Chapter 58 is the detailed part of chapter 22|Muromachi Period Sword. Please read Chapter 22 before start reading this chapter.
As described in Chapter 22, the big change in the Muromachi Period was from Tachi (太刀 ) to Katana (刀 ). Refer to 22|Muromachi Period Sword. By the end of the Nanboku-Cho period, the length of the sword became shorter. In the Muromachi time, the length of the sword became shorter to approximately 2 feet and 3 or 4 inches in length, no more long swords. This is because, Nanboku-Cho period, the fighting was done mostly riding horses but after Muromachi time, changed to infantry fighting.
Oei Bizen (応永備前 )
Oei is pronounced “O as Oh”, “ei as A of ABC”. The Muromachi period was the declining time in sword making. The early part of the Muromachi period is called Oei Bizen time. Osafune Morimitsu (長船盛光 ), Osafune Yasumitsu (長船康光 ), Osafune Moromitsu (長船師光) are the main Oei Bizen swordsmiths. Soshu Hiromasa (相州広正 )、Yamashiro Nobukuni (山城信國) were also similar to Oei Bizen style. Please refer to 22 Muromachi Period Sword for style, Hamon, Boshi, Ji-hada.
Bishu Osafune Moromitsu (備州長船師光) from Sano Museum Catalogue
Above sword is 2 feet & 5 inches long, medium Kissaki, Hamon has a small wave-like pattern with continuous Gunome (half circle). Boshi shows irregular waviness, pointed at the tip a little. It shows Bo Utsuri (faint shadow shaped like a strip of wood). Bo Utsuri is a well-known characteristic among all of the Oei Bisen.
In the Bizen area until this time, there were many groups within Bizen, but in Muromachi time, only Osafune (長船) was the active swordsmith group. Osafune (長船) is the name of the place, but in Muromachi time, it started to become the last name. Two other well-known swordsmiths among Oei Bizen are Morimitsu (盛光 ) and Yasumitsu (康光). The Hamon by Morimitsu and Yasumitsu shows more works in it than the photo above. That is described in 22 Muromachi Period Sword under the usual characteristic of Muromachi sword.
Hirazukuri Ko-Wakizashi Tanto
Hirazukuri Ko-Wakizashi Tanto Shape
Hirazukuri-Ko-Wakizashi Tanto was in fashion during the early Muromachi time. Different swordsmiths in other area made like the one above. But approximately 80 % of those types were made by Oei Bizen swordsmiths.
The characteristic of the Hirazukuri Ko-Wakizashi Tanto ——— Usually 1 foot and 1 or 2 inches long. No Yokote line, no Shinogi, and No Sori (no curvature, straight back). Average thickness. Narrow width. Gyo no Mune (refer 13 Tanto Middle Kamakura period).
Hirazukuri Kowakizashi Tanto often shows many engravings like Hi with Soe-Hi (one wide and narrow on the side), Tokkotuki-Ken, Tsumetsuki-Ken, Bohji, etc.
*drawings from “Nihonto no Okite to Tokucho” by Honami Koson