{INTRODUCTION} {MAJOR KOTO SCHOOLS} {DIAGRAMS AND TERMINOLOGY} {GLOSSARY}{ARTICLES}


THE ENJU SCHOOL

By Fred Weissberg 07/10

Around the end of the Kamakura era, a smith by the name of Hiromura left the Yamato area and went to Yamashiro where he studied under the famous Yamashiro smith, Rai Kuniyuki. He is said to have married the daughter of Rai Kuniyuki. Around Gen-o (1319-1321), he moved to the Kikuchi area in the Higo province of Kyushu and founded the Higo school of sword making. There are no existing works of Hiromura so his son, Kunimura, is credited with the actual founding of the Enju school. In fact the name of the school originated from Kunimura's, full name, Enju Taro Kunimura.

Examples of work by the Enju smiths span the period from the end of the Kamakura to the Muromachi eras. The works are commonly divided into one of three periods: Ko-Enju from the late Kamakura period; Chu-Enju during the Nanbokucho period; and Sue-Enju during the Muromachi period.

KO-ENJU

Kunimura had severalimportant students such as Kunitoki, Kuniyoshi, Kuniyasu, and Kunisuke. Sometimes smith names were used by several generations.

Sugata: The sugata will be similar to that of the works of Rai Kunimitsu. Mid to late Kamakura sugata will be the rule with much hira-niku, a high shinogi, thick kasane, and a wide shinogi-ji. The overall appearance of the tachi will be elegant and graceful.

Jitetsu: The hada will be a fine ko-mokume or ko-itame with areas of masame hada mixed in. Enju-gane refers to a type of dark, detailed, plain jigane that will be present in small round spots. There will often be shirakke utsuri (a whitish utsuri in the ji).

Hamon: Generally a chu-suguha that is niju-ba in spots mixed with hotsure, ko-midare. Ashi, kinsugi, and inazuma like the works of Rai Kunimitsu can be found. The nioiguchi will be unclear.

Boshi: The boshi will be in komaru shape with a short kaeri. Occasionally a yakitsume boshi (no turn-back) will be found which is reflective of the Yamato roots of Kunimura's father, Hiromura.

Horimono: Generally only bo-hi or futatsu-hi will be found. No elaborate horimono will be seen.

Nakago: It will be narrow and long with the tip done in a shallow kurijiri. The file marks will tend to be kiri or slightly slanting kiri.

Mei: Almost always a two character signature. Generally the characters will be large and well carved.

CHU-ENJU

The Chu-Enju smiths include Kuniyoshi, Kunikiyo, Kunitsuna, Kunifusa, and Kunishige.

Sugata: The sugata will be similar to the tachi style of the late Kamakura period but made slightly stronger and firmer with the kissaki a little longer. Blades with a wide mihaba and o-kissaki will not, however, be found in this school. There are some works that have shallow sori with a shape that is strong and firm having a chu-kissaki with fukura lacking. The kasane will be thick. The shinogi is high and the shinogi-ji is wide.

Jitetsu: The hada will be about the same as the Ko-Enju blades.

Hamon: Generally a chu-suguha that is niju-ba in spots mixed with hotsure, ko-midare. Hoso-suguha with ko-midare will also be found. Works will be found that are similar to Rai Kunimitsu and Rai Kunitoshi, but with less nie and other activities. The nioiguchi will be unclear.

Boshi: The boshi will be in komaru or komidare in shape with a short kaeri. There will be much nie in the boshi.

Horimono: Generally only bo-hi or futatsu-hi will be found. No elaborate horimono will be seen.

Nakago: It will be about the same as Ko-Enju but a little shorter. The file marks will tend to be kiri or slightly slanting kiri.

Mei: More naga-mei and nenki appear during this time period.

SUE-ENJU

Sugata:The sugata showing any Yamashiro characteristics will be lost. The sugata will be that of other Sue-Koto blades produced during the Muromachi era. The sori will be shallow, hira-niku will be lacking and the kissaki will be made long. The kasane will be thick. It is very difficult to distinguish Sue-Enju workmanship from that of the Yamato tradition of that time. The sugata will also resemble work of the Dotanuki school that worked in the same province during that time.

Jitetsu: The jigane will be hard and the hada will be ko-mokume that will have a flat feeling from over folding. Most will have shirakke utsuri. On the whole, the steel will feel hard.

Hamon: It will be nie based, but it will lack quality. The edge of the hamon is very uniform, but there is absolutely nothing to be seen within the hamon.

Boshi: The boshi will be in komaru.

Horimono: Generally only bo-hi or futatsu-hi will be found. No elaborate horimono will be seen.

Nakago: It will be short with the tip in kurijiri. The file marks will tend to be kiri.

Mei: Two character signatures for the most part.


{INTRODUCTION} {MAJOR KOTO SCHOOLS} {DIAGRAMS AND TERMINOLOGY} {GLOSSARY}{ARTICLES}





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