Shinsakuto Kazuyoshi katana


A katana by the shinsakuto smith Hizen no Koku Kazuyoshi, in shirasaya, made in the style of the famous shinshinto smith, Minamoto Kiyomaro.

Nagasa: 75 cm (29.5")

Motohaba: 36 mm Sakihaba: 31 mm

Motokasane: 8 mm Sakikasane: 6.5 mm

Nakago: Ubu, Kuri jiri, sujikai yasurime, one mekugi ana,

Katana mei: Hizen (no) kuni ju Kazuyoshi Utsushi Kiyomaro (Kazuyoshi, residing in Hizen province, made this in the style of Kiyomaro

Katana ura mei: Hinoe inu nen ju ichi gatsu hi (a day in the 11th month of the year of the dog: November 2006)

Hizen no Kuni Ju Kazuyoshi 肥前国住一吉, whose given name is Nakao Kazuyoshi 中尾一吉, was born in 1939 and lives in Saga prefecture. He learned sword forging under his swordsmith father, Tadatsugu 忠次, who was a disciple of Toshihide Horii 堀井俊秀, and has won 2 excellent awords, 2 Shorei prizes and 4 Doryoku prizes in Shinsakuto exhibitions. His sincere pursuit of reviving the Kamakurta Ichimonji, Minamoto no Kiyomaro, and Hizen no Kuni Tadayoshi styles has thus gained him a high profile as a distinguished swordsmith.
This blade, as the mei indicates, is clearly forged in the tradition of, and as an homage to, the famous shinshinto smith Minamoto no Kiyomaro. The hamon is a vivid nioi deki gunome midare with ashi at the valleys and sprays of nie at the peaks. There is sunagashi and long, runningkinsuji under the hamon, which can clearly be seen in the photo. The kitae is a tightly forged ko-itame. The hamon continues into the majestic O-kissaki and ends in komaru with a short turnback. The sugata is very much in the style of the grand osuriage Nambokucho blades. It is in a lovely shirasaya finished with narrow bands of lighter wood at the ends and the koiguchi. The one piece habaki is a handsome and suitably massive chunk of solid silver.


Shinshinto katana by Tegara Yama Kai no Kami Masashige


An excellent shinshinto katana in koshirae by Tegara Yama Kai no Kami Masashige, dated 1804.

NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon papers.

Nagasa 69.5 cm, 27.375 inches

Sori 1.1 cm

Motohaba 28.5 mm Sakihaba 19.5 mm

Motokasane 6.2 mm Sakikasane 4.6 mm

Sashi Omote: Tegara Yama Kai (no) Kami Masashige

Sashi Ura: Kyowa san nen hachi gatsu hi A day in the 8th lunar month of the 3rd year of Kyowa (1804)

This slim, graceful blade by the well known shinshinto smith, Masashige, is an ubu shinogi tsukuri katana with shallow torii zori, chu kissaki, a slightly raised shinogi, and a medium shinogi ji and iorii mune. The nakago is ha-agari kuri jiri with one mekugi ana. The tang is finished in keisho with osujikai yasurime. The blade is forged in a fine ko itame with profuse fine ji nie. The hamon is suguha based with slight notare. There are running inazuma, sunagashi, hotsure, and other fine ko-nie based hataraki in the nioi deki habuchi.

The blade is mounted in a black-lacquered saya with horn kojiri, koiguchi and kurikata, black tsukaito over good same, with shakudo and gold kiku f/k and menuki. Good iron sukashi tsuba with kiku motif, probably Chosu school. Brown sageo with woven silver thread pattern, good silver foil over copper habaki.

Fujishiro rates Tegara Yama Masashige as Jojo Saku. Masashige was the younger brother of sandai Ujishige, and when his brother died at an early age, he became the head of the school and signed Ujishige until his nephew came of age. He then signed Masashige. The Ujushige forge was at the foot of Tegara Yama. Masashige came to the attention of Etchu Matsudaira Sadanobu, became his retained kaji with a fief of 500 koku, and moved to Edo. He was awarded the title, Kai no Kami, in Kyowa ninen. Some sources indicate he may have studied for a time with Suishinsi Masahide at some point in Edo.


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.


Shinsakuto Kunimasa katana


A katana by the mukansa (2014) smith Kunimasa in shirasaya with a two piece gold foil over copper habaki, and a contemporary koshirae.

Nagasa: 29.5", 75 cm

Motohaba: 34 mm Motokasane: 7mm

Sakihaba: 28mm Sakikasane: 6mm

Nakago: Ha agari kuri jiri, sa agari yasurimei, one mekugi ana

Katana omote: Hishu junin Kunimasa saku no kore

Ura mei: Heisei himot ushi nen shogatsu kichijitsu (New Year, 1997, Heisei 9th year), Ohu Okuyama Kazuyuki shi ju

Ichiro Matsuba Kunimasa was ranked mukansa in 2014. He aspires to make blades in the Nambokucho style of Chogi Nagayoshi. HIs web page is here: https://matsubakatana.com.

This particular blade has a majestic suguta based on an ubu Bizen Nambokucho tachi with a longish chu kissaki, narrow and low shinogi ji, and a low iori mune. The blade tends to koshizori.
The omote hamon is in ko nie deki with profuse nioi, gunome chiji with peaks reaching almost to the shinogi, and broad valleys. The effect is of a snow-covered mountain range running the length of the blade. Profuse ashi and activity in nioi shine below the hamon. The ura is much the same, but becomes smaller and a little quieter as it runs through the monouchi. The mountain-scape effect is similar to the omote, but on a slightly smaller scale. The hamon continues into the boshi on both sides. The kaeri is Jizu-like on the omote, and almost kaen on the ura. The steel is a very tightly forged itame with areas of komokume. There is a bohi kaki nagashi on both sides. The upper end stops at the yokote.

The blade is in shirasaya and is accompanied by a good comtemporary koshirae with a dragon theme throughout.