Volume V, Shinshinto ISBN 1-888612-00-2

This is the first volume in the set to be translated. The information contained in this volume was not in the original publications, because in Japan in the 1930s, the Shinshinto blades were not held to be that important. This volume covers the period from 1772-1925. Some authors consider the Shinshinto period as ending in 1867, but that is not the case with the Nihon To Koza. The major schools or groups of the period are discussed, as is the influence of certain personages that emerged during that time. There is a short discussion of the making of a blade, but this is covered much better in "The Craft of the Japanese Sword" by Leon and Hiroko Kapp, and Yoshindo Yoshihara (Kodansha). As with all of the books in the Koza series, there is a "frontispiece" section presenting works of representative swordsmiths of the covered period. The number shown will vary with each volume. The photos in the frontispiece section show very good details of the signatures and work styles of the subject smiths. The sections of the Shinshinto Volume that I think are the most valuable is the detailed discussion, with illustrations, of the hamon of the Gokaden (Five Den) of the Koto period, pointing out which of the major Shinshinto artists copied which traditions, and what variations they inserted in those characteristic styles. Also, there is a very good dissertation on Gimei, or false signatures. This includes enlarged views of the sections of the Kanji which are different between the genuine and the spurious. Now then, while only a small number of actual signatures can be discussed, the important part of this is that it helps a westerner in learning what factors to look for in comparing signatures. Periods in recent history when there was a flurry of counterfeiting being done are examined. Now, when I translated this book, the Japanese was inserted by using scissors and rubber glue, so the usage of Kanji is minimal beyond the captions for the oshigata and other illustrations. Contains 452 pages of text and photos, exclusive of index and glossary.


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