May Issue






Designation : Tokubetsu Juyo Token



Ha-watari : 75.1 cm.         Sori : 2.0 cm.

Moto-haba : 3.2 cm.          Saki-haba : 2.3 cm.

Moto-kasane : 0.75 cm.       Saki-kasane : 0.55 cm.

Kissaki : 4.1 cm.             Nakago : 21.4 cm.

Nakago-sori : Just a little


The blade is in shinogi-zukuri with iori-mune then has wide mi-haba, relatively narrow shinogi-ji, high shinogi, long ha-watari, deep sori, funbari and extended chu-kissaki. The jihada is dense ko-itame-hada with abundant ji-nie and a lot of fine chikei then becomes konuka-hada and the jigane is powerful and clear. The hamon is chu-sugu-ha in thick nie-deki accompanied with thick and bright nioi-guchi then ko-ashi, kinsuji and sunagashi are seen inside the hamon. The boshi sugu then turns back in ko-mar with long kaeri.


Mutsu no Kami Tadayoshi was born in 1664 to Omi Daijo Tadahiro and called Shinzaburo then succeeded to the third generation of the head Hashimoto family when Tosa no Kami Tadayoshi returned the smith name of Tadayoshi to the head family. He was designated as Mutsu Daijo in 1660 when he was 24 years old then promoted to Mutsu no Kami in 1661. Mutsu no Kami Tadayoshi died 1686 at the age of 50 seven years before his father passed away. There are not many extant works of 3rd Tadayoshi since he died young also he appears to have substituted for his father. His sugata with wide mi-haba and thick kasane reminds us of that of 1st Tadayoshi then he forged fine jihada and powerful jigane in company with abundant ji-nie and a lot of chikei. It can be said that he forged the finest jihada amongst the first three generations. He tempered sugu-ha and ko-choji mixed with ko-gunome. His sugu-ha consists of bright and thick ko-nie accompanied with thick and bright nioi-guchi. This katana shows all of his excellent abilities and is to be one of his best works.


Incidentally, seven Hizen-to have been designated as Tokubetsu Juyo Token by now (7 swords of the first, 2 of the second and 3 of the third generations in addition to one of 1st Iyo no Jo Munetsugu). All of the Tokubetsu Juyo Token by 3rd Tadayoshi have long ha-watari (around 75.0 cm.) and wide mi-haba with sugu-ha.


(Explanation by Tanobe Michihiro and oshigata by Ishii Akira)





l  The answer to Shijo-kantei-to No.615 (April Issue) was a katana by gIshido Unju Korekazuh with the production year of Genji 1 (1864).






Ha-watari : 69.99 cm.         Sori : 1.67 cm.

Moto-haba : 3.0 cm.           Saki-haba : 2.1 cm.

Moto-kasane : 0.6 cm.         Saki-kasane : 0.45 cm.

Kissaki : 3.7 cm.              Nakago : 18.79 cm.

Nakago-sori : Just a little


The blade is in shinogi-zukuri with iori-mune then has a little wide mi-haba, relatively deep sori and extended chu-kissaki. The jihada is dense ko-itame-hada combined with sporadic nagare-hada in company with ji-nie. The hamon and the boshi are as shown in the oshigata. Slanted midare peculiar to this smith are mixed in the hamon of each side then tobi-yaki, ashi, yo, sunagashi and kinsuji are seen. The hamon consists of thick nie accompanied with ara-nie and bright nioi-guchi. The nakago is ubu then has kuri-jiri, katte-sagari-yasuri at obtuse angle and two mekugi-ana. There is a mei in five characters in the scribesf style. (It is rare to see the extant work of this smith.)







Designation : Juyo Tosogu

Design     : Daruma-taishi (Bodhidharma)

Mei        : gYASUCHIKAh


The design depict a Zen riddle and a story that an emperor of ancient China invited Daruma-tashi who is the founder of the Zen sect to his capital Nanjing in 520.


The emperor asked Daruma-taishi, gI have built temples, saved people, copied Buddhism sutra and have had Buddhist statues. What kind of meritorious deed I will have?h Daruma-taishi answered gNo merit. No desire. Real meritorious deed stands aloof from the world. Just continue doing good deed and be in a state of detachment. h


Tsuchiya Yasuchika is one the greatest artisans in the Edo Period and expressed a story of Daruma-tashi powerfully and impressively.


(Explanation by Kobayashi Terumasa)





No.1 Katana


Mei : g(Orikaeshi-mei) UNSHOh

Ha-watari : 69.05 cm.         Sori : 2.39 cm.

Shinogi-zukuri              Iori-mune


Jihada   : Relatively dense ko-itame-hada combined with sporadic itame and mokume in company with fine and thick ji-nie then jifu-utsuri and layered utsuri appear. The jigane looks black.

Hamon  : Hiro-sugu-ha mixed with squarish midare and ko-gunome in nioi-deki accompanied with tight and subdued nioi-guchi then ashi, saka-ashi, yo, a few kinsuji and sunagashi are seen inside the hamon.

Boshi    : Notare-komi then turns back in o-maru with short kaeri and hakikake.

Horimono : Bo-hi with kaki-nagashi end on each side.


The blade has torii-zori or wa-zori and it is speculated that the original ha-watari was over 85 cm. and it had slender tachi with very long ha-watari. The jihada is relatively dense ko-itame-hada then unique utsuri like finger print appears on the ji and the jigane looks black. The hamon is hiro-sugu-ha mixed with squarish midare, slanted ko-gunome and V-shaped togari-ba then ashi, saka-ashi, yo and sunagashi are seen inside the hamon. The boshi notare-komi then turns back in o-maru. The workmanship shows the characteristics of the Ukai school very well.


Unsho tempered narrow hamon with few hataraki, of which workmanship has a close resemblance to that of Unji therefore it is quite understandable that many votes went to Unji.


There were votes for Ko-Bizen and Osafune smiths as well. Ko-Bizen smiths made tapering sugata with ko-kissaki and it is very rare to see slanted hamon except Yukihide. Some people mistook the slackened boshi for sansaku-boshi then voted for Nagamitsu and his students. They should have looked at the utsuri and the hataraki of nie more carefully.


Some people voted for Chikakage and Motoshige considering the appearance of the utsuri and many yo. Chikakage tempered hamon in small pattern and forged standing-out jihada. Motoshige forged jihada combined with masame and tempered boshi with pointed tip.


There were votes for Rai Kunitoshi too. His utsuri becomes nie-utsuri then jigane is clear and hamon is bright.


In addition, there were votes for Aoe smiths taking account of dan-utsuri (layered utsuri) but the Aoe smiths of this period tempered hamon with bright nioi-guchi and boshi with pointed tip also their sugata is different from that of the kantei-to.


No.2 Katana



Ha-watari : 78.48 cm.        Sori : 1.82 cm.

Shinogi-zukuri             Iori-mune


Jihada    : Relatively dense itame-hada combined with nagare-hada and mokume in company with thick ji-nie, chikei and jifu then the jigane looks black.

Hamon   : Based on hiro-sugu-ha gentle notare then mixes ko-gunome and ko-choji in kinsuji, sporadic yubashiri and mune-yaki are seen.

Boshi    : Gentle midare-komi then turns back with a little pointed tip in the omote, and midare-komi then turns back in ko-maru with very long kaeri and hakikake.


The jihada of the kantei-to is itame-hada combined with nagare-hada and mokume in company with thick ji-nie, chikei and jifu then the jigane looks black. The hamon is sugu-ha tends to be gentle notare then mixes continuous ko-gunome and ko-choji. It consists of thick nie accompanied with subdued nioi-guchi then kinsuji, sunagashi and mune-yaki are seen. The boshi is midare-komi with pointed tip and hakikake then the kaeri is descended to the yokote area. The blade shows typical workmanship of Yasutsugu.


The blade has wide mi-haba thick kasane, shallow sori and less tapering sugata with o-kissaki, namely eKeicho-shinto-sugataf then there many votes to the first generation of Yasutsugu.


There were votes for Kunihiro, Kunimichi and Kinmichi. The Horikawa school forged zanguri-hada with jifu and tempered relatively narrow hamon (normally notare mixed with gunome). Kunimichi tempered wide hamon mixed with slanted midare in large pattern. Many votes went to Kunimichi and Kinmichi because of the boshi that looks like Mishina-boshi but the kaeri of their boshi should not be so long.


No.3 Wakizashi



Ha-watari : 55.12 cm.         Sori : 1.55 cm.

Shinogi-zukuri               Iori-mune


Jihada    : Dense ko-itame-hada with thick ji-nie then midare-utsuri appears.

Hamon   : Ko-choji-midare mixed with choji, kawazuko-choji, gunome, koshi-no-

hiraita-midare and fukushiki-gunome in nioi-deki accompanied with ko-nie and bright nioi-guchi then ashi, yo kinsuji and sunagashi are seen inside the hamon.

Boshi     : Midare-komi then turns back in ko-maru with hakikake in the omote then with long kaeri in the ura.

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


Three Osafune Yoshimitsu are found in swordsmith directories in the Muromachi Period but it is very rare to see their extant works and there is not enough information of them. Considering the workmanship of the kantei-to like dense ko-itame-hada, gorgeous choji-midare and clear midare-utsuri, he is never inferior to Ukyo no Suke Katsumitsu, Sakyo no Shin Munemitsu and Shirozaemon no Jo Norimitsu in forging skill.


There were some votes for Mitsutada and Nagamitsu but their hamon does not mix koshi-no-hiraita-midare and fukushiki-gunome. If it were ko-dachi, it should have had koshi-zori.


Many votes went to Morimitsu and Yasumitsu. Oei-Bizen smiths forged jihada combined with mokume and nagare-hada and tempered midare-komi boshi with pointed tip and short kaeri.


Many short katana of which ha-watari is around 60 cm. were made in the middle of the Muromachi Period. They have normal or a little narrow mi-haba, deep sori with saki-zori and gentle sugata with ko-kissaki. Oei-Bizen smiths made wakizashi in shinogi-zukuri with koshi-zori and 45.0 – 52.0 cm. in ha-watari.


No.4 Katana



Ha-watari : 67.60 cm.      Sori : 2.12 cm.

Shinogi-zukuri            Iori-mune


Jihada    : Itame-hada combined with conspicuous nagare-hada in company with  ji-nie then stands out and the jigane looks whitish.

Hamon   : Narrow pointed gunome mixed with ko-gunome and ko-notare in company with soft nioi-guchi and nie then fine sunagashi are seen inside the hamon.

Boshi    : Gentle midare-komi then turns back with a little pointed tip and long kaeri.


2nd Kanemoto (Magoroku) tempered narrow pointed gunome mixed with ko-gunome in irregular pattern and some of ashi and tachi reach to the ha-saki. His hamon consists of soft nioi-guchi accompanied with nie then sunagashi are seen inside the hamon differing from the hamon of the later generations who tempered sanbon-sugi in regular pattern and tight nioi-deki.


There were a few votes for Kaneuji and Naoe-Shizu of the Nambokucho Period since the blade has a less tapering sugata with relatively wide mi-haba extended chu-kissaki. Though, it must be noticed that the blade has shorter ha-watari, high shinogi, thin kasane in the mune side, scarce hira-niku and saki-zori. This is a sugata that was popular in the Eisho and Tenbun Eras. Whitish jigane and conspicuous nagare-hada should not be overlooked either.


Many people voted for 2nd Kanesada (No-Sada) since the jigane is whitish, conspicuous nagare-hada and the hamon mixed with togari-ba. Though, his hamon is wider and tempered in larger pattern on the basis of notare and round gunome.


No.5 Katana








Ha-watari : 68.93 cm.      Sori : 1.82 cm.

Shinogi-zukuri            Iori-mune


Jihada    : Dense ko-itame-hada with thick ji-nie looks like muji-hada and the jigane is clear.

Hamon   : Choji-midare mixed with yahazu-midare, a few gunome and ko-gunome in tight nioi-deki accompanied with bright nioi-guchi then long an thick ashi are seen inside the hamon.

Boshi    : Midare-komi then turns back in ko-maru.


Shinshinto smiths made long katana with the ha-watari in 75 – 85 cm. but this katana has relatively short ha-watari because this was made for a 12 years old boy whose name is Iga Toshiro Noritoki. The blade has less tapering sugata with scarce hira-niku, saki-zori and o-kissaki which resembles to that of the kantei-to No.4 then there were a few votes for Sue-koto smiths. Though, the blade has thick kasane and narrow shinogi-ji in disproportion to mi-haba, dense ko-itame-hada looks like muji-hada, and many long ashi are seen inside the hamon so that it can be attributed to one of shinshinto. In addition the blade is in mint condition.


The hamon is choji-midare mixed with gunome and ko-gunome in nioi-deki then a pattern of the hamon in 10 cm. length is repeated. It consists of bright nioi accompanied with ko-nie then a lot of long and thick ashi are seen inside the hamon. Therefore many votes went to Koyama Munetsugu in the first bidding.


There were a certain number of votes for Tsunatoshi, Naganobu and Sokan. The hamon of Tsunatoshi starts with sugu-yaki-dashi and his hamon is tempered in smaller pattern and tighter nioi-deki. In general, he is not equal to Munetsugu in quality. Naganobu tempered gunome-like choji accompanied with thick nioi-guchi and ko-nie. His hamon is tempered in regular pattern and each tani of midare looks roundish. Sokan often made sugata with mitsu-mune and tempered choji and gunome in regular pattern then utsuri is seen on the ji.





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


The kantei-to has wide mi-haba, shallow sori, scarce hira-niku and less tapering sugata with extended chu-kissaki so that it can be attributed to one of shinshinto.


The jihada is dense and visible itame-hada with ji-nie and many chikei. The hamon is based on gunome in thick nie-deki accompanied with shiny ara-nie then long ashi, kinsuji and sunagashi are seen inside the hamon. Therefore almost all votes went to smiths of the Yamaura (or Kiyomaro) school.


Nobuhide was born in 1815 in Echigo Province then it is said that he went up to Kyoto and learnt mirror making when he was young. Though, his career before he became a swordsmith has yet to be studied.


It is believed that he became a student of Kiyomaro 1848 when he was in 30s and the earliest production year of his sword is eMay of Kaei 5 (1852)f.


Nobuhide favoured tempering hamon based on gunome like Kiyomaro. He tempered relatively narrow gunome in small pattern in his very early years around the Kaei Era demonstrated a calm workmanship.


Entering the Ansei and Man-en Eras he started squarish gunome mixed with ko-gunome, ko-choji and small togari-ba like the kantei-to, occasionally mixed with choji in complicated pattern.


The boshi of Nobuhide normally becomes midare-komi in ko-maru or with sharply pointed tip and squarish tip.  In any case many hakikake are seen and it looks very powerful.


His nakago has kuri-jiri, various yasuri-me like o-sujikai, sujikai and katte-sagari. He is an unusually smith who employed various yasuri-me depending on his active age.


After titled as Chikuzen no Kami in May of 1865, he signed eChikuzen no Kami Nobuhidef or eKurihara Chikuzen no Kami Nobuhidef near the mune line of the sashi-omote then added production date in the same location of the sashi-ura or a little upper part.


Incidentally, Saito Kiyondo and Suzuki Masa are the leading students of Kiyomaro in addition to Nobuhide. Kiyondo tempered hamon similar to that of Kiyomaro but looks calmer. Masao tempered narrow and continuous gunome with round yaki-gashira.


Kiyondo and Masao succeeded to the workmanship of Kiyomaro faithfully but Nobuhide demonstrated unique and characteristic workmanship also carved various horimono on his works skilfully.


Most of votes went to Nobuhide and there were a few votes for Kiyomaro and Kiyondo. Their workmanships are similar to that of Nobuhide in a way but this kind of hamon of the kantei-to is rarely seen in the hamon of the above two smiths. Their hamon mix more choji, togari-ba and round gunome. In addition, shiny hakikake like kinsuji are seen in the boshi of Kiyondo.


The nakago of Kiyomaro is finished with sujikai or o-sujikai-yasuri and the one of Kiyondo becomes sujikai-yasuri.


(Explanation by Hinohara Dai)