Honyama Awasedo

Awasedo Honyama

"Shou Honyama Awasedo    

True Source Mountain Finishing Stone

Many millions of years ago, in the Pacific Ocean, airborne volcanic and marine particulate settled at the bottom of the ocean. Over time this sediment slowly transformed into siliceous shale. 

The use of this silica-laden shale as whetstones probably predates the Japan’s earliest sword manufacturing efforts, which I believe was during the 5th century. However – I’d venture to guess the focus on Tennen Toishi increased as sword-making technology progressed.

In 1190 AD, Honma Touzayemon from Umegahata presented sharpening stones to Gotoba, the 82nd Emperor. Formerly a fierce warrior that sharpened his own swords, Gotoba found Touzayemon’s whetstones to be outstanding. He then requested Minamoto no Yoritomo (first Shogun of Kamakura Shogunate) to appoint Touzayemon to be the head of Japanese sharpening stones. By the 14th century, the Nakayama mine had become the Imperial and Muromachi Shogunate sharpening stones mine.

These events led to the incarnation of the term – Honyama.   Touzayemon’s first name, Honma, was shortened and followed with the word for mountain -- Hon-Yama – Hon’s mountain.  

In modern times, the term Honyama has become somewhat genericly applied to whetstones mined all over Japan, and not just those from Nakayama and Shobudani.       

© Keith V Johnson 2014 - 2018