Copyright Robert Cole 2015
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YAMASHIRO

YAMASHIRO RAI MAGOTARO KUNITOSHI  

    SANJI "Three characters" RAI KUNITOSHI

 

SANJI creates the revolution that replaces Mid-KAMAKURA style
Notes on the differences between 
NIJI and SANJI KUNITOSHI
NIJI Two-characters KUNITOSHI made the bold style of his
middle-late KAMAKURA peers. Strong, with little tapering
in width.
    (Note: FUNBARI is a term, properly used to describe 
    the HEIAN SUGATA trait of overt width at the base.
    HEIAN FUNBARI was exemplified by the convergence to
    a very small KO-KISSAKI. FUNBARI has become commonly
    used to describe any noticeable difference in width
    between the upper and lower. This is technically
    incorrect, although common to the tongue. As it is
    colloquial, one should know the difference and make
    sure in the speaking) 
NIJI's work was seated to his peers and style of the 
mid-KAMAKURA, fully expanded upper. Differential in width
had receded steadily until the 2nd generation FUKUOKA
ICHIMONJI pushed SUGATA and YAKIBA to their limits around
KEN-CHO 1249. 
This zenith of mid-KAMAKURA expansion stayed through 
BUN-EI 1264, where we see a refining. Both SUGATA and
YAKIBA become more defined and deliberate. 
KYOTO, the always city, had always produced the highest 
development and sophistication of arts and literature.
KYOTO refinement was withdrawal from overbearance -
without weakness. Born of the aristocracy, the essence
of the Japanese soul was searched and researched in the
capital provinces. 
RAI swords and schools reflect this. 

While the FUKUOKA pushed all parameters to an extreme, 
YAMASHIRO sword makers articulated their always tasteful
sophistication and reserve. The SUGATA of NIJI KUNITOSHI shows the display of
mid-KAMAKURA roots and domain. MAGOTARO, conversely,
creates the SUGATA of the "coming" time. 
There has been confusion in reference because there 
appears to be no over-lap. It would seem possible for a
new leader to appear suddenly in the midst of an otherwise
strong career, but in such cases it would be expected to
see the early works of the new master before the passing
of the senior. 
Sometimes a protege would help the master until old age 
before making swords under his own name, NAGAMOTO helping
his master, OSAFUNE NAGAMITSU is the example.  The strength of MAGOTARO is seen by his recall from the
long past HEIAN, a new FUNBARI and with it, a new direction
for the whole of the country. 
The KEN-CHO 1249 mid-KAMAKURA expansion of width was most
similar with the even width of the NAMBOKUCHO. 
MAGOTARO's post mid-KAMAKURA FUNBARI played off the theme 
of HEIAN SUGATA just as NAMBOKUCHO mimicked the expansion
of mid-KAMAKURA. 
MAGOTARO KUNITOSHI created and led the retreat from the 
full SUGATA of his father's mid-KAMAKURA roots. His style departure was not created to counter his father.
His was the strong stroke of the great master. He did not
just change direction, but created the direction.  His narrower SUGATA has no weakness, the upper has
complete power. 
MAGOTARO = "Coming" of new style.

Rai Kuniyuki
Mid-Kamakura
Width in the Upper
SHO-GEN 1259
Niji Kunitoshi
Mid-Kamakura
Width in the Upper
KO-AN 1278
Sanji Kunitoshi
Progenitor of Transition
Upper narrows, Ko-Kissaki
SHO-O 1288
 
Remember

Rai Kunitoshi Rai Kunimitsu Rai Kunitsugu

MAGOTARO RAI KUNITOSHI - SANJI "Three characters"
RAI KUNITOSHI SHO-O: The SUGATA and HAMON changes definitively to
        mark this work. Considered one of the truly great TANTO
        makers. TACHI is Middle/late-KAMAKURA SUGATA, where the 
        earlier strength of the MONOUCHI withdraws for the 
        graceful lines popular of the SOSHU KAMAKURA movement.
        Here a smaller, slightly elongated KISSAKI is looked for;
        along with a gentle tapering through the MONOUCHI. 
        The HAMON  will be a reserved  CHU-SUGU KO-MIDARE or 
        KO-GUNOME of fairly even height. Structured BOSHI with 
        KO-MARU to deep and long turnback. 

TANTO: May be the wide of YOSHIMITSU or the narrow and thick 
     KAMAKURA TANTO SUGATA - a creation of the AWATAGUCHI lines.

     There are those who say the great TANTO talk to the hand,
     - that the blind can judge by feel alone. 

        He made both types: The narrow, older style, and wide. 
        Often UCHIZORI and MITSU-MUNE. Often KOSHI-HI or KEN. 
        ITAME has fine JI-NIE. HOSO-SUGU or SUGU ASAKI-NOTARE. 
        Small KO-ASHI might battle KINSUJI in a gentle tussle. 
        Subtle SUNAGASHI appears, then hides. AWATAGUCHI line 
        TANTO makers may have a variance of the YAKIBA before 
        the FUKURA at the MONOUCHI. It may be a complexity or 
        a thinning of line. The YAKIBA will usually address 
        the MACHI with variance or figure. 
        KUNITOSHI YAKIBA: Look for a widening or bump of the 
        YAKIBA at the FUKURA. BOSHI then turns in KO-MARU to a 
        deep fall.  
MEI: RAI KUNITOSHI

                ______________________________________


KUNITOSHI Reminder:  Variation of theme is regarded as late work.

        Early - Strong KAMAKURA SUGATA
              - NIE-FUKASHI O-CHOJI MIDARE - DAIBO CHOJI
              - NOTARE/GUNOME BOSHI with slight KAERI
              - Two-character MEI

        Later - SUE-KAMAKURA tapered MONOUCHI to longish KISSAKI
              - Conservative HAMON
              - KO-MARU with deep turnback
              - Three-character MEI 



KOKUHO RAI KUNITOSHI                      National Treasure

NAGASA: 8.1 SUN                      MOTO-HABA: 7.4 BU     SORI: UCHIZORI                   MOTO-KASANE: 2.3 BU   NAKAGO: 3.1 SUN   HIRA-TSUKURI, MITSU-MUNE, UCHIZORI TANTO.    The very straight looking MUNE curves smoothly to the    point. Thickness brings power to the blade. There are    KOSHI-HI, Gomabashi-Hi along the OMOTE with a    single on the URA.
KO-ITAME with his delicate JI-NIE. KO-NIE and tightly
developed NIOI draws HOSO-SUGUHA to the edge. KINSUJI
and NIOI are set adrift in the MONOUCHI. A gentle
ripple of YAKIDASHI greets the MACHI on both sides.
There is widening at the FUKURA where the line leaves
on a path toward the SAKI. KO-MARU mates a deep-KAERI.
A longish FURISODE UBU NAKAGO has two MEKUGI-ANA and
his three character MEI:
                                RAI KUNITOSHI





KOKUHO RAI KUNITOSHI KO-DACHI 
NAGASA: 54.2cm - 1 SHAKU 7 SUN 9 BU 
  SORI: 1.5cm 
NAKAGO: 16.6cm 
SHINOGI-TSURKI, IHORI-MUNE, narrow MIHABA to KO-KISSAKI. 
An exemplary version showing SANJI's SUGATA gift to the
later KAMAKURA. 
The tightest KO-ITAME HADA runs under JI-NIE. 
HOSO-SUGU KO-MIDARE, KO-CHOJI BA mixed. Tight NIOI-GUCHI 
of KO-NIE has ASHI and YO. Small KINSUJI pierce the line. 
BOSHI OMOTE has small NOTARE-KOMI with KO-MARU at the head. 
BOSHI URA is SUGU KO-MARU with slight HAKIKAKE. 
Long, slender UBU NAKAGO is perfect example in miniature. 
One MEKUGI-ANA and signed in the SHINOGI-JI:                                RAI KUNITOSHI








Battle-Scar


Rai Kunitoshi Tachi
Nagasa: 65.9cm

Shinogi-tsukuri, Ihori-mune Tachi with full Bo-Hi and Rai-Kissaki.
Ko-Mokume Hada with JiNie.
A varying Sugu line holds complex figures of Ko-Choji and Ko-Ashi, striating Sunagashi and rising Koshiba to the Mid.
O-Suriage, Haagari Nakago has one Mekugi-ana and Honami Koson Red-Lacquer Shumei.

    Tachi-Ura:

               Rai Kunitoshi
      Tachi-Omote:
                Koson (Cao)



KOKUHO RAI KUNITOSHI


KOKUHO RAI KUNITOSHI 
NAGASA: 72.2cm 
SORI: 2.4cm 
SHINOGI-TSUKURI, IHORI-MUNE, deep KOSHI-ZORI TACHI. SANJI's SUGATA 
revolution is seen in the narrowing reach. 
SANJI's beautiful and compacted KO-ITAME descends like shaved marble. 
There is JI-NIE and RAI NIE-UTSURI. 
Basic NIOI-GUCHI shows KO-NIE HOSO-width KO-CHOJI-MIDARE BA finding CHOJI 
rises building KOSHIBA to the mid. 
SUGU KO-MARU BOSHI.
Fairly straight-falling UBU NAKAGO is signed in the JI above its 
single MEKUGI-ANA: 
                                        RAI KUNITOSHI 


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