Shinsakuto katana by Higo Koretada


A katana by the shinsakuto smith, Higo Kikuchi ju Koretada, in very good conteporary buke zukuri mounts with Edo jidai tsuba and menuki.

Nagasa: 73.5 cm (28.9")

Motohaba: 33 mm Sakihaba: 25 mm

Motokasane: 7 mm Sakikasane: 5 mm

Nakago: Ubu kuri jiri with kiri yasuri. One mekugi ana

Katana mei: 肥後菊池住惟忠 Higo Kikuchi ju Koretada

Katana ura: Hinoe inu nen kyu gatsu kitsu jitsu (Year of the dog, 9th month, an auspicious day. September, 2006).

Higo Kikuchi ju Koretada (肥後菊池住惟忠) is an active sword smith in Kumamoto. His given name is Otsuka Koretada. He lives in Kumono town, Oaza, Kikuchi-city. He has been recognized thirteen times in the annual NBTHK Shinsakuto contest at the Yushu, Doryoku, and Nyusen levels.

This blade is a well-formed, graceful shinogi zukuri katana with torii zori, okissaki, narrow shinogi ji, raised shinogi, and iori mune. The steel is forged in a fine running itame showing some chikei. The hamon is a gentle notare-based gunome midare in nie with profuse nie, ashi, and running kinsuji and inazuma. The pattern of the hamon continues into the boshi ending in komaru. The bohi on both sides runs into the koshinogi and ends in kaki nagashi about an inch below the machi.

The buke zukuri mounts include a pristine polished black lacquer saya with horn kojiri, koiguchi, and kurikata. The tsuka is wrapped in gold silk itomaki. The menuki appear to be Edo period and are in a floral pattern in shakudo and gold leaf. The fuchi-kashira appear to be contemporary and are a floral pattern on an ishime ground. They appear to be lacquer over copper or brass. The mumei mokko iron tsuba appears to be mid to late Edo with a delicate floral pattern carved along the rim. The slightly raised body is finished in ishime. The plate is densely forged and there are profuse bones along the rim. The patina is a deep chocolate brown (the photos do not do it justice. It is a quality tsuba). The seppa are new and gold-plated. The contemporary sageo is a handsome black and white geometric weave in silk, and sets the rest of the koshirae off nicely. The habaki is one-piece, solid silver in a nicely made pattern.

In short, this blade and koshirae are aesthetically pleasing, nicely balanced, and should appeal to both the collector of shinsakuto and the martial artist.

Hosho Sadamitsu osuriage tachi


A very nice and rare osuriage Yamato Hosho school tachi in excellent polish with a fine gold foil habaki in a new shirasaya, and an old shirasaya with tsunagi and saya gaki by Hon'Ami Tenrai attributing the blade to Yamato no koku Sadamitsu. The nakago has a shumei attribution to Sadamitsu by Tenrai with kao.

Nagasa: 29 5/8", 75.1 cm, 2.48 shaku Sori: 0.5", 1.27 cm.

Motohaba: 3.0 cm. Sakihabe: 1.8 cm.

Motokasane: 7mm. Sakikasane: 5 mm.

Nakago: Two mekugi ana, kiri jiri, kiri yasurime, excellent patina and crisp machi.

Mei: Osuriage mumei with a red lacquer shumei by Hon'Ami Tenrai to Sadamitsu

Jidai: Late kamakura- early Nambokucho

This pristine Hosho blade is shinogi zukuri with a medium shinogi ji, a slightly raised shinogi, and iori mune. The blade tapers nicely from motohaba to sakihaba and ends in a longish chu kissaki with a yakizume boshi. The blade is tightly forged in pure masame with chikei running through it. The masa is, for lack of a better term, slightly notare, and follows the curvature of the kissaki up into the mune. Some blades forged in masame have spots of loose grain, but this blade is beautifully forged in a very tight masame. The steel is bright and lovely.

The hamon is in a brilliant nioi deki with kinsuji and inazuma in ko-nie running along and through the hamon, continuing into the boshi. It is a classical Hosho school work in excellent condition and very good polish.

The older saya with sayagaki reads:

大和国 貞光
本阿弥 天籟
Yamato Koku Sadamitsu
2shaku4sun8bu koreari
Tadashi shumei nari
Dai 3000 kan
Taisho 11 nen middle of December record
Honami Tenrai


Mumei shinshinto katana


A nice mumei katana whose majestic sugata and katte agari yasurime point in the direction of the very good shinshinto smith, Takahashi Nobunaga.

Nagasa: 70.5 cm (27.75")

Motohaba: 35 mm Sakihaba: 24 mm

Motokasane: 9 mm Sakikasane: 7 mm

Nakago: kuri jiri, katte agari yasurime, one mekugi ana

Mei: Mumei

Jidai: Shinshinto (working period of Naganobu was roughly 1830-1869)

The blade is tempered in a bright nioi deki hamon in a shallow gunome with some togari and ashi iri, turning to suguha in the boshi ending in omaru. The kitae is itame with masame as it approaches the shinogi showing chikei and hints of utsuri. The blade has been used for tameshigiri and has cutting marks on the ji and shinogi as would be expected. There are some very localized points of surface rust in a few places on the blade.

The buke zukuri koshirae consists of a black lacquered saya with horn kojiri, koiguchi, and kurihata. The dark brown sageo is leather. The tsuka is wrapped in dark brown leather over same. The menuki are gold leaf or plate in the form of vajra. The fuchi kashira are simple but elegant in shakudo. The one piece habaki is yamagane. the large iron tsuba (8.1 cm wide x 8.6 cm tall) is deeply hammered and carved with a motif of ants at work.


Shinto Katana by Tomita Sagami no Kami Yoshimichi


This flamboyantly tempered, finely forged blade is of long wakizashi length, but has the proportions of a katana, not of a classic shinto wakizashi. It is signed (nagamei) and dated 1752. The "Yoshi" kanji is not the same "Yoshi" as the Tamba no Kami Yoshimichi group, but according to some sources, they are related in the same lineage. According to Nihonto Meikan:

During Bunroku era (1592-95), famed smith KANEMICHI 兼道 who named himself as the 9th generation Shizu Saburo KANEUJI, had moved up to Kyoto along with his four sons. The eldest Iganokami Kinmichi 伊賀守金道 who established a Mishina school 三品派, and the second son Rai-Kinmichi 来金道, third son Tanbanokami Yoshimichi 丹波守吉道 and fourth son Echunokami Masatoshi 越中守正俊. Oumi-no-kami Hisamichi 近江守久道 also joined to Mishina school to form the "5 major Mishina schools" 京五鍛冶 in Kyoto. All of them had been flourished throughout Edo period.
The subject smith YOSHIMICHI 義道 with Sagami-no-kami 相模守 title was a student of 2nd gen. Ouomi-no-kami HISAMICHI 近江守久道. He was born in Hyuga Province (now in Miyazaki pref.) in Kyushu island. His real name was Tomita Jin-uemon 冨田甚右衛門. It is said that he also lived and worked in Hiroshima, Aki province (now in Hiroshima pref.).

Sugata: A shinogi zukuri, iori mune wakizashi/ko-katana, with torii zori, chu kissaki, and a slightly raised, narrow shinogi.

Nagasa: 55.56 cm (21.875") 1.84 shaku Sori: 1.9 cm

Motokasane: 6.1 mm Motohaba: 25.5 mm

Sakikasane: 4.2 mm Sakihaba: 11.5 mm

Hamon: Both sides have a long, Osaka style yakidashi. The omote has a doubled choji with ashi. The monouchi becomes a more continuous stream of large choji with ashi. The ura is similar, with patterns of two choji, but more irregular and with inazuma running along the tops of the choji, kinsuji running throught the ha, and tama in the ji. The boshi is suguha with omaru kaeri with a short turnback.

Kitae: a very finely forged koitame with profuse jinie, almost an utsuri-like effect.

Nakago: Ha agari kuri jiri with katte sagari yasurime, and one mekugi ana.

Mei: Tomita Sagami no kami Yoshimichi

Date: Horyaku ninen nigatsu kitsu jitsu, an auspicious day in the 2nd lunar month of the 2nd year of Horyaku: 1752.

Koshirae: A good shirasaya with sayagaki, good copper habaki.


Note that in one of the photos, I severely changed the exposure to show off the activity in the hamon. The extreme blue of the steel and the extreme color of the nakago are an artifact of that shift in exposure. Other than that, the photo was not retouched. The top third of the blade loses detail out in the glare.