Copyright Robert Cole 2015 - No copying or distributing -
BIZEN
KO-BIZEN NOBUFUSA and "The Three HIRAs"


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________
NOBUFUSA                            Note: See KO-BIZEN technicals
   |_________ _________                    for appraisal overview
___|____  ___|____  ___|____
KANEHIRA  SUKEHIRA  TAKAHIRA
    - The SAMPIRA -

________
NOBUFUSA EI-EN 987 
   |____________ _____________ ________________________
___|_____   ____|___      ____|____                    |
MORITSUNE   KUNIKANE      YASUTSUGU KAN-KO 1004        |
    - EI-EN 987 -         ____|__                      |
                          YASUIYE SHO-RYAKU 1077       |
                          ____|____                    |
                          SHIGENAGA TEN-NIN 1108       |
"Three HIRAs"                                          |
    ________________________ __________________________|
___|____                 ___|____                   ___|____
KANEHIRA EI-EN 987       SUKEHIRA KAN-KO 1004       TAKAHIRA 
   |___________             |_____________             | O-WA 961
___|_____   ___|____     ___|_____    ____|____        |
YUKIMITSU   KANEHIRA     MITSUKANE    SADATOSHI        |
   | KAN-NIN 1017        CHO-WA 1012  CHO-RYAKU 1037   |
   |______________________ _____________               |
___|____               ___|____      ___|____          |
NAGATOMI EI-SHO 1046   SUKEYUKI      MUNEYORI          |
___|____               EI-SHO 1046   SHO-KYU 1040      |
SANEYORI SHO-HO 1074                                   |
    _____________________ _____________________________|
___|____             ____|____                     ____|____
TAKAKANE             MITSUMUNE CHO-GEN 1028        YOSHINORI
   | CHO-WA 1012     ____|____                     CHO-HO 999
   |                 KUNITSUNA EN-KYU 1069
   |                 ____|__
   |                 SADANAO KO-WA 1099
   |              
   |___________________________________________
___|_____                                   ___|____               
TAKAMITSU SHO-RYAKU 1077                    YOSHIUJI EI-SHO 1046   
   |______________________                  ___|____               
___|_____              ___|____             TAKAYASU EI-KYU 1113   
TAKATSUNA TEN-EI 1110  NARITAKA HO-AN 1120     |
___|____               ___|____                |
NARIKANE NIN-PYO 1151  NARITADA BUN-JI 1185    |
                        _______________________|
                    ___|_____               ___|_____  
                    NARITSUNE GEN-EI 1118   KUNIYOSHI KAN-JI 1087
                    ___|_____               ___|_____
                    TAKASHIGE KYU-AN 1145   MORIMITSU KYU-AN 1145
                    ___|____            
                    NARITAKA GEN-RYAKU 1184     _________________
                    ___|____                    KO-BIZEN NOBUYASU
                    NARITAKA TEM-PUKU 1233           KA-ROKU 1225

KO-BIZEN NOBUFUSA and "The Three HIRAs" - SAMPIRA
                                   Note: See KO-BIZEN technicals
                                           for appraisal overview


NOBUFUSA:  His NOBU form: SHIN "Trust." He is known as the parent 
           of "The Three HIRAs," SUKEHIRA, TAKAHIRA and KANEHIRA.  
           A previous reference set the following erroneous 
           classification:
                              Two-character MEI: KO-BIZEN
                            Three-character MEI: KO-ICHIMONJI

           Present study shows the three-character NOBUFUSA SAKU
           signature, that of the KO-BIZEN smith. The difficulty
           in differentiating between his works and KO-ICHIMONJI
           NOBUFUSA has been resolved to consideration of JI-BA.

                    KO-BIZEN: -Wide YAKIBA, YUBASHIRI-like JI-BA
                              -Three character MEI
                KO-ICHIMONJI: -YAKIBA with stronger NIE JI-BA
                              -Two-character MEI

           His style is seen as a transition between the TOMONARI
           thin YAKIBA and MASATSUNE wide. NOBUFUSA steel is 
           comparable to TOMONARI and yet his YAKIBA is deeper 
           and seems more like that of MASATSUNE. It would be 
           MASATSUNE YAKIBA on TOMONARI steel were it not that 
           MASATSUNE's "CHOJI" is often a rippled SUGU or GUNOME
           like line pulled or opened from within by YO or ASHI 
           where NOBUFUSA has the more traditionally defined and 
           active CHOJI BA. NOBUFUSA: KOSHIZORI, KO-KISSAKI HEIAN
           TACHI SUGATA. Standing KO-ITAME where CHIKEI outlines 
           MOKUME HADA patterns. MIDARE-UTSURI is possible. 
           Varying CHU-width KO-CHOJI MIDARE of defined figures
           with YO and KO-ASHI in KO-NIE and NIOI-FUKASHI. Strong
           KINSUJI, especially in the lower. YAKIBA may loose 
           some height in the lower. Signed above the ANA.










































KO-BIZEN NOBUFUSA
ko-bizen nobufusa tachi
GYO-BUTSU NOBUFUSA "JUMAN TABA"                   Imperial Property
NAGASA: 2 SHAKU 5.3 SUN
SORI: 9 BU
NAKAGO: 7 SUN
MOTO-HABA: 9.5 BU
SAKI-HABA: 6 BU

Its name derives from a spectacular MUROMACHI price, JUMAN TABA of rice - "The 10,000 Bundle Sword" 

SHINOGI-TSUKURI, IHORI-MUNE, deep KOSHIZORI HEIAN TACHI. FUNBARI closes steadily to the KO-KISSAKI, its FUKURA seemingly abrupt in respect of the KO-SHINOGI. 

Standing KO-ITAME HADA mixes with MOKUME while JI-NIE dances in MIDARE-UTSURI veils. CHOJI rises are cleaved to an even ceiling in the upper, but only hinted through the MONOUCHI where suspended NIE SHIMA-BA hovers in disarray. YO and ASHI pile CHOJI in the mid. The YAKIDASHI falls away in a subtle JI-BA.

BOSHI: Two small waves walk the FUKURA to KO-MARU. 

UBU NAKAGO signed above the single ANA: 
                                                      NOBUFUSA SAKU



Nobufusa Tachi - Kokuho

Nobufusa Tachi - Kokuho
Nagasa: 74.9cm
Moto-haba: 2.8cm


Shinogi-Tsukuri, Ihori-Mune, Koshizori Funbari, Ko-Kissaki. Narrow Mihaba.
Standing Itame Hada has thin Ji-Nie and Midare-Utsuri.
Chu-Sugu Gunome-Choji Midare Ba has Sunagashi, Kinsuji and Hotsure creating Shimaba that pulls from figures.
Hoso width Niju finds Ko-Maru Boshi.
Ubu, Kurijiri Nakago has two Mekugi-ana. Signed on the Shinogi.

    Nobufusa Saku



Nobufusa Tachi - Kokuho

Nobufusa Tachi - Kokuho
Nagasa: 76.2cm
Moto-haba: 2.8cm


Shinogi-Tsukuri, Ihori-Mune, Koshizori Funbari Tachi.
Ko-Itame Hada has thin Ji-Nie.
Nioi-Fukashi Ko-Nie Deki Choji-Midare Ba with Ko-Ashi under an undulating Notare hamon line.
Midare-Komi Hakikake Boshi.
Suriage Kirijiri Nakago has two Mekugi-ana. Signed on the Shinogi.

    Nobufusa Saku



Nobufusa  - Kokuho

Nobufusa Tachi - Kokuho
Nagasa: 71.7cm
Moto-haba: 2.7cm


Shinogi-Tsukuri, Ihori-Mune, narrow Mihaba, Ko-Kissaki Tachi.
Standing Itame Hada has Ji-Nie and Chikei.
Asaki-Notare holds strongly Nie-Deki Gunome Ko-Choji Midare Ba where Sunagashi, Kinsuji and Hotsure streak through tall figures. Shimaba and Tobi ride from the Habuchi
Midare-Komi Hakikake Boshi.
Suriage rounded Kirijiri Nakago has two Mekugi-ana. Signed on the Shinogi in the lower.

    Nobufusa Saku


KO-BIZEN "The Three HIRAs" - SAMPIRA

"The Three HIRAs" SAMPIRA

SUKEHIRA KAN-KO (t: NOBUFUSA): Born TEN-RYAKU 10, 956, the
           seventh son. Died in MAN-JU 1024. HEIAN style 
           FUNBARI TACHI of strong arc in the KOSHI-MOTO that
           sees a straightening in its narrow reach toward a 
           small KO-KISSAKI. Blades are thick and show healthy
           NIKU. Full length BO-HI is usual. SU-KEN and BONJI are
           seen. MOKUME HADA has JI-NIE. HOSO or CHU-width 
           KO-MIDARE of KO-CHOJI BA in NIE find KINSUJI pulling
           from ASHI and YO. KO-BIZEN BOSHI becomes SUGU at the
           KISSAKI. KO-MARU and short-falling KAERI on evenly
           medium width. 
    MEI: SUKEHIRA 
         BIZEN-no-KUNI SUKEHIRA 
         BIZEN-no-KUNI JUNIN SUKEHIRA

MITSUKANE CHO-WA (f: SUKEHIRA): To KO-HEI 1058.
    MEI: MITSUKANE

"Three HIRAs" SAMPIRA
KANEHIRA EI-EN (f: NOBUFUSA): Father of KANEHIRA. Made KOTEMARU
        blade. Born: EN-CHO 923, died: CHO-ROKU or CHO-HO. 
        Deeply curved TACHI will be 2 SHAKU 6 or 7 SUN to 
        possibly 3 SHAKU. Blades will be made strong. KANEHIRA
        SUGATA may not appear HEIAN: being possibly wide with
        deep curve and little FUNBARI. BO-HI is possible, 
        KAKU-DOME is possible. MOKUME HADA where NIE JI-BA 
        creates a NIE-UTSURI. There will be CHIKEI. YAKIBA: An
        irregular KO-MIDARE of KO-CHOJI MIDARE BA in KO-NIE. His
        work touts two styles, narrow pattern with large KOSHIBA
        and wider pattern that undulates. There will be KINSUJI
        and ASHI in NIOI-FUKASHI. BOSHI follows suit to style. 
        NAKAGO is long and curved. If KIJIMOMO, the cleft will be
        seated well to the middle of the tang. Of course, most 
        NAKAGO of this age will not be UBU. An often repeated 
        claim shows him in KAWACHI signing: HATA KANEHIRA and: 
        KAWACHI-no-KUNI HATA KANEHIRA 
        These signatures are also seen on blades of O-EI and 
        later KAWACHI smiths. Always associate work to time.
    MEI: KANEHIRA
         BIZEN-no-KUNI KANEHIRA
         BIZEN-no-KUNI KANEHIRA SAKU

















KOKUHO O-KANEHIRA      KO-BIZEN "The Three HIRAs" - SAMPIRA
ko-bizen o-kanehira tachi
KOKUHO O-KANEHIRA                           National Treasure
NAGASA: 2 SHAKU 9.4 SUN 
SORI: 1.1 SUN 
NAKAGO: 7.7 SUN
MOTO-HABA: 1.2 SUN
SAKI-HABA: 8.4 BU

A long possession of the IKEDA, it is considered one of the greatest of all Japanese swords. 

It was the favorite of MITSUMASA and said the presentation sword of his GEMBUKU adult initiation rights. 

One story has it the treasure of grandfather, TERUMASA, husband of TOKUGAWA IYEYASU's daughter; another the over-priced and unauthorized acquisition of overzealous KUMAZAWA RYOKAI, also known as BANZAN, the famous political professor, hired of the IKEDA, who later proved his own worse student when his governmental criticisms earned him a stay in the hoosegow. 

It is an ironic note that of the long history of this great house, such a small piece should become its greatest inheritance.

SHINOGI-TSUKURI, IHORI-MUNE, KOSHIZORI TACHI. The IKUBI-KISSAKI stands atop a huge and imposing HEIAN SUGATA where width through the upper couples a broad power to this otherwise thin blade. A BO-HI occupies the SHINOGI-JI from KO-SHINOGI through NAKAGO. 

CHIKEI badgers a condensed and moist KO-ITAME under faint NIE-UTSURI. 

KO-GUNOME shaped KO-CHOJI jut and justle. Clear NIOI-FUKASHI and KO-NIE follow delicate KO-ASHI while striating KINSUJI mimic a soft SUNAGASHI. 

Mountains and cliff fall into a smooth YAKIDASHI. 

A NIJU ghost stands off the relaxed but direct BOSHI. 

The gently curved UBU NAKAGO is HA-AGARI KURIJIRI with two present MEKUGI-ANA, a fill and a nearly 4 BU niche near the base.

     BIZEN-no-KUNI KANEHIRA SAKU



KO-BIZEN "The Three HIRAs" - SAMPIRA
NOBUFUSA EI-EN: KO-CHOJI KO-MIDARE BA. See previous.

YASUTSUGU KAN-KO (f: NOBUFUSA): KO-CHOJI MIDARE. Two character
        MEI.

NOBUFUSA EN-KYU: ITAME HADA with JI-NIE. SUGUHA and CHOJI-MIDARE
        in deep NIOI.

NOBUKANE EI-KYU (f: NOBUFUSA): KO-MOKUME. CHOJI-MIDARE with ASHI.
    MEI: BIZEN-no-KUNI NOBUKANE

YOSHINORI HO-GEN: Worked to SHO-JI 1199. 6th son of NOBUFUSA. 
           MOKUME HADA. NIOI-DEKI KO-CHOJI MIDARE BA. Large MEI.

YOSHISUKE KEN-NIN (f: YOSHINORI): SO YOSHISUKE.

KAGEYASU TEI-O (t: YOSHINORI): Work from JU-EI 1182. JI-NIE wets
        the JI. KO-NIE KO-MIDARE BA.


Kunikane - Kokuho

Kunikane San-Shaku Tachi - Kokuho
Nagasa:107.9cm - San-Shaku Roku-Sun "Bamboo Tree"
Moto-Haba: 3.6cm


Shinogi-Tsukuri, Ihori-Mune, deeply curved Koshizori, Ko-Kissaki.
Omote: Bonji, Rendai, Kuwagata and Suken
Ura: Bonji, Rendai and Suken
Standing Ko-Itame Hada has thick Ji-Nie.
Suguha of Ko-Midare Ba with Ashi-iri.
Asaki-Notare Boshi to Ko-Maru.
Ubu Kurijiri Nakago has two Mekugi-ana.
   Minamoto Kuni(Kane)



Takakane Tachi - Kokuho

Takakane Tachi - Kokuho
Nagasa:77.1cm -
Moto-Haba: 2.7cm


Shinogi-Tsukuri, Ihori-Mune, deeply curved Koshizori with Ko-Kissaki.
Ko-Itame Hada has Ji-Nie and Midare-Utsuri.
Wide Suguha of Choji Ko-Midare Ba with Ashi-iri and Yo where long lines of Shimaba join together to form Nijuba through the Habuchi.
Hoso width Midare-Komi Boshi to Ko-Maru.
Ubu Kurijiri Nakago has three Mekugi-ana.
      Takakane

KO-BIZEN "The Three HIRAs" SAMPIRA
TAKAHIRA O-WA (f: NOBUFUSA): 
        Born: EN-GI 18, 918, died: CHO-TOKU 4. O-CHOJI MIDARE BA.
    MEI: BIZEN-no-KUNI TAKAHIRA             
    
TAKAKANE CHO-WA (f: TAKAHIRA): Work to CHO-RYAKU 1037.
    MEI: TAKAKANE

YOSHIUJI EI-SHO (f: TAKAKANE): 

TAKAYASU EI-KYU (f: YOSHIUJI): To CHO-GEN 1028.

KUNIYOSHI KAN-JI (f: TAKAYASU): Work to CHO-SHO 1132.

NARITSUNE GEN-EI (f: TAKAYASU): To CHO-GEN 1028.

NARITAKA HO-AN: KITOJI. TAKAKANE line smith. Work to JI-SHO 1177.
        First signed NARIIYE. Old style KO-MIDARE BA in NIE 
        becomes NIJUBA in places. 
     NARITAKA

NARITADA BUN-JI (t: NARITAKA): KO-MIDARE KO-CHOJI BA.



YASUTSUNA GEN-NIN: Work from SHO-JI 1199. NIE KO-MIDARE of 
        KO-CHOJI BA.

YASUHISA KA-ROKU: NIE KO-MIDARE of KO-CHOJI BA. Also KEN-CHO 
        YASUHISA follows.

NORISHIGE KAN-KI: Often mistaken for ETCHU NORISHIGE. NORISHIGE
        sword: Is it early BIZEN? JI-NIE on standing ITAME shows
        CHIKEI. KO-BIZEN NIE JI-BA graces the JI. YAKIBA is in 
        NIE. KO-MIDARE BA or KO-MIDARE of KO-CHOJI BA. 
        MEI is completely different than ETCHU, somewhat small 
        near the MUNE.

YASUKIYO JO-EI: KO-KISSAKI, strong FUNBARI, KOSHIZORI TACHI. 
        KO-MOKUME HADA shows JI-NIE and UTSURI. NIE JI-BA dresses
        evenly laid NIE KO-MIDARE or KO-CHOJI with ASHI and YO.
        BOSHI: KO-MARU.

YOSHITSUGU BUN-EI: NIE JI-BA over KO-MIDARE of CHOJI BA.

NOBUYASU KA-ROKU: Said to be in the KO-BIZEN NOBUFUSA line, a 
        NOBUYASU seems, however, a popular creature in all 
        NOBUFUSA lines. FUKUOKA NOBUYASU in KEN-CHO, FUKUOKA in
        BUN-EI and OSAFUNE NOBUNAOs' student in SHO-WA.
   MEI: NOBUYASU SAKU 
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