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Thread: Help with Kanesada Wakizashi

  1. #1
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    Question Help with Kanesada Wakizashi

    Hi, firstly, apologies if this has submitted twice, Internet problems.
    Secondly, I'm somewhat new to the Nihonto world and have a lot to learn, so please forgive any errors and whatnot.
    And finally, I have recently acquired a wakizashi, possibly Mino, signed Kanesada (Thought it was Kaneyoshi originally), c.Bunmei/Taiei era (Late 1400s-Early 1500s).
    Pictures: https://www.facebook.com/michael.geo...2006219&type=3
    Pictures/info on seller's website: http://www.antique-swords.eu/AB65-Ja...Wakizashi.html
    As you can see, the blade and most of the koshirae (which looks to be for katana) has seen better days, the tsuba, however, is lovely. I have a feeling there's potential in this wakizashi.
    However, I've been told by someone that the nakago looks to have been tampered with at some point, and the mei could be gimei. Is there a way to confirm whether this is true/false? Also, if possible to tell via images, is this blade from around the said time period?
    Obviously, I don't want to be spending loads on restoring, if it's not worth it so help/advice would be very much appreciated.
    Thank you all in advance!

  2. #2
    Difficult to know where to start.....the first thing that caught my eye was the block of something that has been used as a seppa to make the hilt fit correctly and which would suggest to me that the sword has been assembled from spare parts,it would be normal to have a pair of copper seppa on a sword of this type not a chunky item inserted to take up the slack.
    The hilt looks to be out of proportion,too big for the blade and might be katana size,is it around 9"-10"?
    The blade looks to be old but it would be almost impossible to pin the date and swordsmith with any precision as there was a multitude of 'Kanesada' smiths and wakizashi of this type would have been turned out in bundles and used by common soldiers and civilians.
    I assume that the tsuba is made of soft metal?
    Although there are hammer marks around the centre they look fresh to my eye,in fact the tsuba does not have any appearance of age to me and might be of recent manufacture.
    Overall it has the appearance of a sword cobbled together for commercial sale but I am only making a judgement based on what I can see in the images.
    Sorry to be so negative I sincerely hope that someone will prove me wrong!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply Chris and it's alright haha, it does seem a bit of a jury rig. First plan, should I restore it, will be to have a shirasaya made.
    I found that thick seppa odd, appears to be of ivory or something, can't quite tell.
    Yes that's about the size of the tsuka, and while the saya fits the blade, it's a loose one so definitely from another sword, katana would be my guess too. The tsuba is of soft metal, looks to be copper, but definitely a later addition, but well made I think. There's some gold left on the tsuba, mostly around the edges however most has come off, so it may be somewhat of age, but certainly not as old as the blade.

  4. #4
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    Wow ! This post/sword should be made into a sticky. It is a prime example of why wanna be collectors should buy books and study instead of throwing away their money.

    I don't know what you paid for this and the purchase price is inconsequential.
    No matter what you paid for it, it was not worth it if you wish to learn anything about Nihonto.
    The condition of this sword hinders any remote possibility of study and/or learning anything from it, other than what to avoid.

    Chris is correct in that it is a wakizashi placed into a katana sized Koshirae. Look at the photos, the saya is several inches (4-6) longer than the blade. The Tsuka is twice as long as the Nakago.
    That Oversized "seppa" looks to me like an aikuchi Tanto tsuba.

    the tsuba, however, is lovely
    Seriously, lovely ?? It is at best, a poor quality shirimono (tourist crap made and sold on the docks of Yokohama).
    The insert and hammer marks in the seppa dai look new and were probably added to make tit fit the nakago a bit better.

    I have a feeling there's potential in this wakizashi.
    Please enthrall me with your rationale !

    The mei is Kanesada 兼 KANE, 定 SADA.
    The only way to know about the authenticity with any real certainty would be by sending it to shinsa. NOTE: This sword is not worth restoration or shinsa as the value would never come close to the required restoration/shinsa fees.

    I hate to be so blunt and/or offend anyones delicate sensibilities, so I did go back and edit my comments and this is the nice version.
    Perhaps this will be a wake up call, and give you reason to take time to study and learn something about this hobby.

  5. #5
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    I'll admit, coulda been less blunt there, I'd have got the point but eh whatever. It is what it is. Thanks for the reply - I'll learn from this.
    Thought I knew enough. We all make mistakes, and I'll learn from mine. Should've read up more and studied before deciding to buy instead of going by given info from the seller.
    I'm just a simple collector more than anything, like to own antiques because they're history. Thankfully, the sword wasn't too expensive, I've made back what I paid already, but regardless, I'll keep it as is. A piece of history, in some way. The tsuba, even if it's made for tourism, that was just my opinion, I like its design. The potential? Simply felt as if this would be a very nice piece, once in a good polish and either shirasaya, or some more fitting koshirae, is all. I still like the blade for what it is. Again, just opinion.
    As for books, are there any you'd recommend for a beginner, to prevent such errors again?
    Or even websites? I'm aware the internet can be a jungle of false information, however so books would probably be the better option. Either-or, I'm determined to learn what I can, and expand my knowledge of Nihonto, instead of just collect.

  6. #6
    Michael,

    Kanesada was a very long line (11 generations) of smiths, so authenticating this mei would take some work! Here's a link I found just googling the name: https://markussesko.com/2013/04/30/t...-the-kanesada/ You can find others by searching Kanesada swordsmith. Seems to be an old waki, so depending upon how much you paid, how much you like it, and your budget for restoration - it just depends upon you and your tastes as to whether you puruse further confirmation.

    I agree with the above posts, that it seems the blade was re-mounted into it's current koshirae. Whether that was done by a modern-day collector/seller or an original Japanese owner, who can say? But a blade that old was often remounted as time went by and/or damage occured.
    "Treat everyone you meet with dignity"

  7. #7
    Michael,you are correct in thinking it's not a dead loss,the component parts of tsuka,saya and blade are all of some value but I do have reservations about the tsuba which looks (to me) to be one of the current Chinese made items doing the rounds and appearing with some frequency in salerooms around the UK,it just looks too new for my taste.
    As for learning about swords,books are ok up to a point but there is no substitute for seeing and handling swords first-hand.It's one thing to read about the subtleties of nioi,nie,hada and the like but seeing them and having them explained is entirely different although modern photography does go a long way in helping to understand what goes on in Japanese swords.
    There is the To-Ken Society which depending on your location might be of interest or the antique arms fairs held regularly around the UK which usually have a range of swords to look at.
    I'm not a fan of newly polished blades in shirasaya,I like 'speccy' (speculative) items and don't mind a bit of grime or patina as long as it's sleepy and not messed with.
    At all costs avoid the 'acid' polished blades that are on the market.
    There is a shop in a well known resort on the south coast that boasts of its 'repolished' blades and which must be responsible for having ruined a large number Japanese swords for commercial gain,they look terrible and are ridiculously overpriced.
    I would bet that there is nobody who has been involved with Japanese swords who has not taken at least one hit and bought a duffer,over the course of 30+ years I've had a few but I see that as part of the learning curve and something you definitely cannot learn from books and as my pal always reminded me,the man who never made a mistake never made anything.

  8. #8
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    I was intentionally blunt in hopes that you would get the point ! The point that you need to educate yourself at least a wee bit.

    Your sword doesn't bother me as much as your comments that the tsuba is "lovely", and the wak "has potential". Looking at them and those statements tell me straight off that you have very little experience in this hobby. That you can change ! Books/written material are a great resource, and you can learn tons from them. IMHO books/written material are the first and most important step. You need to learn things like terminology and nomenclature by reading and studying. When I say reading, I don't mean books only, there is so much material on the web these days that all the basic information is at your fingertips. Everyone has access to the web, so there is no excuse for not learning the basics. You can also access photos of swords in polish, and see the types of hataraki which can be found within the Japanese sword.

    Trust me, we have all made mistakes and I understand that when you are young funds are tight and you want a Japanese sword but are limited to stay within your budget. We are all (most) limited by budget at some price point. I have studied and owned Japanese swords for many years and am still limited by my budget. But there are affordable swords that are in good enough polish to study and learn from.

    If you only like or want swords with a greyed, out of polish finish, that is your business. But with that type of sword, like the one in question, what can you learn from it ? You can not see the hada or the hamon, or at least not enough to distinguish the various hataraki or activities seen in Japanese swords, so how can you possibly learn anything from it.

    I say that with the presumption that you want to learn more about Japanese swords.

    If you have the desire to know more, and are not proficient with the basics (?), here is a link which can help. http://yakiba.com/beginner_page.htm

  9. #9
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    Thanks for your replies and advice and info everyone, much appreciated! I do indeed want to learn more about Japanese swords, and I will begin learning as much as I can as of now. I've a couple in a good enough polish to study, and I'll be reading and researching a lot more.
    Thanks again.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael George View Post
    I'm determined to learn what I can, and expand my knowledge of Nihonto, instead of just collect.
    That is a good attitude, here is a place to start if you have not read this essay already.

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...f74e31d7ff.png
    Last edited by eric t; 12-21-2016 at 09:13 AM.

  11. #11
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    Thank you Eric! I'll definitely read it.

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