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Wazamono means the swords which cut well. Tsuge who was a learned man of swords classified swords according to how cut well in 1797 ( first half of Shinshintou ). He classified in cooperation with a man who was a master swordsman and Yamada Asaemon who was a specialist of beheading They classified mainly Shintou because the most Samurai in this time used Shintou at ordinary times. They classified swords into 4 group according to how cut well. That is, " Saijyou-Oowazamono ", " Oo-Wazamono ", " Yoki-Wazamono ", " Wazamono ".
When they tried to see how well it cut, they chopped a man who was about 40 to 50 years old or a strongly-built man who attended to physical labor.
Yamada family ( for generations ) judged how well the swords of the Tokugawa family cut, each Daimyou agreed to their request. This was their regular business. And they beheaded criminals; this was a side job. They got a dead body of a criminal and they judged how cut well the sword of Tokugawa family or each Daimyou by chopping the dead body.
They had three types of method to judge how cut well the sword. They are " Iki-dameshi ", " Sinin-dameshi ", " Katamono-dameshi ". " Iki-dameshi " was to chop a live man, " Shinin-dameshi " was to chop a dead body, and " Katamono-dameshi " was to chop a hard thing like iron. Yamada family judged by chopping dead body as mentioned above.
They put both hands up of a dead body and made it lie down between bamboo sticks on Dodan ( above picture ) and chop around the armpit of body. They used particular Tsuka (= heft) like above picture when they chop.
They named each part of a body, and the hardness is different for each part. I wrote the rank in order of the hardness. Please look at thepicture below. Rank 1 is the most hard.
They held Tsuka with both fists put together (normally detach both fists ). It is said that if they hold like this, they can get up speed when they swing a sword downward. And they open legs to the breadth of shoulders and true up legs. They never open in front and behind.. And they hold a sword high over their heads. When the sword to swing down comes above head, they stretch elbow and swing down like draw a circle. They do not aim at body but Dodan. After they chop a body, their body fall forward.
|Hardness rank of each parts||How to chop|
They chop at the part over rank4 ( above picture ) and classified.
The sword cut off the part completely.
The sword cut off the part about 90%.
The sword cut off the part about 80%.
The sword cut off the part about 70%.
There are a lot of swords which engraved on Nakago (the end piece inside the heft) when and which parts the sword cut off. We call this Saidan-Mei. Please refer to " Highlight of Japanese sword " < Mei > " Saidan-Mei ".
The engravement then may be like this:
|"Yamano Kan-emon, 67 years old, cut through three dead bodys piled".|
8.4.1 Plain Carbon Steels
© H. Föll (MaWi 1 Skript)