This chapter is a detailed chapter of Chapter 12. Please read Chapter 12 before reading this section.
Middle Kamakura period was the golden age of the sword making. We can not deny it was a great part due to the Gotoba-Joko treating the swordsmiths highly. After Jokyu-no-Hen, Samurai liked grand look swords. Those are Ikubi Kissaki sword. It is said there is no mediocre sword among Ikubi Kissaki sword. In this chapter, we discuss the swordsmiths who are famous for Ikubi Kissaki.
Bizen Osafune Mitsutada (備前長船光忠)
Mitsutada is one of the most famous swordsmiths for Ikubi Kissaki. His sword was the most thought after sword among sword collectors. He was the founder of the Osafune group, then his son Nagamitsu (長光), and Nagamitsu’s son Kagemitsu (景光) and the rest continues.
Sugata (shape) —- Grand look. Ikubi Kissaki. The body is somewhat thick. Often suriage (shortened).
Hi (engraving) — Often with Bo-Hi (wide straight groove). The shape of the end of Bo-Hi is kakudome (at least the one my father owned was kakudome). Refer 9| «Part 2» Middle Kamakura Period —Yamashiro Den (鎌倉中期山城伝)
Hamon (Tempered line) —- Yakihaba (width of the Hamon) is wide and narrow. Mainly Nioi. Large Choji, Kawazuko-Choji (round head shape, refer to the picture below under Nagamitsu Hamon ), Inazuma, Kinsuji, refer to 15|Late Kamakura Period Sword
Boshi —- Yakizume. Yakizume with a short half circle.
Jihada —– Fine, and soft look surface. Chikei appears.
Jyuyo Bunkazai Jyuyo Bunkazai
Jyuyo Token Jyuyo Bunkazai
I displayed above four photos at the different places on this website. Those were Mitsutada, once my father’s swords. Those photos were taken by my father and the writing on the white paper are written by him. He was very proud he collected four Mitsutada and he monogrammed inside his suit jacket as Mitsutada. It is said that Oda Nobunaga (織田信長 Daimyou around 16 C ) with his wealth and political power, he collected 28 Mitsutada. I realize those photos are not wonderful pictures. In order to avoid any copyright infringement and intellectual property right, I only use father’s photos (not so wonderful though), Sano Museum Catalog photos ( permission granted) and some public domain photos from Wikipedia. Please bear with me that I don’t have good photos.
Bizen Osafune Nagamitsu (備前長船長光 )
Nagamitsu is Mitsutada’s son.
Sugata —– Shape is similar to the early Kamakura period style. That is with Funbari and narrow at the top. This is called Nagamitsu Sugata.
Hamon —– Wide tempered line. Nioi base. O-Choji Midare (large clove shape) mixed with Kawazuko Choji (see below). Many Ashi appears. Also, he does Suguha-Choji (straight with choji mixed). This looks like Rai Kuniyuki. Works of Inazuma and Kinsuji shows.
Boshi —– Yakizume or turn back a little. (see above photo)
Jitetsu —– Fine wood grain. Well known for Utsuri (shadow). Choji Utsuri (Shadow of Choji) or Botan Utsuri ( flower peony like). Choji Utsuri is shown in the above picture.
Below is a poster of the Museum of Tetsu in Sakaki in Nagano prefecture in the year of 2003. The picture is Nagamitsu’s sword and Koshirae (scabbard). This was a family sword. This sword was once owned by Takenaka Hannbei (竹半半兵衛) who was a famous strategist for Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉) around the 16th century. It was given to Takenaka Hanbei by Toyotomi Hideyoshi as a reward.