NBTHK Journal of Swords

September, 2009



Meito Kanshou


Type: Tachi


Classification: Tokubetsu Juyo Token 


Mei: Kagehide

Length: 2 shaku 3 sun (69.8 cm)

Sori: 9.5 bu ( 2.9 cm)

Motohaba:  slightly over 9 bu ( 2.76 cm )

Sakihaba: slightly less than 6 bu ( 1.8 cm )             

Motokasane: 2 bu 4 rin ( 0.73 cm )

Sakikasane: slightly less than 1 bu 3 rin ( 0.39 cm )

Kissaki length: 8 bu 6 rin ( 2.6 cm )

Nakago length: 6 sun 2 bu ( 18.8 cm )

Nakago sori: 3 rin ( 0.1 cm )




This is a shinogi zukuri, ihorimune tschi with a standard mihaba, a slightly thick kasane, and the widths at the moto and saki are different. The blade is koshisori and the whole blade has a deep sori, and small kissaki.   The jihada is itame mixed with mokume, and the entire blade has a visible fine jihada; there are ji-nie and fine chikei, but there is no visible utsuri. The hamon displays a wide yakihaba, and especiallyat  the koshimoto, the hamon is wide. There are ko-gunome mixed with ko-choji and this is a togari type hamon. There are frequent ko-ashi and some yo, frequent ko-nie, and the hamon becomes gentle around the monouchi. The boshi is straight and narrow with a komaru return. The omote and ura have smooth bo-hi. The nakago is ubu, the tip is sakiha-agari kurigiri, the yasurime are sujichigai, there is one mekugiana, and a ways below the mekugiana there is a niji-mei (2 kanji) with big kanji and and fine strokes.

   Today, Kagehide is thought to be Osafune Mitsutadafs younger brother, but some old historical books offer somewhat different opinions. The gShinkan Hiden Shouh ( which was written by Utunomiya Mikawa Nyudo as a secret book. Later, Takeya Umeyasu extracted important parts from this book and someone in his school added and emphasized some points. This says that Kagehide was Mitsutadafs younger brother, but part of his pedigree is from the Ichimonji school. The gKokon Meizukushih ( published in the Manji era) said he is a younger brother of Mitsutada but was younger than Yasutada who was another younger brother of Mitsutada . The gKaifunki g(written by Miki Kichiemon Densho in Keicho 18) said he is an Ichimonji school smith and these opinions possibly originate from his style and signature. Kagehidefs favorite hamon style is a gorgeous choji midare, the same as Mitsutadafs, and his hamon are wide, and have up and down variations or movements, and some of hamon come up to the shinogiji. The midare hamon waves are close to each other, and togariba stand out, and the tops of the choji hamon are narrow and look sharp. In addition, some parts of the hamon ds not show too much up and down variations, and some of hamon have strong nie. Kagehide does not have too many swords left with a signature, and today he has one Juyo Bunkazai sword, 2 Tokubetsu Juyo swords, and 7 Juyo Token swords. Among these, the Sendai-han lord Date Masamune hada tachi called gkuronbo-giriff(black man cutter)  which is known as a masterpiece. This sword is different from Kagehidefs gorgeous hamon style swords, and has a wide yakiba and ko-nie, and is similar to Ko-Bizen or Ko-Ichimonji work, and looks more elegant than his usual work. The ji and ha are healthy and tight, and this is one of his masterpieces. In the past, this was owned by a tea ceremony master Kawase Torasaburo ( Ifu-dou) and he had a Hyogo no tachi koshirae, and this later become part of Dr. Comptonfs collection in the USA, and recently returned to Japan.          


( Explanation by Hiyama Masanori, oshigata by Ishii Akira)



Shijo-Kanteitou No.632


* For No.631 ( in the August issue) the answer is an Osafune Kanemitsu tachi.


Deadline for the No. 632 issue is October  5th. 

Each person may submit one vote for the maker of this sword. Include your name and address and send these votes to the NBTKH Shijo-Kantei. You can use the Shijo-Kantei card which is attached in this the magazine. We will accept cards with a postmark on or before October 5th.

If the sword smith has same name in different schools, please write the school, or prefecture where your smith worked, and if the sword smith has many generations, please write a specific generation.




Length: 1 shaku 8 sun 7.5 rin ( 56.81 cm)

Sori: 3 bu (0. 91 cm)

Motohaba: 1 sun 1 rin (3.05 cm)

Sakihaba: 7 bu 1 rin (2.15 cm)

Motokasane: 2 bu 8 rin (0.85 cm)

Sakikasane: 2 bu  (0.6 cm)

Kissaki length: 1 sun 3 bu 2 rin ( 4.0 cm)

Nakago length: 5 sun  (15.15 cm)

Nakago sori: very slight


This is a shinogi-zukuri sword with a ihorimune, a standard mihaba, and the widths at the moto and saki are  different. There is a chu-kissaki.  The jihada is a tight ko-itame, there are fine ji-nie, and chikei, and the shinogi ji has a distinctive masame hada.  The hamon and boshi, have ashi, yo, and occasional yubashiri. There are dense nioi, thick nie, and some nie go up the ji and spread. There is a bright nioiguchi, and sunagashi. The nakago is ubu, the nakagosaki is kurijiri, and the yasurime are shallow katte sagari. There is one mekugi-ana, and on the omote side there is a long signature in which the first kanji is on the mekugiana, and rest of kanji are in the center along of the shinogi-suji (i.e. on the shinogi).  



Tokubetsu Toshingu


Bokudo-zu kozuka: a kozuka with an image of a boy with a water buffalo


mei: Natsuo with Kao


Kano Natsuo is a great master of the Japanese toshingu world, and he was active at the end of the Edo period and into the Meiji period.  He was born in Bunsei 11, and was a son of a rice merchant family running Fushimiya in Kyoto. At the age of 7, he was adopted by the sword merchant Kanou Jisuke. At age 12, he learned basic chasing  techniques from the goldsmith Okumura Shohachi, and at age 14, he became a student of the Ootsuki schoolfs Ikeda Takatoshi, and he was named Toshiaki. Later when he become an independent craftsman, he changed his name to Nastuo. During that time, in Kyoto where there was a sophisticated culture, he studied painting from Nakajima Raisho, and studied Chinese classics from Tanimori Tanematsu, and he equipped himself to understand a sophisticated culture. In Ansei 1, at age 27, he went to Edo, and after that he produced many masterpieces. When you look at his work, he had many styles: Yokoya and Nara school style takaniku-hori, similar to Ichinomiya Nagatsune es katakiri-hori hira-zougan technique; and the early Goto familyfs techniques. He studied a good part of old classic works, and adapted well to his times.In particular, he admired Nagatsunefs work, and collected his sketch books, and he supposedly studied these all of the time. Also, Natsuo had own sketch books which he used for his creative sources. This kozuka uses Nagatsunefs special style which has a one quarter polished surface or ji, and has katakiri-bori, and he used all kinds of colors with a gold hirazogan (high inlay) technique. This shows Nagatsunefs elegant style, and has Natsuofs famed empty spaces, and has simple sharp curves, and this shows poetic and fantasy images. 


 (Explanation by Iida Toshihisa)    



 Shijo Kantei No 630 (July, 2009 issue)


Answer and Discussion for Shijo Kantei To

Number 630 (July, 2009 issue). The answer is a Ishido Unju Korekazu sword (dated Kaei 7).


Unju Korekazufs active period was approximately the latter Tenpo to Meiji eras, and most of  Shin-shin-to at this time had a wide mihaba, and the widths at the moto and saki were not different; they had oo-kissaki, and a dynamic shape. Korekazu has this type of shape in some swords, but his shapes have usual or slightly wider mihaba, and the kissaki are chu-kitsaki or long chu-kissaki. He has many swords with the same- mihaba as this one, with a length of 2 shaku, 5 or 6 sun, and often  the kasane are thick for the mihaba, and the shinogi-ji are narrow. He has four types of jihada:  a tight ko-itame muji style; a jihada in which tight ko-itame is mixed with some nagarehada: a visible ko-itame hada with chikei; and one where the entire sword has a masame type of nagarehada . His early hamon around the Koka and Kaei eras, often have Bizen Den choji midare with nioi, similar to Chounsai Tsunatoshifs hamon. Later his hamon are primarily large round topped choji, with some gunome style choji midar (sometimes mixed with occasional gunome, togariba, and ko-notare), they have long ashi, dense nioi, thick nie, are bright and clear, and kinsuji and sunagshi stand out, just like on this sword. People say that this is a Bizen Den choji midare with nie, and Unju Korekazufs favorite style and he has many excellent works with this style. His boshi are notare-komi just like on this sword, or midare-komi, or straight, and usually  these have a komaru and return. Unju Korekazufs work sometimes have bohi, but he has very few kurikara and suken horimono. His nakago-saki are kurijiri (sometimes they are iriyamagata), and in early time his yasurime are sujichigai with kesho, and later they are oosuji-chigai with kesho. His signature is not always in the same location, and with no bohi present (just like this sword), they are often on the omote mune surface and are long mei, and on the upper ura side the dates are written. Unju Korekazu was an Edo shogunate sword smith, and in the Kaei and Ansei eras during on his early work, there are a few swords with Aoi-mon under the habaki. Most people voted for Korekazu, and besides being an almost correct answer, a few people voted for Taikei Naotane. Naotanefs Soshu Den have a ko-midare style hamon mixed with gunome, and many of them have a somewhat bigger hamon, and his jihada are a distinctive uzumaki hada, and most of  his shinogi zukuri katana have ura side signatures, and many of them have kao.        


Explanation provided by Hinohara Dai.