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Thread: Nakayama Hakudo's sword?

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    Default Nakayama Hakudo's sword?

    Hi all,

    Please humour me here I have been asked by a friend in cyberland about the sword used by Nakayama Hakudo. I have a couple of grainy pictures of a long sword showing almost handachi fittings?

    I don't know if his sword/s were historically significant or now in a museum??

    This individual wants to have a "Nakayama Hakudo" sword made and all I can offer is that I would imagine the sword to be on the longer side with moderate sori and chu-kissaki which is obviously pretty standard MSR.

    So, I ask here if anyone have and thoughts on this regarding specifications other images, koshirae etc?
    Jason Anstey

    "I'm not very smart but I can lift heavy things"

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    Default Some answers ......

    Quote Originally Posted by JAnstey View Post
    Hi all,
    I don't know if his sword/s were historically significant or now in a museum??
    Hakudo Sensei's swords were of good make though I currently forget the name of the blacksmith who forged them. All of Hakudo swords were passed down to his son Zendo. Zendo Sensei used and maintained them until his death. Currently the matriarch of the Hakudo Family maintains them (along with Hakudo, Negishi, and Zendo Sensei's densho and or paraphernalia). I am not exactly sure as to what make or style they were, but I can ask her within the next month or two at the family's memorial service.

    Quote Originally Posted by JAnstey View Post
    This individual wants to have a "Nakayama Hakudo" sword made and all I can offer is that I would imagine the sword to be on the longer side with moderate sori and chu-kissaki which is obviously pretty standard MSR.
    Hakudo Sensei's sword was not the "standard" in terms of MSR (or Muso Shinden Eishin Ryu as it was called prior to Hakudo Sensei's reconfiguration of the art) or that of Yamauchi Han either (which were known for being rather thick and heavy), but one similar to that of his mentor's sword; Negishi Shingoro Sensei (a former samurai of Nagaoka Han and Shihan of Shindo Munen Ryu Kenjutsu).

    Yamauchi Samurai favored a heavy blade .... which was a kind of double edged sword. It could stand up to abuse, but it tired out the arms of it's users rather quickly (especially since Eishin Ryu swordsmen do not really practice suburi, but iai). Thus it was propagated within the Shinsengumi that when fighting a Tosa/Yamauchi Samurai, all you need to do was let him swing a few times so he would burn his arms out... after that taking them on was exponentially easier.

    Although I don't think she would like someone making a replica of her grandfather's sword. I will ask her the next time I see her (and if she is comfortable I will share what I have learned).

    best
    Jeffrey Karinja

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    Hi Jeffrey

    THanks very much for that great answer and information. Regardless of the replica query, this is very interesting to myself as student of Muso Shinden Ryu.

    Thanks again

    Jason
    Jason Anstey

    "I'm not very smart but I can lift heavy things"

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushikan View Post
    ...(especially since Eishin Ryu swordsmen do not really practice suburi, but iai)....
    Hehehehe....absolutely hilarious!

    Seriously though, can you actually avoid suburi if you do Eishin Ryu? I haven't as yet...I must be doing something wrong...

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    Default I can just see the black belt magazine ads starting now

    But Nakayama Hakudo's sword. Exact replica based on blurry old photos that I saw in a magazine.
    I hope that the family says no. Sorry, but I wouldn't even ask them.
    don engle

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Tow View Post
    Hehehehe....absolutely hilarious!

    Seriously though, can you actually avoid suburi if you do Eishin Ryu? I haven't as yet...I must be doing something wrong...
    I should re-phrase that: "Compared to other ryu; Eishin Ryu does not do alot of Suburi". Mind you that I am comparing this to other ryu-ha of the time (and that exist now) like: Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage Ryu, Shindo Munen Ryu, Tennen Rishin Ryu, Jigen Ryu (which is more of tategi-uchi), ect .... who make suburi a essential part of the normal regiment dedicating hours to the practice alone.

    best
    Jeffrey Karinja

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    This is interesting as Iwata sensei advises us to use shorter light swords with small tsuba so you can draw fast against guys with big swords with large tsuba. Note he is 'old school' MJER and often refers to the Tosa area, which is where he lives...
    Looking at Oe Masaji's sword, I would say it looks light as well, so I am wondering if it is the original Eishin only guys who favoured the larger heavy swords? All the guys I met at Kochi city MJER dojo also used light swords, so 'in theory' Yamauchi ha should be similar as Oe sensei taught the founder of this branch... Even the shimomura ha sensei from Kochi dojo uses a light short blade, so I would also be interested in origins for the prevalence of longer swords in MSR I see here in the UK.
    Tim Hamilton

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    Quote Originally Posted by dengle View Post
    But Nakayama Hakudo's sword. Exact replica based on blurry old photos that I saw in a magazine.
    I hope that the family says no. Sorry, but I wouldn't even ask them.
    Well, you are probably right, however it is an interesting topic and I would love to learn more. If Jeffrey's feeling is that it would be inappropriate then it is simple that I don't pass on any further information.

    There are many sword reproductions from famous kenshi, daimyo and shogun so I didn't see the question as disrespectful.

    Anyway, I believe that this person wants to commission a sword similar to what Hakudo Sensei used.
    Jason Anstey

    "I'm not very smart but I can lift heavy things"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chidokan View Post
    This is interesting as Iwata sensei advises us to use shorter light swords with small tsuba so you can draw fast against guys with big swords with large tsuba. Note he is 'old school' MJER and often refers to the Tosa area, which is where he lives...
    Looking at Oe Masaji's sword, I would say it looks light as well, so I am wondering if it is the original Eishin only guys who favoured the larger heavy swords? All the guys I met at Kochi city MJER dojo also used light swords, so 'in theory' Yamauchi ha should be similar as Oe sensei taught the founder of this branch... Even the shimomura ha sensei from Kochi dojo uses a light short blade, so I would also be interested in origins for the prevalence of longer swords in MSR I see here in the UK.
    Perhaps it was something of the older Eishin Ryu or perhaps another ryu-ha's influence. Yamauchi Samurai trained in a variety of schools. Those clansmen stationed in Edo were said to largely study Kyoshin Meichi Ryu Kenjutsu at the Shigakukan under Momonoi Junzo. On the home front Yamauchi Han had a large number of Bugei and Ryu-ha for it's retainers to study like: Mugai Ryu, Takenouchi Santo Ryu, Tamiya Shin Ryu, Muraku Ryu, Kawashin Ryu, Hasegawa Ha Hozoin Ryu, and Shinkage Ryu... just to name a few (I also remember hearing something to the effect that Oe Masamichi himself was a Shinkage Ryu swordsmen; only learning Eishin Ryu after the Clam Gate War). So it could be an influence of several things .. hard to say. Regardless if I find out anything interesting I will let you know.

    best
    Jeffrey Karinja

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    I did originally wonder if it was down to an 'heirloom tachi', but if anyone has tried using those for iaido, the wicked curve makes them a nightmare to use... Long swords are definitely about in the area, and maybe they didn't really care how long, just use what you can afford/own already... I know when I first started off, the only swords available as iaito were 2.45, so we all used these regardless of height etc. I guess it was a bit like the army... you all got the same gun no matter how big you are...
    Tim Hamilton

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    My guess is that a lot of those swords are going to end up being New Swords, meaning late-Meiji/Taisho/early Showa swords made by then-living Japanese smiths according to old methods. Japan Times had several articles, back in the 1910s and 1920s, about him going around the country, promoting New Swords.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Svinth View Post
    My guess is that a lot of those swords are going to end up being New Swords, meaning late-Meiji/Taisho/early Showa swords made by then-living Japanese smiths according to old methods. Japan Times had several articles, back in the 1910s and 1920s, about him going around the country, promoting New Swords.
    a gentleman on another forum mentioned this

    "He tested swords for Minamoto YoshiChika, perhaps it was one of that smith's sword"
    Jason Anstey

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    From my notes:

    Japan Times, 10 Jul 1934, page 2. Hiromichi Nakayama, one of two highest graded kendoka in Japan, demonstrates the strength of a New Sword by cutting iron bar the thickness of a man's finger wrapped in straw and placed on the edge of table. He cut it with one stroke, without leaving a mark on either the table or the blade. The Japanese Sword Institute forged the sword; the smiths were students of Hikosaburo Kurishara.

    Japan Times, 4 Jun 1941, page 8. A New Sword typically cost 2,000-8,000. There were about 400 old swords (pre-1600) listed as national treasures, and another 30,000 New Swords (made during the Edo era or later) listed as "good swords".

    NOTE: That price range would be $10,000-$40,000 in today's dollars.

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    Some online articles about Kurihara's efforts in the New Sword movement, "Manchurian steel" (e.g., steel made in Japanese factories in Manchuria using the latest Krupp processes), and so on.

    http://www.to-ken.com/articles/kurihara.htm

    http://www.nihontocraft.com/Yakinaoshi.html

    http://ejmas.com/jnc/jncart_courier1_1199.htm

    http://home.earthlink.net/~steinrl/koa.htm

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/3024775

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Showa_Steel_Works

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