4.16.19 admin@nihonto

Because the Bizen Hatakeda (畠田) school originated and flourished in Hatakeda (畠田), which is adjacent to Osafune (長船) village, it has always been treated as a separate school from the Bizen Osafune (長船) school. This is somewhat unusual since the recognized founder of the Hatakeda (畠田) school is Moriie (守家) who was a close contemporary of Mitsutada (光忠), the recognized founder of the Osafune (長船) school. There is even a tachi from the Owari branch of the Tokugawa that is signed Mitsutada (光忠) on the omote and Moriie Tsukuru on the ura evidencing their close relationship.  I must point out, however, that Dr. Junji Honma thought that this collaboration between Moriie (守家) and Mitsutada (光忠) was somewhat dubious and felt that this blade was more likely the work of the Ichimonji school.  Never-the-less the division of the two schools is further blurred by the fact that while most of the signed examples of the smiths of the Hatakeda (畠田) school are niji mei (two-character signatures), the naga-mei of some of the smiths, when they do exist, most often contain “Osafune Jû” (長船住) as part of the signature.  Further, there are no existing examples of blades signed by any of the Hatakeda (畠田) smiths that include the term “Hatakeda Jû” (畠田住) in their mei.  This is fueling the emerging theory that Hatakeda (畠田) was actually a part of the Osafune (長船) school.

Be that as it may, we will follow tradition of treating the Hatakeda Kei (畠田系) as a separate Kei from the Osafune Kei (長船系) when we talk about its lineage and workmanship. It should be pointed out that strictly speaking it might be proper to say that Morichika (守近) was the founder of the Hatakeda (畠田) school since he was the father of Moriie (守家).  Considering the fact, however, that there are no reliable extant examples of blades by Morichika (守近), Moriie (守家) is recognized as the actual founder of this school.

Of the surviving examples of Moriie (守家), there are a few dated examples pointing to his working years to be from Jôei (貞永) (1232) through Shôgen (正元) (1259).  The remaining signed examples that are dated from Bunei (文永) (1264) to Kôan (弘安) (1278) are considered to be works by the Nidai Moriie (二代守家).  It is also said that the second generation may have moved to Osafune (長船). Of course, if you subscribe to the theory that the Hatakeda (畠田) smiths were really part of the Osafune (長船) school, it would not have been much of a move.

Whether we subscribe to one theory or another, there is no disputing the fact that the swords of Moriie (守家) and his descendants show different specific characteristics than the mainline Osafune (長船) smiths descended from Mitsutada (光忠). Perhaps the most easily spotted is that while they produced a chôji midare hamon, it contained what is known as kawazuko chôji.  It is so called because the chôji look like tadpoles amongst the standard chôji midare.  Also Moriie’s (守家) hamon is characterized by a rather irregular structure of the midare-hamon containing tobiyaki and yubashiri in addition to the compact intervals between the midare.

Bizen Sanemori (備前真守) is generally considered to be the son of Moriie (守家).  Since it is generally accepted that there were two generations of the Moriie (守家) and the oldest son would take the name of his father, Sanemori (真守) was more than likely the second son of the first generation Moriie (守家). From a chronological point of view, the presence of a tachi signed Moriie (守家) dating from the ninth year of Bunei (1272) that has been confirmed to be attributed to the Nidai Moriie (二代守家), it would seem to be reasonable to consider Sanemori (真守) to be a contemporary of the Nidai Moriie (守家), thus confirming the second son theory.

Sanemori (真守) left a good number of dated examples some with niji mei and some with a naga mei.  The dated examples span a period from the Kenji (健治),Kôan (弘安), and Shôô (正応) eras establishing a working period of 1275-1293 thus giving us a solid timeframe for his work.

We are very fortunate to be able to present for sale an extremely rare and important example of the works of Bizen Sanemori. It is a Tokubetsu Jûyô Tôken ubu tachi with a naga-mei and a date.  The translation of the Tokubetsu Jûyô paper is as follows:

Designated Tokubetsu-Jûyô Tôken at the 23rdShinsa on the 23rdof April, the 26thyear of Heisei (2014)


 Signature: Bizen no Kuni Osafune jû nin Samanosuke Sanemori tsukuru; (crest of four diamonds) Shôô ni-nen hachi-gatsu hi  (備前国長船住人左馬允真守造; 正応二年八月日]) (a day in the 8thmonth the second year of Shôô, 1289)

 Dimensions: Length: 67.0 centimeters; Curvature: 2.6 centimeters; Width at the Base: 2.6 centimeters; Width at the Point: 1.75; Kissaki Length: 2.2 centimeters; Nakago Length: 9.4; Nakago Curvature: 0.45.

 Features: The construction is shinogi-zukuri with an iori-mune. The width is average, and there is narrowing towards the point. There is funbari, and the koshi-zori is high with additional curvature also in the point (saki-zori). There is a chû-kissaki. The kitae is itame mixed with mokume with a slightly prominent hada pattern that is thickly covered in minute ji-nie. The jigane contains minute chikei activity and prominent jifu style midare-utsuri. The hamon is round-headed chôji and gunome that is basically midare, and near the monouchi, the hamon becomes somewhat sugu in style. There is a great deal of ashi and yô activity, and the nioiguchi is somewhat thick. Although nioi based, there is a covering in ko-nie with kinsuji and streaks of sunagashi. The nioiguchi is bright and vivid. The bôshi is midare-komi with a ko-maru. There are bôhi with tsure-bi carvings on both sides of the blade that taper off onto the nakago. The nakago is ubu with a kuri-jiri, and the yasuri-me are kattesagari. There are two mekugi-ana with a long inscription on the omote in the hira-ji interrupted by the mekugi-ana, and the date with the four-diamond crest is rather low on the ura.

 Maker: Bizen Province Hatakeda Sanemori (備前国畠田真守).

 Period: Late Kamakura Period (the second year of Shôô – 1289).

Explanation: Regarding Hatakeda Sanemori, he is said to be the son of Moriie (守家), and there are extant works dated to Kenji, Kôan and Shôô (1275-1293), which is an extremely clear period of activity. Although the majority of works have a two-character signature, among these, similar to this work, there are extant examples with such long signatures. His style of workmanship emulates that of his father, Moriie, with his tempering of a powerful kawazuko style chôji-midare, and though there are works with variations, in comparison to Moriie, his midare-ba has a tendency to be much more small-patterned.

As for this tachi, the style of workmanship has such features as the kitae being itame mixed with mokume with a slightly prominent hada pattern, and the jigane contains prominent jifu style midare-utsuri. The hamon is basically round-headed chôji and gunome, and near the monouchi, the hamon becomes somewhat sugu in style. The nioiguchi is somewhat thick, and although it is nioi based, there is a covering in ko-nie. His period of production is almost the same as that of Osafune Nagamitsu (長船長光) on which his works are modeled, and, at a glance, his superior style of workmanship is reminiscent of the top class works of Nagamitsu. However, there are places in which his jigane has a prominent hada feeling, which shows his Hatakeda style of workmanship. The ubu tachi shape with its high curvature is highly enjoyable, and, in addition, the long inscription with the place names (Bizen no Kuni Osafune jû), the court rank name (Samanosuke), and, unusual for this smith, the date of manufacture makes this one sword an extremely valuable source of research information. The hamon also has a bright and vivid nioiguchi, and the ji-ha is the of the finest quality in this healthy masterpiece.

This blade comes in a shirasaya with a sayagaki by Michihiro Tanobe







It is read as follows:

Bizen no Kuni Osafune-jū Samanosuke Sanemori

Ubu-nakago ni naga-mei yo Shōō ninen-ki narabi ni yotsumebishi-mon kore ari. Dōkō wa Hatakeda Moriie ko to tsutau jiba no deki wa masa ni hanayaka na chōji-midare yori suguha-chōji e no ikōki no saku’iki o shimesu mono shikamo dōsaku-chū kusshi no yūhin nari. Kuwaete meibun no shiryō kachi mo sukoburu takai.

Nagasa 2 shaku 2 sun 1 bu

Toki mizunoto-mi yayoi Tanzan Hendō shirusu + kaō

It is translated as follows:

Samanosuke Sanemori, resident of Osafune in Bizen province

(This blade has an) ubu-nakago with a naga-mei, is dated with the second year of Shōō (1289), and bears apart from that the four-lozenges crest.

It is said that Sanemori was the son of Hatakeda Moriie and the interpretation of the jiba is that of the smith’s transitional phase from a flamboyant chōji-midare towards a more calm suguha-chōji. Apart from being an outstanding masterwork by this smith, the presence of the very signature and date makes this blade an extraordinarily important reference piece.

Blade length ~ 67.0 cm

Written by Tanzan Hendō (pen name of Tanobe Michihiro) in March of the year of the snake of this era (2013) + kao

Accompanying this outstanding tachi is a fantastic set of Ito-maki-no-tachi koshirae in superb condition.  This koshirae dates to the late Edo to early Meiji era.  It is decorated with a floral pattern with a Yotsume-bishi family mon of the Sô Daimyo family who ruled the Tsushima Islands from the middle 1200’s until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.  This same family crest was inscribed onto the tang of the tachi when it was made in 1289.  The koshirae comes with Tokubetsu Hozon papers from the NBTHK.