On another forum Matthew Heller (OniMH) posted a picture of the kanji on a yumi he purchased, can anyone here add some additional information.
Attached are photos of a Yumi and yadytsu I recently purchased. I've been able to translate the kanji as shown below but would appreciate any assistance in correcting my mistakes and filling in the blanks.
top 2 kanji: 1848 third kanji: six fourth k: Shu, Ta ?? meaning unknown--Made? Completed? fifth K: hachi=eight sixth K: Month seventh: Day/sun
Reading 1848, sixth month; eighth day ie June 8th, 1848
Left/"first" column: First K: Ki (could be Boku or Mako meaning wood/tree but Kimura is a known name of Yumi makers 2nd K: Mura (son?) third K: #463 Ira?? fourth K: Hei Fifth K: #176 Ei pronounced Bei when combined with # 4? Sixth Unknown signature??
嘉 永 六 年 八 月 日 ka ei roku nen hachi gatsu nichi Sixth year of Kaei (1848 +5) = 1853 8th month a day 木 村 權 兵 衛 Ki mura Kenbei (or Gonbei) This is the name of the maker followed by his written seal or kao.
Matthew, I do not know of any books on yumi. I did buy some target bows for the Royal Armouries' collection and they were from a Kyoto maker. I live near Leeds in Yorkshire - as far away as I can from London. I was there a couple of weeks ago and it is even worse than I remember. The whole place is totally money orientated - mainly fleecing tourists. Ian B
Anything and everything really. Information about who made the Yumi and the Yadytsu. Who they might have been made for. Was it a known family of craftsmen? Where were they from? Samurai? Famous? Time period (we know that about the Yumi). Might these items have been brought to the US during the diplomatic visit in the 1850s. If not, which is the likely answer, do we know that definitively and why?
Matthew, Actually your quiver is of the type called utsubo used in bad weather since it keeps the arrows dry. It is possible that your items were acquired in the 19th century. Ulysses S. Grant made a world tour that started in 1877, during which he did visit Japan and met the Emperor Meiji. I know he was given a horse armour and harness as a gift that ended up in the Smithsonian Museum, was then sold and ended up in San Francisco in the boardroom of a bank where I met it. He would almost certainly have been given swords and probably an armour and other military items. Similarly the various American diplomats would be given gifts as well as acquiring items from curio shops. Then again there were the thousands of European and American tourists who visited Japan in the late 19th century, most of whom would have brought back armours, swords and goodness knows what else.
This whole era was rather chaotic. Our Queen Victoria was given a massive gift by the last Shogun which I spent quite a while trying to find out the exact details of. Even now I am not sure what was involved as various documents contradict each other. The Japanese document lists: 2 tachi, 1 armour, 2 daisho, 2 naginata, 1 saddle, 50 spears, 2 cabinets, 1 bookcase, 10 parasols, 10 gilded screens, 10 sets of sun-blinds. A document listing what actually arrived lists the tachi and daisho, the spears, the naginata, a mail coat and helmet, a harness, some screens, a gentleman's toilet case, a lady's toilet case, umberellas and a cabinet. The mail coat and helmet is actually a bakamatsu period o-yoroi. Some of the spears and one naginata ended up in the Tower of London, the other naginata and a few spears, together with the armour and harness in the Victoria & Albert Museum. What happened to the rest I do not know but they may be in Windsor Castle. There are in addition all sorts of odds and ends such as horse-dippers which seem to have come with the gift but which are not recorded anywhere.
Since this was a royal gift you would have thought it would be better documented. Trying to trace the origin of a bow and an utsubo is like the proverbial needle in a haystack. Ian Bottomley
Thank you for your response. I'll take pleasure then in searching for the haystack. I'll start by researching the various mons listed and trying to find something about Kimura Gonbei. Happy holidays!!!