NBTHK SWORD J0URNAL

ISSUE NUMBER 643

August, 2010

 

 

The Heisei 22-nen Shinsaku Meito-ten:    

Swords from the 2010 Shinsaku Meito-ten

 

The Masamune award

Type: Tanto

Mei: Shinano kuni ju-nin Norihiro

        Heisei 21 nen aki ( autumn ) 

 

Length: 8 sun 8 bu (26.9 cm)

Sori : uchizori

Motohaba: 7 bu 9 rin (2.39 cm) 

Motokasane: 1 bu 8 rin (0.56 cm) 

Nakago length: 3 sun 6 bu (11.2 cm)  

Nakago sori: very slight uchizori

 

Commentary:

This is a hirazukuri tanto with an ihorimune, a slightly wide mihaba, a thick kasane, and it has uchizori. The jihada is a tight ko-itame, and the entire hada is visible. There is ji-nie, and towards the ha there is bo type utsuri, and the mune there is midare utsuri. The lower half of the ha has smaller sized ko-gunome, and the upper upper part of the ha is gunome mixed with togari gunome, and  kataochi type gunome. There are ko-ashi, a tight nioiguchi and ko-nie. The boshi is straight, there is a komaru and a shallow return. The nakago is ubu, and the yasurime are katte sagari. The omote side has the smith’s location and mei, and the ura side has a date. The mei was inscribed with a refined hoso-tagane (narrow chisel). The Shinsaku Meito-ten exhibit and competition was started in Showa 29 (1954), for purpose of  promoting modern swordsmith’s work and promoting the development and improvement in modern blades. Every year we have had a sword making exhibition, and this year is the 56th year. Among the swords exhibited,  awards are given for a grand prize, an excellent prize and a hard working prize, and the mukansa smiths blades are exhibited. The Masamune award is presented for very good or excellent work, and this award is not necessarily given every year. This time is the first time it has been awarded since Heisei 8, which was 14 years ago. Masamune prize  winners in the past were Sumitani Seiho (3 times), Gassan Sadakazu (2 times), Oosumi Shunpei (3 times), and Yakuwa Yasutake (1 time). Miyairi Norihiro was born in Showa 31 in Nagano prefecture, and his father is Miyairi Kiyohira (Miyairi Yukihira’s (the past Ningen-kokuho) younger brother). He graduated from Kokugakuin University in Showa 53, and become Sumitani Seiho’s (the Ningen kokuho) student, and became an independent smith in Showa 58. After he became an independent smith, he received the Prince Takamatsu award, the Secretary of the Bunkacho award, the Kunzan award, the Kanzan award, the chairman of the Japan swordsmith association award, and the Excellence award, and in December of Heisei 7,  he a became Mukansa. In Heisei 21, Norihiro made a copy of  the Shosoin treasure “Tsuge no ki no tsuka saya tosu” which was excellent work. He has been working in his teacher Seiho’s style Bizen-den and Soshu Den style. Norihiro said that his goal is to use all types of utsuri  and jitetsu  techniques and to make swords which have a koto era meito feeling.         

( Explanation and oshigata by Hiyama Masanori)

 

 

Tachi, Katana, Wakizashi, Naginata, and Yari Division:

The NBTHK Chairman’s Award

 

Type: katana

Mei: Harima kuni junin Takami Kunikazu saku-kore

         Heisei Kanoe Tora doshi Ichiyo Raifuku

Length: 2 shaku 4 sun 9 bu (75.45 cm)

Sori: 8bu 4 rin (2.54 cm)

Motohaba : 1 sun 1 bu 4 rin (3.45 cm)

Sakihaba : 8 bu 7 rin (2.65 cm)

Motokasane: 2 bu 6 rin (0.8 cm)

Sakikasane : 2 bu (0.6 cm)

Kissaki length :  1 sun 5 bu 8 rin (3.3 cm)

Nakago length : 7 sun 3 bu 4 rin ( 22.25 cm)

Nakago sori : 7 rin (0.2 cm)

 

Commentary:

This is a shinogi zukuri sword with an ihorimune, a wide mihaba, a thick kasane, and the widths at the moto and saki are different.  There is a large sori and a long chu-kissaki. The jihada is tight ko-itame, there are fine ji-nie, and the entire jihada is refined. The hamon is a choji midare mixed with gunome, ko-gunome, a square type of hamon, and togari. The yakiba is high, and there are variations in the width of the gorgeous midare hamon. There are frequent various shaped ashi and yo. The hamon is nioi deki, and is bright and clear. The boshi has a wide yakiba and is midarekomi; the omote has a komaru, and the ura is an Ichimonji style return. The nakago has a sakiha agari type kurijiri, the yasurime are sujichigai, and there is one mekugi ana. On the omote along the center there is a long signature made with a slightly thick tagane, and the ura has the date and “Ichoyo Raifuku“ kanji. Takami Kunikazu became the first student of Kawachi Kunihara in Nara, in Heisei 4, and he worked there for 7 years, and became an independent smith in Heisei 11. Since then he has received the NBTHK chairman’s award, the Swordsmith Association’s Chairman award, and the Kunzan award, and has been making excellent swords.  On this sword, the high yakiba, and distinctive up and down choji midare variations obviously resemble a peak period Ichimonji hamon, and just like on an Ichimonji sword, the hamon contains not only choji, but is also mixed with gunome, a square type of  hamon, and sharp tipped types of gunome. In addition, the ashi and yo are long and short, dark and light, and show all kinds of shapes. The entire swordseems alive, and this high standard work was recognized with high scores. Last August, Kunikazu’s workshop area in Sayo-cho, Hyogo prefecture, experienced heavy rains and floods, and his shop was half destroyed. He almost gave up making this year’s Shinsaku meito-ten entry, and by the end of the year in December, he was finally able to start working again. He was very happy to be working again, but was worried about his ability to make a satisfactory sword. However, in that difficult environment, he decided to work again and he signed this sword with his wish ‘’Ichiyo Raifuku” (the worst situation could turn out to be good fortune) . In this difficult situation, his sword received the No.1 prize, as he signed, and good luck came after bad luck, and he did this with his own efforts, so he must be very happy. Kunikazu is only 36 years old and from now on, we are waiting to see how he creates his own original style. We have high expectations for his future work.

( Explanation and oshigata by Ishii Akira)

 

 

 

 

Ko-wakizashi, Tanto, and Ken Division:

The NBTHK Chairman’s award

 

Type: Tanto

Mei: Sugita Yoshiaki saku  Heisei 22 nen 2 gatsu hi

         Tame Senda Ichiro shi

Length: 9 sun 9.5 bu (30.2 cm)

Sori : slightly less 1 bu (0.2 cm)

Motohaba : 9 bu 8 rin (2.97 cm)

Motokasane: 2 bu 1 rin (0.64 cm)

Nakago length : 3 sun 4 bu (10.4 cm)

Nakago sori : very slight

 

Commentary:

This is hirazukuri tanto with a mitsumune, a wide mihaba, a slightly thick kasane. There is a shallow sori and short size. The jihada is tight ko-itame, and the entire hada is mixed with nagarehada, and there are ji-nie, and utsuri. The hamon is a saka-ashi choji midare with ashi, yo, a tight nioiguchi and ko-nie. The boshi is midarekomi, the tip is a little sharp, and the is  a long return. The nakago is ubu, the yasurime are katte sagari, and the omote has a signature and date, and the ura has the owner’s name.

Sugita Yoshiaki smith was born on Showa 25. In Showa 50, he became a student of Kawashima Tadayoshi (a Shimane prefecture Mukei bunkazai ). In Showa 57, he entered the Shinsaku meito ten for the first time, and he received the nyusen (recognition of his ability and qualifications to enter the contest). In Showa 58, he became an independent swordsmith. After that, he received the Excellence award, The Hard Work award, the Chairman’s award (2 times) and the Kanzan award (one time). Customarily, a smith usually does yakiire after putting  a thermal clay coating on a blade, but Yoshiaki does not: he does yakiire without any clay, and this is called “zubuyaki”. This method utilizes a temperature difference between the ji and ha, and a hamon will form, but the  smith can not predict what kind of hamon will form. This method is not completely controlled by the smith, and is a difficult technique, and because of this, there are very few finished swords of this type available.

( Explanation and oshigata by Hiyama Masanori )

 

 

 

Shijo Kantei To No.643

 

*For Shijo Kantei To No.642 (in the July issue) the answer is a katana by Nagasone Kotetsu

 

The deadline to submit answers for the No. 642 issue Shijo Kantei To is September 5, 2010.

Each person may submit one vote. Submissions should contain your your name and address and be sent to the NBTHK Shijo Kantei. You can use the Shijo Kantei card which is attached in this magagzine. We will accept any votes postmarked on or before September 5, 2010. If there are swordsmiths with the same name in different schools, please write the school or prefecture, and if the swordsmith was active for more than one generation, please indicate a specific generation.

 

Information:

Type: tanto

Length: 8 sun 6 bu (26.06 cm)

Sori: uchizori

Motohaba: 7 bu 6 rin (2.3 cm)

Motokasane: 2 bu 3 rin (0.7 cm)

Nakago length: 3 sun  4 bu (10.3 cm)

Nakago sori: none

 

This is a hirazukuri tanto with a mitsumune, and a usual mihaba, but for its mihaba the blade is slightly long. There is a thick kasane, a slightly strong uchizori, and the fukura is poor.  The jitetsu is itame mixed with mokume, there is nagare-hada, and the hada is visible, and has fine thick ji-nie, and chikei. The hamon and boshi are as seen in the picture. The habuchi has hotsure, nijuba, kuichigaiba, ko-ashi, frequent ko-nie, and a little sunagashi. The nakago is ubu, with kurijiri. The nakago mune is round, and has this school’s characteristic yasurime. There are two mekugi-ana, and on the omote side under the habaki on the center there is a two kanji signature.

 

 

Teirei Kansho Kai For July

 

The swords discussed below were shown in the July meeting at the NBTHK headquarters building. This discussion presents answers concerning the makers of these blades.

 

   During these meetings, five swords are displayed for examination. The blades can be examined, but the nakago are covered and cannot be seen (they are left in the shirasaya tsuka). After examining the 5 swords, the meeting attendees must decide who they think made the 5 swords which were available for examination, and submit a paper ballot with these names. The 5 swords seen in the July meeting are described below, and the correct names of the makers are presented, along with an explanation of important details which should lead a person to pick the correct swordsmith’s name. This lecture and the explanations were given by Hiyama Masanori.

 

 

Kantei To No.1: wakizashi

 

Mei: oite Bushu Edo Echizen Yasutsugu

Length: 1 shaku 2 bu

Sori: 1 bu

Design: hirazukuri

Mune: mitsumune

Jihada: itame hada mixed with mokume hada, and the entire hada is visible;there are thick

           ji-nie, and chikei.

Hamon: a wide yakiba, with a shallow notare, mixed in places with ko-gunome; there are

             ashi, a bright nioiguchi, and frequent ko-nie.

Boshi: a shallow notare; the tip is komaru; there is a slightly long return. On the omote side

              the boshi is a Sanpin boshi style.

 

This is a wide blade, and the widths at the moto and saki are not much different. There is a  thick kasane, and a shallow sori, from this shape we can judge this as a Keicho shinto or shinshinto era sword. The shodai Yasutsugu is well known, and he did many saiha (retempering) of meito works, and because of this experience, he was able to make many utsushimono. There are two types of utsushimono: in one type, the shape and hamon of the whole blade is copied exactly; in the other type of utsushimono, he copied only the shape and used his own style of work. This is  not an exact utsushinomo, and  shows the Shodai Yasutsugu’s own original style. The jihada is a distinctive itame hada mixed with mokume hada, and has frequent ji-nie. The entire itame hada is visible, and has a slightly dark jigane,. The hamon is a notare type mixed in places with  ko-gunome. Some parts of the hamon are narrow; usually the ha-nie are not tight, and the nioiguchi is rough and worn down. This work does not show too much of his usual character, and there also is a bright nioiguchi. On the omote side, the boshi is a shallow notare with a komaru return, and a deep yakisage, which retains the Sanpin style. From these characteristics, I thought many people would vote for the correct answer on the first vote. But unexpectedly, people voted for the correct era and rank of the smith, but few people voted for Yasutsugu. Maybe the dark jihada is not distinctive when compared to the usual Shodai Yasutsugu’s hada, and many people voted for Horikawa Kunihiro, Nanki Kunishige, the Hizen 5 kanji Tadayoshi (the shodai), and Umetada Myoju. These smiths were active during the Keicho Shinto period, and understandablly made similar shapes. However, for Kunihiro and the Horikawa school the jihada is strongly visible and rough, and many of Kunihiro’s jihada have mizukage along the machi, strong and weak contrasting nie, and a wide and and narrow nioi-haba and these are distinctive characteristics. The  shodai Tadayoshi’s and Umetada’s jihada area  tight ko-itame, and the hamon are quiet notare. In particular, Tadayoshi’s notare valleys have nie, and this is one of his characteristics. If this were a Myoju sword, on such a wide sword, he would have some kind of horimono. Shigekuni made Yamato Den and Soshu Den, and his Yamato Den jihada is masame, and his Soshu Den have an itame jihada with strong  ji-nie and chikei, the hamon is a prominent gunome, and the nioiguchi is very clear. Among the Keicho shinto smiths, this kind of narrow hamon is seen in the work of very few smiths besides Yasutsugu.

 

 

Kantei To No.2: wakizashi

 

Mei: Soshu ju Masahiro

Length: 1 shaku 9 sun 3 bu

Sori: 7 bu

Design: shinogi zukuri

Mune: mitusmune

Jihada: itame mixed with mokume with nagarehada in places; there are dense ji-nie and

            fine chikei.

Hamon: primarily choji mixed with ko-gunome; there are yahazu and togari; there are nie,

             fine kinsuji, sunagashi, yubashiri, tobiyaki, muneyaki, and this becomes a hitatsura

              style hamon; there is a tight nioiguchi, and frequent ko-nie.

Boshi: midarekomi, with a wide yakiba, nie-kuzure, a large return and continues to form

           muneyaki.

Horimono: present on the omote and ura at the koshimoto; the omote has bonji and a so-kurikara; the ura has two bonji and dokko; and both sides have kasane-bori ( horimono containing different types of images).

 

This blade has thick dense ji-nie, fine chikei,  yubashiri, tobiyaki, muneyaki, and the entire hamon looks like hitatsura. There are nie, kinsuji and sunagashi, and character of the jihada and hamon are a Soshu Den style. In addition, the omote and ura horimono are well done and have strong chisel marks, and from these characteristics, we can judge this as a Soshu blade. Also, the kasane is thick for the mihaba, the length is short, and there is a little sakizori, from this shape we can judge this as an early Muromachi era blade. In the Muromachi era, Soshu smiths’ favorite style was hitatsura, but early perios smiths and later periods smiths used different hitatsura styles.  In early Muromachi work, around the Bunan and Hotoku eras, in many Masahiro and Hiromasa swords the hamon shows a mixture of many choji styles, and the entire hamon is smaller. Later at the time this sword was made, at the end of the Muromachi era, we don’t see many choji hamon, and more often swords with gunome hamon are seen. Also, the omote koshimoto has a so-kurikara horimono, and center of the sanko shape has a distinctive six angles (the Kantei- to number 4 sword is a Bizen sword, and this part has a round chrysanthemum shape; please compare these), and this is a characteristic Soshu horimono, and examples are seen in the Nambokucho,  Joji, and Shitoku era (Akihiro): around the Meitoku era (Masahiro), and in later times, around the Bunan and Hotoku eras (Hiromasa and Masahiro in particular made many of these). This shape was used continuously until the end of the Muromachi period, and we could say that this is a traditional Shoshu blade horimono. Besides the correct and almost correct answers, people voted for the end of the Muromachi era Soshu smiths Tsunahiro; the Odawara Soshu smiths, Yasuharu,and  Fusamune; and the Shimada smith Yoshisuke. Besides these smiths, there were votes for the sue Bizen smiths Katsumitsu, Sukesada, and Kiyomitsu. At the end of the Muromachi period, the Soshu smiths’ blades show a stronger sakizori, and the horimono tend to stay more towards the bottom of the sword, and gunome stand out in hitatsura hamon. A representation of this era is the a Tsunahiro sword with crescent shape tobiyaki in a hitatsura hamon, and this is his distinctive style. At Odawara, the Soshu Den smiths  did not have too many perfect hitatsura hamon blades: they are gunome midare mixed with ko-notare, and many of them have tight nioiguchi and nie, and often have midare hamon mixed with a square type of hamon. In the Shimada smiths’ hitatsura hamon, big togariba stand out, and muneyaki can be continued to the togariba, and this is their characteristic style. Also, Bizen smiths at the end of the sue Bizen period, Katsumitsu, Sukesada, and Kiyomitsu, had some hitatsura hamon blades, and most of this school’s hitatsura hamon blades have a thin kasane, and high shinogi-ji.          

   

 

Kantei To No 3: tachi

 

Mei: Bizen kuni Yoshii Morinori

         Oei 26 nen 6 gatsu hi

Length: slightly over 2 shaku 1 sun

Sori: 7 bu

Design: shinogi zukuri

Mune: ihorimune

Jihada: itame hada mixed with mokume hada; there are jinie, chikei, and a pale midare

            utsuri.

Hamon: ko-gunome mixed with ko-choji and togari gunome; the entire hamon is a small midare; there are frequent ashi and ko-nie.

Boshi: midare style hamon; the tip of the omote side is komaru, and the ura is a togari style;

            both sides have a shallow return.

Horimono: omote and ura have bo-hi with marudome.

 

This sword has a somewhat narrow shape, and has sori at the koshimoto and tip. We often see this type of shape at the end of the Nambokucho period to the early Muromachi period and the Oei period. These were supposed to be copies of shapes of Kamakura tachi.  Also, if you look at this carefully, there is a pale utsuri, and from this characteristic, you can decide that this is a Bizen sword. The Bizen Yoshii school  is supposed to have started at the end of the Kamakura period, and the founder was Tamenori. There are two different eras: one from  from the Kamakura to Nambokucho periods when blades are called “Ko-yoshii “(old); the second era was during the Muromachi period when the blades were called “Yoshii”. During the Muromachi period, the school split into an Izumo branch called the Unshu-Do-ei school.These works sometimes show continuous gunome hamon, but are different from the usual Yoshii school work which show continuous ko-gunome hamon and have very regular hamon where the entire hamon are narrower and have nie. From these characteristics most  people voted for the  Kosori school which was active the end of the Nambokucho era. The vote for  Kosori is not too bad, and it is understandable, because Muromachi era Yoshii school blades usually have less nie, and more nioi. However, this tachi  has abundant ko-nie. Another difference is that the Kosori hamon mixes all kinds of hamon and many open bottom gunome are seen. This sword has a signature and date, which is very rare today, and this is good example to use in the study of Yoshii school swords.

 

 

Kantei To No. 4: katana

 

Mei: Bizen kuni ju Osafune Harumitsu

       Taiei 22 nen 2 gatsu kichijitsu

Length: 2 shaku 2 sun 2 bu

Sori: 9 bu

Design : shinogi zukuri

Mune: ihorimune

Jihada: tight ko-itame; the hada is only slightly visible; there are ji-nie and a pale midare

             type utsuri.

Hamon: ko-gunome mixed with open bottom gunome, ko-choji, frequent ko-ashi, yo,

             a  tight nioiguchi, and ko-nie.    

Boshi: wide yakiba with a shallow notare; a long return, and this continues to form

             muneyaki.

Horimono: the omote has a so kurikara; the ura has a katte dainyojin kanji.

 

  This sword is about 2 shaku in length, but the short length with the thick kasane makes it look heavy, and it has a sakizori shape. At the koshimoto there is full horimono, and these characteristics are typical for an uchigatana sword from the end of  the Muromachi period. The jihada is a tight ko-itame and there is midare utsuri, and the jigane color is clear and beautiful. At the end of the Muromachi era, countryside swordsmiths’ jihada were not always good, but Sue-Bizen swords which were ordered from  a smith were carefully forged, and have tight itame hada and a bright refined jihada, just like this sword, and this is characteristic. This is a well made sword, and among the Sue-Bizen smiths, the most skillful smiths are Yososaemon-no-jo Sukesada, Jiro saemon-no-jo Katsumitsu and Munemitsu, and most people voted for Katsumitsu and Yososaemon-no-jo Sukesada, who are Sue Bizen swordsmiths. If you look at this as Sue Bizen work, these are almost correct answers. Jirobei-no-jo Harumitsu is the son of Jiro saemon-no-jo Katsumitsu who was an excellent smith, and almost at the same level as Yososaemon-no-jo Sukesada who worked at the same period. There is a famous sword which was owned by Nogi Maresuke (a general in the military forces), which is a Juyo Bunkazai sword. It is signed Bizen kuni ju Osafune Jirosaemon-no-jo Katsumitsu ko Jirobe-jo Harumitsu ichigo hitokoshi (best sword made in his life) saku kore Sasaki Iyo no kami. On the omote side so-kurikara horimono, the center of the sanko shape is round, and the center shape shows a half of a chrysanthemum petal, and petals surround it on the right and left. This shape is seen in Bizen swords, and especially from Osafune smiths: for example, at the end of the Kamakura period on work by Nagamitsu (on a ken classified as  Juyo Bunkazai), Kagemitsu, and later in the Nambokucho era by Kanemitsu. This shape continued to be used from the Oei period to the end of the Muromachi era, and this is a traditional Bizen sword horimono. Also, we have never seen an ura side horimono kanji “ Katte Daimyoji” except this one, and this is supposed to have been a special order from the Katte shrine, located in Yoshino in Nara prefecture. This shrine’s god is Ukenori-kami-no-mikoto and the Buddhist name is Bishamonten, so the Katte daimyojin (god) is the same as Bishamonten. Also, this shrine has a Minamoto Yoshitsune legend associated with it: Yoshitune’s group stayed in the area, and they escaped from the ex-emperor’s ambassador, while Yoshitsune’s girl friend Shizuka-gozen performed a dance, and the theater’s ruin is still there.                   

    

        

Kantei To No. 5: tanto

 

Mei: Minamoto Masao

         Bunkyu 3 nen 8 gatsu hi

 

Length: 6 sun 8 bu

Sori: very little

Design: hira zukuri

Mune: ihorimune

Jihada: tight ko-itamehada, with some nagarehada; there are thick jinie, a bright jihada,

             and frequent muneyaki. 

Hamon: gunome and ogunome midare; there are frequent long ashi, sunagashi, frequent

              kinsuji, dense ko-nie, and a bright clear nioiguchi. 

Boshi: wide yakiba with midarekomi; the tip is a kaen type, and there is a long return. 

 

This sword has a thick kasane, funbari, and a poor fukura tanto shape, and this kind of shape is the Kiyomaro school’s favorite style. Also, Kiyomaro and his school forged distinctive honsanmai blades, and on many of them, close to the hamon or inside of the hamon there are long sunagashi and kinsuji, and this work shows these characteristics. Masao’s original name was Suzuki Jiro, and he was born in Mino, and was supposed to have made swords at Shitaya Okachimachi in Edo. Among the Kiyomaro school, he was one of the highest ranked students, next to Nobuhide, and his oldest dated blade was dated Kaei 6 (1853). He was supposed to have become an independent smith around that time. After that time, around Ansei 5 (1858) to Man-en 1(1860), he was making swords in Hokkaido, in the Hakodate era, and he returned to Edo and began making swords there again, but his signatures are seen till until Keio 2 (1866), and this covers only a 13 year span. Because his career as an independent smith was late in Kiyomaro’s life, it may be that he spent most of his career with his teacher. This tanto jihada is tighter than usual and the high gunome hamon and the tip of the sharp tip of the boshi is in Kiyomaro’s style, and most people voted for Kiyomaro, This is a mature skilled work among Suzuki Masao’s small number of swords.      

 

 

 

 

Shijo Kantei No 641 (June issue )

 

Answer and Discussion for Shijo Kantei To

Number 641 (in the June issue).

 

The answer is a tachi by Awataguchi Kuniyasu.

 

This tachi has a narrow mihaba, and the widths at the moto and saki are different. There is a high koshizori, funbari, and the tip has sori. There is a small kissaki, and from this shape, we can judge this as work from the end of  Heian era to the early Kamakura era. The Awataguchi school’s jihada is tight ko-itame, there is dense thick ji-nie, fine chikei, and a bright and clear nashiji-hada. However, Kuniyasu has two types of jihada; besides a nashiji-hada, like on this tachi which is itame hada mixed with mokume hada and nagerehada, the entire jigane pattern is large, the hada is visible, and there are prominent chikei, and the hints suggested this. Also, there is a pale utsuri, and this shows a Kyoto sword’s characteristics. The hamon is a suguha style mixed with ko-choji, and ko-midare, and the top of the hamon has yubashiri, and there are nijuba in places along with frequent ashi, yo, ko-nie, kinsuji, and sunagshi. These are characteristics of the old Kyoto style, and besides these details, the space between the midare-hamon waves is small, and the hamon has little up and down variation. The nioiguchi is soft, from these characteristics, we could think of two names, either Awataguchi Kuniyasu, and Ayanokoji Sadatoshi. Kuniyasu usually signed with a two kanji Kuniyasu mei, and his writing style was not always the same. However, as seen in the oshigata, he signed the ‘yasu’ kanji in a peculiar loose style, and if you look at these characteristics, it is possible to arrive at Kuniyasu’s individual name. Also, his work and Ayanokoji Sadatoshi’s work are very similar, but Sadatoshi’s boshi are straight with a komaru, or are midarekomi; in either case there are frequent hakikake which can appear like a flame. Often there is nie kuzure and a strong dynamic style. Kuniyasu’s boshi is straight with a komaru, or is a shallow notarekomi with a komaru. Compared to Sadatoshi, Kuniyasu has a more gentle style. Kuniyasu’s nakago has kurijiri, the yasurime are kattesagari, his signatures are, (if there is no hi on the nakago) on the omote, above the mekuji-ana, and towards the mune edge. If there are hi in the nakago, the signature is on the omote under the mekugi-ana, and on the flat area on the hamon side of the nakago, or under the hi, on the mune edge. Early Kamakura era Awataguchi school tachi include work by Kunitomo, Hisakuni, and Kuniyasu (very few works are left today). These are suguha style ko-choji-midare mixed with ko-midare, and there are frequent ashi, yo, and a classic hamon stands out. However, from the mid-Kamakura era, on Kunimitsu and Kuniyoshi tachi, Kunimitsu has a tight nioiguchi suguha hamon, and Kuniyoshi hamon have nijuba and his hamon is suguha mixed with ko-gunome, and there are small komidare hamon. The Awataguchi smiths show little difference among their works. Most of the people voted for Kuniyasu, and for and also correct answer, people voted for Ayanokoji Sadatoshi. Beside these, some people also voted for Hoki Yasutsuna. Sadatoshi’s work is very similar to Kuniyasu, so it is understandable to  vote for him. But his signature Sadatoshi has two kanji, and sada is a so-sho style, while toshi is smaller gyo-sho style, and the two kanji shows a strong personality, and this is different from the hints, so please pay attention to this. Kuniyasu’s jitetsu has a large itame and mokume pattern, and the hada is visible, and this is very similar to Yasutsuna’s, and it is understandable from this point, but many of his shapes have a narrow shinogi ji, and his jitetsu are mixed with different colors of jifu iron. Instead of nie utsuri, he has clear jifu utsuri on the dark parts, and his hamon have strong ha-nie for this era. His habuchi have nie-hotsure, and inside of the hamon, the hada is visible, and  there is a distinctive country style.             

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(Explanation and provided by Hinohara Dai.)