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  • Not sure what to think about this

    (Ladies and) Gentlemen,

    my brother gave me a sword that he got really cheap on ebay, some years back. It's in rather bad shape, see for yourself:











    Please excuse the bad quality, photos taken in the attic without a flash are probably bound to turn out like this
    Either way, most of the fittings are broken, the tsuka and saya are cracked, the blade doesn't sit tightly in the tsuka and the rust looks pretty bad.
    What's more, the fittings look quite unusual to me and there's no kurigata (I have myself to blame for the shoelace wrapping on the saya ). Finally, I don't know what to think about the tsuba and the signature -although the last three Kanji look like "year 12"...?
    I'd welcome any opinions you have to offer!
    David Mueller - Germany

  • #2
    His David,

    I am sorry but I believe this is a Chinese manufactured item of fairly recent construction.

    I think the kanji is meant to read Showa Ju Hachi nen, which would be 1943.

    However, neither the placement on the characters, nor the method of execution is the standard Japanese method.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 09-05-2018, 07:05 AM.
    Pip Pip Cheerio

    Malcolm

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    • #3
      Hi David ,
      i agree with Malcolm ..the placement kanji is really surprising !! And the iron patine seems not old...and the stuba is very bad engraved !a japanese master never make stuba engraved like that.. Crazy copy . Always impossible to be sure without tosee directly but 99% chinese David..
      .
      Laurent
      .
      France

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      • #4
        I agree. I'm Chinese. The quality of this steel is modern.

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        • #5
          Guys, thank you very much for your honest opinions! It's a little disappointing to have my suspicions confirmed, but as I didn't even pay any money to get this, it's really not bad at all. In fact, now that I know that it's nothing special, I don't have any qualms to try and make other fittings for the blade

          Malcolm, of course you're right, it is Ju Hachi, not Ju Ni By placement of the characters, you mean the center of the tang?
          Laurent, I was also very surprised to find out that the tsuba had a backside - one where the level of craftmanship looks to be even lower than on the front...
          Basara, I take your statement as the final nail in the "coffin" of this sword
          David Mueller - Germany

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          • #6
            Hi David,

            Tsuba have an Omote (Front to the world) and and Ura (Back to the wearer).

            Some, like the Yagyu Sukashi Tsuba originally contained secret reminders for the wearer (Who would be trained in one of the various Yagyu Ryu Bujutsu) to be reminded of.

            Last edited by Malcolm; 09-06-2018, 07:13 AM.
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            Malcolm

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            • #7
              Hey Malcolm,
              yes, I've heard about this (not sure if, for example, Ian C talked about it in Berlin), but which is which? On this sword, the "good side" is the one facing the tsuka. So for it to "face the world", the sword has to be sheathed. However, if it is drawn, it is the other way around...
              So far, I failed to recognize what the ura side is supposed to show. At first glimpse I thought it was the reverse engraving of the front, which is the result of the process - but looking at the photos, I realized that's not the case. Maybe cleaning up will reveal some more details.

              Btw, the terms omote and ura are also used in martial arts, in Aikido for example.
              David Mueller - Germany

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              • #8
                Ok David, the easy way is to understand Omote is to keep the Kogai Hitsu ana , on the right as you look at it (That's the one with three lobes as opposed to the Kodzuka Hitsu ana which is a single curved lobe).

                This will help: https://www.japaneseswordindex.com/tsuba.htm
                Pip Pip Cheerio

                Malcolm

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                • #9
                  Very helpful indeed! Thanks Malcolm
                  David Mueller - Germany

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                  • #10
                    Good morning David,

                    You said "So far, I failed to recognize what the ura side is supposed to show."

                    Frankly it may be difficult to work that out as many of the designs used on the Tsuba manufactured outside of Japan are not directly based upon existing Tsuba, more flights of "Artistic Whimsy".

                    However there may be an element of authentic source, this should help with schools, styles and patterns:

                    http://jameelcentre.ashmolean.org/collection/7/10237
                    Pip Pip Cheerio

                    Malcolm

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                    • #11
                      Mornin'!

                      Funny enough, as soon as I looked at it with the thought "It may not show anything after all", I saw a tiger or maybe panther crouching at the bottom, with some kind of tree to the right. Still pretty artsy-fartsy for sure, but it's much clearer now
                      About the link: as always, a capricorn of knowledge, Malcom! Appreciate it

                      Edit: just now, I saw what you added about the Yagyu Sukashi Tsuba and read an article by Markus about it: https://markussesko.com/2013/07/31/yagyu-tsuba/
                      Last edited by David M; 09-07-2018, 08:06 AM.
                      David Mueller - Germany

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                      • #12
                        Hi david.,

                        You may find these of interest:

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMRZzJDtACM

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW4E6yI-ww4

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ibCxcGd1f4
                        Pip Pip Cheerio

                        Malcolm

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                        • #13
                          And again, thanks a lot!
                          I watched the first 5 minutes and was quite surprised to see scenes from The Last Samurai - copyright don' mean a thing
                          David Mueller - Germany

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