Katana signed Hizen-koku junin YOSHINOBU with)Black Roiro style lacquered scabbard Dragonfly/Hagi bush clover designraised lacquer work Taka-makie Uchikatana mounting

Shinto Early Edo period (Kanei era circa 1624-1643) Hizen
Length of cutting edge 72.45cm Curvature 1.4cm Width of base 31.0mm Thickness of base 6.9mm Width of Yokote 21.9mm


(click HERE for OSHIGATA sketch)

with)Black Roiro style lacquered scabbard Dragonfly/Hagi bush clover design raised lacquer work Taka-makie Uchikatana mounting


Blade construction: Shinogi-zukuri, Iori-mune, Mihaba is a little on wide side and thickness Kasane is in average. There is suitable difference in width between base and the tip of Yokote holding a moderate waist pointed curvature, leading to the extended middle Kissaki. The entire shape creates a heroic impression with majestic manner.(click HERE for higher resolution image of the entire blade) (click HERE for OSHIGATA sketch)
Forging(Hada): Forging is fine Ko-Mokume. Fine steel gives off darkish blue impression to cover with thick Nie sparkling hard metal granules "Ji-nie" on Hira-ji surface. Darkish thick Mokume-lines of Nie so called "CHIKEI" activity wells out from steel. The surface creates an atmosphere of moistened beauty impression.
Temper(Hamon): Hamon is fine Nie hard metal granules base, Flamboyant Gunome, Togari-ha and Choji-shape outline where entire temper varies in shape and height. The interior of temper is filled with mist-like crystallize area deeply with ASHI and floating YOU activities, thick lines of Nie-SUNAGASHI and bright curved threadlike KINSEN areas. Deep sparkling Nie accumulates on the gorges of Gunome-outline and a pair of round head forms likely "eyes of horsefly" so called "Abunome". Some of Gunome splashes into Hiraji surface so called Tobiyaki. The entire temper gives off bright and vivid impression.
Temper of tip(Boshi): Front boshi forms straight with a wave indication and the other side is a bit on irregular side, both turn back deeply.
Tang(Nakago): Nakago is in UBU original. One peg hole. Kiri (horizontal) filemarks. Back ridge of Nakago is a bit rounded contours and Double-bevelled (kurijiri) heel shape. The signature in front is seven character that starts from the place of work Hizen-koku Junin 肥前国住人 and the smith name YOSHINOBU 吉信.

YOSHINOBU 吉信, the 3rd son of Nakajima Shingobei 中島新五兵衛. His initial name was Sadenjiro 佐伝次郎, later had changed as Yashichibei 弥七兵衛. He adopted as the husband for the eldest daughter of 1st generation Hizen-koku TADAYOSHI 肥前国忠吉 and had supposed to be the head of Hizen-koku TADAYOSHI school.
However in Keicho 19 (1614), the first son by a mistress of 1st generation Hizen-koku TADAYOSHI was born as the later head of TADAYOSHI school (Oumi-Daijo TADAHIRO 近江大掾忠廣), so that YOSHINOBU 吉信 had set up a new family branch of the Hizen school. YOSHINOBU's first son was MASAHIRO 正廣 and the second son was YUKIHIRO 行廣. Both branches had been loved most tenderly by the Nabeshima clan in generations to prosper until early Meiji 1860's.
YOSHINOBU has been guessed that he played a ghost-maker to assist the 1st generation TADAYOSHI very capably, therefore his posthumous works are quite rare. Most of his works would be supposed that Suguha (straight) temper were signed as Hizen-koku TADAYOSHI 肥前国忠吉 or Musashi Daijo TADAHIRO 武蔵大掾忠廣, sometimes as Oumi Daijo TADAHIRO 近江大掾忠廣, whereas the other works with flamboyant Gunome Hamon were signed of his own or sometimes signed for his first son MASAHIRO 正廣. This is understood that the subject maker YOSHINOBU was the originator of flamboyant Gunome Choji Hamon in Hizen school.
It is said that he passed away in Kanei 10, (1633) at 46 years old, however it does not make sense because there is a sword of the date of year Kanei 13, (1636) still extants and also there is a letter dated Kanei 14 (1637) which heard from him. Other research material shows that he was dead Kanei 15 (1638) at 51 years old.
The subject heroic katana is full of vigor, shows a notable feature of the age during Kericho - Kanei (1596-1643) period - solid in hands, shallow in curvature, long blade with an extended kissaki. Steel forging mark shows conspicuous Ko-Mokume with most supreme sparkling Ji-nie glitter that generates superior Chikei activity. Hamon is an extravagant Gunome with rich activities of Nie to bear a close resemblance to the ancient work of So-shu school. The subject katana proves that YOSHINOBU had taken the leading part in developing sword making for the major Hizen TADAYOSHI and had laid the foundations for the later prosperity of the Hizen branches - his two sons of both families MASAHIRO's 正廣 and YUKIHIRO's 行廣. This katana is one of the most important research materials of YOSHINOBU 吉信 and won the prize of JUYO TOKEN award in Heisei 2, (1990).

Black Roiro style lacquered scabbard Dragonfly/Hagi bush clover design raised lacquer work Taka-makie Uchikatana mounting consists of :
HERE for the entire Koshirae, HERE for each fitting, HERE for raised lacqer work in front/HERE for raised lacquer work in back)
  • Fuchi/kashira : Saya-gata-mon design, Shakudo nanako-ji surface, Gold/silver inlay, unsigned
  • Menuki : Dragonfly design, Shakudo Yobori carving, Gold Iroe
  • Tsuba : A triangular openwork design, Iron ground, polish surface, Nadekaku-shape,Uchikaeshi-hammered Mimi edge, Gold inlay, Shakudo inner Fukurin-rim, both Hitsuana filled by Shakudo, unsigned
  • Saya : Pure Rioro-style Japanese lacquered, Hagi bush/Dragonflys design raised lacquer work
  • Tsuka : White layskin, glay indigo-blue (Nando-iro) silk cord logenze style Moro-tsumami style wrapped

Gold foiled double layers Habaki collar, Preserved in a Shira-Saya plain wood mounting.
Recent polish/Condition scale: mint-excellent (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor).
reference data:
Honma Junji/Satou Kanichi, NIHONTO TAIKAN SHINTO-HEN 2 Otsuka Kogei sha April 15, 1969/The 36th JUYO TOKEN caption