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Thread: Unusual 'kama' - any ideas?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Unusual 'kama' - any ideas?

    Hi.

    I am way out of my league in trying to figure this out hence my question on a lazy Sunday morning.

    I know a Japanese gent who owns the double edged 'kama' below. It is signed on the nakago, very clearly, and the license jives with the nakago. It doesn't look like much in this pic - the handle is homemade, and the blade has not been kept well, but is artfully made. I have better photos but need to edit them down. The blade is not nearly as rusty as it looks (afternoon sun and a poor photographer, namely me, and the dirty background makes it look bad).

    It is signed
    横山上野大掾藤原祐定 Yokoyama Kouzuke Daijo Fujiwara Sukesada
    the back side
    備州長船住人 Bishu Osafune Junin
    Here's a site with a clear view of the same name
    One ref, namely http://www.samuraisword.com/nihontod...sada/index.htm, cites:
    SUKESADA ( HANABI ), "YOKOYAMA KOZUKE DAIJO", KAN-BUN - 1661.
    SAID TO BE THE FOREMOST SUKESADA OF THE SHINTO PERIOD.
    5 th. SON OF HICHIBEI.

    I checked with an expert in one of the main sword associations, and he said that he's never heard of such a piece being made by such a major swordmaker, but can't imagine why anyone would forge something like this because there's no real market for it.

    This thread on 'Nihonto' would seem to indicate that it is a mass produced piece because of the Bishu Osafune Junin inscription. That makes sense.
    http://www.militaria.co.za/nihontome...c.php?=&p=6746

    I practice Isshin ryu kusarigama, and this thing is simply not balanced correctly as a short handled kama. The tang is relatively short, and it is very blade heavy (although admittedly this handle was cobbled up by the owner, a machine shop operator, and is pretty light wood).

    I think it is too well made to be out of balance, and the length of the blade (double edged blade, at that) is too long for a short handle. Hence, I wonder if it is something else - a blade for a 長柄鎌 (long handled sickle) or something else (a friend suggested a 鎌鑓 kamayari, which I can't quite envision - I think the blade is too fine to put on a full up spear shaft).

    But, it is not simply a farm implement, it is clearly a weapon (to my eyes).

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Lance
    Lance Gatling ガトリング
    Tokyo 東京

    Long as we're making up titles, call me 'The Duke of Earl'

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
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    USA
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    The hole at the back of the blade reminds me of a Kiraki-Ryu kusarigama, where the chain would be attached. The blade is very large though. Interesting piece.
    David F. Craik

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