Wakizashi signed A seventy-seventh birthday celebration Fuji NAOTANE (seal) In the 2nd month, 7th year of Kaei

Shin-shin-to End of Edo period (Kaei 7/1854) Bushu
Length of cutting edge 38.8cm Curvature 0.7cm Width of base 38.9mm Thickness of base 6.0mm

NBTHK(Tokubetsu Hozon) certificate


Blade construction: Hira-zukuri, Mitsu-mune. Kasane is rather on thinner side and a center pointed shallow curve. Length of cutting edge is long and Mihaba is extremely wide with less degree of tapering toward the upper pronounced Fukura. There is a carving of Dokko sword entwined with cursive style KURIKARA dragon in front and the reversed side is Goma-hashi a pair of parallel groove and Sanskrit character Bonji of the god of fire, Fudo-Myouo.(click HERE for higher resolution image of the entire blade)
Forging(Hada): Forging is conspicuous large Itame-hada mixing with Mokume-hada and is covered with thick, sparkling hard metal granules Ji-nie on Hira-ji surface. Darkish thick Nie lines of Chikei activity gushes where shows the mixtures of non-steel elements and uneven status of carbon steel to generate classical grace - fine steel scene with significance of the beauty that closely resembles one of ancient Nanbokucho period 14th century.
Temper(Hamon): Hamon is rather stronger side Nie hard metal granules base, Gunome and slanting tassel-shaped Choji which varies in shape and height. Some of boundary line splash into Hiraji and sparkling quench crystalline area add like a pearl luster impression with extreme deep Noi mist-like crystalline area. In the interior of temper, there works frequently with Kinsen bright curved threadlike areas, Inazuma thunderlike area and Sunagashi long lines of Nie. Thick Nie feet splashes into the cutting edge. Those activities of quench state are extremely vivid and bright standing out strikingly.
Temper of tip(Boshi): Boshi forms Midarekomi irregular quench state with an intense Hakikake blush up indication.
Tang(Nakago): Nakago is in UBU original of unique shape Funazoko ship-bottom, one decorative gourd shape Mekugi-ana punch which is filled with copper of sun and crescent moon design. Osujikai (greatly slanting left) filemarks with horizontal Kesho filemark. Back ridge of Nakago is a bit well-rounded contour with Osujikai/Kesho filemark. Bottom shape is double bevelled (Kurijiri) in full. The signature is performed in front is chiselled as A seventy-seventh birthday celebration 七十七翁 upper the Nakago and under the Mekugi-ana is the name of clan Fuji 藤 and smith name NAOTANE (seal) 直胤(花押). The other side is chiselled with the date of year along back ridge In the 2nd month, 7th year of Kaei 嘉永七年二月.

The most superior sword smith NAOTANE 直胤, real name Shouji Minobei 庄司箕兵衛, with the pseudonym of Taikei 大慶 was one of the two greatest pupils under the master Suishinshi MASAHIDE 水心子正秀, equals to Hosokawa MASAYOSHI 細川正義.
NAOTANE 直胤 is highly renowned as the most skillful artisan for restoration works of the ancient Middle Ages.
He was born in Anei 7 (1778) of Yamagata castle town in Dewa province. He was happened to be born as a sickle's smith however from a sheer desire to become a sword smith, he went up to Edo depending on the help of Suishinshi MASAHIDE of his senior and from the same town on about Kansei 10 (1798). He began to stand out a brilliant figure as a sword smith with his creative talent.
He got married to a daughter of charcoal dealer soon on about end of Kyowa (1803).
He worked for Akimoto of Tatebayashi feudal lord with his master Suishinshi MASAHIDE. He enjoyed Chikuzen-daijo title 筑前大掾 on about Bunsei 5 (1822) then came up to Kyoto on Kanei 1 (1848) to enjoy an official title of Mino-no-suke 美濃介 from the Imperial Court. He sympathized the theory of restoration works from the Middle Ages and put into practice carefully with an elaborate research into fine steel over the land. During long research and practice in his life over half century, he had acquired every 5 different techniques of Yamashiro, Yamato, Bizen, Soushu and Mino school traditions. Finally he had surpassed his master in the restoration works especially surpassed the other in skill of works under Bizen technique in middle-aged then Soushu schools in his prime of life. He lived in Okachimachi (now in Taitou-ku Tokyo) later in life, passing 27th day, the 5th month Ansei 4 (1857), was 79 years old, buried in Houzenji in Asakusa, Tokyo.

The subject extra-large heroic Hirazukuri wakizashi of great spirit was made on Kaei 7 (1854) in honor of his long life as seventy-seventh birthday celebration therefore the title of Mino-no-suke 美濃介 was omitted and also he played on words omitting of Hara 原 just signs Fuji 藤 (should be signed as Fuji-Hara 藤原) .

Horimono original carvings would be made by his great pupil of YOSHITANE 本荘義胤 and the carving of Dokko sword entwined with cursive style KURIKARA dragon was made out in duplicate of Shi-shi SADAMUNE 獅子貞宗 (Osaka Imperial property) and the other side is Goma-hashi a pair of parallel groove and Sanskrit character Bonji of the god of fire, Fudo-Myouo. In view of the tang Nakago, it would be creatively designed from his original idea and the shape and copper-fill of Mekugiana punch reminds us of Sun and Crescent moon.
This wakizashi proves that he is the top ranked, superb skilled sword maker in Shin-shin-to period and this is surely one of his most splendid masterpiece works of Soushu tradition which is strongly influenced on the work of Shi-shi SADAMUNE 獅子貞宗. Excellent taste of patina in Nakago and almost mint and healthy condition of the blade.
An fresh top quality polish/Condition scale: mint-excellent (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor).
Single layer gold foiled Habaki collar, preserved in a Shirasaya plain wood mounting.
reference data:Honma Junji/Satou Kanichi, NIHONTO TAIKAN SHINTO-HEN 2, Otsuka Kogei sha, 1969
note) 3 katanas of NAOTANE are nominated as Juyo-Bijutsuhin (the important cultural property), whereas 4 for Yamanoura KIYOMARO, 2 for Sa YUKIHIDE and 1 for Suishinshi MASAHIDE.