened Nanboku-Cho sword.  Shallow curvature, wide body, somewhat stretched kissaki and Fukura kareru (less arch in Fukura).  Wide tempered line, Large Gunome, Nie, with Sunagashi, Inazuma shows.  Among large Gunome, double Gunome (two gunome side by side) appears.  Fine Ji-Tetsu.

 

52|Part 2 of —–17|Late Kamakura Period Tanto (Early Soshu-Den Tanto)

Chapter 52 is the continued part of chapter 17 Late Kamakura period Tanto (17 | Late Kamakura period Tanto ——- Early Soshu-Den Tanto.  Please read Chapter 17 before chapter 52.

After studying the general common characteristics of the late Kamakura period Tanto style (that is early Soshu-Den Tanto) on chapter 17, what points do the next two swords fit in with the common characteristic of early Soshu-Den Tanto?

53 Masamune Tanto photo53 Masamune Tanto Oshigata

Goro Nyudo Masamune (相州伝五郎入道正宗) from Sano Museum Catalog (permission granted).

Masamune was born in Kamakura as a son of Tosaburo Yukimitu.  Masamune is a very well-known sword smith even among those who are not interested in a sword.  His tombstone is in Honkaku-Ji (本覚寺) temple near Kamakura train station, approximately 6 minutes’ walk from the station.

Characteristic—– Hira zukuri.  Very slightly sakizori (tip area curves slightly outward).  Bo-hi and Tsure-hi.  Boshi is Ko-maru.   Hamon is Notare (wavy).  From the illustration above, Sunagashi, Nijyuu-ba can be seen.  One of the important characteristics to connosseur sword is Nie or Nioi and Ji-hada.  It is not possible to see it from this photo, but Masamune does Nie and usually wood grain surface.  Nie is the Soshu-Den characteristic.  This type of Nakago is called Tanago-bara.   Masamune Tanto is often MuMei (no signature).

53 Kunisuke photo53 Kunisuke illustration

Higo Province Enju Kunisuke  From Sano Museum Catalogu (permission granted)

Enju  group lived at Kikuchi county in Higo Province (Kyushu).  The characteristic of Enju group is very similar to the one of Yamashiro style.  Because  Enju Kunimura who started the Enju group was said to be the son-in-law of Rai Kuniyuki of Yamashiro-Den. 

Characteristic—-Hamon is Hoso Suguha (straight temper line).  Boshi is Ko-maru.  Front engraving is Suken (left photo of the sword) and the engraving on the back is Gomabashi ( right photo of the sword).  Jitetsu or Jihada is tight Itame.  Nie

47|Part 2.5 of —–12|Ikubi Kissaki(continued)

Continued from Chapter 46

Bizen Saburo Kunimune (備前三郎国宗)

Another swordsmith needs to be mentioned in this section is Bizen Saburo Kunimune (備前三郎国宗).  In middle Kamakura period, the Hojo clan invited the top swordsmiths to Kamakura area.  Awataguchi Kunitsuna (粟田口国綱) from Yamashiro 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 together with his group 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 top of the Hamon is squarish with less Kubire ( less narrow at the bottom of the clove).  Hajimi ( rough surface).  Also, he did 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 Hamon (Sano Museum Catalog permission granted)

 

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

Jitetsu —–Woodgrain.  Fine Jitetsu with some Ji-Nie (Nie inside Jihada).  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

Above photo is the National treasure Kunimune of the Terukuni Shrine in Kagoshima prefecture.  This Kunimune sword was lost after WWII.  The chairman of the Board of Miles Laboratory in Elkhart Indiana, Dr. Compton found this sword in an antique store in Atlanta.  Alka Seltzer is one of the well-known products among many of their products.  He was deeply into the sword collection and knew a lot about the Japanese sword.  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).  It turned out to be the famous missing National treasure of Kunimune of Terukuni Shrine.  He returned the sword to Terukuni Shrine without compensation in 1963.  My father became a friend of his around this time through Dr. Homma and Dr. Sato ( leading sword experts).  Since then, the Compton family and my family became close friends.  Dr. Compton asked Dr. Honma and my father to come to the US and examine his swords in his house (he had about 400 swords)  and swords of New York Met, Philadelphia Museum and the Boston Museum.  My father wrote about this trip and the swords he examined in those museums and published the book in 1965; the title is “Katana Angya (刀行脚)”. Since then, we visited his house and they visited our house more frequently.   Around this time must be the best time of his life for Dr. Compton and for my father.  Both of them could spend time on their interest and having fun.  It was the best time of my life too.

One time when I visited his house, he showed me his swords in his basement for hours almost all day.  His house was really huge and the basement he built as his study room was with fire prevention and had great lighting.   It was really nicely done and functioned correctly as the storage place for his many art objects.   Then his wife, Phoebe said to Compton that he cannot keep a young girl (I was a college student) in the basement all day long and looking at the swords.  He agreed and then he took me to his cornfield to pick some corns for dinner.  The basement to a cornfield, not much improvement?  So his wife Phoebe said that she will take me shopping and lunch in Chicago.   That is good,  but too far.   The distance between Elkhart and Chicago is about two hours by driving a car, too far just for shopping and lunch.  To my surprise, we got on the company private airplane to fly to the top of the roof of the department store then do the shopping and lunch, came back with the same private airplane.

Miles Lab. and Sankyo, a Japanese large pharmaceutical company had a business tie-up as Miles-Sankyo Pharmaceutical Company then.   Dr. Compton used to come to Japan quite often, officially for business purpose.  But whenever he came to Japan he used to spend many days with sword people and I used to follow my father.  One of the female workers of Miles-Sankyo, her job was to translate the sword book into English.  My parent household was filled with Miles-Sankyo products.  Miles Lab. had a big research institute in Elkhart Indiana.  I visited several times there.  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 the Compton’s room to greet him thinking the chairman must be sitting on 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 college student looking like a college student.   John Forsythe had a strange expression that he did not know what to think of what he was seeing.

29|Main 7 Areas Among Sin-To Sword (part B)

27 Shinto time line
    The circle indicate the subject of this chapter

28-map-with-number-7-e1567380504809.jpg

 

 

2  Settu (摂津 ) at Osaka ( 大阪 )

Settu, Osaka created more Wakizashi than Katana. They tend to make slightly Sakizori ( outward curvature above halfway) and slightly stretched BoshiSettu Osaka sword also has Yakidashi like the previous Yamashiro Kyoto sword, except the area where Suguha changes to Notare (wavy pattern) are smooth.  This is called Osaka Yakidashi.  Illustration below.

Osaka Boshi—– Hamon continues up to Yokote line, then Komaru with a turn.   Jitetsu —–Very fine, almost no pattern, no design, flat like surface especially Shinogi-Ji (the area between ridgeline and back) is no pattern, no design flat like surface.  This is called Osaka-Tetsu (iron)

29 Osaka Yakidashi Komaru Boshi

Well known swordsmiths in Settsu area are Osaka-Tsuda –Sukehiro (大阪津田助広), Sukenao (助直). Ikkanshi Tadatsuna (一竿子忠綱 )

img073

Awataguchi Ikkanshi Tadatsuna (粟田口一竿子忠綱 ) Previousely family owned

3.Musashi ( 武蔵 ) at Edo ( 江戸 )

Both Katana and Wakizashi have shallow sori (less curvature).  Often top area tends to narrow down.  Often but not always, unlike Settsu or Yamashiro, Hamon starts out the same design as the rest of the entire design except a little bit gentler.  Boshi is the same as Kyo-Boshi.  Jitetsu is almost the same as Kyoto.  Masame shows on Shinogi-ji.

Well known swordsmiths in Musashi area are 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) Previously family owned

4. 5. Echizen ( 越前 ) and Kaga (加賀 )

Many sword makers of Echizen and Kaga moved from Mino (美濃 )area.  Their style of Echizen Yasutsugu  is similar to Mino style.  Because of that, the sword made in this area are called Echizen- Seki, and Kaga-Seki. (refer to 24|Sengoku Period (戦国) Sword. )

Well known swordsmith in Echizen is Echizen Yasutsugu (越前康継 )

6.  Hizen (肥前)

Both Katana and Wakizashi have well-balanced shape. Hizen area tends to make a sword with Chu-Suguha-Hoture (medium width straight Hamon with the frayed look) with fine Nie (沸). Boshi has a standard and ordinary clean line with the tempered line of uniform width. Shinto sword with Chu-Suguha is often made by Hizen Tadayoshi (肥前忠吉). Very fine Ji-tetsu (surface), sometimes called Nukame-Hada.

29 Hizen Tadayoshi Boshi

Well known swordsmith in this area is Hizen Tadayoshi ( 肥前忠吉)

7.  Satsuma (薩摩 )

The sword made in Satsuma has a sound shape on both Katana and Wakizashi. Kissaki (the point area) is stretched. Yakidashi (a few inches of the tempered area above Machi ) is small irregular that is similar to Koto. Hamon is O-midare with coarse Nie. Togari-ba (pointed design) appears with coarse Nie. Mino school often have Togari-ba. One of the characteristics of this region is Satsuma-nie. It means that the coarse Nie around Hamon continued into Ji-hada area.  Inside Hamon, sometimes shows a thick line shaped like lightning.  This is called Satsuma-no-Imozuru (sweet potato vine of Satsuma). This is the biggest characteristic of Satsuma sword. Boshi has a narrow tempered line with the small irregular pattern, similar to Koto, this is called Satsuma-Boshi. On  Jitetsu (surface) Satsuma-gane (薩摩金) sometimes shows that is a dark line like Chikei .

29 Satsuma Togari-ba

Well know swordsmiths of this area are Izunokami Masafusa (伊豆守正房  ),  Ichinohira Masayoshi ( 一平安代 ), Mondonosho Masakiyo (主水正正清 )

28|Main 7 Areas Among Shin-To Sword (Part A)

S27 Shinto time line
The circle indicate the subject of this chapter

There are seven prosperous areas where a large number of swordsmiths were living and actively making swords.  Top three are Yamashiro (山城) at Kyoto, Settu ( 摂津 ) at Osaka, Musashi (武蔵  ) at Edo.  Then follows Hizen (肥前 ) at Saga, Satsuma (薩摩 ) at Kagoshima, Echizen ( 越前 ) at Fukui, and Kaga ( 加賀 ) at Kanazawa.  Each of these swordsmiths had its own local characteristics common among themselves.  To know each of that characteristic of this area is the easiest way to understand Shinto.  But keep in mind that each swordsmith had his own way of making the sword.  The following descriptions are only general guidelines.

Below is the map of Japan.  Since Hokkaido was a provincial area and swords were not made there during the Edo period, omitted from this map.

28 Map with number 7

 

 

1.  Yamashiro (山城 ) Kyoto

Yamashiro Shinto sword has a solid and strong look.  Hamon at the bottom part of the blade, above Machi (区) area shows Suguha (straight Hamon), this is called Kyo-Yakidashi (京焼出), that means to start out with straight Hamon.  Then abruptly changes to the design of O-Midare (大乱).  O-Midare changes to gentle look below Yokote line about 1 or 2 inches, then continues into Boshi with a wavy HamonBoshi design is Komaru-Boshi.  Ji-hada is somewhat rough (this depends on the swordsmith).  Masame-hada (straight grain pattern) may show on Shinogi-Ji (the area between back and ridgeline).  Among Yamashiro Shinto, there was a group called Mishina ( 三品) group.  They were Mino (美濃) related, therefore, Boshi often is Jizo boshi (地蔵鋩子), this is called Mishina Boshi ( 三品鋩子).  Therefore, they often made their Boshi, Jizo boshi (地蔵鋩子).

28 Kyo-Yakidashi, kyo, Mishina-Boshi

Well known swordsmiths in Yamashiro area are Umetada Myoju (梅忠明寿), Horikawa Kunihiro (堀川国広  ), Dewadaijyo Kunimichi ( 出羽大掾国路 )

img067

Iganokami Kinnmichi (伊賀守金道) Previously Family owned

continue to part two next chapter.