<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> <HTML><HEAD><TITLE>SASANO MASAYUKI</TITLE> <META http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=unicode"> <META content="SASANO Masayuki - Tosogu: Iron and Beyond - Japanese sword fittings books" name=description> <META content="MSHTML 6.00.6001.18294" name=GENERATOR></HEAD> <BODY vLink=#000000 aLink=#0000ff link=#000080 background="stuff_files/sand4.jpg"> <TABLE width="90%" border=0> <TBODY> <TR> <TD style="BORDER-TOP: 1px solid; COLOR: #000; FONT-FAMILY: Papyrus,sans-serif" vAlign=bottom> <P align=justify><BIG><BIG><B><FONT face=" Papyrus" size=1><BIG><BIG><FONT face=Papyrus size=2><FONT color=#ff0000>Original essay written by Michael Harris @ Satcho,<BR>Edited by Elliott Long @ Shibui Swords </FONT><SPAN style="COLOR: #ff0000"><BR></SPAN></FONT></BIG></BIG></FONT></B><BIG><BIG><FONT face="Times New Roman" size=6>Contributions of SASANO MASAYUKI (1920-1993) </FONT></BIG></BIG></BIG></BIG><FONT size=1><B><I><BR><BR></I></B></FONT></P></TD></TR> <TR> <TD style="BORDER-TOP: 1px solid; COLOR: #000; FONT-FAMILY: Papyrus,sans-serif" colSpan=2> <P align=justify><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 14pt; FONT-FAMILY: Times New Roman">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Announcements in Albert Yamanaka s <I>Nihonto</I> newsletter, published 1968  1972, of Sasano s published works of that period offer insight and would foreshadow the influence of the Sasano's scholarship on <I>tsuba</I> study. Yamanaka s description of the book <B><I>Sukashi Tsuba</I></B> (Kokubo <I>et al</I>, 1968) notes the authors collections and knowledge of the field as well known in Japan. In 1971 the Yamanaka s newsletter's description of Sasano s <B><I>Bushido-no-Bi</I></B> (1972) specifically notes that  most Tsuba people [regard Sasano] as an expert on Sukashi Tsuba , and continues that  he is especially well learned in Akasaka and Owari . &nbsp;Sasano s 1970 publication would later be reworked and reformatted as the English-language text, <A href="http://www.shibuiswords.com/sasano72.htm"><B><I>Early Japanese Sword Guards  Sukashi Tsuba</I></B></A> by Sasano (1972). &nbsp;In the frontispiece of that text, Sasano defines iron sukashi tsuba as  the kind of beauty required by the samurai and that his book  underscores the aesthetics of work in iron and offers& examples of brilliant design .<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Sasano s scholarship was not without controversy. &nbsp;Nowhere is this more evident than in the bibliography for <A href="http://www.shibuiswords.com/1sato.htm"><B><I>The Japanese Sword</I></B></A> (1983), wherein Sato Kanzan wrote:  Few will be able to appreciate [Sasano s] rather vague criteria for categorizing the guards, referring to <I>Early Japanese Sword Guards</I>.&nbsp; In case Sato s sentiment is missed, commentary on Sasano s <A href="http://www.shibuiswords.com/sasano79.htm"><B><I>Tosogu no Kigen</I></B></A> by Sasano (1976) noted that it was  Controversial work with an ax to grind. <BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It would be easy to assert that Sasano s influence in the west was as result of multiple English-language publications.&nbsp; However, recognizing Sasano as likely the most influential Japanese <I>tosogu</I> scholar in the west must also acknowledge the importance of his emphasis on the aesthetic consideration necessitated in studing sword fittings.&nbsp; Sasano s scholarship was bold, but it was not unfounded.&nbsp; Assertions in <I>Tosogu no Kigen </I>call on empirical evidence and today enjoys many supporters.<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Other publications follow <I>Tosogu no Kigen</I> before Sasano s final publication, <A href="http://www.shibuiswords.com/sasano94.htm"><B><I>Japanese Sword Guards: Masterpieces from the Sasano Collection, Part One</I></B></A> by Sasano (1994), published after his death. Sasano s <B><I>Shoyu Kai </I></B>study group published <A href="http://www.shibuiswords.com/sasano80.htm"><B><I>Kagamishi Tsuba</I></B></A> by Sasano (1980), <A href="http://www.shibuiswords.com/sasano82.htm"><B><I>Tosogu no Kansho</I></B></A> by Sasano (1982), <A href="http://www.shibuiswords.com/sasano84.htm"><B><I>Higo Irogane Tsuba</I></B></A> by Sono Heiji (1984), <A href="http://www.shibuiswords.com/sasano87.htm"><B><I>Tsuba To Koshirae</I></B></A> by Hiroi Yuichi (1987), and in 1986 began a journal called <B><I>Tosogu Yuhin Zufu</I></B>.&nbsp; Publication was limited to two journals issued annually to members, each issue focused on different aspects of <I>tosogu</I> study and featured detailed photography of exemplary works.&nbsp; Many of the examples coming from private collections were otherwise unpublished.&nbsp; The journal ceased shortly after Sasano s passing and its limited-run issues are prized by advanced <I>tosogu</I> students.<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Sasano was also credited for directing the development of the Phyllis Sharpe Memorial Collection of Tsuba.&nbsp; &nbsp;At his recommendation the collection was reduced in accord with Sharpe Memorial s intent to include only the finest examples.&nbsp; The collection later went to auction in 1997 (London: Sotheby s).&nbsp; It is also noted (Harding, 1993) that Sasano has been called on to consult for major auction houses as early as 1967.<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; As noted in the second paragraph above, Sasano reworked and reformatted his earlier work and this was no less true of his last publication.&nbsp; <I>Japanese Sword Guards: Masterpieces from the Sasano Collection, Part One</I> was published in 1994.&nbsp; A Japanese-language text was published the preceding year, and there would be no part two.&nbsp; Sasano prefaced his final text with a reflection on his earlier texts.&nbsp; There was no mention by Sasano of <I>Tosogu no Kigen</I>; there was no need as the weight of evidence spoke for the humble <I>Sensei</I>.&nbsp; Rather, Sasano spoke in terms of his embarrassment at his growth since his early 1970s publications on iron <I>sukashi tsuba</I>, and this accounts for much of the overlap with his previous study.&nbsp; In the end we are reminded that true scholarship is a lifelong endeavor as Sasano ably demonstrated.<BR><BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR><TD style="COLOR: #000000; BORDER-BOTTOM: 3px solid; FONT-FAMILY: Papyrus,sans-serif" borderColor=#ff0000 colSpan=2> <P align=center><FONT face="Papyrus" size=2> <A href="http://www.shibuiswords.com/index.htm"><SPAN style="TEXT-DECORATION: none"><I><B><FONT face="Papyrus" size=+1>SHIBUI SWORDS</FONT></B></I></SPAN></A> </FONT><FONT face=Papyrus size=+1> </FONT><FONT face="Papyrus" size=+1>P.O. Box 2103 </FONT><FONT face=Papyrus size=+1> </FONT><FONT face="Papyrus" size=+1>Gresham, OR 97030 </FONT><FONT face="Papyrus" size=+1> </FONT><FONT face="Papyrus" size=+1>USA<BR>&nbsp;1 (503) 754-8082&nbsp;&nbsp;or&nbsp;&nbsp; <A href="mailto:elliott@shibuiswords.com">E mail to Elliott</A></FONT></FONT><BR><BR> </P></SPAN> </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></DIV></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></BODY></HTML>