Likes and dislikes

There appears to be a deafening silence on the discussion side here so thought maybe a few people might kick this idea around of what your likes and preferences are as far as Japanese swords are concerned and do you have any not so favourite things (in my case blingy tosogu).
I have enjoyed many aspects of the Japanese sword over 30+ years of interest but I tend to take more of an interest these days in WW2 gendaito,traditionally made blades forged sometimes by smiths who were top quality and recognised accordingly in post war years,at the same time I enjoy looking at all shingunto regardless of the blade mounted in it,gendaito,Showato or maybe an antique blade,they are a fascinating piece of history and almost certainly the last swords carried into combat for actual use.
So come on,let's hear what your pet subjects are!


I happen to like blades from the Mishina school (I'm probably not alone). I got started in this direction because I have 2 Mishina blades (1-dai and 2-dai from the same family, teacher and student), and it seemed sensible to "specialize". To me, it's more interesting to have deeper knowledge of a narrow topic, rather than broad knowledge that never goes deep. with the Mishina school, I like that there are several trademarks in the hamon that I've learned to spot, so I feel smart when I can identify them ;-). In a lot of schools/blades, it seems that the features can be very subjective, especially in things like "the color of the steel".

I also like "tosho tsuba", and similar tsuba that are simple and functional. This is mostly because the really nice tsuba are also really expensive, and there is too much competition among collectors. If I buy a relatively low-end tsuba, I can be fairly confident that I'm getting what I'm paying for, but there is still a sense of "history" with it. For example, I've got a tosho tsuba that I bought in Japan at an antique shop for about $50. It's not in very good condition, but it's clearly "the real thing", and I can see laminations in the steel along the edge.


likes and dislikes

I find that very interesting because even within the Mishina school there's a wide variation in styles of forging and hamon,do you have a particular favourite?
I remember a Kinmichi in a London sale catalogue a few years ago that was stunning,sadly I didn't get to see it first hand but really outstanding and in my view completely outshone the early Kiyomaro (Masayuki) blade in the same sale.
Likewise I really enjoy the tosho tsuba which are as you say the real thing and were created to be fitted to swords that were essentially practical,they are subtle,restrained and strong.




The features that I'm thinking of are, as I recall, typical of the Tamba Yoshimichi branch: the "Mishina boshi", kikusui, sudareba, and the feature where the hamon becomes mostly suguha in the last few inches toward the ha-machi (I forget what that's called...).
I haven't done any 'studying' in some years.
The blades I have are both Tango Kanemichi - a 1-dai katana and a 2-dai wakizashi, making a nice pair.