AS A STUDENT OF KODOGU
   by Robert Haynes

As I was born in the fifth year of Showa, Kanoe Uma, the year of the horse, (Oct. 28, 1930), I completed my life cycle in Heisei 2, (1990). My collecting and student life began in Showa 21, (1946), and will be completed next year, Heisei 18, (2006). As I look back over these sixty years they have gone very fast indeed. A student of any subject needs- a lifetime to gain knowledge of his subject, and with any kind of luck, a second lifetime to perfect his knowledge in his area of study. As we all know, the more you study, the less you know. In fact you realize how little you know, and how much time is needed to perfect your studies. That perfection is what I am trying to do at this stage of my studies.

When I bought my first tsuba, for a dollar, in 1946, I had no idea that I would spend almost all of the rest of my life in the study of Japanese sword fittings. In my teenage years my interest was in European arms and armor of the classic medieval period. The age of the knights of old in armor fighting for honor and chivalry. That area was not to be my lifetimes study, but when I saw that these same ideas and romantic feelings could be found in the history and art of Japan, I soon switched my interests to the arts of the Japanese sword and its fittings. I had been collecting for three to four years when I was drafted into the army, and was sent to Korea as a soldier. I did have my five days rest in Japan and was able to go to Kyoto in 1950051. I sought out a dealer of fittings in Kyoto, he was Kusanoki, a fine old pre-war dealer who sold me fine pieces at the yen rate of 360 to the dollar, at that time. I did buy other items from all the antique shops I found.

When I returned home to Los Angeles, I decided that I would continue my fine art studies in England. I went to the Slade School of Fine Arts, at the University of London. This school was located just behind the British Museum, which gave me many opportunities that one can not have today. Japanese sword fittings were everywhere in London, and ranged from one shilling (14 cents) to about one pound ($2.80) f thus there was a great deal of, material available to me. I also attended the auctions of fittings held at Sotheby i s Auction House, on Bond Street. It was at my first auction preview at Sotheby i s that I met W. W. Winkworth, in 1953. Billy became a very good friend over many years and I obtained a large number of fine tsuba from his collection. I also found out that there was a fine collection of tsuba at the Victoria & Albert Museum, in South Kensington. I made an appointment to view the collection. The Deputy Keeper of Metal Work at that time was B. W. Robinson. At our first meeting I seemed to show enough knowledge of fittings for B. W. to take me down to where the tsuba were kept in storage, as the galleries had not yet been fully put back in order after the war. He asked me to look over the tsuba and arrange them in order of their importance. This.I did during-several visits and later they were to be displayed in cases for the general public to view. This year in London added greatly to my collection and to my knowledge of fittings.

On returning to Los Angeles, I decided to attend the University of California at Los Angeles U.C.L.A.). This was in 1955 and I did not know a single collector of sword fittings in all of the U. S., much less in Los Angeles. I soon met my very good friend Robert Moes, who was just beginning to collect Japanese armor and sword fittings. At this same time I was to meet Fred and Midori Martin, the four of us are still fast friends. At this time I was trying to teach myself Japanese kanji and had begun rudimentary translations of such books as the TSUBA TAIKAN, by Noboru Kawaguchi, 1935. As you might guess these efforts were slow and painful. By the time I graduated from U.C.L.A., I had taught myself to read kanji for the most basic common names of tsuba makers. Billy Winkworth had become my agent to buy fittings at the Sotheby auctions, and I had found other auction houses in Europe that I could buy fittings for a few dollars as there were not more than six other collectors in all the world outside of Japan at that time. This did not last very long, as many soldiers who had returned from the Far East were just beginning to look into the sword blades and fittings that had been brought back in such great numbers after the war. It was not long before there were enough of us to form a Japanese sword society in Los Angeles. We had a great teacher in Mr. Yasu Kizu, who gave of his time and knowledge for all of our benefit. Bob Moes and I collected as many tsuba as we could find at that time which turned out to be several hundred for each of us. We still did not have any real knowledge of what we were collecting and wanted to find out as much as we could. Another sword society was forming, at this same time, in northern California, and we heard that the teacher of this group was a master named John Yumoto. Bob and I decided to invite John to Los Angeles to look over our collections and tell us about what we had been collecting. John, as always, was very kind and he examined each piece in our collections. I had never seen a master examine a tsuba before, and could not understand what he was looking at so carefully. John pronounced many of the pieces in our collections as very fine, and others, as of no collecting value, or outright forgeries. We did learn a great deal from this first meeting and I was to become a close friend of John Yumoto for the rest of his life.

In one of my visits with John, about 1959, he asked me just how far I wished to go in my study of sword fittings. I asked him how far he thought I could go? It was at this point that he suggested that I could study with Dr. Kazutaro Torigoye, in Okayama Japan. I replied that I would be very happy to go and study with Dr. Torigoye. John made all the arrangements for me to go to Japan, and I left in 1960, to study with the great master of fittings, who had also been the last student of the great sensei, Akiyama Kyusaku. This naturally was to be the turning point for all.

When I arrived in Tokyo I stayed at the old Dai-Ichi Hotel, next to the even older Imperial Hotel. I had about two weeks before I went to Okayama, and I visited as many antique shops as I could find. The best tsuba I bought were from the Yushima Seido in Ueno Park. I was also very fortunate to see one of the finest Noh play sessions in many years. Mrs. Torigoye, who taught the ko-tsuzumi, and was a fine Noh dancer, told me to go and see this twelve hour performance, which was a memorial to the head of the school who had just died, as it was a lifetime experience. To this day I still far prefer Noh drama to Kabuki. When I arrived in Okayama, Dr. Torigoye had made arrangements for me to stay at the Uotoku Ryokan in the center of Okayama City. My lessons with Dr. Torigoye were to be a morning and afternoon session of several hours each, six days a week. On Tuesday nights the other (all Japanese) students came to the house of Dr. Torigoye for their studies. Some had been the students of Dr. Torigoye for more than twenty-five years. It was decided that since Dr. Torigoye had just published the TSUBA GEIJUTSU KO (Concerning the Art of the Tsuba) in 1960, which was the first book published about the aesthetics of the study of tsuba, it would be the basis for my studies. Dr. Torigoye had been granted a doctor of philosophy degree, from Kyoto University, based on the ground braking ideas this book contained. Each day of my studies I carefully wrote down the translation of my studies, which were conducted in English, as Dr. Torigoye taught English and social studies at the Gkayama Business College. In the Meiji period Dr. Torigoye had graduated from Clark University in Massachusetts, with a degree in social studies. Dr. Torigoye used examples of fittings from his own collection to illustrate the fine points of each school and period of the art and history of tsuba. During the day when I was not at studies with Dr. Torigoye I typed my lessons and took them back to Dr. Torigoye for corrections and additions. On the weekends, Mrs. Torigoye would take me to see the collections of the students of Dr. Torigoye, or to see museum or private collections in many areas, and as far away as Kumamoto in Kyushu. During this time I saw thousands of fittings and even had some time of my own to travel to Kobe each month to do my banking, where I was able to buy at least one fine tsuba each month, from the many fine antique shops in Kobe at that time. My lessons continued for most of the year and when the translation of the TSUBA GEIJUTSU KO was completed, Dr. Torigoye gave me lessons in many other areas of the study of tsuba and related arts and even the life and studies of famous persona, such as his student days with Akiyama Kyusaku, and I also studied the history of fittings since the early days that Akiyama had been active.

All this material is contained in several notebooks that I still have after 45 years. These notebooks were later to be published under the title: TSUBA AN AESTHETIC STUDY BY KAZUTARO TORIGOYE AND ROBERT E. HAYNES FROM THE TSUBA GEIJUTSU KO OF KAZUTARO TORIGOYE, Edited and Published by Alan Harvie for the NORTHERN CALIFORNIA JAPANESE SWORD CLUB, 1994-1997, Bound Volume published March 2000. Dr. Torigoye would have been very proud to see his book translated into english. He felt that the future of the study of sword fittings should pass to students the world over. For this reason he was to make me his successor and he gave me his seal so that I could write boxes and certificates, as he had. I have never used this privilege, and as many know, I do not believe in boxes and certificates, so some one else will have to take up this area, if I should ever have a successor of my own. The last few weeks of my studies with Dr. Torigoye were very busy, as we went together to Tokyo. Our first visit in Tokyo was to the National Museum at Ueno Park. Dr. Kanzan Sato showed us to the large office upstairs in the museum, and while he and Dr. Torigoye talked I was shown all the tsuba in the museum collection, including the Hosokawa collection. They were brought to me on large trays and I could handle them at will. Though I learned a great deal from seeing so many famous pieces, in my hand, I do not think I understood them as I would today, if I were to see them now that I have learned so much more in the years since 1961. We also visited Noboru Kawaguchi at his home in Tokyo. Dr. Torigoye and Kawaguchi had never met, even though Kawaguchi was the student of Akiyama just before Dr. Torigoye. At that time Kawaguchi was considered the expert on the Goto school, and had written a number of articles about the Goto. I asked Kawaguchi several questions I had about the Goto which he answered for me. My next link to the past was when Dr. Torigoye took me to meet Yutaro Hino, who was in his eighties at that time. He had been the last chief clerk at Amiya, the shop owned by Ogura Soemon, the greatest dealer and expert of the Meiji period, except for Akiyama. All of these great men knew each other and were able to be part of the whole study of sword fittings when it was in the hands of great experts. We also visited such dealers as Shibata Mitsuo, and Inami Tomihiko, and also saw a number of private collections, such as the great Sato collection. I was introduced to Dr. Junji Homma, and Dr. Suiken Fukunaga, both of whom became friends for many years to come. These formative years have given me a perspective of my studies that I do not think any student could get today.

When I returned home from my studies with Dr. Torigoye, I began the manuscript of the TSUBA GEJUTSU KO translation. I also was able to impart to my friends in Los Angeles, and in San Francisco, the importance of my studies and I think that we all learned together as a result of my studies. I hardly realized that I had become the first Westerner to be a formal student of Japanese sword fittings outside of Japan. It was not long before our sword club decided to put together an international exhibition of Japanese swords, fittings, and armor. This was to be the exhibit: ARMS AND ARMOR OF ANCIENT JAPAN, An Historical Survey, Co-Sponsored by the Municipal Art Patrons of Los Angeles and the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TO-KEN KAI, which was held at the Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park, from February 19th through March 22nd, 1964. Little did we realize what we were getting ourselves into and we had no idea what was involved. Being young and wanting to do something that would not be forgotten we plunged ahead as if it would all come out all right in the end, and it did, but we all realized we would never venture into such a project again under any circumstances, for it left us drained.

As many of the club members were working on the initiai details of this project, Fred Martin and I went to England and Europe to try and secure objects for the exhibition that were not available in the U. S. I was able to visit again with B. W. Robinson at the V.& A. Museum, and to meet Engineer Commander E. Newman, who was in charge of the Japanese swords and fittings at the British Museum. I was able to examine the fittings at these museums and made notes of the best pieces. We were staying at the home of John Harding, who took us to see several private collections and introduced us to the major collectors in England. I also met Clement Milward who had become my agent in London, and who secured for me many fine fittings in the years to come. We also went to Stockholm Sweden to visit with C. H. Lundgren, who had a major collection of fittings at that time. Lundgren and I became fast friends for the rest of his life. We also went to see the H. Halberstadt collection in Denmark, and the Hamburg Museum collection in Germany. All told I saw at least seven to eight thousand tsuba on this trip. I kept notes of all the pieces of interest in each collection and all the names of the fittings artists that were not contained in Hara at that time. This was a very productive trip for me and it added greatly to my knowledge of fittings. On our return home we were to work for several years until the exhibit was ready in 1964. The exhibit at Barnsdall Park was a watershed event in the U. S. that has never been equaled since. We can only hope that somewhere in the West such an exhibit will be repeated again, I hope in my lifetime.

The years from 1965 to 1970 were occupied with finishing the manuscript and helping Dr. Torigoye with his visit to the U.S., and later with his trip to England and Europe. On these trips he viewed many collections of fittings, the world over, and wrote boxes and certificates for the students and collectors without remuneration. These were the early years of collecting in the West, after the war. They formed the pattern of study used today.

In 1971, I returned to Japan for the first time in ten years. John Harding at that time had opened a business in Tokyo. His shop was called the London Gallery, his partner was Mr. Tajima, who is a good friend to this day. John made arrangements through Albert Yamanaka, another good friend, that I was to stay at a hotel in Shinjuku. John's shop was mostly devoted to Japanese swords, fittings, and armor. I was to stay in Tokyo for six months this time and it was another great learning period for me. Many Japanese collectors came to the London Gallery and I met Meikan Nakajima there and he spoke very good English, we became friends and he took me to see many private collections in Tokyo and other areas of Japan. John and Taj were to introduce me to Sasano Masayuki and we visited him at his home several times and later I was to visit with him on my own. He was a teacher you could talk to without any barrier between you. I learned a great deal during my talks with Sasano Sensei, and I valued his friendship all the rest of his life. I also met Wakayama Takeshi (Homatsu), who at that time was the great master of sword fitting signatures and authority on kinko fittings. I went to see his collection which contained many famous tsuba of old. Wakayama Sensei and I would have many conversations in the future about signatures and various artists he was to write about. John and Taj also took me to meet with Kokeguchi Senshu, the great contemporary artist of fittings and blades, who had been a student of Dr. Torigoye. He was to make a fukurin for me. I was able to return to Okayama during this trip and see both Dr. and Mrs. Torigoye, and have an evening session with the students of old, as I did when I studied with Dr. Torigoye ten years before. During this trip to Japan I added many very fine tsuba to my collection and I saw several thousand fittings in at least a dozen collections. I was not to return to Japan for another ten years.

This time when I returned to the States, I went to my new home in San Francisco. About 1972 or 73, I joined Butterfield and Butterfield Auction House in San Francisco. I started the Oriental Department at Butterfield's at that time. During my years with them I produced several auctions of Japanese swords and sword fittings. This was a new field for most auction houses, who put the Japanese art in with the other oriental art work, and none had done single catalogs of swords and fittings. When I left Butterfield's about 1980 I created the first solo Japanese sword and fitting catalog for Christie's Auction House in New York. This auction was held Wednesday November 5, 1980. From this time on, other auction houses in the U. S. and England were to have auctions of Japanese swords and fittings with the ever growing number of new collectors in attendance, not just dealers, as they had in the past. In fact these sales were so successful that I thought I might open my own auctions of blades and fittings. A good friend, Jack Greenberg was my partner in this venture, which was called Robert E. Haynes Ltd. Unfortunately Jack died after we had completed the first auction. I carried on and the following nine auctions were of fittings, woodblock prints and books, for the most part. These ten auctions were held from November 1981, to October 1984. I sold thousands of fittings in these sales, the most important being the Hans Conried auctions that contained world class fittings. I probably would have continued these sales except that I could not find enough material to continue. In 1982 I was to take a trip back to Japan with John Yumoto, who had been doing annual trips to Japan for students and collectors of blades and fittings. This trip was to be special. John had told me that if I were to come on this trip he would make special arrangements to see some very rare collections such as the Furukawa-Wada fittings. This trip was very fine, and since it had been ten years since I had been in Japan it was a great opportunity for me. I did see many fine fittings, and renewed my friendship with Sasano Sensei, and others, but the highlight of the trip had to be our visit to the home of the Baron Furukawa family to view that very famous collection. John and I also visited with Mrs. Torigoye, as Dr. Torigoye had passed away at that time. Mrs. Torigoye gave me another of the red seals of my teacher, which I keep to this day. When I returned to San Francisco this time, in the company of C. H. Lundgren, who had joined me in Tokyo, it seemed my time of more than ten years in that city were about over. I had decided to move to Seattle, Washington by that time.

By about 1989, I was living in Seattle and was helping with exhibitions and sales at Honeychurch Antiques owned by my friend John Fairman. I got a call from Sebastian Izzard, who was head of the Japanese department at Christie's Auction House in New York. He ask if I was free to work on an auction of sword fittings. I said yes, not knowing what I was getting myself into. The auction turned out to be the Dr. Walter A. Compton collection. I had known Dr. Compton for many years and we were collecting friends. In fact about 1953 or so, I was buying fine fittings from Joseph Seo in New York at the same time Walter was buying from Joe. In any event, I agreed to go to New York to work on the sale catalog. First we had to produce the 100 Masterpieces book which was designed to make the Compton family heirs happy, we did this in a very short time, to get it out of the way so we could get on with the true work of the catalog. The work on the three sale catalogs took several years and much effort and time. The first sale was held March 31, 1992, and the third on December 17, 1992. I also did several catalogs with fitting sections after the Compton, so all told I spent more than three years on this project. The Compton sale did change the western aspect of fittings for both the collectors and the dealers. I think that even today the collectors in Japan, and in the West, see the collecting of fittings in a more even light after the Compton sale. Recent auctions would validate this theory. One interesting note. A number of the tsuba in the Compton collection I had sold to Walter, many years ago, for about $3.64 each. Some brought a hundred, to a thousand times this amount in the auction. A very different world from my beginnings!

After the Compton sale, I returned to my work on my index of names. I had been working on this by collecting unrecorded names for more than 50 years. Now it was time to complete my translation of TOSO KINKO JITEN: by Wakayama Takeshi, 1984. This edition of his index of the names of fitting artists was 628 pages. I already had more than ten thousand names recorded in my card file, so I wanted to add any new names recorded by Wakayama and all the information that he had about each artist. This was a far cry from my first efforts at translation, for now I needed an almost complete mastery of reading kanji and recording the information contained in the Wakayama index. My translation took several years and I had to cross reference all the information with my own index and collate tens of thousands of bits of information I wanted to add to my index, that had never been contained in any list of fitting artist's names, recorded in any of the printed lists published before mine. I also recorded all the kao I had carefully added to each name that I had seen in collections and museums. I had almost completed my translation of Wakayama when I was contacted by Gunther Heckmann to see if I was willing to publish my index of artists. I said yes, without really thinking of what this entailed. I was very fortunate to have Gunther as my team-mate, for without his help and that of several others, I would never have been able to complete such a vast project. Needless to say, the real work was only just beginning. I had to type, and fax the information to Ellwangen Germany each day, and it was then put on a computer disk. All of this, and many other projects, took several years to complete. When the last of this vast project was finished, the book was published in 2001, as THE INDEX OF JAPANESE SWORD FITTINGS AND ASSOCIATED ARTISTS (NIHON TOSO KINKO DAIJITEN) Nihon Art Publishers, Ellwangen, 2001, in three volumes. I can say that I would never, ever, try to do such a project again. In the last four years I have been making additions, corrections, and other alterations to my index. Someday I will release all this new information which contains another 250 or more unrecorded names, which will bring my index to almost 13,000 names, which is about double the number of names recorded by Wakayama.

Today I feel I have completed all the major projects that I saw in my future over the last 60 years. That is not to say I will end future projects, but I have none that are on the horizon, well not really. I have been asked to work on the collections of several European collectors, to publish books of their fittings. One is in Paris, one in Holland, one in Italy and one in Russia. I am sorry to say that I had to turn down all of these projects, as much as I might have wanted to do them, for I can not face, at my age, the prospect of several years work on each of these collections, for they are each about four thousand fittings, and many of the finest quality, which would mean four books, and a total of 12,000 to 15,000 fittings I would have to closely examine, a fraction of the 70,000 to 80,000 fittings I have examined in my lifetime, even so it would take another twelve to fifteen years to publish these collection as they deserve. I hope that some new student will come along who will be able to publish these collections, and I will be happy to work with them, but I would be over 90 years of age if I were to do them on my own.

I think that I have both taken and given to the world of Japanese sword fittings, and I do not regret a minute of these 60 or more years. Perhaps those who will carry on the work I have started, will find some use in what I have added to the available knowledge.


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