Why there are no Juyo swords by second-tier schools

second tier juyo swords

Did only the first-class school leave masterpieces?

Have you ever wondered why there are not so many Juyo swords made by the second or third-tier smiths or schools?
You may say that those schools only left poor swords, so their swords only have a remote possibility of reaching Juyo status. Many of them do have a chance of being designated as Tokubetsu Hozon Token at best. However, the name of many smiths has been succeeded by their descendants or apprentices, and each school had a number of different smiths. It’s hard to imagine why most of them failed to make a masterpiece, isn’t it?

According to the great sword appraiser Honami Koson(本阿弥光孫), most of the high ranking swords of such second-tier schools or smiths have already undergone some kind of alternation in the Meiji period(1868-1912) by erasing the original signature, and some of them got a new signature newly inscribed into the NAKAGO(茎).
The following table shows some examples of the schools and their attributions after alternation.

 

Before AlternationAfter Alternation
Hamabe school(浜部派)Soshu Tradition swords(相州伝)
Mizuta School(水田派)Soshu Tradition swords(相州伝)
Takada school swords(高田派) with SUGUHA(直刃)Hizen Tadayoshi School(肥前忠吉一門)
Takada school swords(高田派) with CHOJI(丁子)Sue Bizen swords(末備前)
Satsuma region swordsOsaka Shinto swords(大阪新刀)
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