I went to Nikko. I saw nice swords at the Futarasan shrine Chugushi beside
the Chuzenji lake.
They are 5 naginatas (long handled swords) from 13th century or 14th century.
All of them are originally no-signature. 4 of them have iron habaki, probably
originally made with the blades. It was very interesting to study those
old naginatas with original shape. Unfortunately it was forbidden to take
I post some pictures of the Kegon fall in Nikko, instead of the swords.
I saw a sword made by the emperor Gotoba at the Tokyo National Museum.
The chrysanthemum mark is carved in the tang, and the blade is a very nice
shape as a tachi blade from the Kamakura period. The hamon is choji pattern
what looks like that of Ichimonji. Probably this time, some smith from
Ichimonji prepared the blade for him and helped him to temper the blade
I'm sorry it was difficult to take the choji hamon by my camera.
One interesting point is Yaki-otoshi. The hamon and utsuri starts 3 ~ 4 cm away from the ha-machi. Such starting of hamon is very rare in Ichimonji blades. So it suggests the emperor Gotoba who personally tempered the blade.
Such a long yaki-otoshi often happens for sword fans who try tempering,
because the fire to heat the blade is too hot for them to heat the blade
part near the tang. They are afraid to burn their hand. It is funny when
we imagine the emperor who heats the blade being afraid of his hand burnt.
Tempering experience by customers => Project Gotoba
University students from the United States came to my Kodaira forge.
They experienced the fold'n welding work. They helped me using a big hammer
to forge the outer steel of blade. They are from Lebanon, Venezuela, China,
Taiwan and United States.
The executive director of NBTHK, Mr. Shizuka is coming to Poland next
week. He will make some lectures in some sword events. And our smith kokaji
will be together with him as translator.
A joke tsuba made by our smith
It was submitted to the NBTHK new sword compatition 2017.
"May the force be with you"
A pitiful tachi blade "Yukimitsu"
I met a long tachi blade at some antique shop. The signature is Yukimitsu.
The shop owner said it is genuine from Kamakura period. The hamon was bright
enough, but the shape looked a little strange. Because it had big curvature
around the monouchi comparing with normal tachi shape from Kamakura period.
I studied around the big curvature part carefully. Then, I found two deep
marks of sword attack on the back, and crack in hamon. Sadly this blade
was damaged by hard fight. Now it is just a wall-hanging.
A blade is re-polished.
There was a blade with the modern style polishing (hadori polishing). And
recently it was re-polished with the classical style polishing (sashikomi
polishing). The appearance of blade has changed so much. The craftsman
depressed the steel layer, and brought up the steel particles more. Such
a tender work made the steel finer, and bring activities more clearly.
I am confusing which is the true face of this blade.
The left is old hadori polishing and the right is new sashikomi polishing.
I went to the Tokyo National Museum to see the O-Kanehira what they say
one of the best Japanese sword.
I have seen it several times in the window.
I don't know who polished it, but the polishing work is not good, or horrible.
Even if it is called an excellent polishing as "Art sword". It
brings up the layer pattern so much, that the utsuri is masked by the visible
On the other hand, the habaki is excellent. It is very original, made of
un-refined copper. The surface is just a remains of filing work. It must
be made at the same time when the blade was forged out. It shows that the
blade was a simple weapon when it was made. Simple weapon is beautiful,
while art sword is ugly. This is the key of the beauty of Japanese sword.
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