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In a fantasy novel I am reading, a young blacksmith is referred to as "二番鎚", which I think means 'apprentice'. Later, there is a reference to a "一番鎚(の大男)" and a ”親方". I'd guess the former of these means something like "master blacksmith", but the former also seems to mean "master" or "teacher".

Can someone describe the positions of these three roles so I can understand their relationships?

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    親方 is a common word, but 一番槌/二番槌 are probably made-up words. You can safely assume 一番槌 is superior than 二番槌, but I doubt you can generalize the relationship between n番槌 and 親方.
    – naruto
    Jul 1 '16 at 6:37
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    @naruto I think your comment resolves the question. Why not post it as an answer?
    – Flaw
    Aug 22 '16 at 15:53
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(Copying comment)

親方 is a common word, but 一番槌/二番槌 are probably made-up words. You can safely assume 一番槌 is superior than 二番槌, but I doubt you can generalize the relationship between n番槌 and 親方.

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This analogy to an Orchestra might make sense...

  • Conductor - 親方
  • First Violin - 一番鎚
  • Second Violin - 二番鎚
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    Interesting analogy. However in the book it seems that all three of these men work on some item by hitting their hammers in sync, which is a bit different than your comparison of the "conductor". Are you implying the conductor would not do much real "heavy duty" work, and mostly just lead?
    – Locksleyu
    Jul 1 '16 at 6:08
  • Well I haven't read the book, so I was just going off the words. 親方 is like a boss who takes care of others. And the terms First Hammer Second Hammer sounded pretty straightforward from there. In an orchestra the First and Second Violins would play at the same time, with the First taking the lead and then the conductor would guide them both. Of course the conductor doesn't play an instrument at the same time, so maybe that's where the analogy breaks down.
    – sazarando
    Jul 1 '16 at 6:20
  • What book is it by the way?
    – sazarando
    Jul 1 '16 at 6:21
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    The first book of「図書館の魔女」. You can read a sample on booklive.jp, though I am not sure if gets this far (It may).
    – Locksleyu
    Jul 1 '16 at 14:34
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    This reminds me of a documentary on Japanese blacksmithing that may offer some insight into what is meant; the 'head' blacksmith essentially conducts the apprentices using a smaller hammer. See here: youtu.be/gxwWf-MfZVk?t=1261
    – user1624
    Jul 1 '16 at 23:24

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