Due to an overwhelming amount of inquiries that I now receive on a daily basis, I have to change a certain service/assistance that I offer.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am – honestly – very grateful to be approached by so many sword lovers every day now, asking about a specific translation of a mei, sayagaki, hakogaki etc. or about my opinion on the one or other piece. This is all fine and my basic translation fees can be found in the TRANSLATION SERVICE/PRICES menu at the very top of my page, or will be discussed along in your inquiry.
But now we have to talk about signature assessments, i.e. in the sense of signatures being possibly shôshin (authentic) or gimei (forgeries). I receive inquiries about this matter probably once or twice every single day and there is a lot of responsibility in answering such inquiries. People in touch with me can reassure you that I always try my best to answer, as good and as detailed as I can, any question about signatures, or in other words, I usually don’t blunty reply “its gimei” or “I don’t know”, i.e. I always try to explain why I think, for example along the execution of certain parts of a character etc., that a mei might be shôshin or gimei. And so far, I did not even charge for that service
But this has to change, not because I am greedy or mean, but because I just can’t take away time from my other (paid) projects to do such sensitive stuff any more for free. That said, I will charge from now on $150 for any inquiry about the authenticity of a a signature. Not for the reading per se, that will be free forever (unless it is a very long and very complex mei), but for the inquiry about if a signature might be shôshin or gimei.
Now there is of course some “lead time” before I charge that amount. That is, when you approach me about possible authentication of a mei, I will tell you in advance about how many shôshin references I am able to compare your mei with and we can take it from there. For example, maybe I only have a single or just a couple of reference mei for a certain smith, or none at all, and in this case I would not charge anything of course and would just give you my personal opinion as I did so far. But in case you approach me and I am able to tell you that I can compare your mei with let’s say 20, 50, or even 100 shôshin-mei, e.g. from NBTHK/NTHK papers or from publications, that will be the point when I have to charge $150 because as mentioned, comparing a mei to a considerable number of references is not only a very time consuming but also a very sensitive task (just think about people planning to submit papers on that basis). So for this fee, I will not only tell you the actual number of authenticated mei I am be able to compare your signature with but also provide you with a detailed sheet on the points where the mei in question matches, or does not match with the references. Naturally, I do not provide any guaranee for authenticity, also of course because I don’t have the blade in hand to compare workmanship and/or quality with the mei in questiion, but if I can tell you in advance that I am able to compare your signature with for example 20, 50, or even 100 authentic mei as mentioned, that should be a pretty decent factor for you to make up your mind on where to go from there (i.e. papers). Of course you will receive a pictorial reference where I point out the aspects of where the mei in question differs, or not.
So that’s gonna be about the new fee for signature comparisons and if you have a signed blade you want to know more about, just let me know and as mentioned and we can take it from there. Thank you very much for your attention.