The Swords And Tsuba Of Bizen Province
   by Robert E. Haynes (1994)

A point has been raised concerning a paragraph of the translation of Tsuba Geijutsu, Chiagoku 1, Bizen. In the October 1994 issue of the bulletin of the NORTHERN CALIFORNIA JAPANESE SWORD CLUB. To clarify the zuikan (random thoughts) Dr. Torigoye wrote in 1959 it should be stated that these were questions without answers at that time, and seem to be unanswered now, unless the questioner has an answer we have not heard as yet. What Dr. Torigoye was wondering about is this: since Bizen had been famous for its swords since before the Muromachi period (1336-1568, or 1573) it seemed strange to him that the only well known schools of tsuba from this province are the Suruga and the Bizen Shoami. Dr. Torigoye wanted to know why there were not more examples of tsuba signed by the many famous swordsmiths who worked in Osafune and other areas of this province. He was wondering if there was a way of attributing some of the unsigned Tosho tsuba to the hands of the master smiths of Bizen. If any readers have seen any examples of signed tsuba by the great Bizen swordsmiths I would like to hear about them. (1) One would expect that the great centers of sword making would have produced great schools of tsuba in the same areas, but this does not seem to be the case in Bizen, Seki, or several other well known sword making centers. We would welcome comments from readers concerning this area of study that is still a mystery. (Robert E. Haynes)

(1) Editor's note: On pages 6-9 of the TSUBA TAIKAN by Kawaguchi Noboru, 1935, there are two signed tsuba by Bizen sword smiths. BIZEN KUNI MORIIE (ca. mid-1500's) and BIZEN KUNI JU KIYOMITSU and dated TENSHO SAN NEN NI GATSU KICHI NICHI ("lucky day in February, 1575")


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