Posted By Thomas L. Buck

New Discovery

Scholars confirm first discovery of Japanese sword from master bladesmith Masamune in 150 years!

Should you visit a history museum in Japan, and, like I do, make an immediate beeline for the collections of samurai armor and weaponry, you might be surprised to notice...

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

My latest koshirae project for our collection: doeskin tsukamaki & samegawa saya, with Mid-Edo Period (ca. 1720-1760) silver fuchi, kashira & tsuba... This is part of a Daisho (matched set) that I am putting together.

New Daisho 01
New Daisho 02

This is a gendaito signed Nagamitsu (長光), dated "lucky day in April, 1937." The tsuba & fuchi/kashira are all Edo period, and have matching daisho sets. Both tsuba are silver/shakudo; the katana tsuba is signed Nobuie (信舎), but the smaller tsuba is mumei. The dimensions of the koshirae/sword are: overall length is 40" (101.6 cm); tsuka is 10" (25.4 cm); and, the sword blade 27.5" (69.85 cm). 

Let me know what you think...

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

WWII Vet Returns Sword To Japanese Family

By Bill Ward

LANESBORO, Minn. (WCCO) – Orvall Amdahl clearly remembers the day his life would be forever changed.

“November 19, 1942 I left San Francisco,” recalls the 94-year old from Lanesboro.

Back then, Amdahl was beginning his service as a United States Marine and preparing for battles in the Pacific. He was a 26-year-old Marine Corp Captain when fighting stopped, and the occupation of Japan began.

He remembers it vividly, because he and his fellow Marines were loaded onto their landing craft and preparing for invasion.

But on Aug. 8, 1945, Amdahl says, “the bomb was dropped, so instead of being invaders we became occupiers.”

Ten days later Amdahl was assigned to duty in the devastated city of Nagasaki. It was a horrific scene that he’ll never forget.

“I don’t know, that’s unreal,” Amdahl recalls sadly.

As a captain, he was given access to a warehouse where Japanese soldiers had been disarmed. He remembers piles and piles of weapons, including Samurai swords.

Amdahl was given an identification card that specifically granted him access to his choice of a “war trophy.”

That’s when Amdahl found a pristine, leather scabbard, holding a glistening Samurai sword.

“I pulled mine out and almost fainted,” he said, “it was so beautiful.”

Since 1945 Amdahl has kept the sword well-oiled and was proud to show it to family and friends. But then, one day it occurred to him – even after 68 years of being the sword’s American caretaker, the treasured piece of history really wasn’t his.

“I felt that this had a home, and should be returned to it. It almost makes me and Motomura feel like brothers,” says Amdahl, referring to the grandson of the Japanese soldier who in 1945 was forced to turn it over.

The sword’s wooden identification tags, written in Japanese, were deciphered and traced to Tadahiro Motomura.

Letters were exchanged between Amdahl and Motomura arrangements were made to give the sword back.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, that’s exactly what Amdahl will do in a 9:30 a.m. ceremony in St. Paul’s Como Park.

“Now we won’t have to worry about it,” Amdahl said, “it goes to its rightful place.”

Orval forgave his enemies long ago. And when he hands over that tool of war, he prays it’ll serve as a lasting offering of peace.

“Peace is what we got to look for,” he said, “instead of embattlements all the time.”

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

It's my birthday, so what did I get?

A sword, of course... check it out.

Sword B-Day Cake
 

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

Here is a great upcoming event: Baltimore Japanese Swords & Cultural Arts Show on September 20-22, 2013.

sword show
 

Full details can be found on the following website: http://www.southeast...imore-2013.html. The show promoter and organizer is Bill Green the same person who did the 2013 Tampa Japanese Sword Show.

 

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

Nova Header
Secrets of the Samurai Sword: Classroom Activity
(http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/education/activities/3412_samurai.html)

Based on the NOVA special, "Secrets of the Samurai Sword", students explore the characteristics of metals and produce a series of posters on different alloys, outlining their properties and how they are used.

Learning Objectives
Sword MetalsStudents will be able to:

  • locate metals on the Periodic Table of elements.
  • identify the properties of some common metals.
  • define what an alloy is.
  • explain how alloys can be used to produce objects that are used in homes and in industry.

 

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

Here are three sets of koshirae that I recently finished. 

The first is a Shinto naginata zukiri wakizashi (early 1700’s) that I did in Jabara-ito using 8 ivory colored silk threads; the saya was sculpted with ripples, and finished using black urishi. 

The second two are the long sword and short sword from a Koto Bizen daisho (matched set from the mid-1500’s)  I did using white silk ito; the saya (scabbard) was finished with a combination of mother-or-pearl chips in black urishi. I made both the tsuka (handles) and saya (scabbards) on all three. Let me know what you think…

Below, the Shinto nagainata zukiri wakizashi: 

mid-winter
mid-winter
mid-winter
mid-winter

And here is the Koto Bizen daisho (matched set from the Bizen school):

mid-winter
mid-winter
mid-winter
mid-winter

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

.A collaborative koshirae project; Hans Igelström of Sweden restored the saya (scabbard - red urishi), and I wrapped the tsuka (handle - gold silk threads).

Sweden Saya
Sweden Saya
Sweden Saya
Sweden Saya
Here are a couple of before shots of the work in progress... Let me know what you think.

Sweden Saya
Sweden Saya

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

My son in the family "cave" with our latest aquisition... an early 17th century Japanese matchlock, it's a little over 53 inches, or 135 centimeters.

matchlock


matchlock
matchlock
matchlock
matchlock
Below, the flashpan:

matchlock
matchlock
Below are top views of the barrel, showing silver/copper/gold inlay work depicting 2 squirrels on a grape vine, and the Mon (or family crest of the owner).

matchlock
matchlock

And, here is an excerpt from W. M. Hawley's book "The Mon - Japanese Family Crests", page 28, showing the family names that used variations of this crest..

matchlock

On the bottom side of the barrel is the gun smith's signature, shown below:

matchlock
matchlock
matchlock

The above signature reads  -  国 Country(Kuni)・時代 Era(Jidai):近江国(Gousyu/Toutoumi) 江戸時代 (from 1603). 

 

 

 

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

I had the privilige and honor of being invited to speak at the University of Minnesota's
The Strategy of Japan Lecture Series: "Japanese Art Sword". 

I discussed the history, culture, aesthetics, as well as various aspects involved in preservation of the Japanese art sword... Check it out:

st


st


st

st

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

Publisher's description: "A wide-ranging guide to over 30 styles of classic tsukamaki and koshirae. Plus, an over-view of Japanese history; a timeline of the evolution of Japanese arms; and, a comprehensive visual glossary of Japanese swords, temper patterns and mei kanji."

Here is the cover & a few sample pages... What do you think?

new book
new book
new book
new book
new book
new book

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

My family (my wife Andrea the elf, my son Sam the knight, and Me the samurai) at our neighbor's house, on our way to go trick-or-treating throughout Chester Park...

Halloween2011

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

Every now and then I have enough time to finish work on one of our own swords... this is one. It is a Gendaito that came into our collection in Shira-saya, so of course I had to build a set of full koshirae for it.
Info: this is a Showa Gendaito signed Kane Uji with a two character signature w/ Kakihan (smith’s personal seal used only by master smiths). The blade is 25.5" long with a combination of Sanbonsugi & Gunome hamon, serious Funbari and a longer than usual Kisaki.
Anyway, I made the tsuka & saya... Let me know what you think.

Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji
Kane Uji

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

"You can find the strangest things in your parent's closets."  That is what the daughter of a WWII vet said to me when she asked me if I would like this sword... According to the daughter, it was a forgotten in a sack and untouched for nearly 50 years.  Now I'm bringing here to share with you. 

To give you the specs, it is a shortened 21" Shinto blade (mid-1700's), with a tight grain and a Sugu-ha hamon.  The Koshirae are all orginal, and appear to be a hybrid of a Edo tsuka & tsuba combined with a Showa Gunto saya.  With a black horn kashira and iron fuchi, everything is orginal, tight and clean (especially the Tsukamaki), take a look.

civ
civ



Here is are better views of both the omote and ura sides of the tsuka:
civ
civ

civ
civ

Below are a couple of views of the various disassembled components of the sword.

civ
civ

civ


And, here are some views of the blade itself.
civ
civ
civ
civ
civ

And, as always, let me know what you think.

 
Posted By Thomas L. Buck

Recently I finished this Tsumami-maki work, and as always I wonder if I did an acceptable job, both mechanically as well as aethically speaking...Tsumami-maki by T Buck
In fact, ever since I began my studies under the tutelage of W.M. Takahashi, John Grimmitt and Takahiro Ichinose, I find myself continually comparing my work to modern works by true masters of the art such as Yasuo Toyama.  Here is an example of Mr. Toyama's Tsumami-maki:

Tsumami-maki by Kenji Mishina

And, here are two side-by-side close ups (Toyama's on the left and mine on the right):

Tsumami-maki by Kenji Mishina    Tsumami-maki by T Buck

To you, as a relatively impartial observer, my question is "what do you see?"  What I mean is, from a critical standpoint, what differences or simularities do you see?  Although I am sure both are tight and fully functional, I am not sure how my work performs in aesthetics compared to a true producer of ideal works...

Let me know what you think.  


 


 
Google

User Profile
Thomas L. Bu...
Duluth, MN

 
Recent Entries
 
Archives
 
Visitors

You have 299785 hits.

 
Latest Comments