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The purpose of this page is to provide an outlet for random short articles concerning Nihonto and Tosogu. Additional material will be published here in the future.

Article #1 Sugata info

1)    Bizen Osafune Yoshikage nagamaki naoshi, nagasa: 2 shaku 4 sun 4 bu, sori: 5 bu, Nanbokucho, Jowa 5th year (1349),

This is a Soden Bizen o-nagamaki. The original nagasa was more than 3 shaku. Many tachi and nagamaki were shortened during the Sengoku jidai of late Muromachi times. These were called Tensho suriage. The Tensho nengo began in 1573 and ended in 1592. The practice of greatly shortening (o-suirage) long tachi and nagamaki for use as fighting swords was in fashion among generals at that time.

2)    Bizen Osafune Motoshige o-tachi, nagasa: 3 shaku 1 sun 2 bu, sori: 1 bu 5 ri, omote signed: Bishu Osafune ju Motoshige, ura: Kano (1350) [ ] year [ ]moth, a day, hira-niku present.

Later works made in the Enbun (1356) and Joji (1362) nengos were wider than this and with a more elongated kissaki. However, they are not as tasteful as this one.

3)    Bizen Ko-zori Hidemitsu tachi, nagasa: 2 shaku 2 sun 3 bu, sori: 8 bu, omote signed Bishu Osafune Hidemitsu, ura: Eiwa 4 year 3 month day (1379).

This is a reduced sugata compared to that of Enbun through Joji jidais and the representative sugata of Ko-zori. This group was active from Eiwa (1375) to Oei (1394 - 1428). The sori is high in comparison to the nagasa. Saki-zori is clearly showing and the nakago is short.

4)   Oei Bizen Yasumitsu o-tachi, nagasa: 2 shaku 4 sun 5 bu, sori: 9 bu, omote signed Bishu Osafune Yasumitsu, ura: Oei 26th year (1420) 3rd month, a day.

The early Muromachi Oei jidai was a peacetime in which pure Japanese culture was fully flowering. Therefore, the sugata of a tachi reflected the peacetime by going back to the elegant graceful sugata of the Kamakura jidai. But, comparing to the older work (Kamakura tachi) these Oei tachi were heavier and thicker and with a clear saki-zori. (Note: This was after Nanbokucho. During Nanbokucho, Japanese discovered that the graceful elegant sugata of Kamakura times didn't work too well when fighting the Mongols so the Nanbokucho sugata was developed. However, in this peace of Oei, there was no need for that sugata hence the return of a more Kamakura-like sugata. Oei blades are very much sought after by collectors and this graceful sugata is one of the main reasons.)

Reference:   Token to Rekishi, No# 568, March Heisei 1st, page 4 - 6

Article #2 Kanayama Tsuba

The following is a list of criteria, written by Wakayama, concerning the recognition of Kanayama tsuba.

1) Mumei

2) Manufacturing period is Momoyama and some may be Muromachi

3) Shape is round and with ji-sukashi

4) Size tends to be small but thick

5) Hammered ji with nice patina showing the kitae

6) Kaku-mimi ko-niku and the mimi rim is wide and even

7) Tempered after the tsuba is made to show surface iron bones

8) Design pattern is simple, non-complex geometric one. Sometimes it is difficult to identify the theme or motif

1) Kanayama Tsuba, Wakayama Homatsu, Token to Rekishi No# 576, page 19 - 23
2) Kanayama Tsuba, Wakayama Homatsu, Token to Rekishi No# 577, page 24 - 31