Friday, June 30, 2023
Thursday, June 29, 2023
Around 2017 or so, one of my classmates and friend, Ron Plumsteel, had been toying with the idea of selling two of his nihonto. Eventually, he decided to pass on the responsibility of stewardship over this sword to me.
According to Hiro sensei, the gendaito pictured here was likely crafted around 50 years ago, and is on a balance of probabilities authentic and made in Japan by a Japanese smith in the traditional way. In effect, it is likely made with folded steel and water tempered, and it was made from tamehagane or oroshigane.
There are no tang stamps (Showa, Naval, Mukden, or Seki etc to indicate a gunto blade) and sensei tells me that he does not recognize the name of the smith. A lot of fakes will engrave the names of a famous smiths to boost their perceived value, but a possible indicator of authenticity would be a smith that may not necessarily be famous. My sword is not certified by NBTHK or NTHK, but I am satisfied that it is a nihonto, and I hope that one or both of my kids will appreciate such finely crafted swords as I do. I haven't decided if I will have it fitted with furniture, but it is something I may consider doing because it is the same dimensions as my iaito, coming in at about 2.45 shaku.
According to Hiro sensei, this blade on the otanto is likely about 200 years old or so. The smith's name is known to my sensei, but apparently not famous. Again, there are no certificates from NBTHK or NTHK, but I trust Ron, as well as the opinion of my sensei
筑州住宗勉作 - Chikuzen Sumuneun studies. My sensei tells me the smith's name is Sou Tsutomu, and his father was Sou Kunimitsu.
Ron said he had the sword for about 30 years, making my sword only about 13 years old at the time he acquired it.
Other information that appears on the website:
種別Category 刀 刃長Blade length 76.8cm
反りCurvature 2.4cm 目釘穴a rivet of a sword hilt 1個
元幅Width at the bottom part of blade 33.5mm 先幅Width at the top 21.0mm
元重Thickness at the bottom part of blade 7.0mm 先重Thickness at the top 5.0mm
重量Weight 刀身855g 時代Period 昭和
銘文Signature and Date （表）筑州住宗勉作
登録Registration Code 昭和60年7月18日 福岡県教育委員会
At least there's a bit more history about the sword than I can pass on to my son one day.
Vincent also found this little nugget of information:
Some other links that popped up associated with So Tsutomu:
Nishijin/Tozando branded shinken. Purchased in 2011 from Todo Kai member.
"Nishijin Sword's Iaito swords have already received numerous praises from the users with its superior balance, workmanship and finish. Now with the new hard carbon steel blade, you can experience the real Japanese sword feeling and test cutting. Unlike other competitors in the market, each and every sword is specifically handmade under the supervision of Tozando/Nishijin Sword and the technical guidance of the Japanese master sword craftsman in Seki of Gifu. Although the final product is assembled in China, the quality of the fitting materials is as same as the one available in Japan and as such ornaments as Tsuba and Tsuka are shipped from Japan"
In an e-mail to Nishijin, they indicated that they used T-10 steel for the toshin. There was also talk of some of Tozando shinken (at the time) being forged and finished in Germany, but that information seems to have been lost with the sands of time.
The sword has since required some repair work to the saya, and was reinforced with rattan wrap near the koiguchi. The tsuka was also removed just to take a look at the nakago, which was never done since taking ownership. The tsuka was built well, as was the wrapping job, and even after a decade + of use, the wrap is still extrememly tight and doesn't need to be redone.