Previously I was using .mpg video format, which no modern smart phone can display without downloading additional software. I was advised to switch to .mp4 format as I carry an Android smart phone. However, my Apple Iphone carrying friend suggested that I use the Apple .mov format as it is accepted by everyone.
In Vid clip 1, you burned your hand. Commiserations! Try passing the cord first through the himotoshi ana channel on the top of the butt.
These guns are cheekpieces, that is, the butts are not designed to be brought to the shoulder, but higher. Place the butt along your cheekbone to aim, and take the recoil with your right arm and body as a spring.
In order to avoid flashback, you can twist the gun very slightly away from your face as you pull the trigger. This is a trick we use when cradling the bigger calibers.
Good to see you guys rediscovering the pioneers' past!
Lastly, placement of the match tip is a fine trick to accomplish. It differs from gun to gun. Once you get the sweet spot, there will be few problems with ignition on that gun. I hesitate to give you grizzled old-timers any advice, and choose to hang back and watch you play with it.
(One other thing, though, keep the cord loose enough that the falling serpentine won't tug on it, causing the tip angle to change. Even if you feed it through the match channel as I mentioned above, allow just enough bend and play right behind the serpentine head.)
Thanks for the advice, we will try harder next time to be better at this. Also, I, Teppou Kaji, am the left handed person in clip #2. My right handed friend, Preston, burned himself in clip #1, and experienced a delayed ignition in clip #3.
Returned last week from a 3 week vacation in Japan where I:
1) Visited a Hinawajyuu store in the Ginza section of Tokyo 2) Went to a festival in Kawagoe, about 1 hour by train north of Tokyo. 3) Got invited to the home of the chairman, 会長 of the Kawagoe teppou association. 4) Was on a very tight schedule, but was able to meet Teppoudai Piers for dinner. 5) Visited Wakayama castle which had a nice display of oyoroi and hinawajyuu. 6) Visited Nagoya castle which had a few hinawajyuu on display, with one over 8 feet in length. 7) Enjoyed 4 very lovely onsen hotels which I will recommend.
Over the next few weeks will be posting about my Japan adventure.
1) Seiyuudou-do for 火縄銃
I had visited Seiyuudou 2 years ago, but didn’t purchase anything at that time. Basically it is a store with a large number of swords, a few oyoroi, and a few hinawajyuu.
Very easy to find, just take the Ginza subway line to the Ginza subway station. Ginza subway station exit C1, you must walk 5 blocks through an underground passageway once you get off the train. When you exit the underground tunnel, immediately make a U-turn and you will see the entrance to Ginza 5. It is a 2 story arcade built under an expressway.
誠友堂 せいゆうどう ０３-３５５８-８００１ 銀座5-1 銀座ぎんざファイブ 2Ｆ Ginza Five building
Their web site doesn’t list any hinawajyuu for sale due to Google restrictions.
Enter the arcade, go to the second floor and walk all the way to the end where you will find the store. There was a very polite woman there who was very happy to show be around and let me handle the 4 hinawajyuu that they had on sale, but she knew nothing about what she was selling, which was understandable.
I tried to seem interested and asked the price. She said that the two on the right were 500,000 円, $US 4,545 , and the two on the left were 550,000 円, $US 5,000.。She then offered to call the owner and ask for a discount. So it appeared that the price was negotiable. I declined the offer as these are not as good as the ones that I have, and were significantly overpriced, in my opinion.
Two of the pictures are composites and I cannot guarantee that the order is correct. And yes, that is a Mauser rifle near the bottom of one of the pictures. However, the bolt and safety had been welded shut, and the barrel was also plugged.
Listed on the paper around each barrel is the total length, barrel length, barrel size, There is also the location where it was made as well as the name of the person making the musket. If someone could translate this information it would be appreciated.
As to size, it looks like the smallest is 2 monme, and the largest being 5 monme. The two on the right had a lot of pitting from rusting.
She didn’t even object when I tried to remove a couple of the ramrods, but was unsuccessful as they was almost nothing to grab onto.
So if anyone wants to buy a few hinawajyuu, I am sure they are still for sale.
More next week on my very unique experience in Kawagoe.
The four Sword & Gun Law registration cards above are blank at the top, which is the section for swords. The bottom sections are only partly visible.
The visible bottom sections show in cms from the right the 全長 zencho total length, the Jushincho barrel length 銃身長 and the 口径 Kokei bore/caliber. On the left of the dimensions is a box to indicate any inscriptions. The one on the right is obscured by tape so difficult to see, but probably 無銘 Mumei. The one second from left is also Mumei 無銘, ie no smith name, no inscription. The second from the right and the one on the far left are readable (if requested). Further over on the left should be the name of the issuing authority (usually the city education committee) with their official stamp at the bottom which we can see in three of the examples above.
(Not shown on the right is the national database registration number for each gun.)
Those guns show various details indicating something about their origins, but as you say, eye-wateringly expensive.
Nice post, David. Looking forward the the rest. Add many pictures Piers kind of opened up the question about the origins. Only having the backend to go by, I would probably say that the first gun from the left might be a Choshu-zutsu judging by the silver inlays on the Hibasami together with sakura-decorations surrounding the pin and on the spring (whats the name for that one?). This combo could at least point it towards Choshu. Looks to have been given a so so decoration on the barrel sometime down the road. Regarding the second from the left, I would bet at least a dollar on being a Awa-zutsu. The rear sight and the Hachisuka-mon decoration on the pin is a dead giveaway. The touchhole on the pan looks minute on these pictures. The two guns on the right is def a harder nut to crack from these pictures
Every year near the end of March, there is a matsuri in Kawagoe, a town about 1 hour by train from Sinjuku san tyome, changing trains at Tokorozawa. We stayed overnight at the Kawagoe Prince Hotel, which I would recommend, which is directly above the JR Kawagoe main station.
My trip was planned specifically so that I could attend the matsuri, as I had received a cotton match cord and wasi paper last year from the かいちょう 会長 kaityou of the preservation group.
There are two streets that still have a number of very old buildings that haven’t been torn down and replaced with a more modern building, which gives the town a very pleasant rustic flavor. It’s worth a day trip, even if it is not maturi time. Here are a three pictures of a couple of old buildings in Kawagoe, which should give you a feel of the town.
A number of activities during the day including hasigonori (ladder climbing), taiko drumming, and a parade featuring men wearing oyoroi, carrying hinawajyuu, and demonstration firing.
This was the first time that I had witnessed ladder climbing, so I think it is worth a picture. The ladder is only held in the vertical position by about 8 men with a pole with a metal hook on the end, similar to a scythe.
First we witnessed the parade of the川越藩火縄銃鉄砲保存会 kawagoe clan arquebus gun preservation group (please correct my translation if it is wrong).
Here are a number of pictures from the parade:
The crowd was rather in awe at the spectacle and sound of the hinawajyuu being fired. I, however, just enjoyed hearing 12 of the hinawajyuu fired simultaneously. I also liked how they rested the butt of the hinawajyuu on their shoe as there is no butt plate on the hinawajyuu. They also fired a single hinawajyuu and I thought the sound very similar to the 40 grains of powder that I use, i.e. they weren’t overcharging their powder load just for more of an effect. Here are links to 3 short videos that I took:
I couldn’t understand the commands except hanate (fire), that were being given. There was one fuhatu (misfire), at which time I said rather loudly, ‘fuhatu’, but no one looked or reacted to my saying ‘ fuhatu’. The person next to the fuhatu person tried to use his rope to ignite the powder in the pan, but to no avail. I don’t know what the outcome was as I walked away after the demonstration.
As to the food, I was advised that Kawagoe is famous for its unagi eel restaurants. So, we had dinner at a very good unagi restaurant called ‘Itinoya’, which I would highly recommend.. Here is a picture of my dinner:
With that said, I was walking on one of the side streets and noticed a very small restaurant with the menu written on an old piece of cardboard. I translated the restaurant name as Akira’s crazy ramen. Strange name for a restaurant, so took a picture of their menu sign. Here is my poor translation of their two top menu items:
Maze soba, Mr. Trump 890 円 with the following on top:
A bag of potato chips
Karatoma, Häagen-Dazs 890 円
Tomato soup with Häagen-Dazs on top
Don’t know why Maze soba is associated with Mr. Trump, but it is a rather interesting name. If you go, stick to the unagi. If anyone else wants to translate the remaining items, feel free to do so.
After dinner, a pleasant walk back to the station hotel. Weather was perfect, pleasant during the day, and cool in the evening. Went to bed looking forward to a visit to会長kaityou’s house the next morning.
Great report, for which many thanks, David. You can almost feel the weight of those guns in their hands. Loving the crazy menu. I suspect the noodles are cooked to look like Trump's hair.
Word of warning to the uninitiated. Dave is using an old Japanese transliteration which is quite valid for Japanese people but not intuitive for westerners. ローマ字には、日本式と訓令式（くんれいしき）とヘボン式がありますが、ここでは、中学校の英語で習うヘボン式 Originally, obeying the writing of Japanese if not the English ear, they used Nihon-Shiki and Kunrei-Shiki. Nowadays most Japanese learn the Hepburn 'Hebon-shiki' way of Romanization into English in junior high. Thus 会長 Kaityo above would be Kaicho in the more familiar Hepburn style, And maturi = matsuri, etc. Japanese PC keyboards give you three or more options.
So, why do I use sin kunrei siki. Probably because the first book that I used to study Japanese was called ‘Beginning Japanese’, By Eleanor Harz Jorden, part of the Yale language series, copyright 1963, and is still in print. This book had no katakana, hiragana, or kanji. The reason given is that it is much easier to transition from sin kunrei siki to hiragana / katakana than from Hepburn. I wholly agree with this statement. Sin kunrei siki is so much more intuitive for a person whose first language is English, at least for me.
After a quick onigiri breakfast at the local convenience store, we took a taxi to kaityou’s house, about 25 minutes from the hotel. Kaityou lives more in a museum than in a house. Every room is surrounded by oyori, so many hats, bow and arrows and so many things that I don’t recall.
The first items that he showed me were two powder containers that were at least 400 years old. He also has a 400 year old book which identifies the age of the powder measures (sorry I don’t know the correct name). There was also obvious damage to the book from bookworms.
I was then honoured to be given a powder primer container that kaityou had made from bamboo. With a proper amount of reluctance I accepted the present and it is already full of triple 7, and ready for my next trip to the range. It will look so much nicer using it as a primer flask, instead of the modern brass one that I have been using. I have also been advised that I should stop using the modern powder measure flask with different size brass tips, and instead have a pre measured set of powder containers when I go to the range.
He also gave me a small piece of old metal plate that he had made into a key chain fob, complete with storage box.
Next I was invited to try on a complete oyoroi set as I had never had the experience previously. My first comment is that it is quite heavy, too heavy, don’t know how they fought long battles in such heavy armour. Was then given a large heavy helmet with feathers. Besides the weight, the helmet is held on the head with a cloth strap that is tied between the lower lip and the chin. Tied very tight, limiting speaking, and very uncomfortable due to the weight of the helmet. I was also given a sword, which was a modern reproduction, not sharp, seemed to be rather light weight metal, perhaps aluminium. I inquired as to the age of the Oyoroi and was told that it was from about 1680 that is age of the fourth General Shougun Ietsuna Tokugawa. The wearer must have been a rather tall Japanese, as I am nearly 6 feet tall and it fit me perfectly. Thus the following picture of me in full oyoroi dress.
Next I was given a chance to hold and pull and old bow and arrow yumiya long bow. I was advised that the arrows were ‘practice arrows’, not what would be used in battle.
It seemed to me that the pull strength required was rather low compared to a compound bow. I had to kneel as the bow was almost as long as the ceiling of the room I was in. It would be impossible to stand up and hold the bow properly. Here is a picture of me with the yumiya.
I had brought along 2 pieces of oyoroi that I had previously quite successfully show full of holes with my 3 monme hinawajyuu, and presented them to kaityou as a present. He accepted my gift and told me that it would be a discussion about the oyoroi at their next association meeting.
Also, I brought along one of my .457” balls to give as a present. Kaityou then brought out 2 bullet moulds that he uses to cast bullets. In the following picture of two of the moulds, the ball on the right is the American 3 monme. The center one is 10 monme, and the left most ball is Japanese 3 monme. I was happily surprised that my American made .457” ball fit the Japanese mould exactly, suggesting to me that I am in fact using the proper ball size in my hinawajyuu.
Next I was shown a box of oyoroi plates, very similar to the ones that we given to me by Dave Thatcher. I humbly requested if I might have a few more to shoot at, and my request was declined. Didn’t have the feeling that I had overstepped my boundaries, as we continued the discussion for another hour.
I had actually hoped to examine a number of different hinawajyuu, but was advised that kaityou’s collection of 11 hinawajyuu were the ones that were used in the previous days maturi, and thus unfortunately were in the process of being cleaned at a different location. Kaityou had three helmets that were displayed individually and were all quite elaborate / exotic / beautiful. The one with the feathers was the one that I wore along with the armour. I was also allowed to try on a different helmet. This helmet was made of metal and was very heavy. Held on with two straps, one under the chin, and the other between the chin and lower lip. They were tied very tight, almost to the point of being painful.
And finally, I was shown kaityou’s collection of 14 helmets. Not allowed to touch or wear any of them as time was running short for this visit.
The visit to kaityou’s house only lasted 3 hours, but it was a truly unique experience, almost like stepping back in time. And I know that I was only permitted to view a small portion of kaityou’s vast collection. Bus back to Kawagoe station, JR to Tokyou とうきょう 東京 station, and then the 1 hour 40 minute Sinkansen Hikari train ride to Kyouto きょうと 京都。
Your Shinobi-no-o was tied correctly by someone who knows how to do it (many don't) but it is only you who will be able to find the correct tightness; this is not something accomplished in a flying visit! Each helmet seems to have its own peculiarities, and some rims can be problematical. Glad you enjoyed it though. (I still owe you a replacement section of cord, if ever you run out!)
Looked like you had a full day The Koyaku-ire has the two Date-kamon on them. The left flask got the "Sendai-shape" to it. Just wish he replaced the white cap with a black one Interesting that he say that they are over 400 years old. I've seen a few other very similar flasks with Date-kamon on them. They were also documented to be from the 17th century. I find that to be surprisingly old but I guess dating a powderflask is no easy task. Great story and pictures. Keep it up!!!
There is (was) a splendid museum in Kawagoe with some fine pieces. It was in a junk shop in that town I managed to buy my first hata sashimono. I had wanted one for years and never found one, then went into this place with junk (treasures) piled up against the walls leaving a narrow walkway to the back of the shop. When I asked about a sashimono, the shopkeeper rummaged in the pile and produced one for which I paid the princely sum of about £25. Made my day. Ian B
After my 4 day stop in Kyotou headed north to the sea of Japan for a 2 day stop in Kinosaki onsen城崎温泉 きのさき おんせん.
By train 2 hours from Kyouto to visit Amanohasidate天橋立 あま-の-はしだて. This completed my visiting all of the “three views of Japan”, which includes Matusima island, and the torii at itsukusima, which I had visited previously.
Then by train 1 more hour to Kinosaki onsen. I would highly recommend visiting Kinosaki onsen, but more of that later.
After a 2 day rest had a travel day from Kinosaki onsen (on the sea of Japan coast, to literally cross Japan to the inland sea for a one night stop at Takamatu, 高松,たかまつ, on the way to Syodousima 小豆島 しょうどしま. Route was from Kinosaki onsen with a change of train at Himeji 姫路,ひめじ, and Okayama 岡山,おかやま. Here is a map of my 1 day travel.
I contacted Teppoudai, Piers, and met Piers for dinner at a really good buffet next to Okayama station. My schedule only allowed for a two hour stopover at Okayama. There I received a very nice present from Piers consisting of 2 hayago, quick loading tubes. I also gave Piers 2 pieces of armour that I had shot with my hinawajyuu. Here are two pictures of the two Hayago.
One end is closed with a removable plug, and the other end is completely open. I understand that I am supposed to put the powder, ball, and paper in the container, but beyond that, I would appreciate it if someone could advise me exactly how to put the powder, ball, paper in the hayago, and then how to transfer the load into the muzzle of the hinawajyuu.
After my very enjoyable meeting with Piers, had to run back to the station to make my train, called Marine Liner, マリンライナー, for a 1 hour ride to Takamatu.
The next day by boat to Syoudosima. After a 2 day visit to Syodousima traveled to Sirahama 白浜 しらはま, stopped at Wakayama to visit Wakayama castle, which has a nice collection of hinawajyuu. More about my visit to Wakayama castle in the next post.
Piers, Yes I still have the sashimono, which is in hemp dyed with a crossed feather mon in black. Being hemp is I suppoose why it has lasted so well. No idea how old it really is but the edging is hand sewn. Ian
Uncle David, thanks for the update. It must have been a rugged trip for you.
I have one of these hayago here left for reference. I just had a look to double-check how this type was designed to work.
a) To load. Being slightly flexible, you can ram a ball down to the open end, and half-expose it. Fill the tube with black powder. Replace cap.
b) To charge gun. Remove plug and pour powder down muzzle. In that position, start ball with your thumb, then with your ramrod push ball down through the cartridge and straight on down barrel.
Usually these have a slight rim to stop the ball coming too far out of the end when packed, but I cannot see any evidence of one here. Possibly there was once a paper end-piece. Some of these cartridges were designed for single use. Others had a covered end, or even an external fitment for a ball. That could be a nice paper! "Variations of Hayago quick-loading tube in the Japanese historical context".
Okayama is a great town. Next time you should stay two days instead of two hours.
I have several styles of Hayago. One is made from wood. It's an amazing feat of engineering. The tube tapers slightly towards to bottom making the ball "click" in place. That way it stays put in the tube until the powder is poured in. With a gentle tap you then release the ball down the barrel.
Looking forward to some pictures from Wakayama. Hopefully there will be some nice Kishu-style matchlocks amongst them.
Traveling from Syoudosima to Sirahama with a planned stop at Wakayama Castle. The original castle was destroyed in WW II, and was rebuilt out of concrete, complete with a modern elevator to reach the upper floors.
Each of the floors has museum type displays of various artifacts concerning Wakayama Castle. I will leave comments to those on this forum to those that know a lot more about oyoroi that I do.
I posted a few questions after each picture, I believe easily answered by forum members.
Here are some pictures of the oyoroi that are on display:
They also have a display of some hinawajyuu and other hand guns.
In the above pictures, the top label says hinawajyuu, 火縄銃。However, the label under the words “firelock” I read, perhaps incorrectly as hiyari, 火槍. Thus can anyone explain the difference between a hiyari and a hinawajyuu, if any.
In the above picture we now have a hiyari, 火槍, which is also a tanjyuu たんじゅ 短銃。 So, again I need clarification as to what is a tanjyuu. Also, can someone explain how this gun is fired. It looks like it might use a percussion cap, but that makes no sense as it has a spring and lever in front of the hammer. Could be a flint lock, but doesn’t look like that either.
The above pictures are labeled as a hakurai tanjyuu はくらい たんじゅう , which is also a hiyari, 火槍. They also appear to be actual percussion cap guns. So, what exactly is a hakurai tanjyuu.
Above is another hinawajyuu, nothing unique, but I may be wrong.
The above is labeled as a needle gun. Must confess that I don’t know much about needle guns, other than that is a primer at the front of the cartridge that is ignited by a needle piercing the cartridge.
It is labeled as a raikan geberu jyuu 雷管ゲベル銃, or らいかん ゲベル じゅう. Might translate as a detonator gun. Text says that ‘gewehr’ is a Holland word. I wonder if it is Japanese. Corrections and any information on this one would be appreciated.
So, that finishes my accounting of the visit to Wakayama castle.
From there went to Yosino, 吉野to see the 2000 cherry trees in bloom. However, only 10 of them decided to bloom for my visit as it was too early and apparently it was a rather cold winter at Yosino, which delayed the cherry blossoms, but not the bus loads of Japanese tourists that had also come to see the cherry blossoms.
Next stop, Nagoya castle which will be my next post.
David, デヴィッド、Da wei , 大衛. Old Wei, 老衛 in New Jersey.
Dear David, thank you as always for the updates, which I personally enjoy following. The first question about 'fire lance' is to some degree easily answered, ie it is Chinese for gun. Under the English comes Chinese on the left, and Korean on the right. Notice the Korean word too alongside. First steps towards internationalization!
The second question about Hakurai is a set phrase meaning in this case 'western' ie came on a ship from other countries, or non-native Japanese. The phrase is actually quite old and 1,500 years ago originally indicated objects from Korea and China.
Unfortunately these signs are not entirely reliable, but they are probably the best the museum could do with the staff available. Best to take them with a pinch of salt. Nowadays we usually say Matchlock where they have chosen to use the word Firelock, for example.
They are using the word Tanju, which is understndable but that may be a localized usage. Generally people say Tanzutsu (pistol) or Bajozutsu (Cavalry long pistol).
The first gun looks like a nice example of a Wakayama (Ki) gun, but it is so blackened that much detail is covered up. Several points make it interesting.
The second gun is made in Kumitomo. Most of the smiths were lost to Osaka, so in Wakayama they continued to order their barrels from Sakai principally but also from Kunitomo. They would be set in the stock with locks fitted in Wakayama.
The lock on the third pistol is new to me. Perhaps Ian can help? Could it be a type of safety arrangement to separate the hammer from the percussion cap?
The next pistol was often called a Yubin-deppo as they were carried around by the first postal delivery workers in Meiji. Western style, they were actually probably made in Japan. This one is either missing the ramrod assembly or is an older late Edo example with a separate ramrod. The bronze percussion boxlock below it is nice and may indeed have come from abroad. The side tang to slide onto a western-style leather belt. (European or Japanese copy?)
'Needle' may refer to pin fire,(?) but the print on the card in your shot is too corrupted to read.
PS Yes, the Gewehr was one of the first muzzle-loading percussion long guns that arrived from abroad, possibly through Nagasaki where the Dutch were based. Called "Gebeh-ru" in Japanese. Raikan refers to the striking of a cap, so 'percussion' would be best as you suggest.
I must reiterate Piers and complement you on this thread. Looks like they have put together a nice display in Wakayama Castle. Reminds me of Matsue Castle. The picture of that first matchlock was worth the admission alone The square-shaped fittings are screaming Kishu, but what seals the deal for me is the screw securing the Amaooi. That makes it a true Kishu-style matchlock. To my knowledge this feature is only/mostly observed on matchlocks from this area. Makes me think of old pre-Sekigahara guns from Satsuma which had very similar screws holding the lockplate in place. There was a strong connection early on between Tanegashima/Satsuma and Negoro/Wakayama so perhaps this is an old influence. The square-shaped Seaslug (I hope that is the correct word, Piers) in front of the trigger is a very nice detail. Keep the travel updates coming!!!
Here is a better rendering of the card description for the needle gun. Piers, perhaps you can provide more information about it from this card. Can’t read the 漢字, but something about Commodore Perry is referenced.