April Issue







Designation : Tokubetsu Juyo Token

Mei        : gIGA (NO) KAMI KINMICHIh


Ha-watari : 37.55 cm.         Sori : 0.8 cm.

Moto-haba : 3.25 cm.         Moto-kasane : 0.65 cm.

Nakago : 11.5 cm.            Nakago-sori : Just a little


The blade is in shinogi-zukuri with mitsu-mune then has extended ha-watari, relatively thick kasane and little deep sori. The jihada is itame-hada combined with mokume and running masame near the mune line in company with thick ji-nie and a lot of fine chikei then stands out on the whole and the jigane is clear. The hamon is o-gunome mixed with ko-notare, ko-gunome, pointed midare and squarish midare in thick nie-deki accompanied with thick and bright nioi-guchi and ara-nie. It starts with a little undulated sugu yaki-dashi then many sunagashi, yubashiri and tiny tobi-yaki. The boshi is notare-komi and creeps up then turns back with pointed tip with many hakikake and long kaeri. The nakago is ubu then has kengyo tip, katte-sagari-yasuri and two mekugi-ana (one of them is filled). There is a mei in five characters and thin chiselling near the mune line of the sashi-omote.


Iga no Kami Kinmichi is the eldest son of Kanemichi of Mino Province and has three brothers of Rai Kinmichi, Tanba no Kami Yoshimichi and Etchu no Kami Masatoshi. It is commonly said that his family moved to Kyoto then established the Mishina school and won a reputation. Taking a look at his extant works before he was titled as Iga no Kami (so-called eSeki-uchif), the jigane looks whitish and the hamon is pointed gunome, ko-notare or gunome-choji with a little tight nioi-guchi and ko-nie. The boshi is notare-komi but it does not form Mishina-boshi yet. The blade shows a typical workmanship of Sue-Seki smiths on the whole. After he was designated as Iga no Kami, he started tempering based in o-midare and mixed with notare, o-gunome, squarish gunome and togari-ba in thick nie-deki then kinsuji and sunagashi are seen inside the hamon and boshi becomes Mishina-boshi reflecting a grand and gorgeous aspect of the Momoyama Period like the Horikawa school. It can be said that his work of this age is based on the workmanship of Shizu Kaneuji.


Amongst his brothers, Yoshimichi and Masatoshi demonstrated their workmanships on the basis of shinto but Kinmichi did on the basis of the combined workmanships of Sue-Seki and shinto smiths. His hamon and boshi look more natural than those of other brothers. The wakizashi is to be one of his best works and shows powerful and varied workmanship.


(Explanation by Tanobe Michihiro and oshigata by Ishii Akira)





l  The answer to Shijo-kantei-to No.614 (March Issue) was a katana by gKurihara Nobuhideh with a production date of Keio 2.






Ha-watari : 71.21 cm.        Sori : 1.21 cm.

Moto-haba : 3.1 cm.          Saki-haba : 2.35 cm.

Moto-kasane : 0.6 cm.        Saki-kasane : 0.5 cm.

Kissaki : 5.4 cm.             Nakago : 21.36 cm.

Nakago-sori : Just a little


The blade is in shinogi-zukuri with iori-mune then has relatively wide mi-haba, thick kasane in disproportion to the mi-haba, narrow shinogi-ji, shallow sori and less tapering sugata with extended chu-kissaki. The jihada is dense ko-itame-hada combined with nagare-hada in company with ji-nie and chikei. The hamon and the boshi are as shown in the oshigata. The hamon consists of thick nie accompanied with bright and thick nioi-guchi then long ashi, sunagashi and kinsuji are seen inside the hamon. The nakago is ubu then has kuri-jiri, o-sujikai with kesho-yasuri and a mekugi-ana. There is a long mei between the mekugi-ana and the mune line in the sashi-omote also a production date in a ascended part of the sashi-ura. (This smith normally forges dense ko-itame-hada that looks like muji-hada.)





Designation : Juyo Tosogu

Design     : Fierce tiger



This is a masterpiece of Shinoyama Tokuoki who is one of the best metalworkers of the Otsuki school of Kyoto and the design depicts a fierce tiger on the rock.


Tokuoki was born as the eldest son of Yahantei Gogai who is a haiku composer in Kyoto in 1813. He became a student of Kawahara Hayashi Hideoki who was a prominent figure of the Otsuki school in 1836 then he got married with the eldest daughter of his teacher when he was 25 years old and became independent.


Tokuoki depicts a fierce tiger that is said to be the king of beasts as well as lion in ski-dashi-bori, iroe and rogin-sue-mon in dignified manner. It is an ingenious design to arrange wide space in the both side.


As the hako-gaki says, he is good at picturesque design and displays his ability in the lyrical expression.


eIkkosaif is his personal title that was given when he made metal fittings of a tanto for Emperor Komyo in 1863. This tsuba was made five year after the occasion in 1868 when he was 56 years old.


(Explanation by Kobayashi Terumasa)





No.1 Tanto





Ha-watari : 25.91 cm.          Sori : Just a little uchi-zori

Hira-zukuri                  Mitsu-mune


Jihada    : Dense itame-hada with thick ji-nie and fine chikei then bo-utsuri appears.

Hamon   : Kataochi-gunome mixed with squarish gunome and gunome in nioi-deki accompanied with bright nioi-guchi and ko-nie then kinsuji and sunagashi are seen inside the hamon.

Boshi    : Gentle notare in the omote and sugu in the ura then turns back in ko-maru with a little pointed tip.

Horimono : Kurikara on the omote and a pair of goma-hashi with kaki-nagashi end on the ura 


This is a tanto by Osafune Kagemitsu with the production year of Shochu 2 (1325). There are extant works of Kagemitsu with production years between the Kagen and Kenmu Eras. He made tanto sugata of the end of the Kamakura Period with wide mi-haba, extended ha-watari, thick kasane and no sori in his later years. This tanto hits the transition sugata of his tanto.


The jihada is dense and fine itame-hada then bo-utsuri appears on the ji. The hamon is tempered on the basis of kataochi-gunome that is said to be his creation.


Therefore, many votes went to Kagemitsu in the first bidding. Then some people voted for smiths who tempered kataochi-gunome.


Kanemitsu who is a son of Kagemitsu certainly tempered kataochi-gunome succeeding to the workmanship of his father but his hamon is normally tempered in regular and smaller pattern.


Motoshige o the same province demonstrated a similar workmanship to that o Kagemitsu but his hamon consists of squarish gunome mixed with ko-notare and each yaki-gashira gets in a line. In addition, his boshi turns back with pointed tip and jihada combines conspicuous nagare-hada differing from the one by the smiths of the head Osafune family.


Taking a close look at the formation of the hamon, there are some slanted kataochi-gunome toward the kissaki and squarish gunome that consist of two midare.


The body of the kurikara is apart from the ken and looks like a pregnant woman then is called eHarami-ryuf. This style of kurikara is also seen in the works of the other smiths of the head Osafune family.


No.2 Wakizashi


Mei : gKUNINORIh (Horikawa school)

Ha-watari : 36.36 cm.          Sori : 0.61 cm.

Hira-zukuri                  Mitsu-mune


Jihada    : Itame-hada combined with mokume and nagare-hada in company with thick ji-nie and many chikei then stands out and becomes zanguri-hada. The jigane looks black and mizukage is seen in the ha-machi area.

Hamon   : Gentle notare mixed with a little pointed midare and squarish midare in uneven nie-deki accompanied with tight, subdued and uneven nioi-guchi.

Boshi    : Gentle notare in the omote and sugu in the ura then turns back with a little pointed tip and hakikake.


The blade has relatively wide –mi-haba, extended ha-watari, shallow sori and thick kasane so that it can be attributed to one of Keicho-shinto, furthermore to one of the Horikawa school considering the hamon of gentle notare in nie-deki.


Kuninori is a student of Horikawa Kunihiro and it is rare to see his extant work. There are only several extant katana and tanto that have ever been confirmed. He demonstrated a workmanship that exposes the characteristics of the Horikawa school well. For instance, he forged standing-out itame-hada combined with mokume, so-called zanguri-hada then mizukage appears in the ha-machi area and the jigane looks black.


The hamon is based on gentle notare and mixes gunome. It consists of ko-nie accompanied with ara-nie, and uneven and subdued nioi-guchi.


Votes concentrated on smiths of the Horikawa school. Though, it was very difficult to come to Kuninori then the votes for the smiths of the Horikawa school are good enough this time.


There were some votes for Dewa Daijo Kunimichi. He tempered midare-ba in irregular width and a little slanted pattern also it must be noticed that his nioi-guchi is much wider.


No.3 Tachi



Ha-watari : 68.48 cm.             Sori : 2.42 cm.

Shinogi-zukuri                   Iori-mune


Jihada    : Itame-hada combined with mokume and o-itame in company with thick ji-nie and grains like chikei and jifu then slightly stands out and midare-utsuri appears.

Hamon   : Ko-gunome mixed with ko-choji, togari-ba and squarish midare in small pattern then ko-ashi, yo, fine kinsuji, sunagashi and tiny tobi-yaki are seen. It consists of nioi accompanied with ko-nie.

Boshi     : Sugu then turns back with pointed tip and short kaeri.

Horimono : Bo-hi with round end on the omote and with kaki-nagashi end on the ura.


Tsuguyuki is a smith belongs to the Kozori school. The school includes Bizen smiths of the Nambokucho Period excluding the smiths of the Kanemitsu, the Chogi, the Motoshige and the Omiya schools.


Tachi of the early Nambokucho Period (the Enbun and Joji Eras) has wide mi-haba and little tapering sugata with o-kissaki. Entering the Eiwa Era (1375), it is rare to see huge sword and tachi becomes to have normal or narrow mi-haba, thick kasane and chu-kissaki or smaller kissaki. Jihada of the Kozori school is itame-hada irregularly combined with mokume and o-itame then stands out also combines black grain like chikei and jifu. Hamon consists of various midare like gunome, togari-ba and squarish midare then is tempered in small pattern.


This tachi shows the characteristics of the Kozori school in the sugata, jihada and hamon very well therefore many votes went to Moromitsu and Hidemitsu of the school also there were some votes with just eKozorif.


Apart from them, there were votes for Morimitsu and other Oei-Bizen smiths. They tempered wide koshi-no-hiraita- midare mixed with choji. Though, Morimitsu tempered hamon similar to that of the Kozori school in his early years before Oei 10 (1403).


No.4 Naginata-naoshi-katana


Mei : gBITCHU (NO) KUNI JUNIN SADATSUGU ?h (Nambokucho Period)

Nagamaki-naoshi-zukuri        Iori-mune

Ha-watari : 62.12 cm.          1.06 cm.


Jihada    : Dense ko-itame-hada combined with ko-mokume in company with thick ko-nie and fine chikei the faint utsuri appears.

Hamon  : Hoso-sugu-ha mixed with ko-midare and ko-gunome in ko-nie-deki accompanied with thick and bright nioi-guchi then ko-ashi, kinsuji and sunagashi are seen inside the hamon.

Boshi     : Sugu ten becomes yaki-tsume.

Horimono : Narrow kuichigai-bi and naginata-bi on each side.


There are several Sadatsugu of the Aoe school existed in different periods of Bitchu Province. Amongst them, Ko-Aoe Sadatsugu of the beginning of the Kamakura Period is the most famous one. There are Sadatoshi with the title of Uemon no Jo existed at the end of the Kamakura Period and one with Osumi Go no Suke in the Nambokucho Period.


This smith can be attributed to the Sadatsugu with Saiga Tarobei no Jo who was active in the Nambokucho Period and a little earlier than Osumi Go no Suke Sadatsugu. He signed his mei in small characters and favoured to temper hoso-sugu-ha.


Most of Aoe smiths tempered their hamon in tight nioi-deki but there are some smiths who tempered hamon with kinsuji and sunagashi in ko-nie-deki like the kantei-to.


It appears to have been difficult to attribute its production age from the sugata. Many votes went to Yamato and Ko-Mihara smiths who favoured to temper hoso-sugu-ha. They forged jihada combined with conspicuous nagare-hada.


No.5 Katana




Ha-watari : 71.36 cm.          Sori : 1.97 cm.

Shinogi-zukuri                Iori-mune


Jihada    : Ko-itame-hada combined with mokume and nagare-hada in company   with thick ji-nie and many chikei.

Hamon   : Large and small gunome based on gentle notare in thick nie-deki accompanied with thick and bright nioi-guchi. Some parts of gunome become juzu-ba then many ashi, kinsuji and sunagashi are seen inside the hamon.

Boshi     : Sugu in the omote and gentle notare in the ura then turns back in ko-maru with hakikake.

Horimono : Bo-hi and soe-bi with round end on each side.


The jihada of the kantei-to is ko-itame-hada combined with mokume and nagare-hada then the hamon is large and small gunome base on gentle notare also mixes juzu-ba therefore many votes went to Kotetsu, Okimasa, Izumi no Kami Kaneshige and smiths of the Hojoji school.


Many of them voted for Okimasa and Izumi no Kami Kaneshige considering the sugata. In fact, this is one of the works in the latest year of Kazusa no Suke Kaneshige. The sugata of the kantei-to is at the transitional stage between the early and the mid Edo Period.


Kanbun-shinto has shallow sori and tapering sugata with smaller chu-kissaki but the sugata of the Jokyo and Genroku Eras has relatively deep sori as seen in the kantei-to. Incidentally, Okimasa who had been active between the Kanbun and Genroku made both sugata.


As well known today, Izumi no Kami Kaneshige is a different smith from Kazusa no Suke Kaneshige. There is a theory that the former is the first generation and the latter is the second generation.


The manner of the nioi-guchi of the kantei-to has resemblance to that of Okimasa but the hamon of Okimasa normally starts with sugu yaki-dashi and mixes repeated a pair of gunome like hyotan-ba. In the case of Kazusa no Suke Kaneshige, the combination of single and a pair of gunome are repeated as seen in the kantei-to.


(Explanation by Kubo Kyoko)





The answer to Shijo-kantei-to No.613 (February Issue) was a tachi by gOsafune Kanemitsuh.


The blade has normal mi-haba, originally deep koshi-zori and tapering sugata with chu-kissaki so that it can be attributed to one of the late Kamakura Period.


Mitsutada, Nagamitsu and Kagemitsu who belong to the head Osafune family are the leading smiths in Bizen Province of the Kamakura Period. They forged fine and dense itame-hada also clear jigane then produced clear midare-utsuri.


Kanemitsu who is a son of Kagemitsu succeeded to his family tradition (He normally forged visible itame-hada combined mokume in relatively large grain and jihada like jifu is seen in places.). He made tachi-sugata with normal mi-haba, tempered hamon based on squarish gunome and kataochi-gunome, and forged dense and fine itame-hada also clear jigane with clear midare-utsuri in his early years.


Amongst the smiths of the head Osafune family, Nagamitsu started tempering the original form of kataochi-gunome and a tanto with the production date of June in 1285. His hamon like kataochi-gunome is only seen in his works of tanto and naginata. He tempered choji mixed with gunome and very round yaki-gashira, sugu-ha and sugu-ha mixed with ko-choji and ko-gunome. Incidentally, his ashi works horizontally toward the ha-saki.


Kagemitsu completed kataochi-gunome that was started by Nagamitsu. Kataochi-

gunome tempered in regular pattern is only seen in his tanto. In the case of tanto, he tempered sugu-ha mixed with squarish gunome, kataochi-gunome, ko-choji and ko-gunome in slanted pattern then ashi and you are seen inside the hamon. It is rare to see his tachi with squarish gunome and kataochi-gunome tempered in regular pattern.


Kanemitsu who is a son of Kagemitsu tempered sugu-ha mixed with ko-gunome and sugu-ha with ko-ashi in his early years then became to temper squarish gunome and kataochi-gunome in regular pattern (repeated gunome in regular pattern from the bottom to the top is occasionally seen).


Entering the Jowa Ear (1345-), he became to make huge tachi in Nambokucho style and started tempering notare that had not seen before him.


Rai Kunitoshi of Yamashiro Province occasionally tempered gentle notare in his later years then his successor Rai Kunimitsu favoured to temper notare besides sugu-ha. His senior smith, Rai Kunitsugu tempered notare in the main.


Kagemitsu usually tempered sansaku-boshi. The boshi of Kagemitsu becomes midare-komi in ko-maru or midare-komi with pointed tip in the case of the hamon of the kantei-to.


Concerning his horimono, bo-hi, ken with sanko and bonji inside bo-hi, and Chinese characters and bonji in relief in his early years. Unique harami-ryu (looks like pregnant) and kasane-bori with so-no-kurikara are mainly seen in his later years.


His nakago has kuri-jiri and katte-sagari-yasuri. He signed near the mune line of the haki-omote like eBizen no Kuni Osafune Kanemitsuf, eBien no Kuni Osafune Ju Kanemitsuf and eBishu Osafune Kanemitsuf then often added production date. The mei of this tachi appears to have been signed eBizen no Kuni Osafune Kanemitsuf originally then the upper part of the mei was somehow hammered off later.


Almost votes went to Kanemitsu also there were a certain number of votes for Kagemitsu.


As described above, Kagemitsu demonstrated a similar workmanship as well then it may be very difficult to differentiate him from Kanemitsu in such case.


There were some eDozenf votes for Chikakage. He also demonstrated a similar workmanship to Kanemitsu. Though, his jihada becomes a little coarse and visible ko-itame-hada also his utsuri is not as clear as that of Kanemitsu and Kagemitsu.


The hamon of Chikakage consists of ko-nie-deki rather than nioi and his boshi is gentle notare-komi then turns back in ko-maru or with a little pointed tip but sugu-ha crosses the yokote line and go straight as it is then starts undulating gently, which is a little deformed sansaku-boshi.


Apart from eAtarif and eDozenf, there were votes for Kagenori and Sanenori of the Ko-Yoshii school.


Yoshii smiths tempered repeated ko-gunome in regular pattern then it is understandable to vote for them.


Though, Yoshii smiths before the Nambokucho Period tempered hamon in ko-nie-deki then many hataraki like kinsuji and sunagashi are seen inside the hamon then unique utsuri that reflects the pattern of the hamon is seen on the ji.


(Explanation by Hinohara Dai)