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Language: Japanese
Source: Kaiho Kenjaku (懐宝剣尺) of 1797

Description

Ō Wazamono (大業物) can literally be translated as "great instrument that plays as it should". It was the second highest of the following ratings:

Saijō Ō Wazamono (最上大業物), "Supreme Grade."

Ō Wazamono (大業物), "Excellent."

Yoki Wazamono (良業物), "Very good."

Wazamono (業物), "Good."

 

History of the ratings

The terms come from the book Kaiho Kenjaku (懐宝剣尺). The book was first compiled in 1797 at the request of Heisuke Takuseki, a famous sword appraiser and retainer of the Hizen Karatsu clan, together with Yamada Asaemon Yoshitoshi (山田浅右衛門吉睦), an expert test cutter and executioner of the Tokugawa Shogunate. He was the fifth head of the famous Yamada line of sword testers. A total of 163 sword makers achieved wazamono or higher status. Due to its popularity, the Kaiho Kenjaku was republished in 1805 and 1815.1

A major updated list was published in Kokon Kajibiko (古今鍛冶備考) or "Ancient and modern blacksmith notes" of 1830.2

Any test cut is very stressful on a blade, and thus there is a considerable risk of damage. Therefore many old masters were excluded from testing.

 

Notes
1. An original of the Kaiho Kenjaku (懐宝剣尺) can be viewed online in Waseda University Library's Kotenseki Sogo Database. 
2. The Kokon Kajibiko (古今鍛冶備考) of 1830 can be viewed online in Waseda University Library's Kotenseki Sogo Database. (A simple viewer is here.)

 

List of Ō Wazamono (大業物)

The original 1797 list contained 21 makers and was as follows:

Takatenjin Kaneaki (高天神兼明)
Kashū Kanewaka I (加州兼若)
Kanenori (兼則)
Iyo Daijō Katsukuni I (伊予大掾初代勝国)
Horikawa Kunihiro (堀川国広)
Izumi no Kami Kunisada I (初代和泉守国貞)
Horikawa Kuniyasu (堀川国安)
Higo no Kami Kuniyasu I (肥後守国康 (初代))
Tsushima no Kami Sadashige I (対馬守貞重 (初代))
Yosozaemon Sukesada (与三左衛門祐定)[4]
Tōshiro Sukesada (藤四郎祐定)[4]
Tsuda Sukehiro (津田助広)
Ōmi no Daijō Fujiwara Tadahiro (近江大椽忠広)
Echigo no Kami Kanesada II (越後守包貞 (二代))
Fujishima Tomoshige (藤島友重)
Echizen no Kami Nobuyoshi (越前守信吉)
Mondonoshō Masakiyo (主水正正清)
Shūri no Suke Morimitsu (修理亮盛光)
Sakyō no Suke Yasumitsu (左京亮康光)
Yasuyo (安代)
Osafune Yoshikage (備州長船義景)

 

The major 1830 revision saw 66 new smiths added to this level making a total of 87:

Nidai Kamemoto *downgraded from Saijō Ō Wazamono"
Bizen Iyemitsu [Oei]
Bizen Iyemori [Oei]
Bitchu Iyetsugu [Oan]
Seki Toshitaka [Eisho]
Aoe Chikayori [Bunpo]
Bizen Chikatsugu [Bunpo]
Yamashiro Ryokai [Gentoku]
Seki Kaneharu [Choroku]
Shodai Naoe Kanetomo [Engen]
Oshizu Kaneuji [Kenmu] 
Shiga Seki Kanenobu [Meio] 
Sandai Seki Kanefusa [Eisho]
Shodai Izumi no kami Kanesada [Bunmei] 
Sandai Kanesada (Hikisada) [Tenbun] 
Hachiyazeki Kanesada [Eiko] 
Seki Kanesada [Daiei] 
Seki Kanemoto [Choko] 
Nidai Kanemoto [Daiei] 
Sandai Kanemoto [Tenbun] 
Shodai Kanetoshi [Shouo] 
Nidai Kanetoshi [Joji] 
Shodai Kanenaga [Shouo] 
Nidai Kanenaga [Kareki] 
Shodai Kaneyoshi [Joji] 
Uchiyosuke Katsumitsu [Bunmei]
Bizen Kagemitsu [Shouo]
Bizen Kagemasa [Shochu]
Yoshii Kagenori [Bunna]
Bizen Yoshikage [Oan]
Uemonjo Yoshitsugu [Showa]
Bizen Yoshitomo [Koan]
Aoe Tadatsugu [Kenmu]
Aoe Tsuguyoshi [Joji]
Aoe Tsunatsugu [Bunpo]
Junkei Nagamitsu [Kenchou]
Shogen Nagamitsu [Koan]
Osafune Nagayoshi [Oan]
Miyoshi Shodai Nagamichi [Kanbun]
Aoe Naotsugu [Koei]
Shodai Norinaga [Shouo]
Nidai Norinaga [Gentoku]
Aoe Nobugsugu [Kocho]
Rai Kunitoshi [Kocho]
Rai Kunitoshi [Shouo]
Enju Kunitoki [Kenji]
Yamashiro Rai Kunitsugu [Bunna]
Bizen Saburo Kunimune [Shoka]
Tanshu Hojoji Shodai Kunimitsu
Fukuoka Ichimonji Noriteru [Genou]
Noshu Hironaga [Meiou]
Sa Yasuyoshi [Kenmu]
Naminohira Yasuyuki [Showa]
Soshu Yasukuni [Eisho]
Hosho Sadazane [Tenou]
Hirado sa Sadahide [Oan]
Ko Mihara Masaiye [Tokuji]
Shidai Masaiye [Oei]
Rai Mitsukane [Kagen]
Aoe Moritsugu [Oan]
Aoe Hidetsugu [Kagen] 
Shuri no suke Morimitsu [Oei]
Osafune Morokage [Oei]
Yoshioka Sukeyoshi [Shouo]
Aoe Suketane [Kenmu]

 

Notes
List based on the Wikipedia List of Wazamono which in turn was based on the interpretations of the list by Kōkan Nagayama; The Connoisseur's Book of Japanese Swords. Kodansha International. 1997 p. 37. And Markus Sesko; Swordsmiths of Japan. Lulu Publishing 2014. Notice that it is not always clear which smith is mentioned and that many smiths also worked under aliases. The last 67 added smiths are from jp-sword.com, which are in turn based on the original editions.

 

 

Further reading:

A complete list of wazamono can be found in the main glossary article Wazamono (業物)

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