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  1. #1
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    Question Could this Kamisori be made of Tamahagane steel?

    Experts' opinions needed. I've bought this Japanese razor on eBay recently, and it cost significantly less than anything made of Tamahagane would. So I don't expect it to be that good. Seller did not make such a claim himself, still, the razor has markings on it saying Tamahagene in kanji - 玉鋼 (at least that's what I'm seeing). Apparently, the seller sees the same: he has put this explanationary picture of what those markings mean:


    As you can see, he considers Tamahagane to be a brand name. So, what I'm asking is: could that be right? It just seems a little doubtful to me that "Tamahagane" is available to register as a brand name, for as such it sure could be misleading.

    Here's a closeup of the stamped side:

    [the razor has not arrived yet, so I can only provide you with these pictures made by the seller]

    Any suggestions are much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth JimR's Avatar
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    Hi there, and welcome to SRP!

    Well, I'll tell you. It sure looks like Tamahagane is stamped on it, but Tamahagane is not a brand that I'm aware of... Also, that "tama" kanji looks a little weird to me, it's missing a small stroke (to my eyes) which would change the meaning to something like "Royal Steel". 王鋼 or 玉鋼...hmmm.

    However, even if it is Tamahagane, it looks REALLY narrow, as in heavily used, which might explain the price.

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  4. #3
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    Thanks for a quick answer!

    Actually, for me the second kanji - 鋼, was more suspicious as it's much less distinct.
    That small stroke in 玉 does not seem to be there, but I figured the whole thing was "close enough". Because if the first kanji does not mean 玉, than this is, once again, misleading. And I won't expect a manufacturer intentionally making a kanji similar to "tamahagane" with the purpose of tricking the potential buyer. This kind of behaviour does not seem very "japanese" to me. I've formed probably a rather naive notion of the japanese, that does not allow me to think any smith would do such a thing. As I imagine it, they would rather make a clearly different marking so to avoid any possible confusion.

    As for its width, it is indeed narrow - just 1/2''.

    Anyway, if this razor is really made of tamahagane, I'm more than satisfied. I've another notion, maybe naive as well, that this "jewel" steel is such a rarity that you are not likely to find it in anything except a high quality katana. And if you do, it's not going to be moderately priced.
    Last edited by Zinger; 06-08-2010 at 11:01 AM.

  5. #4
    Senior Moderator JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Welcome to SRP. Hope you scored the genuine article.
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth JimR's Avatar
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    Well, I hate to say it, but the notion that a smith might not want to confuse people is a wee bit on the naive side. People are people, the world around, and you get dishonest ones in Japan just like anywhere else.

    Tamahagane is rare, as I understand, but not unfindable. It is, however, really pricey.

    I have two folding straights made of Tamahagane, and I've seen more than a few Tamahagane kamisori, and they were all priced at several hundred dollars (and I've seen folders go for more than $1000).

  8. #6
    Forum mogwai thebigspendur's Avatar
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    Probably the same as all the Western Razors that say Damascus on them when they are not of course. Yes the Tamahagne is really rare by comparison so I doubt if someone had one they would not know what they had and sell cheaply.

    Of course you never know though. Maybe you were lucky.
    Every day without fail one should consider himself as dead-Tsunetomo

  9. #7
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    Deception is ubiquitous, quite true. My previous post was really a bit over-praising the Japanes. The smiths are definitely not angels.
    Nevertheless, my view on the subject remains a bit idealistic, but to put it more correctly, the idea is that honour, dignity and self-respect are more important to an average Japanese man than to a wesetrner. Thus a Japanese craftsman would less readily put a fraudulent description on his product.

    But, apart from my overvaluation of their integrity, there is a reason to expect goods produced in a certain country to be more likely counterfeit than in another: compare that same Japan and China. Back to the razor topic, I believe there are more fake western straights than the Japanese ones, even if only antiques are considered.

    Pardon me for mixing a simple razor thread with a national features discussion.


    It is indeed unlikely that the seller would be unaware if he had a real thing. Well, I'd be quite comfortable with any kamisori, provided it shaves fine.

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