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Sword Making at YAMANOUCHI


MASAMUNE SHO-SO to KA-REKI Born: 1264, died: 1343
/Early-NAMBOKUCHO SUGATA. Forever known as the greatest
SOSHU sword smith. His reputation trumpeted by all authorities from all
times and all sources. He made TACHI and TANTO. ZAIMEI (signed) TANTO
are found, TACHI are almost always MUMEI or O-SURIAGE NAKAGO and
therefore without signature. All swords, like paintings, are validated
by the work, not by signature. TANTO can be expected between 7 Sun and
9. He enjoyed producing a wide MIHABA SUGATA. His swords are strong.

Later, we see more MU-SORI NAKAGO.

SUGATA: His time, and the swords they made, walked from Late-KAMAKURA
SUGATA, to Late-KAMAKURA/Early-NAMBOKUCHO SUGATA and then to the fully
developed O-KISSAKI NAMBOKU SUGATA. He was born at the end of Mid-
KAMAKURA, lived into the NAMBOKUCHO.

shape compared to the coming NAMBOKUCHO SUGATA of long, wide, straight
with large O-KISSAKI. The transition shows a graceful curve, wider in
the mid and reaching for an elongated KISSAKI. It almost appears subtly
similar to the famous SOSHU TANAGO NAKAGO.

MUNE: MITSU-MUNE and IHORI-MUNE. His MUNE will be shallow, or not
highly raised.

He created his
TANAGO "Fish-Belly" NAKAGO to be uniquely swept back to
tastefully stylized and not exaggerated. A few TANTO appear KURIJIRI
but may not have been originally. Even small TANTO with a relatively
straight tang, smoothly resolve to a small JIRI. NAKAGO-MUNE may have
a very slight NIKU. His well-shaped TANAGO-NAKAGO were a consistent
statement to his SOSHU school position.

JI-TETSU is KO-ITAME where HADA runs to the point where, in some pieces
has been called O-Mokume. There is JI-NIE and can appear as NIE-UTSURI.
The KITAE has CHIKEI and NIE in various places. It is famous that his
thinner blade allowed a greater abundance of surface NIE and YUBASHIRI
effects, such as TOBI-YAKI and grouping NIE.
Special MASAMUNE Note: CHIKEI can be strewn through the steel. At
times, abundant dark CHIKEI is seen twisting in the grain and gives
the Jitetsu the appearance of Lace Agate.

HAMON is generally NIE-DEKI, NOTARE GUNOME patterns where MIDARE
unevenness is taken to the extreme. His figures are dynamic storms.
NIE can be MURA-NIE and NIOI is FUKASHI or deep. YO or TOBI can be
Early work was influenced by SHINTOGO KUNIMITSU, where KO-NIE DEKI
a manner to mimic SHINTOGO.
Then we see KO-MIDARE BA and SUGU ASAKI-NOTARE, gently undulating
HAMON line, and the rise of his SOSHU GUNOME-MIDARE special trait of
wildly oblong and stretched figures. MIMIGATA GUNOME O-MIDARE BA
shrouded under NIE and NIOI with KINSUJI and INAZUMA arcing through
the grain. KINSUJI can be particularly bright.Some swords show a long
SUGUHA line that becomes ever wider toward the upper, in NIE.

BOSHI can be MIDARE-KOMI or TSUKI-AGE with shallow KAERI. He can show
an active O-MARU BOSHI that will be covered with NIE or NIE HAKIKAKE
and with KINSUJI.




Dark CHIKEI defines wildly forged steel

Don't Forget...

Meibutsu Jo Izumi-no-Kami Shoji Masamune - Kokuho

Meibutsu Jo Izumi-no-Kami Shoji Masamune
Nagasa: 2 Shaku 3 Sun 3 Bu (70.6cm)
Sori: 7 Bu (2.12cm)
Moto-haba: 8 Bu 8 Rin (2.67cm)
Saki-haba: 5 Bu 8 Rin (1.76cm)
Kissaki-naga: 9 Bu 6 Rin (2.91cm)
Moto-kasane: 2 Bu (0.61cm)
Saki-kasane Just over 1 Bu (0.45cm)
Nakago: 5 Sun 8 Bu (17.6cm)
Nakagozori: 5 Rin (0.15cm)

Considered the highest stroke of Soshu art. The forging created very hard steel, with strongly standing Chikei as a theme. Brilliantly shining Nie strikingly and unmistakably states its author.

Shinogi-tsukuri, Ihori-mune, deeply curved and with Chu-Kissaki.
Itame Hada has Ji-Nie and its abundant Chikei.
Notare Ko-Choji with Ko-Ashi and Ko-Gunome mixed with Yubashiri. KoAshi-iri falls under flowing Sunagashi where Nie-Kori stands like fruit. Kinsuji wrestles Chikei for place.
Midare Boshi has Kinsuji and resolves in Yakizumi.

         O-Suriage Kengyo-Jiri Sujichigai Yasuri

Jo Izumi-no-Kami (Masashige) Shoji
                    Masamune Suriage - Honami Kotoku - Cao

Meibutsu Taro-saku Masamune

Masamune Kitae shows strongly made Chikei
Meibutsu Taro-saku Masamune
Nagasa: 2 Shaku 1 Sun 2 Bu 2 Rin (64.3cm)
Sori: 5 Bu 9 Rin (1.8cm)
Moto-haba: 1 Sun 2 Rin (3.1cm)
Saki-haba: 8 Bu 3 Rin (2.5cm)
Kissaki-naga: 1 Sun 3 Bu 5 Rin (4.1cm)
Moto-kasane: 2 Bu (0.61cm)
Saki-kasane Just over 1 Bu 6 Rin (0.5cm)
Nakago: 5 Sun 6 Bu 4 Rin (17.1cm)
Slight Nakagozori

Shinogi-tsukuri, Mitsu-mune, wide body, Bo-Hi and with strong Chu-Kissaki.
Itame Hada has Ji-Nie and Chikei, dappling through the Ji.
Ko-Midare Ba in an Asaki-Notare, gently undulating, line. Chikei dances in Kitae while Kinsuji and Nie dress the Hamon.
Midare-Komi Boshi has short Kaeri.
O-Suriage with shallow Kurijiri.

Meibutsu Kanze Masamune - Kokuho

Meibutsu Kanze Masamune
Nagasa: 2 Shaku 1 Sun 2 Bu (64.39cm)
Sori: 6 Bu (1.82cm)
Moto-haba: 9 Bu 3 Rin (2.8cm)
Saki-haba: 5 Bu 6 Rin (1.7cm)
Kissaki-naga: 9 Bu 6 Rin (2.91cm)
Nakago: 5 Sun 4 Bu 8 Rin (16.6cm)
Small Nakagozori

Shinogi-tsukuri, Ihori-mune to Chu-Kissaki.
Itame Hada with Ji-Nie and Chikei bunch together across the surface.
Ko-Midare and Ko-Gunome push each other. Ashi cuts figures while Yo alights. Kinsuji knifes through flowing Sunagashi.
Midare-Komi Boshi is brushed with flaring Ji-Nie and Kinsuji.
Horimono are Bonji, Kurikara and Ken.
Two-Mekugi-ana to Kengyo-Jiri

Meibutsu Ishida Masamune - Juyo Bunkazai

Meibutsu Ishida Masamune
                   Sword of Ishida Kazushige - Implacable foe of Iyeyasu

Nagasa: 2 Shaku 2 Sun 7 Bu (68.98cm)
Sori: 8 Bu 2 Rin (2.48cm)
Moto-haba: 9 Bu 2 Rin (2.79cm)
Saki-haba: 7 Bu (2.12cm)
Kissaki-naga: 1 Sun 5 Rin (3.18cm)
Nakago: 6 Sun 5 Bu (19.7cm)
Gentle Nakagozori

Shinogi-tsukuri, Ihori-mune, strongly curved with Chu-Kissaki. Two Battle-scars.
Tightly forged Ko-Itame Hada has Ji-Nie and the always Masamune mark: Chikei.
Notare line has Gunome mixed, with Ashi, Yo and Kinsuji running in Sunagashi.
Midare-Komi Boshi turns in Ko-Maru with Hakikake.
O-Suriage Kengyo Nakago, one Mekugi-ana.

Meibutsu Musashi Masamune

First a possession of the Tokugawa Shogunate, then famous of the Kishu Tokugawa.
Itame Hada with thick Ji-Nie and Chikei interspersed through the Hada. Bo-Hi Horimono.
Undulating Notare line of Gunome, Choji O-Midare Ba with Kinsuji, Sunagashi and very strong Tsuyo Nie. Ashi and Yo.
Eboshi Ceremonial-Hat Jizo style Boshi with slight Hakikake.
O-Suriage Kirijiri Nakago with two Mekugi-ana.

Meibutsu Chida Masamune - Juyo Bunkazai

Meibutsu Chida Masamune
Nagasa: 2 Shaku 2 Sun 1 Bu (66.96cm)
Sori: 6 Bu (1.82cm)
Motohaba: 1 Sun (3.03cm)
Saki-haba: 8 Bu 5 Rin (2.28cm)
Moto-kasane: 2 Bu 3 Rin (0.7cm)
Saki-kasane: 2 Bu (0.61cm)
Nakago: 6 Sun 5 Bu (19.7cm)
Small Nakagozori

Very strong, wide bodied Shinogi Tachi with shallow Sori and O-Kissaki. Large Shinogi-wide Bo-Hi Sugata.
Strongly standing Itame Hada flies his unmistakable Ji-Nie and Chikei banner.
Brilliant Ko-Nie O-Notare Gunome mix shows Kinsuji, Sunagashi and Tobiyaki.
Midare-Komi Hakikake Boshi has small Ko-Maru and short Kaeri.
O-Suriage Nakago to soft Kengyo-Jiri. One Mekugi-ana.


                          Masamune Suriage
                          Honami Kotoku - Cao

Meibutsu Hocho Masamune - Kokuho

Meibutsu Hocho Masamune
Nagasa: 7 Sun 1 Bu (21.67cm)
Sori: 1 Bu (0.3cm)
Moto-haba: 1 Sun 2 Bu (3.64cm)
Saki-haba: 9 Bu 7 Rin (2.94cm)
Kissaki-naga: 1 Sun 5 Rin (3.18cm)
Moto-kasane: 1 Bu 6 Rin (0.48cm)
Saki-kasane: 1 Bu (0.3cm)
Nakago: 3 Sun 1 Bu (9.39cm)

Slight Nakagozori

Perhaps his most famous work, he is known for his Hocho style Shoto.
Hira-Tsukuri, Maru-mune, very shallow curve, extra wide Hocho "Kitchen Knife" with
carved Gomabashi slats.
Tight Ko-Itame Hada has Ji-Nie and Masamune Chikei.
Notare Gunome spreads wider in the upper. In Ko-Nie with Sunagashi and Kinsuji.
Midare-Komi Boshi has Kinsuji and Nie Hakikake Ko-Maru, short Kaeri turn.
Wide Tanago Nakago to shallow and soft KengyoJiri. Mei is absent.

Meibutsu Hocho Masamune - Kokuho

Meibutsu Hocho Masamune
Nagasa: 21.8cm
Moto-Haba: 3.3cm

Hira-Tsukuri, Ihori-Mune wide Hocho.
Omote: Suken and Tsume Claw.
Ura: Bonji
Well-knit and standing Itame Hada with Chikei.
Upper is restrained Notare, where lower has four distinct high-standing Notare mounds holding Soshu Gunome O-Midare Tobi-Yaki figures in profuse Nie and Sunagashi.
Notare Boshi has Togari Saki and short Kaeri.
Mumei with joined Ana from several mountings.

Hyuga Masamune - Kokuho

Hyuga Masamune
Nagasa: 8 Sun 2 Bu (24.8cm)
Moto-haba: 7 Bu 3 Rin (2.21cm)
Nakago: 3 Sun 1 Bu (9.4cm)

Itame KoMokume mixed Hada of Ji-Nie and Chikei. Gomabashi Hori near the Mune-Ura.
Notare Gunome where
Mura-Nie and Kinsuji O-Midare mountains exemplify.
Midare Jizo-style Ko-Maru Boshi in Hakikake with deep Kaeri.
Very slightly curved Kengyo Nakago has three Mekugi-ana. Signature is absent.

Asakura Yoshikage

Masamune of Asakura Yoshikage

Asakura Yoshikage's Kote-giri Masamune
See their Story

Ura: Asakura Kote-giri Tachi-Ya    Tensho Sanen Ni-Gatsu
Omote: Ubakka Go ShuJo     Otsu Denjuro Hairyo

Honda Tadakatsu - Nakatsukasa

One of the Four Great Generals of Iyeyasu
Ii Naomasa
Sakakibara Yasumasa
Sakai Tadatsugu
Honda Tadakatsu

See Tadakatsu's Dragonfly Yari

Meibutsu Nakatsukasa Masamune - Kokuho

Meibutsu Nakatsukasa Masamune - National Treasure
Nagasa: 2 Shaku 2 Sun 1 Bu (66.96cm)
Sori: 5 Bu 5 Rin (1.67cm)
Moto-haba: 9 Bu 4 Rin (2.85cm)
Saki-haba: 7 Bu (2.12cm)
Kissaki-naga: 1 Sun 2 Bu 8 Rin (3.88cm)
Nakago: 5 Sun 1 Bu (15.45cm)

Honda Tadakatsu is known as Nakatsukasa Daiho - the Great Helper of Iyeyasu.
Legend has the Mito Family presenting it to Kofu Tsunatoyo - who later became the good administrator, Shogun Iyenobu.

Part of the Kyoho Meibutsu.

Shinogi-tsukuri, Ihori-mune, wide
, shallow curve with Chu-Kissaki.
Ko-Itame O-Itame mix is strongly knit. Jinie and Chikei.
Strong Bo-Hi both sides.
Soshu Midare with Ko-Nie Hotsure pulls Niju, under an easy wave Ko-Notare. Ashi and Yo see Kinsuji and Inazuma arcing into the Ji.
Midare Boshi to Yakizumi.
O-Suriage Nakago has Kurijiri and one Mekugi-ana.

In gold

       Masamune      Honami Cao   (Honami Kotoku)
       Honda Nakatsukasa Shoji    (sword of Tadakatsu)

See Another Masamune

Notes on KAMAKURA Styles
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