Wakizashi signed Sōshu-ju TSUNAHIRO

Koto End of Muromachi period (Tensho-Bunroku era/1573-95) Sagami
Length of cutting edge 45.6cm Curvature 1.5cm Width of base 33.4mm Thickness of base 6.5mm

NBTHK(Tokubetsu Hozon) certificate


Blade construction (kengyo) : Hira-zuruki, Mitsu-mune, rather on longer side, wide in Mihaba and a bit on thinner side in Kasane - holding deep bow-shaped curvature. There is less degree of tapering from base to the Kissaki which is swelling out in full. The entire blade is full of majesty. (click HERE for high resolution of the blade photograph)
Forging pattern (kitae hada) : Kitae hada is conspicuous Itame hada mixing with large Mokume-hada partially. The surface is covered in Ji-nie (hard metal granules over the surface) with swirl Chikei (darkish Nie lines) activity.
Tempering pattern (hamon) : Quenching area is covered with rather on profuse and coarse side of Nie "hard metal granules", starting narrow Yakidashi on base, "Notare" wave - mixture of small Gunome zigzag and Clove outline or complex various patterns. The interior of temper where is filled with deep mist granules of Nioi, a bit on dimmed taste, there works with frequent ASHI, YOU activities. Some quenching temper "Muneyaki" appears on the back ridge.
Temper of tip (boshi) : Temper of tip is rather on strong Nie side, forms irregular pattern harshly with "Hakikake" brush up indication then large circle turns back deeply.
Tang (Nakago) : Fish bottom (Funazoko) shape Nakago is UBU slightly curved, unaltered. "Kiri" horizontal file marks, there is a little mass on the back ridge where indicates "Sujikai" slanting left filemark. Shallow double-bevelled (Kurijiri) heel shape. One retaining hole of "Mekugiana". There is clear chiselled five large character inscription that starts with the place of work "Sōshu-ju" 相州住 and the smith name TSUNAHIRO 綱廣.
The power of Sōshu school in Sagami province ever since Kamakura era had been declining in Muromachi period due to the reasons that Sōshu technique was the most troublesome technical method among 5 major schools. On after Muromachi period, only TSUNAHIROs 綱廣 observed the real tradition of main Sōshu technique.
From the historical document of Yamamura (Tsuhahiro's) family, the founder TSUNAHIRO 綱廣 had came from smith HIROMASA 広正 and moved to Odawara to accept an invitation of clan Hōjō Ujitsuna 北条氏綱. The age of founder TSUNAHIRO is Eisho (1504-20), the second generation is Tenbun (1532-54) and the third gen. is Tensho - Bunroku (1573-95). Later subsequent generations renamed himlelf TSUNAHIRO 綱廣 who had been prospered throughout Edo, Meiji and down to Taisho era until 16th generations.
The subject stirring wakizashi is the sublime work by the 3rd. gen. of TSUNAHIRO which was designed for the battle filed. His real name was "Yamamura Sōuemon-no-jo" 山村宗右衛門尉 and lived in Ougigayatsu, Kamakura 鎌倉扇ヶ谷. After
the fall of Hōjo in Odawara, Tensho 18 (1590), it's belonged TSUNAHIRO came under strict restrictions by Toyotomi Hideyoshi 豊臣秀吉 but he again revived to work with 300 katanas exclusively for Tsugaru lord "Tsugaru Tamenobu" 津軽為信 from Keicho 9 to 11 (1604 - 06). Passed away in the 27th day, the 2nd month, Kanei 15 (1638), was 91 years old.
The subject work is full of Samurai majesty spirit during the Warning States of period when major powerful clans such as Oda or Toyotomi in Owari, Tokugawa in Mikawa, Imagawa in Suruga, Takeda in Kai and Hōjo in Odawara began rise to power.
Deep in curve was designed for fast draw, Hirazukuri-construction was working well for cutting through the openings of armor or helmet, Itame forging ware of functional mixture with hard and soft steel was designed for durable construction, dimmed wavy tempering was carefully quenched for the most supreme sharp performance and "Muneyaki" was designed for defending against hard hitting.
This prominent wakizashi has been treasured by powerful legitimate Samurais in generations and deeply admired for the excellent quality of the legitimate Sōshu technique and supreme condition over the passage of 430 years.
Old double layers Habaki collar (lower is copper gold plated and the upper is Shakudo copper alloy), preserved in a Shira-saya plain wood mounting.
Fresh polish/Condition scale: excellent (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor)
reference data : Honma Junji/Sato Kanichi, Nihonto Taikan Koto-hen 1, Otsuka Kogei-sha, 1968