Shijo Kantei

Welcome to the NBTHK American Branch Kantei. Kantei, or “appraisal” is an invaluable tool to developing a methodical approach to identification of a sword’s maker by examination of its shape and characteristics of workmanship. Through kantei, we can attain improved skill sets to apply in the appreciation of fine art swords. The knowledge gained through this exercise is invaluable and helps build a solid foundation for recognition. Kantei is held in the spirit and camaraderie of all who appreciate Nihonto and although serious in its approach, it should also be regarded as fun. Surely, everyone answers incorrectly, but there is nothing to lose by taking part, and the gains far outweigh any misconception of failure.

All participants and their answers are held in confidence. Commentaries of some interesting answers may be posted after the subject blade’s maker has been revealed, but the bidder will not be identified. This post-kantei commentary focus would be to illustrate additional points of consideration, intriguing conclusions, or observations for the general good of everyone, not as a matter of merely listing incorrect answers.

We encourage everyone to participate by emailing their bid on the form provided.

Periodically a new subject sword will be posted for judgment. Each bid will be evaluated and then a response emailed back to the bidder if the correct maker was not identified. Bids will be reviewed and responded to by return email about once per week (schedule providing) so participants may revise their answers and resubmit during the month until the answer is revealed. Responses are made to help guide the participant to the maker and develop their process of evaluation.

Some possible responses to submitted bids are:

Atari; “Hit” or correct identification of the maker.

Dozen; “Related, or Close” Identification of the maker’s family or school, by naming the teacher, student, or colleague with the same school.

Kuni iri yoku; “Within Period and Province” An answer which correctly identifies the makers period and province, but not their school or family.

Tori yoku; “Correct Period and Road” An answer which identifies the maker’s kaido (road) and period, but not their province, school, or family.

Jidai Chigai; “Different Period” A bid of the incorrect period.

Iya; A bid which is not correct in any of the above categories.

So take a moment with a cup of tea or coffee, have a look, submit a bid, and enjoy the process of evaluation!

Click on the link below to go to the Kantei!


December 2010 Kantei. Kantei #8. Open!

June 2010 Kantei. Kantei #7. Complete

Late March 2010 Kantei. Kantei #6. Complete

February 2010 Kantei. Kantei #5. Complete

January 2010 Kantei. Kantei #4. Complete.

November 2009 Kantei. Kantei #3. Completed.

September 2009 Kantei. Kantei #2. Completed.

August 2009 Kantei. Kantei #1. Completed.


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