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Thread: Maruka & Nakayama Stamps 2013

  1. #1
    alx
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    Default Maruka & Nakayama Stamps 2013

    Gentleman, start your engines. A new day is upon us in regards to Nakayama stamps. On October 14th 2013 I attended the annual Kyoto Miners Union meeting in Kyoto held at the Kyoto City Art Museum. There were 6 members of the union present and most of them had a table with some stones on display and for sale. I noticed that Ishihara-san of the Ohira mine and Hitomi-san the current Union president and Imanishi-san all had stones that were freshly stamped in black ink kanji "Nakayama" on the top surface of the stone. I asked Ishihara-san what was going on and he said that it is now in agreement that since there is offically no actual Nakayama mine in a physical form, that members felt that if they owned stones from the previous Nakayama mine that closed in the 1960s that it would not be an infringement on any copyrights to stamp those stones with a simple Nakayama ink stamp as an attribution.

    This does not include any standing copyrights to the specific original Maruka stamp owned by Hatanaka-san or any other stamps owned by him as they relate to the Nakayama mine. Below is a photo of that particular stamp along with a few others from the Hatanaka page.



    This is the stamp created by Kato-san and which is the property of Hatanaka Toishi Co. Kyoto. And this exact image is of that very same stamp used by Kato-san and now by Hatanaka-san and or his heir to use when ever and where ever he or they wish to.

    You are seeing as posted in other threads and other forums blatant fake Maruka stamps, ink stamps that are just different enough in one stroke or two so that they are not direct representations but are instead direct mis-representations. This is not to say that exact reproductions are or will not be made to use as forgeries.


    Some of you do not realize that in Japan people do not sign their names that often. If you go to the bank to make a deposit or withdraw you do not sign the statement but instead you stamp it with your personal stamp that is hand carved and supposedly unique, each stroke of the carvers gouge is suppose to be unique. Legal forms are stamped, not signed. The page above is just one from the Kyoto Miners Union book of stamps that are registered for their use only.


    Evidently the name Nakayama is too generic a name to be present in that book, so each miner, wholesaler, retailer or even you or I can have our own unique Nakayama stamp made up now because Nakayama is just a fictional name meaning "middle mountain".

    When the Nakayama mine was open, Kato was just a miner, he was not a retailer. He did stamp some stones evidently for special orders and such but he mainly sold stones to wholesalers from Kyoto. Yamamoto-san of Gifu told me that once a month Kato-san would hold an auction at his shop near his mine, he would invite the same 5 wholesalers to come up, rummage through and bid on each of 5 piles of stone. It was in this way, after the stones went down the valley and into the various workshops in Kyoto that those wholesalers would be process, dress and polish and finally to ink stamp those Nakayama stones before shipment to retailers in Japan. They all used their own stamps reading like rarely the name of their company but usually more in the lines of: HonYama, or Sho HonYama or Betsu or what ever. They did not stamp them Nakayama or Maruka. It was considered a privilage by those 5 wholesalers to be invited to bid, and it was they and only they who had this opportunity. Hatanaka-san was one of those bidders.

    Ishihara-san told me that his father was asked by Kato-san to bulldoze the last tunnel at Nakayama closed in the late 1960s, for safety reasons. In exchange he was given an amount of Nakayama stone as part trade for his services. Ishihara-san will show you some of this stock if you ask. It is expensive though. I would image that the mining trade was a cash poor propostion, and that trades were common, not just with Kato but amongst other miners too. This is why there are stocks of Nakayama stone here and there around the Kyoto area.

    I understand that now Imanishi has stated (according to Maxim) that he can now sometimes distinguish true Nakayama Kato mined stones by the kawa skin, and Stefan has suggested that by test sharpeing you can distinguish these Nakayama qualities too. There should be no reason why any number of these wholesalers or retailers cannot either learn or already know how to tell with some certainty an Ohira stone from a Nakayama stone. We shall see in the near future how this all plays out. In the meanwhile I would caution those of use here to first judge a potentional "Nakayama Maruka" ink stamped stone first by the quality of the stone. Kato-san did not freely stamp thousands upon thousands of stones, he was particular with his product.


    Hope this helps.

    Alex
    Last edited by alx; 12-16-2013 at 02:34 PM.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Hi Alex, so that whole series of images, within the photo, is "the" stamp ? IOW, not one of the vertical lines of kanji but the whole thing ?
    Be careful how you treat people on your way up, you may meet them again on your way back down.

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    zib
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    I doubt I'd buy any stamped Jnats anymore. I'm very happy with what I have. Seems risky if you ask me, more so now. So, Alx when you say "Expensive" what do you mean. $5000.00, more?
    Last edited by zib; 12-16-2013 at 03:00 PM.
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    Customized Birnando's Avatar
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    The importance of buying from respected and trusthworthy retailers/sellers grows bigger each and every year..
    As the poster above me states, I am very glad to have found all the stones I think I will ever need already
    And should I ever feel the need for another, there are but 2-3 guys I will ever buy from.
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    Bjoernar
    Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years....


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    Senior Member blabbermouth JimmyHAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birnando View Post
    The importance of buying from respected and trusthworthy retailers/sellers grows bigger each and every year..
    Since Bernie Madoff of Wall St fame, or rather infamy, I don't even trust myself.
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    Fatty Boom Boom WW243's Avatar
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    For someone who has seen some of these stones, seen videos, looked at websites and lightly fallen under the spell of the deep history of the Japanese Hone.....this would make them pause and ask, is the risk worth the outcome?
    "Call me Ishmael"
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    Senior Member Traskrom's Avatar
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    Buying stones from reliable source is more important than the stamps which easily can be forged. I personally trust very few and limited amount of sellers and wouldn't even look anywhere else.

    And btw buying one hi end stone is cheaper than all experiments which HAD will force you to participate.

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    Fatty Boom Boom WW243's Avatar
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    I will believe you even though I have no experience with these hones or sellers....I believe the guy that started this thread is one of the people you mention and that super nice guy who lives in Japan who had a fantastic blog but has since moved on....and the guy Maxim?
    Quote Originally Posted by Traskrom View Post
    Buying stones from reliable source is more important than the stamps which easily can be forged. I personally trust very few and limited amount of sellers and wouldn't even look anywhere else.

    And btw buying one hi end stone is cheaper than all experiments which HAD will force you to participate.
    "Call me Ishmael"
    CUTS LANE WOOL HAIR LIKE A Saus-AGE!

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    zib
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    Honestly, Unless you have a thing for Japanese naturals @ $3000.00, and like to collect, I'd stick with stones like the Suehiro 20k and the like. Your not going to do much better than that. It leaves a super smooth edge, and you not taking a chance. To buy Jnats these days, You need a degree in Jnatology or at least Geology. Buyer Beware....
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    Senior Member Traskrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WW243 View Post
    I will believe you even though I have no experience with these hones or sellers....I believe the guy that started this thread is one of the people you mention and that super nice guy who lives in Japan who had a fantastic blog but has since moved on....and the guy Maxim?
    I believe this thread is not about naming the "good guys". This is about homework needs to be done prior buying something very few people nowadays have expertise and many years practical experience with.
    zib likes this.

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