History of the School of Tadayoshi (1598-1871)

SHODAI TADAYOSHI- 1st Gen Tadayoshi

Signed:

088c_min.jpg (6188 bytes)

1600+
 TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI TADAYOSHI SAKU
 KYUSHU HIZEN KUNI TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI JŰ MINAMOTO TADAYOSHI SAKU
1615+
 HI TADAYOSHI
 TADAYOSHI SAKU
 HISHU JŰ TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI JŰ TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI JŰNIN TADAYOSHI SAKU
 TADAYOSHI UMETADA MYOJU (no) DESHI

18 Feb 1624
 TADAHIRO
 MUSASHI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAHIRO
 HIZEN KUNI JŰ MUSASHI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAHIRO

Aug 1630+
 HIZEN KUNI JŰ FUJIWARA TADAHIRO

(more listed in book)

Shodai Tadahiro Oshigata

Born:
Died:
Name:
Father:

 1572 in Takagise, Saga, Hizen
 15 August 1632 (aged 61)
 Hashimoto Shinsaemonjo Tadayoshi. [Musashi Daijo]
 Hashimoto Michihiro

Hashimoto Shinsaemonjo was born in Takagise-Cho, Saga, Hizen in 1572 to Hashimoto Michihiro [Iki (no) Kami Michihiro], the son of Kuranojo Morihiro. Both his father and grandfather served the Ryuzoji Takanobu family, then Daimyo of Saga. His grandfather died in the battle of Shimabara (not to be confused with the Shimabara revolt of 1637) in Higo Province in Mar 1584 where Takanobu (1529-1584) also died at the hands of the Shimazu of Satsuma. Both his father and mother died later that year of an leaving the 13-year-old Shinsaemon an orphan. Iwata Takashi (NBTHK) says that Shinsaemon then went to a neighbouring village of Nagase-Mura to study sword smithing with a relative. It is thought that this relative was Iyo (no) Jo Munetsugu (1584-1633), and it is interesting to note that Munetsugu’s house was also on the old Nagasaki Highway in what was once Nagase-Mura and within yards of where the Tadayoshi forge was originally set up. Suiken Fukunaga also says that early in his career Tadayoshi went to the neighbouring Province of Higo to become an apprentice of the Dotakuni School. This School was a later offshoot of the Enju School, and was renowned for producing battle worthy swords favoured by Kato Kiyomasa in his Korean campaigns.

Around this time, foreign trade through Nagasaki was in decline, but Lord Nabeshima Naoshige, ruler of Hizen, was establishing a developing business empire in the thriving City of Saga, so in 1596 he sent the 25 year old Shinsaemon to study under Umetada Myoju in Kyoto. Umetada was an established and respected swordsmith who became the founder of the Shinto sword. Accompanying Shinsaemon was his cousin, Munenaga (who later became one of Hizen’s best horimonoshi), and whilst in Kyoto he met a priest called Shuho. Shinsaemon was given the name ‘Tada’ by Umetada, and after 3 years of study in the year 1598, he graduated and returned to his new home of Nagase-Mura. On his return Nabeshima Naoshige gave him a stipend of some 25 koku and a full block of property known as the Nagase-Machi area just West of Saga castle town. Here he gathered all the Nagase-Mura swordsmiths together and set up the Hizento Kaji under the name Tadayoshi. The Hashimoto family at this time numbered 16, and they had up to a further 60 deshi. Shuho became the Hashimoto family priest and may have lived at...

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"


SHODAI TADAHIRO MEI PERIOD- 1st Gen Tadayoshi

After he returned to Saga, the Shodai’s health deteriorated so much that he was unable to work, and he relied heavily on Yoshinobu, Tosa (no) Kami and Masahiro for help (although Masahiro would only have been 18 years old). Midareba becomes more used and he developed the konuka-type of ji-gane. The Midareba is said to be the deshi way of signing his swords. His yasurime also became perfectly straight across about 1624, and in fact his whole style changed so markedly that many leading scholars believed until recently that Tadayoshi 1st and Tadahiro 1st were different smiths. The sword making business was now in its prime and I suspect that his illness could not interfere with sword production. There are far more "Hizen Kuni Musashi Daijo Fujiwara Tadahiro" mei blades than one man could ever make, so there must have been many dai-saku and dai-mei at this time. Although some references state that he could now read and write, even when he was healthy enough to work it would still have been a great honour for a student to make and sign a blade for the master. One problem, which has led to many arguments amongst sword scholars, is that the Shodai varied his mei almost from day to day, sometimes chiseling strokes ‘left to right’, sometimes the reverse, sometimes heavy strokes etc. Fujishiro argues that if he had used a regular professional carver, then surely the strokes would have been consistent. I believe that he used his senior students to sign hence the acute variations. We know that he used Masahiro to sign for him, and there is a possible Yoshinobu dai-mei on page 92. Although I have only ever seen one such acclaimed oshigata in Fujishiro’s work, the Japanese textbooks regularly mention Yoshinobu as a signatory.

When Tadayoshi 1st changed his Mei to Tadahiro, the Lord of the fief reportedly gave a smith called Sadenjiro Masanaga (the son of Tadayoshi’s son in law Yoshinobu, and who later became known as Masahiro) the title ‘Tadayoshi’. The year was 1624, and he "took the Tadayoshi name" and reportedly made a sword with the same name. This blade was so good that the Lord told him he should sign his own name and he changed his art name to Masahiro (Shodai Masahiro). He continued to work very closely with the Tadayoshi school even teaching Tadahiro 2nd. There are some oshigata with Masahiro signing dai-mei for the Shodai (see Masahiro section, page 97), and he signed ‘Tadahiro’ for a little over a year. I think that when it is said "Masahiro took the Tadayoshi name", it means that he was allowed to sign dai-mei for Tadayoshi, which after 1624 would be with a ‘Tadahiro’ mei, rather than actually signing with a ‘Tadayoshi’ mei. There are many errors in the limited English translations of the Japanese references; some even saying that the Nidai signed dai-mei in 1624 (The Nidai would have been about 10 years old!). The Japanese references are also not any clearer on the subject of dai-mei by Masahiro, Yoshinobu or Tosa, presumably due to a lack of research. My view is that Masahiro signed dai-mei for Shodai Tadahiro in 1624, and whilst it is quite possible that he made a sword signed ‘Tadayoshi’, we have no oshigata of such a sword. We are also getting into semantics over a ‘Tadayoshi’ mei compared with a ‘Tadahiro’ mei. At the end of the day, Masahiro signed for the Shodai; a fact well established.

From August 1630, Shodai Tadahiro began signing custom order swords of exceptionally high quality for high ranking people. The mei are called kenjo-mei, and obviously indicate a valuable sword. An example is shown in oshigata D. Page 92. He used the signature 'Hizen Kuni'...

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"



 SHODAI MASAHIRO- 1st Gen Masahiro

Signed:

Masahiro dai-mei for Nidai Tadahiro
Masahiro dai-mei

1600+
 HIZEN KUNI MASANAGA

1624-25*
 HIZEN KUNI JŰ FUJIWARA TADAHIRO
 [Dai-mei for Shodai Tadayoshi]

Nov 1625+
 HIZEN KUNI SAGA JŰ MASAHIRO

1628 (1641?)
 HIZEN KUNI KAWACHI DAIJO FUJIWARA MASAHIRO

LATER
 HIZEN KUNI KAWACHI no KAMI FUJIWARA MASAHIRO
 HIZEN KUNI KAWACHI no KAMI TOSHI MASAHIRO
 HIZEN JŰ MUSASHI no KAMI FUJIWARA MASAHIRO

Masahiro dai mei for shodai
Masahiro dai-mei for Shodai Tadahiro

Born:
Died:
Name:
Father:

 1607 in Saga, Hizen
 5th February 1665 (age 59)
 Hashimoto Sadenjiro
 Hashimoto Sadenjiro Tadayoshi
 

The following work is adapted from an article written by Barry Hennick for the Toronto Token Kai in May 1993, and is reproduced below with his kind permission. Barry is an avid collector and researcher of Hizen swords, and specializes in works by Masahiro.

Tadayoshi 1st had a daughter, who married Yoshinobu the swordsmith, and this couple went on to have a son called Masahiro who was born in the year 1607 in Saga in Hizen Province (Yoshinobu was born in 1587 and lived until April 29, 1633). From this mainline of Hizen Tadayoshi School swordsmiths, Masahiro went on to start his own line of smiths. References state that Tadayoshi 1st was childless in his early stage of life despite having a daughter [this author thinks childless should be read as without a male heir], and he therefore adopted both Yoshinobu and Masahiro. Because Masahiro’s mother was the daughter of Tadayoshi 1st and Yoshinobu was the son-in-law of Tadayoshi 1st, Tadayoshi was in fact Masahiro’s biological grandfather on his mother’s side, legally on his father’s side, and also his stepfather. Fujishiro gives Masahiro a Jo saku rating, Yoshinobu a Jo saku rating, and Tadayoshi a Saijo saku rating – which is good genetics by any standard. Tadayoshi 1st probably adopted Yoshinobu and later Masahiro with a view to them carrying on the Tadayoshi school, but unfortunately for Masahiro, Tadayoshi remarried and had a son - Tadahiro 2 (Omi Daijo), who later went on to take over the family business. It would also appear from references that Tadayoshi went on to have several other sons [see Tadayoshi lineage chart page 27].

Both Tadayoshi 1st and Yoshinobu taught Masahiro, and like Tadayoshi, Masahiro was favored by Nabeshima (who was the Daimyo residing in the Castle town of Saga, and incidentally, the 11th largest family). Nabeshima gave Masahiro the "Hiro" character to his name and he also gave him a stipend of 20 koku of rice, which could support 20 people. Masahiro could therefore support up to 20 followers, workers and students...                      

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"



 TOSA (no) KAMI TADAYOSHI

Signed:

1624+
 HIZEN KUNI FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI JUNIN TADAYOSHI SAKU
 HIZEN KUNI JUNIN FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI

Circa 1624+
 HIZEN KUNI JUNIN FUJIWARA MINAMOTO TADAYOSHI

1628+
 HIZEN KUNI JUNIN TOSA (no) KAMI TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI JUNIN TOSA (no) KAMI FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI JUNIN TOSA (no) KAMI FUYJIWARA TADAYOSHI SAKU

Born:
Died:
Name:
Father:

 Unknown
 Shortly after Tadayoshi 1st (circa 1632-4?)
 Hashimoto Tosa [Tosa (no) Kami]
 Unknown

Very little is known about Tosa (no) Kami, but we do know that when Tadayoshi 1st changed his name to Tadahiro in 1624 there could have been a problem with no-one signing "Tadayoshi". Yoshinobu was the senior son of Tadayoshi 1st, albeit adopted, and perhaps he should have received the title "Tadayoshi" because Tadahiro 2nd was too young. We know that he didn’t as there are blades signed Yoshinobu dated circa 1636, and this also means that he was not the same person as Tosa. There must therefore have been a family member senior to the known sons of Tadayoshi 1st, who may even have been a brother of Tadayoshi 1st, and who signed Tadayoshi from around 1625. Fujishiro’s Dictionary of Japanese Swords reportedly says that Tosa (no) Kami was known as the "younger Tadayoshi brother". There is a possibility of Sadenjiro Masanaga signing ‘Tadayoshi’ for a short period in 1624 before he changed his name to Masahiro, so we are talking roughly the year 1625 onwards. There is a theory that Tadayoshi 1st became very ill around the time that he changed his name to Tadahiro, and he relied very heavily on a student called Tosa. As a reward, the theory says that he gave this student the Tadayoshi name, and Tosa then signed his own blades. If you look at the "Tada" character on page 92, oshigata K. on the mei "Hizen Kuni Ju Musashi Daijo Fujiwara Tadahiro" (Tadayoshi 1st), it may be that of Tosa, which could indicate that Tosa signed dai-mei ‘Tadahiro’.

There is also one reference that says the Shodai signed Tosa’s first sword for him! At this time, the Hashimoto family had around 60 deshi working for them and, as we already know, they were honoured with the family name of Hashimoto. Whilst it is possible that Tosa could have been ‘just’ a deshi, it is more likely that he was indeed an original high ranking family member for him to have been given the name Tadayoshi and to have signed pledges, because he effectively blocked Yoshinobu and Nidai Tadahiro from using the art name ‘Tadayoshi’. According to Nagayama, Echizen Yasutsugu taught Tosa, which implies that Tadayoshi 1st may not have taught him. However, according to Hizento Hitsukei, Munetsugu taught both Tosa and the Shodai Tadayoshi and it is postulated that they were brothers. Tosa (no) Kami generally used the name "Fujiwara", whilst Tadayoshi 1st used "Minamoto". When Tadayoshi 1st changed his name to Tadahiro he then started using "Fujiwara". This may also indicate that Tosa was not only working prior to 1624 when Tadayoshi 1st changed to Tadahiro, but that Tosa may have signed Tadayoshi blades prior to 1624. Tosa did not apparently confine himself solely to the use of "Fujiwara": There are wakizashi that are signed "Hizen Kuni Junin Fujiwara Minamoto Tadayoshi"! (See page 103, oshigata A). Although it is thought that Tosa was high level family, we may never know who he really was since fires have destroyed most of the Tadayoshi family records over the years. All we are left with yet again are theories and works of art, but it appears that he may well have been an older brother of the Shodai. There is certainly much discussion and speculation on this subject!

Tadayoshi 10th, known as Kinichi, wrote some of the family history, and he theorized that Tosa received the title Tosa (no) Jo in 1624 and must therefore have been working for years prior to this date. However the title does not appear until around 1628, which is probably...

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"



 NIDAI TADAHIRO- 2nd Gen Tadayoshi

Signed:

1633+
 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

20 Jul 1641
 TADAHIRO
 OMI DAIJO TADAHIRO
 OMI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAHIRO
 HIZEN KUNI JU OMI DAIJO TADAHIRO
 HISHU JU OMI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAHIRO

(more listed in book!)

111_Omi.JPG (5232 bytes)

Born:
Died:
Name:
Father
:

 1614 in Saga, Hizen
 27th May 1693 (age 80)
 Hashimoto Heisakuro; later changed to Hashimoto Shinsaemon [Omi Daijo Tadahiro]
 Hashimoto Shinsaemonjo (Tadayoshi 1st)

Hashimoto Heisakuro (Shinsaemon) (Tadahiro 2nd) was born in Saga, Hizen in 1614 to a 42 year old Hashimoto Shinsaemonjo Tadayoshi (1st. gen.). Tadayoshi 1st had earlier adopted Yoshinobu, so the arrival of Tadahiro 2nd later in life provided a much welcomed blood heir to the Tadayoshi lineage. It is reported that being illegitimate, Tadahiro 2nd was raised in the company of women and was therefore a quiet, thoughtful person who later became dedicated to sword smithing. (It is interesting to note that Iwata Takashi, in his articles on the Hizen Schools published by the NBTHK, says that the Nidai was legitimate. This is contrary to all my other research.) It is said that when Tadayoshi received the title Musashi Daijo on 18 Feb 1624, Tadahiro joined his fathers forge at the age of 10 years old. Tadayoshi 1st, Masahiro 1st, and Yoshinobu all taught the young Tadahiro, and he took over the Tadayoshi School at the age of 19 when his father died in 1632, although it is postulated that Masahiro as senior smith, effectively ran the school for a short time. Tadahiro reportedly made no swords in the year that followed his fathers death; maybe he grieved the passing of his father. At this time, he also changed his family name from Hashimoto Heisakuro to Hashimoto Shinsaemon. His new name first appears in 1634 on a document (pledge) by the Hashimoto family stating...

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"



SANDAI TADAYOSHI- 3rd Gen Tadayoshi

Signed:

1660
 TADAYOSHI

27 Oct 1660
 MUTSU DAIJO TADAYOSHI
 MUTSU DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI

16 Aug 1661
 MUTSU (no) KAMI FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI
 --more listed in book--

1663+
 DO KUNI JUNIN MUTSU (no) KAMI TADAYOSHI

Circa 1673
 HIZEN KUNI TADAYOSHI

Born:
Died:
Name:
Father:

 1637 in Saga, Hizen
 2nd January 1686 (age 50)
 Hashimoto Shinsaburo [Mutsu (no) Kami Tadayoshi]
 Omi Daijo Tadahiro (2nd Gen. Tadayoshi)

Hashimoto Shinsaburo was born in 1637 to Omi Daijo Tadahiro, however he died at the relatively young age of 50 years on 2 Jan 1686. Although he was the rightful heir to the Tadayoshi School, his father outlived him by some 7 years, and he therefore never became true head of The School, although he was to become known as Sandai Tadayoshi (3rd gen.). His father the Nidai, Shodai Masahiro and other sensei taught him well, for it is said that he made the finest jitetsu of all the Tadayoshi, and reportedly destroyed blades that he was not satisfied with. His work is rated along with Tadayoshi 1st as Saijo-O-Wazamono (supreme sharpness), and he must have had a close relationship with Masahiro 1st, because he also forged gassaku with him as well as his father the Nidai. Due to his relatively short working life (1660-1686), and his attention to the finest detail, his individual works are rare and valuable. He made most of the outstanding dai-saku-mei works for his father. There are therefore many gimei 3rd gen. swords in existence and one should be very careful.

Sandai Tadayoshi first signed "Tadayoshi" around 1660, received the title Mutsu Daijo on 27 Oct 1660 and then signed "Mutsu Daijo Tadayoshi", and "Mutsu Daijo Fujiwara Tadayoshi". The use of Fujiwara is rare. So good was his ability that less than a year after he began signing Mutsu Daijo he received the title Mutsu (no) Kami on 16 Aug 1661. Most of his own blades were therefore signed using "Mutsu (no) Kami" and are easily recognizable, so he subsequently became known as "Mutsu (no) Kami Tadayoshi". He later signed Goji mei "Hizen Kuni Tadayoshi", and some of these swords have been mistaken for works by the Shodai. Dated swords are especially rare which make it somewhat difficult to accurately date his mei. I have only ever seen one "Mutsu Daijo Fujiwara Tadayoshi" oshigata.

His mei show significant variations in the chisel strokes as detailed below and overleaf, especially in the character for "Mutsu". Since he was renowned for attention to detail, and most of his works are undated, one can only assume that these significant and deliberate ‘secret’ chisel stokes were his personal way of dating blades...

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"



 YONDAI TADAYOSHI- 4th Gen Tadayoshi

Signed:

1686
 HIZEN KUNI TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI JUNIN TADAYOSHI

10 Mar 1700
 HIZEN KUNI OMI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI
 OMI DAIJO FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI
 --more listed in book--

Born:
Died:
Name:
Father:

 1668 in Saga, Hizen
 5 Sep 1747 (age 80)
 Hashimoto Shinsaemon later Shinsaburo [Omi Daijo Tadayoshi]
 Mutsu(no) Kami Tadayoshi (3rd Gen. Tadayoshi)

The 4th gen. Tadayoshi was born to Mutsu (no) Kami in 1668 and he became known as Omi Daijo Tadayoshi, working from circa 1686 until his death in 1747. He had two sons; one was born in 1696 and went on to become the 5th Tadayoshi and was subsequently known as Omi (no) Kami Tadayoshi, and the other son was called Hashimoto Genyuemonjo. According to Hizento Hitsukei, the 4th gen. was originally called Minamoto (no) Suke, and later changed his name to his father’s name Shinsaburo (presumably upon the death of his father in 1686). The ‘(no) Suke’ character used in the reference book can also be read as ‘Jo’, and Minamoto as ‘Gen’, so he may have been known as Minamoto Jo, or Genjo, although I suspect it was in title form. Some references also say that he was originally named Shinsaemon, which is more plausible.

Very little is known about the Yondai (4th gen.), but it is said that he may have signed dai-mei for his grandfather in the latter’s old age. We know that Mutsu (no) Kami died in 1686, so I would presume that any dai-mei were after this period, and up to the death of Omi Daijo Tadahiro on 27 May 1693, however I have not seen a single, definitive Yondai dai-mei. Another theory says that he never signed Tadahiro at all, and this would account for the lack of oshigata in his hand bearing the name Tadahiro. So, at the end of the day, he may have signed a few blades ‘Tadahiro’ during a relatively short and turbulent period in the history of the Tadayoshi School, but there are few, if any recognized works. Whilst the obvious dai-mei on page 112. Oshigata C. is most probably by Masahiro, it is quite possible that it is a dai-mei by Yondai Tadayoshi. Take a look at Oshigata C. on page 131, which is from my collection, and note the similarities.

The 4th gen. Tadayoshi first signed "Hizen Kuni Tadayoshi" and "Hizen Kuni Junin Tadayoshi". He can therefore be confused with all the goji-mei smiths, and in signing ‘Junin’ he can be confused with the Shodai and Tosa (no) Kami. If you consult the tables on pages 23 & 24, you will see that only the 4th gen. signed "Hizen Kuni Junin Tadayoshi" without the addition of "Saku". Page 55 also shows oshigata from these 3 smiths to ensure no further errors in identification. A point worthy of note is that it appears the 4th gen. sometimes copied the Shodai in the ‘half crescent’ way he chiseled the top stroke in "Ju", which can sometimes also lead to confusion (see the following page). Remember, unlike the Shodai, he did not use "Saku". The slope in the kanji "Nin" is...

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"



 GODAI TADAYOSHI- 5th Gen Tadayoshi

Signed:

 5th_Hamon.JPG (5222 bytes)

Circa 1716 - 5 Sep 1747
 HIZEN KUNI TADAHIRO

5 Sep 1747+
 HIZEN KUNI TADAYOSHI

1750+
 HIZEN KUNI OMI (no) KAMI TADAYOSHI
 OMI (no) KAMI TADAYOSHI

5th_gen.JPG (3950 bytes)

 Born:
Died:
Name:
Father:
 1696 in Saga, Hizen
 15th June 1775 (age 80)
 Hashimoto Sahinsaemon [Omi (no) Kami Tadayoshi]
 Omi Daijo Tadayoshi (4th Gen. Tadayoshi)

 

The 5th gen. Tadayoshi was born to Omi Daijo Tadayoshi (4th gen.) in 1696 and he later became known as ‘Omi (no) Kami Tadayoshi’, working from circa 1716 (when he would have been 20 years old) until his death in 1775. He signed "Hizen Kuni Tadahiro" whilst his father was alive until 1747, and there appears to be two distinct ways he chiseled ‘Hiro’ in this mei as discussed on the following page. Again, little is known about the 5th gen. Tadayoshi, but he reportedly signed dai-mei for his aging father the 4th gen. The oshigata on page 131 show the mei "Omi Daijo Fujiwara Tadayoshi" and "Hizen Kuni Omi Daijo Fujiwara Tadayoshi". Only the 4th gen. signed using ‘Omi Daijo Tadayoshi’, but the handwriting is that of the Godai.

The Godai took over The School upon the death of his father in 1747, whereupon he signed "Hizen Kuni Tadayoshi". He received the title ‘Omi (no) Kami’ in 1750 after which he began signing "Hizen Kuni Omi (no) Kami Tadayoshi" and "Omi (no) Kami Tadayoshi". He is the first of the later Tadayoshi smiths to sign ‘Omi (no) Kami’ Tadayoshi, hence his colloquial name.

Signatures by the 4th, 5th and possibly 7th generations are very distinct in that they are the only mei with...

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"


 ROKUDAI TADAYOSHI- 6th Gen Tadayoshi

Signed:

6th_Hamon.JPG (6015 bytes)

Circa 1755 - 1775?
 HIZEN KUNI TADAHIRO

15 Jun 1775+
 HIZEN KUNI TADAYOSHI

24 Jun 1790
 OMI (no) KAMI TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI OMI (no) KAMI TADAYOSHI
 HIZEN KUNI OMI (no) KAMI FUJIWARA TADAYOSH

6th_gen.JPG (6897 bytes)

Born:
Died:
Name:
Father:

 1736 in Saga, Hizen
 28th December 1815 (age 80)
 Hashimoto Shinsaemon (after 15th June 1775) [Omi (no) Kami Tadayoshi]
 Hashimoto Shinsaemon (5th Gen. Tadayoshi)
 

The 6th gen. Tadayoshi was born in 1736 to a 41 year old 5th gen. Tadayoshi, however there is some mystery surrounding this smith, as is becoming the case with many of the masters. Tadayoshi 5th as we know had 2 sons, the youngest becoming the 6th gen. Tadayoshi. This latter son only took the name ‘Shinsaemon’ together with the title ‘Tadayoshi’ after the death of the 5th gen. on 15 Jun 1775, and it is not known what his previous name was. He was 40 years old when his father died and there is no evidence (according to Kinichi in Hizento Taikan) that he ever signed ‘Tadahiro’. As we know, ‘Tadahiro’ is given to the next direct line descendant whilst the father is still alive, which would have meant that the eldest son Hikoju would have received the title, and he died in 1755. So, any ‘Tadahiro’ mei made during the mid-period of life of the 5th gen. after he himself changed his name to Tadayoshi (1747 to 1755) must be by Hikoju. Any ‘Tadahiro’ mei from the death of the eldest son to the death of the Godai (1755 – 1775) must be by the younger son Shinsaemon (6th gen. Tadayoshi). In 1755, the 6th gen. would have been 19 years old, and therefore old enough to forge blades, although maybe not yet competent in the eyes of his father. It is interesting to note that we again have significantly conflicting evidence with Kinichi saying that there was no proof that the 6th gen. ever signed Tadahiro, and a study of the chronology which indicates the possibility of Tadahiro mei swords by either the 6th gen. or his elder brother. Nihonto Kantei Hitsukei, Fujishiro and Toko Soran all state that he first signed ‘Tadahiro’, and there is one rare oshigata reportedly by the 6th gen. dated August 1774 that has a Tadahiro mei shown on the next page. Once again there is a distinct lack of dated research material.

Hizento Hitsukei says that both the 6th gen. Masahiro and the 5th gen. Yukihiro were 6th gen. Tadayoshi Mon (‘Mon,’ as in ‘Monjin,’ basically means worked and studied at the Tadayoshi forges). When the 5th gen. Masahiro (1713-1768) died in 1768, the 6th gen. Masahiro (1751-1809) would have been around 16 years old, and the 6th gen. Tadayoshi (1736-1815) around 32, so it is quite possible that the latter ‘adopted’ the young Masahiro in some way. Similarly the 5th gen. Yukihiro (1751-1809) would have been about the same age when his father died. I think the fact that both Masahiro 6th and Yukihiro 5th were Tadayoshi 6th mon demonstrates the close working and family relationships present between the different, but closely located schools at this time. I would not be surprised if they pooled their resources to some extent, much like company mergers today, especially in hard times.

Unfortunately demand for swords was not great during the 6th gen. working life as head of the Tadayoshi Kaji. Kinichi theorizes that it was unlikely that the 6th gen. made any swords of his own until after the death of the Godai, ..............

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"


 NANADAI TADAYOSHI- 7th Gen Tadayoshi

Signed:

 

 

1814
 HIZEN KUNI TADAHIRO
 DO SOKU HASHIMOTO TADASAEMONJO TADAHIRO

1815
 HIZEN KUNI TADAYOSHI ???
 OMI DAIJO TADAYOSHI (Appointed)

Born:
Died:
Name:
Father:

 1770 in Saga, Hizen
 28th February (age 46)
 Hashimoto Heisuke, later Hashimoto Tadasaemon. Posthumously appointed "Omi Daijo."
 Hashimoto Shinsaemon (6th Gen. Tadayoshi)

Hashimoto Heisuke was born in 1770 to a 34 year old 6th gen. Tadayoshi, however it is thought that he was very sick throughout his life, even to the extent that he may never have actually forged any swords due to the distinct lack of oshigata attributed to the 7th gen. One theory says that he may have been given the title "7th gen. Tadahiro" purely for appearances in the business of sword making, with the School deshi actually making and signing the blades on his behalf. I think that this may account for many of the 19-Century gimei.

The Nanadai (or Shichidai or 7th gen.) Tadayoshi became head of the Kaji after his father died in late Dec 1815, however the 7th gen. died in Feb 1816 just two months after his father’s death. There is one recognized yardstick oshigata from a gassaku with his father the 6th gen. This was made in August 1814 and it reads "Hizen Kuni Omi (no) Kami Tadayoshi" on the prime side (Tadayoshi 6th) and "Do Soku Hashimoto Tadasaemonjo Tadahiro" (or ‘same breath’, Hashimoto Tadasaemonjo, 7th gen.) on the reverse. This blade is a gassaku, so we do not know how much the 7th gen. actually assisted in its construction, or indeed if he even signed his own name. Also shown is a Tadahiro goji-mei which has striking similarities to the gassaku, but also has some significant differences. There is one other oshigata that I have seen from Nihonto Kantei Hitsukei, which is reportedly by the 7th gen. and signed "Hizen Kuni Tadayoshi". This is interesting because if the 7th actually made any blades at all on his own it is unlikely that he had time to make and sign goji-mei Tadayoshi in the short time after his father died. Also, the 7th gen. would not have signed Tadayoshi goji-mei whilst his father was still alive, unless as dai-mei for him and then surely he would have used the full title ‘Omi (no) Kami’ Tadayoshi. I therefore suspect that this Tadayoshi goji-mei is gimei...

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"


 HACHIDAI TADAYOSHI- 8th Gen Tadayoshi

Signed:

8th_dai.JPG (8692 bytes)
Early period Dai-Mei, circa 1812-1816

1820+
 HIZEN KUNI TADAYOSHI

1837+
 SHINSAEMONJO FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI
 HASHIMOTO SHINSAEMONJO TADAYOSHI
 HASHIMOTO SHINSAEMONJO TADAYOSHI SAKU
 HIZEN KUNI SHINSAEMONJO FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI
 --more listed in book--

 

8th_gen.JPG (7805 bytes)
Later period 8th gen., circa 1837+

Born:
Died:
Name:
Father:

 1801 in Saga, Hizen
 26th May 1859 (age 59)
 Hashimoto Shunichiro, later Hashimoto Shinsaemon, finally Kura (no) Jo.
 Yoshikawa Yohei Michiro

Hashimoto Shunichiro (8th gen. Tadayoshi) was born in 1801 as the 2nd son of Yoshikawa Yohei Michihiro and Hashimoto Baisen Kimimisai (the daughter of the 6th gen. Tadayoshi). Because the 7th gen. had no legitimate children (probably due to his poor health) there was no legitimate direct line male heir to the Tadayoshi forges and therefore Shunichiro was adopted by the 7th gen. to later take over The School. If you look at the family tree on page 27 and go back as far as Tadayoshi 5th, you will see that there was only a limited confirmed blood line of males for quite some time. He was adopted as the only legitimate bloodline male relative available, albeit slightly indirect. According to Hizento Taikan the 8th gen. "followed his adopted father at a young age"; this implies that the 7th adopted the 8th at a young age, rather than the 8th being appointed after the death of the 7th. Shunichiro later changed his name to Hashimoto Shinsaemon, probably at the time that he took over the Tadayoshi School, but I do not know when he changed his name to Kura (no) Jo.

Unfortunately the 6th and 7th gen. Tadayoshi both died within a few months of each other whilst the 8th gen. was only 16 years old. A swordsmith called Hashimoto Kazusuke Tadayuki, who was presumably living and working in the Tadayoshi forges at this time, was appointed his guardian and teacher. This was probably the 6th gen. Tadayuki who was 7th gen. Yukihiro family, although not the same as the 7th gen. Yukihiro swordsmith. So again the Yukihiro line played an important role in the survival of The Tadayoshi School. Tadayuki ostensibly took control of the Tadayoshi School from 1816 until the 8th was old enough to run everything. I guess that the 8th gen. would have been competent by the age of 20 (circa 1821), but history tells us that Tadayuki worked closely with Tadayoshi 8th until...

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"


 KYUDAI TADAYOSHI- 9th Gen Tadayoshi

Signed:

Circa 1851 -1859
 DO-MEI HYAKUTARO FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI

1859+
 HIZEN KUNI TADAYOSHI
 FUJIWARA TADAYOSHI SAKU
 --more listed in book--

Born:
Died:
Name:
Father:

 1832 in Saga, Hizen
 27 Dec 1880 (age 49)
 Hashimoto Hyakutaro (later Hashimoto Shunpei)
 Hashimoto Shinsaemonjo (8th gen Tadayoshi)

To find out more about this smith, you'll need to get my book! Inside is a lot more about the history of the other smiths, their interaction with all the other Hizen smiths, their signatures and the abundant dai-mei, dai-saku mei and gassaku. And also why this magnificent school of swordsmiths followed in the footsteps of the samurai...

... in the way of death.

...continued in "The School of Tadayoshi, Saga, Hizen, Japan,1598 - 1871"