Copyright Robert Cole 2014 - No copying or distributing -Note: Missing graphics
YAMASHIRO KYOTO - The Emperor-smith & his ICHIMONJI

 
What a twelve year old signed away, the adult would take back
                      ...with an Excalibur
    GOTOBA JOKO Emperor in Retirement & the creation of the ICHIMONJI
KIKU GYO-SAKU SHO-GEN 1207

Interest and evocation of the KAMI brought Emperor GOTOBA to start the ICHIMONJI SHO-GEN GOBAN KAJI by summoning 13 leading masters to KYOTO for his personal instruction and the research and development for perfection to the Japanese Sword. Smiths were titled to the SAKON-E Imperial Guard as SHOGEN officers for legal admittance to service. Commissioners were named as sponsors, and each smith was assigned an alternate month of the year. GOTOBA had associated with BIZEN NORIMUNE, the organizer and therefore smith founder of the ICHIMONJI. Note: If this were hobby, it would have stayed a dalliance with NORIMUNE. A serious endeavor, only the Emperor could tell smiths to show up and share family secrets. At first a secret, the ICHIMONJI were selected to create a superior sword to aid in the restoration to power of the Imperial house.

Over time there were three ICHIMONJI groups that convened for the Emperor:

        - The SHO-GEN GOBAN KAJI 
        - The Twenty-four GOBAN KAJI 
        - Exile group, the OKI GOBAN KAJI 
GOTOBA-TENNO made swords, but is known to have specialized in the YAKI-IRI hardening process of swords produced at the Palace, and to have signed these pieces. His KIKU-MON of 16 petals and 24 petals are rare finds. 

ICHIMONJI SHO-GEN GOBAN KAJI
1st month: BIZEN FUKUOKA NORIMUNE

2nd month: BITCHU KO-AOE SADATSUGU

3rd month: BIZEN FUKUOKA NOBUFUSA

4th month: YAMASHIRO AWATAGUCHI KUNIYASU

5th month: BITCHU KO-AOE TSUNETSUGU

6th month: YAMASHIRO AWATAGUCHI KUNITOMO

7th month: BIZEN FUKUOKA MUNEYOSHI 

8th month: BITCHU KO-AOE TSUGUIYE

9th month: BIZEN FUKUOKA SUKEMUNE

10th month: BIZEN FUKUOKA YUKIKUNI

11th month: BIZEN FUKUOKA SUKENARI

12th month: BIZEN FUKUOKA SUKENOBU

URUZUKI Intercalary month:YAMASHIRO AWATAGUCHI HISAKUNI 
        - The intercalary month began on May 17, 1208
The SHO-GEN GOBAN were the FUKUOKA artists and 3 of BITCHU MORITSUGUs' sons and 3 of AWATAGUCHI KUNIIYEs' sons


The Twenty-four GOBAN KAJI was far more diverse, bringing stylists from different areas. The commissioners for the this group were AWATAGUCHI HISAKUNI and FUKUOKA NOBUFUSA of the SHO-GEN GOBAN. Two experienced smiths rather than the twelve aristocrats of the first group show that here the commissioners were essentially directors for enacting a carefully considered program. The greater number of smiths allowed not only an expansion of the knowledge base but also development of the engineering aspects of production. This was a well-laid plan. 

The Twenty-four GOBAN KAJI

1st month: AWATAGUCHI KUNITOMO
FUKUOKA KANEMICHI (SUIICHI)
2nd month: FUKUOKA NAGASUKE
OSAFUNE MOROZANE
3rd month: SENJUIN SHIGEHIRO
FUKUOKA YUKIKUNI
4th month: OSAFUNE CHIKAFUSA
BUNGO YUKIHIRA
5th month: FUKUOKA KANECHIKA
FUKUOKA SANEFUSA
6th month: FUKUOKA YOSHIFUSA
OSAFUNE NORITSUGU
7th month: FUKUOKA TOMOSUKE 
OHARA MUNETAKA
8th month: FUKUOKA AKIZANE
OSAFUNE SANETSUNE
9th month: FUKUOKA KANESUYE
FUKUOKA NOBUFUSA
10th month: MIMASAKA TOMOTADA
MIMASAKA SANETSUNE (brothers)
11th month: FUKUOKA KANESUK
FUKUOKA NORIMUNE
12th month: FUKUOKA KORESUKE
KO-AOE TACHIBANA NORIZANE
Following the defeat of SHOKYU RAN "War of 1221" GOTOBAs' secret MEI, SUKEHIDE with a 17 petal KIKU was employed in exile with his OKI GOBAN KAJI Group.

OKI GOBAN KAJI

1st and 2nd months:
AWATAGUCHI NORIKUNI

3rd and 4th months:
AWATAGUCHI KAGEKUNI

5th and 6th months:
AWATAGUCHI KUNITSUNA

7th and 8th months:
FUKUOKA MUNEYOSHI

9th and 10th months:
FUKUOKA NOBUMASA

11th and 12th months:
FUKUOKA SUKENORI


YAMASHIRO KYOTO - GOTOBA-TENNO

                            Minamoto Yoritomo
...his reproachful ancestors would conspire. The KAMI would be conjured - without asking

Through Earth - Fire - Water 
and the disparate knowledges of men...


                              Gotoba-sama
KIKU GYO-SAKU SHO-GEN 1207 - GOTOBA JOKO "Emperor in Retirement"

SHO-GEN GOBAN swords are SHINOGI-TSUKURI, IHORI-MUNE, KOSHIZORI TACHI with strong FUMBARI. Standing KO-ITAME with a thinly veiled JI-NIE. KO-MIDARE BA and KO-CHOJI of very fine KO-NIE and deep NIOI-FUKASHI. YAKIBA may be NIJUBA and KINSUJI is expected. Some YAKIOTOSHI. 

Note: KO-ICHIMONJI, or early ICHIMONJI, resemble AWATAGUCHI work. 

    and the KAMI didn't disappoint. 
      But fate, it seems, can defeat 
                       even the Gods  ...at times
Note: The "ICHIMONJI" are the SHO-GEN GOBAN KAJI, ICHIMONJI masters of 1208 or the participants of the later ICHIMONJI groups and their descendants that adopted the title. These have mostly been the pre-guild, sword making block at FUKUOKA. 
      See Appraisal Series, Sho-shin Newsletter, issue #3 or Stylespdf and Schoolspdf for the political aspects that influenced the progress of KAMAKURA sword style.
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