HIZEN TADAHIRO

NIDAI

DAISHO (PAIR)

 

BOTH SWORDS ARE PAPERED BY THE NBTHK

 

 

KATANA

 

WAKAZASHI

 

KATANA (DAITO)

SUGATA: SHINOGI ZUKURI

TACHI MEI:   HIZEN no KUNI JU OMI NO DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAHIRO

DATE: NONE

NAGASA:  69.85cm (27.5")

OVERALL:  90.17cm (35.5")

MIHABA:  3.02cm (1.1875")

KASANE: 0.63cm (0.25")

SORI: 1.11cm (0.4375")

NAKAGO: UBU

MEKUGI ANA: ONE

YASURIME:

MUNE: IORI

HADA: KONUKA

HAMON:  SUGUHA

BOSHI: KAERI

HORIMONO OMOTE: NONE

HORIMONO URA: NONE

HABAKI:  1 PC. COPPER

SHIRASAYA

_____________________________

 

WAKIZASHI  (SHOTO)

SUGATA: SHINOGI ZUKURI

MEI:  OMI no DAIJO FUJWARA TADAHIRO

DATE: NONE

NAGASA:  45cm (17.75")

OVERALL:  59.53cm (23.44")

MIHABA: 2.86cm (1.125")

KASANE: 0.63cm (0.25")

SORI:  1.27 cm (0.5")

NAKAGO: UBU

MEKUGI ANA: ONE

YASURIME: KIRI

MUNE: IORI

HADA:  KONUKA

HAMON: KO-GUNOME BASED ON SUGUHA

BOSHI:

HORIMONO OMOTE: NONE

HORIMONO URA: NONE

HABAKI:  2 PC. GOLD FOIL

SHIRASAYA

 

The Hizen Tadayoshi school of sword smith's needs no introduction, they are well known and highly prized worldwide.

 

 It all began with the Shodai Tadayoshi who was born in 1572, and known as Hashimoto Shinsaemonjo. Shodai Tadayoshi  an already accomplished swordsmith, but at age 25 became an apprentice to Umetada Myoju in Kyoto, who is known as the founder of the Shinto Sword. The "Tada" character was given to him by Umetada. After a three year apprenticeship Tadayoshi returned to his home in Hizen Province, where he set up the Hizen Tadayoshi Kaji. The Hizen Tadayoshi Kaji extended through nine mainline generations, ending with the death of the 9th generation Hizen Tadayoshi in 1880.

 

The Shodai Tadayoshi signed in a multitude of variations of mei. His mei changed drastically over the years However, as this write up is in reference to Tadahiro, I will not cover the various Tadayoshi mei of the Shodai.

 

In 1624 the Shodai once again changed his mei, this time to Tadahiro. He signed exclusively Tadahiro from 1624 until his death in 1632. It is of note that at the same time Tadayoshi received the title of "Fujiwara", he changed his name to Tadahiro.  As such, he never signed "Fujiwara" on a Tadayoshi mei.  Following are the Tadahiro mei used by Shodai Tadayoshi/Tadahiro:


TADAHIRO
MUSASHI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAHIRO
HIZEN KUNI JU MUSASHI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAHIRO
HIZEN KUNI JU FUJIWARA TADAHIRO

 

The Nidai Tadahiro, aka Omi no Daijo Tadahiro, was the son of shodai Tadayoshi, who keep in mind was also the Shodai Tadahiro. Hizen Yoshinobu was the adopted son of Tadayoshi and was set to become heir to the tadayoshi school.  However, when Nidai Tadahiro was born late in Tadayoshi's life, he became blood heir to the school.  He began his career of sword making as a mere child of only ten years old and continued until his death in 1693 at age 80.  He was trained by his father Tadayoshi, as well as the senior smith's of the school like Masahiro and Yoshinobu. His career spanned some 70 years, making him the most prolific smith of the Hizen school.

 

Like his father the nuances and variations of his mei changed over time.   I have listed a few of the variations here but the list is not all inclusive.  From 1633 until 1641 he used the following mei:

 

HIZEN KUNI TADAHIRO
HISHU JU TADAHIRO SAKU
HIZEN KUNI JU FUJIWARA TADAHIRO
HIZEN KUNI JU HASHIMOTO TAIRA SAKU
HIZEN KUNI SAGA JUNIN SHINSAEMONJO TADAHIRO SAKU
 

 

In 1641 he received the title of "Omi no Daijo", and became known as Omi no Daijo Tadahiro.  From this time forward he mostly used his new title in his mei. 

Following are a few examples:


TADAHIRO
OMI DAIJO TADAHIRO
OMI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAHIRO
HIZEN KUNI JU OMI DAIJO TADAHIRO

HIZEN KUNI JU OMI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAHIRO
HISHU JU OMI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAHIRO

 

*Do not confuse him with Omi no Daijo Tadayoshi, who was his grandson, the 4th generation Tadayoshi.
 

Hizen school swords can be very intimidating when trying to decide on the legitimacy of a particular mei.  Differing variations can also have a direct effect on the value of any given piece prior to considerations for individual quality, length, rarity etc..  Attempting to understand all these variations can be mind boggling. Due in part to the prolific nature and sheer numbers of smith's employed are a just the beginning of the puzzle.  To increase the complexity, there were several common practices of differing methods of forging/signing for one another.

 

These practices are known as:

DAI-MEI:  The student made the blade in the masters style and signed it with the masters permission.

DAI-SAKU-MEI:  Student made the blade in the masters style and the master signed it.

GASSAKU:  Joint works signed by both smiths.

ATO-MEI:  Attributed mei added later to correctly identify the smith.

 

None of the above methods are considered fraudulent, but legitimate signatures. A sword made and forged and signed by the Master Smith's own hand may be more desirable than a Dai-Mei blade. But that is based on personal preference and budget.

 

How does one tell the difference, aside from the Shinsa teams, most can not or not with any consistency.  There were subtle yet distinct differences seen at the smallest levels, like the individual strokes seen within various kanji contained in the mei.

 

 

Omi no Kami Tadahiro was an excellent smith and his swords were made for fighting as he was the last of the Hizen school to see civil war in Japan.  His works are rated O-Wazamono by Yamada, Fujishiro rates him at Jojo Saku level, Hawley's rates him a 70 pt smith.

 

The classic Hizen style was said to have been established by the Nidai Tadahiro and popularized all over Japan.  It was this smith's work which established the credibility and popularity of the school, making it a very profitable business for the Nabeshima.

 

These swords were purchased buy the owner with the intention of having them mounted as a Daisho.  However, as fate would have it, this did not come to be.  As such, they are now available for someone else to mount or enjoy as is.

 

Please before anyone takes the time and effort to share their wisdom of how these are not a true daisho, please remember two things. 1.) I have heard all the debate surrounding this subject.  2.) I don't care.

 

If you prefer to call them a pair of swords, that is ok with me.

 

In regards to that common debate, know that there are many recognized daisho by two totally different smiths.  As an example here is just a small sampling of daisho carried by a couple of the famous 47 Ronin of Japanese legend.

 

YOSHIDA CHUZAEMON KANESUKE, age 64
katana attribution: Shimada (1,x), length 2 shaku 2 sun
wakizashi mei: Hiromitsu (3,1), length 1 shaku 1 sun
naga yari (long yari)

HARA SOEMON MOTOTOKI, age 56
katana mei: Hirohuni (3,1), length 2 shaku 9 sun
wakizashi mei: Kunisuke (1,2), length 2 shaku
te yari

Moving right along, these swords are by the Nidai Tadahiro.  According to what we know and has been presented previously, both of these swords were made in 1641 or later as evidenced by the use of the title "Omi no Kami" which Tadahiro received in 1641.

Both swords are ubu, in good polish and are without serious flaws. There are a few surface scratches and light scuffs, but again nothing serious at all as can be seen clearly in the ample photos. 

The Katana does have a Kirikomi (sword cut) present on the side of the blade(see photos), which would indicate that this sword was used in battle or mortal combat of some sort.  Both swords come with papers, the Katana with NBTHK Hozon, and the Wakizashi with Kajihara papers.  John Yamoto hand carried the wakizashi to Japan for Kajihara's attribution.

The wakizashi's shirasaya contains one of the previous owners information and the translation can be seen on that page.

Again, Tadahiros works are rated O-Wazamono by Yamada, Fujishiro rates him at Jojo Saku level, Hawley's rates him a 70 pt smith.

This is you opportunity to own a pair of Hizen Tadahiro swords.

THE BEST PART IS THE PRICE.

The owner has insisted, against my wishes, to offer these swords at a steal of a deal in hopes of a quick sale. 

I recently saw a Katana alone for sale by this same smith also with NBTHK Hozon, though in newer polish and with double bo-hi for $15,000.

You can buy this pair of Tadahiro swords for the mere sum of:

 

$10800 plus S/H

 

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