Katana signed Bizen-koku-ju Osafune KIYOMITSU-saku
In the 2nd month, the 7th year of Tenbun

Koto End of Muromachi period (Tenbun 7 / 1538) Bizen
Length of cutting edge 68.1cm Curvature 2.0cm Width of base 30.8mm Width of Yokote 19.5mm Thickness of base 6.4mm

NBTHK(Hozon) certificate


Blade construction: Shinogi-zukuri, Iori-mune a bit on lower side, Shinogi-ridge is high that shaves off toward the back ridge of Mune. Mihaba on base stands firmly with Funbari and is suitable degree of tapering from base to the tip of Yokote holding a deep waist pointed curvature as well as upper pointed curve gracefully, leading to an elongated medium tip Kissaki. The entire blade creates a heroic atmosphere during the Warning States period. (click HERE for higher resolution image of the entire blade)
Forging(Hada): Forging is outstanding Mokume-hada with Itame-hada in general, mixing in flowing ware along temper side. The entire Hiraji-surface is covered in speckled Ji-nie that generates reflecting irregular sparkling Utsuri effect vividly over the surface.
Temper(Hamon): Hamon is Nie hard metal granules base, shallow wave Notare mixing in Gunome and Clove Choji quench pattern where boundary line works with sparkling Nie and deep Noi mist-like crystalline area. Some temper shows splashing over the surface Yubashiri indication. In the interior of temper, there works with frequent feet Ashi or floating You activities and Kinsen bright curved threadlike areas and Sunagashi long lines of Nie.
Temper of tip(Boshi): Boshi forms irregular Midarekomi high and strong to form the indication of Ichimai.
Tang(Nakago): Nakago is in UBU, Machi-okuri shortened in about 1.0 sun (3.0cm). One peg retaining hole. Katte-sagari (slightly slanting left) filemarks. Back ridge of Nakago is flat. Uneven double-bevelled heel mark so called Ha-agari KURIJIRI . The inscription in front is located under the hole, on Shinogi-ji side starting the place of work - Bizen-koku-ju Osafune KIYOMITSU-saku 備前国住長船清光作 and the reversed side is chiselled the date of year In the 2nd month, the 7th year of Tenbun 天文七年二月日 (1538).

Powerful clans or generals from the disturbance period of Warring States Period to the Azuchi Momoyama state required the rich, massive volume and thick in kasane with high shinogi-ridge, with well-proportioned deep curve. Heavy on hand to form solid durable construction, showing a brave Samurai spirit for practical use.
The latter half of Medieval Muromachi period, starting with The O'nin War (応仁の乱 O'nin no Ran) / (1467-77), the length and style of Japanese swords had changed - Eisho-Daiei(1504-27) it was generally 2.0 - 2.1 shaku(60-63cm) which was suitable for one-hand grip, Kyoroku-Tenbun(1528-40) it had become a bit longer to 2.2 shaku(66cm), then Ganki-Tenso(1570-91) it became further longer to 2.3 shaku or even more(70cm) and Nakago(tang) became getting longer accordingly which was designed in the style of both hands grip.
Sword maker KIYOMITSU 清光 in Bizen Osafune is one of the most distinguished sword makers of the same ranks as KATSUMITSU 勝光 and TADAMITSU 忠光. Among KIYOMITSUs' atelier, the chiefs with secular names of Goro Saemon-no-jo 五郎左衛門尉 and Mago Uemon-no-jo 孫右衛門尉 have been highly celebrated but the most of works (no matter with or without secular name) especially with date of year during Tenbun (1532-54) shows higher skill and upper rank of artistic level than other ages in general.
The subject sword dated Tenbun 5 (1536) is understood that it was made to the order of famed general who belonged to
Sengoku-daimyo Akamatsu 赤松 clan.
The truly heroic shape is longer than standard holding gracefully deep curve, which is the shape during the transition from Tenbun(1532-54) to Tensho(1573-91) - it stands firmly on base, holding rich volume of Hiraniku, high Shinogi-suji ridge holding deep curvature - entire shape holds awe-inspiring power of Samurai spirits.
This katana has been treasured over decades of generations and now presents you the typical workmanship of KIYOMITSU which was custom made for AKAMATSU clan general during the Warning States period.
There is a darkish grain opening ware ware on Hiraji surface in front and a forging crack at hardening temper in the reversed side. Those wares are well eliminated by skilled polisher and good enough for appreciation on this exhibition.
Preserved in Shirasaya plaing wood mounting, Single layer gold plated Habaki collar.
Fresh polish/Condition scale: good - fair (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor).
reference data : Osafune-Cho-shi Token-zuroku edition Osafune-cho 1998