The old Kibi region is situated in today’s Okayama Perfecture. The Yoshii-, the Asahi- and the Takahashi river are the mainreason of the location. These rivers carried rich sand iron. Around these 3 rivers one finds the Bizen and the BitchuAoeSchools in the Heian period. Yoshii Osafune School Asahi Fukuoka Ichimonji School Takahashi Aoe School Geographical considerations
Historical considerations Historical considerations The Aoe started in the late Heian period. Some sources name Yasutsugu as the founder. There are no swords left by Yasutsugu, so his son Moritsugu is mostly considered the founder. Unlike theBizen School, which wasprosperous until the end of the Muromachi period, the Aoe School ended at the late Nambokucho or early Muromachi period (depends on the source). Unlike the Bizen School, which created sub-schools, the Aoe School did not. Among the Bizen sub-Schools are the Ichimonji, Osafune, and Hatakeda among others.The Aoe School wasvery conservative and did not form into cliques. The names of smiths were handed down for generations (mostly including the ‘tsugu’-kanji) and the workmanship did not change a lot. … …
… The workmanship of the Aoe School is very high quality and has been admired since its start. Among the 12 smiths invited to work with Emperor Gotoba (Goban Kaji) 3 werefromthe Bitchu Aoe School. Sadatsugu, Tsunetsugu and Tsuguie, the three sons ofMunetsugu, all belonged to the Ko-Aoe School. At the beginning there’s little difference between the ko-Bizen School and the Aoe School. One can distinguish 3 periods of manufacture: Ko-AOE (earlyperiod) Chu-AOE (midperiod) Sue-AOE (lateperiod) There are many disagreements concerning these divisions. Regardless which theory one follows, the quality of Aoe blades is consistently good. Most difficulty arises from the fact the Aoe School is very conservative and so marking differences is not easy.
Sue– AOE School SUGATA O-tachi, tanto ko-wakizashi, nagamaki and naginata Broadform High shinogi Torii-sori O-kissaki
Sue–AOE School JIHADA Ko-itame with ko-mokume, Sumigane is getting scarce Sometimes little shirake utsuri Harder jigane CHIRIMEN HADA
Sue– AOE School HAMON Midare on suguha basis Saka-choji Kinsuji, sunagashi Nioi-guchi became tighter and brighter Nioi base, this is very specific for Sue-Aoe, other Schools made more Nie (Soshu influence) except for the Aoe School
Sue– AOE School BOSHI Suguha, midare Pointedmaru Kaeri getting longer NAKAGO Little information (due to suriage)
Inspiredby: *Nihonto bijutsu numbers 4, 25,30 and 31 *BitchuAoe school, Fred Weissberg *Connoisseurs book of Japanese Swords, Nagayama *Nihonto Kozo part II *Swords of the Bizen tradition, Benson & Brockbank