iToken Bijutsu No.582j

 

Nihon Koto Shi

(History of Koto)

 

By Dr. Honma Junji

 

 (31)

 

(P.29)

In addition, there is a smith called Rai Hidetsugu and he is said to be the same smith as 2nd Rai Kunitsugu. There is to be no second Rai Kunitsugu who signed eRai Kunitsuguf on his nakago. There are two tanto with the signature of eRai Hidetsugu existing and their hamon is midare-ba, but their workmanship is totally different from that of Rai Kunitsugu. I think that it is too early to conclude the authenticity of the signatures of the two tanto.

 

In short, the Rai school came to make tanto with wide mi-haba and temper midare-ba but they lost their schoolfs traditional workmanship and eventually no smith name of the school is found in the Muromachi Period.

 

(Reference photos and oshigata)

Juyo Bunka Zai : Wakizashi Mei gNOBUKUNIh           gRAI HIDETSUGUh

 

(P.30)

I already described Yamashiro smiths of Nobukuni and Hasebe Kunishige who demonstrated Soshu-den. To tell the point of them, Nobukuni was a student of Soshu Sadamune and Kunishige a student of Masamune when considering the workmanship of his work and meibutsu eHeshikiri-Hasebef (o-suriage and mumei). Though the extant works of Kunishige with mei do not prove the theory since the workmanship of his swords with mei is far different from that of Masamune.

 

It is said that 1st Nobukuni was a son or grandson of Hisanobu who was a son of Ryokai and was active around the Kenmu Era. The Enbun and the Joji Eras are the earliest production dates of his extant works and they are believed to be the works of the first generation. Sadamune demonstrated two different workmanships and Nobukuni succeeded to both of them. In addition, he tempered sugu-ha that is a tradition of the Rai school and skilfully carved horimono in Sadamune style (his horimono is more elaborate than that of Sadamune). Nobukuni with the production dates of the Shitoku and the Kakei Era are the works of later generations. I have seen a tachi and a tanto by Ryo Hisanobu. The hamon of the tachi is sugu-ha mixed with ko-midare and looks like Rai Kunimitsu, and the one of the tanto (with the dated of 6thof June, 1310) is ko-gunome-midare. Therefore he is the grandfather of Enbun Nobukuni or older.

 

(Reference photos)

Juyo Bijutsu Hin : Tanto Mei gNOBUKUNIh  gENBUN 3 NEN 12 GATSU HIh

 

(P.31)

It is widely known that there are three theories concerning Hasebe Kunishige. It is said that 1st generation was a student of Masamune; his sons are 2nd Kunishige, Kuninobu and Kunihira. Munenobu was a student of Kuninobu. The 3rd Kunishige was called eRokuro Saemon no Jof and moved to Tennoji of Settsu Province.

 

I already explained the relationship between Masamune and 1st Kunishige. His extant works with the production dates of the Enbun and the Oan are the works of the second generation and there is no extant tachi with signature and production date either, but tanto with wide mi-haba and a few wakizashi in shobu-zukuri. A theory says that his swords with the production date of the Enbun is the work of the first generation and with the production date of the Oan is of the second generation. In fact, there are his mumei katana with o-suriage that are superior to ones with the production date of the Enbun in quality. There is no extant work of Kuninobu with a production date and he appears to have been active in the same period as that of 2nd Kunishige, but is inferior to 1st Kunishige in quality. Munenobu is said to be a son of Kuninobu. He left a tanto that shows more classical workmanship than that of Kuninobu and is no inferior to Kuninobu in quality, though he does not temper hitatsura but notare and sugu-ha. There are extant tanto with the production date of the Enbun and they have wide mi-haba. Kunihira is a little superior to Kuninobu in quality. There is a famous extant work of Kuninobu and it is a wakizashi in dabira-zukuri owned by the Atsuta Shrine also a small tanto by him is owned by the Itsukushima Shrine. Hitatsura was the speciality of the Hasebe school and I believe that Kunishige and Kuninobu are directly or indirectly connected with master Soshu smiths.

 

(Reference photos)

Tokubetsu Juyo Token : Wakizashi mei gHASEBE KUNISHIGEh  gBUNWA 4 NEN 8 GATSU HIh

 

(P.33)

(Reference photos and oshigata)

Juyo Bijutsu Hin : Tachi Mei gHASEBE KUNINOBUh (nicknamed eKara-kashiwaf)

 

                        gHASEBE KUNISHIGEh    gENBUN 2 MI MI 2 GATSU HIh

 

                        gHASEBE MUNENOBUh    gHASEBE KUNINOBUh

 

(P.34)

(Reference oshigata)

gKUNIHIRAh    gENBUN 2 NEN 8 GATSU 12 NICHIh 

                     

                      Juyo Token : Wakizashi Mei gHASEBE KUNIHIRAh

                                                 gJOJI 3 NEN 2 GATSU HIh

 

(P.35)

There is a smith called Shigemitsu and also called Masamune who lived in Ayanokoji of Kyoto around the Bunwa Era. It is said that he changed his smith name to Daruma after he became a priest. There is an extant wakizashi in hira-zukuri with the mei of Daruma and it appears to be a work earlier than the Muromachi period and the hamon is notare mixed with gunome then becomes o-midare and the workmanship is fairly different from that of Nobukuni and Hasebe. There is also an extant tanto with a production date of the Joji Era and the hamon of gunome-midare. This small tanto shows totally different workmanship from that of the wakizashi with the mei of Daruma and I cannot say that both of them were made by the same smith. In addition, I have never seen sword by Daruma Masamune with the signature of eMasamunef. There is a tanto in kata kiri-ba-zukuri with wide mi-haba in thick niji-mei (two characters) and it is attributed to a work of 2nd Shigemitsu. This tanto appears to be a work of the end of the Nambokucho or the beginning of the Muromachi Period then the jihada combines masame-hada. Incidentally, it is said that Daruma Masamune was the teacher of Seki Kanesada of Mino Province.

 

3. The Founders of the Heianjo and the Go-Sanjo Schools

 

Heianjo Mitsunaga who was active at the end of the Kamakura Period left tanto with production dates of the Genkyo and the Shochu Eras. It is said that this smith was the ancestor of Heianjo Nagayoshi of the Muromachi Period. There is a tachi with the mei of eKyoto Junin Sugawara no Kuninagaf and it appears to be a work before the Muromachi Period. Also there is a tachi with the mei of eYoshinorif in niji-mei and a tanto with the mei of eSanjo Yoshinorif and they appear to be works of the late Nambokucho Period. Though, the relation between Sanjo Munechika of the Heian Period and Sanjo Yoshinori is known at all. Sanjo Yoshinori mentioned above was ancestor of Sanjo Yoshinori of the Muromachi Period. There is a tachi with the mei of eNagamitsuf in large characters and it is called eMokutaro Nagamitsuf and listed in old oshigata books including eOjaku Shof. The following theory could be considered; the founder of the Go-Sanjo school is Mokutaro Nagamitsu then followed by Mitsunaga, Yoshinaga, Nagayoshi and Yoshinori. A swordsmith directory lists a sword with the mei of eHeianjo Junin Sugawara no Nagayoshif and a production date of the Rekio Era, also a sword with Sugawara Kuninaga and a production date of the Enbun Era. The directory says that Kuninaga is a son of Nagayoshi. There is another theory that Sanjo Yoshinori belongs to a different lineage of Yoshinori in niji-mei.

 

(Reference oshigata)

gNAGAMITSUh     gHEIANJO JU MITSUNAGAh