Katana signed Bizen Okayama-ju Fujiwara KUNIMUNE-saku with) Blue pearl of inlay scabbard Uchikatana Koshirae

Shinto early Edo period (Kanbun era/circa 1661-) Bizen
Length of cutting edge 68.2cm Curvature 1.2cm Width of base 30.6mm Width of Yokote 19.2mm Thickness of base 7.0mm

NBTHK(Tokubetsu Hozon) certificate

with) Blue pearl of inlay scabbard Uchikatana Koshirae

NBTHK(Hozon) certificate for Tsuba

Blade construction: Shinogi-zukuri, Iori-mune with an appropriate curvature. Kasane is thick, Mihaba width on base is wide and there is well-harmonized degree of tapering toward the Ikubi-style medium Kissaki. (click HERE for super sized image of entire blade)
Forging(Hada): Forging mark is fine strong Ko-mokume burl in general whereas Shinogi-ji shows an indication of Masame straight grain mark.
Temper(Hamon): Hamon is tight boundary line of Nioi-kuchi, stars with short Yakidashi then Gunome with split isolated temper of Tobiyaki and upper the blade is created in an archaic style of Choji clove and combined Chojit-midare to add tad-pole shape Kazazuko-Choji that reaches to the Shinogi-suji where isolated Tobiyaki splits are percieved here and there in an magnificent manner.
Temper of tip(Boshi): Boshi forms straight Suguha with minute irregular indications then medium circle turns back deeply to form Muneyaki temper.
Tang(Nakago): UBU in original of it's heel is a bit shortened. One peg hole of Mekugi-ana. Greatly Slanting left Yasurime filemarks. The heel is shallow U-shape. Round back ridge of Nakago is well contoured where greatly slanting left filemark is perceived. The signature in front located on Hiraji-side starts with the place of aterier Bizen Okayama-ju 備前岡山住, name of clan Fujiwara 藤原 then smith name KUNIMUNE 国宗.

During the transition from the medieval period to the early Edo modern ages, the swords produced by the Osafune swordsmiths, who accounted for nearly 70% of the whole production during the ancient middle ages, underwent significant changes due to the influence of the transformation of combat methods through the introduction of matchlock guns further the significant changes in culture and social structure as well.
The devastating decline of the Bizen Osafune swordsmiths caused by the Great Flood of Yoshiigawa in Tensho 19 (1591) was one of the major factors. Moreover the establishment of the feudal domain system in peaceful Edo period, the decline of sword manufacturing in non-urban areas such as Bizen and Yamato became even more prominent, Thus the center of Bizen domain had shifted from Osafune village to the urban castle town of Okayama.
During the Edo period, swords as the symbols of Samurai became essential items, not only for practical use on the battlefield but also for their high spirituality and pursuit of diverse beauty as artistic swords. The demand for swords was met by the domain's own swordsmiths, as dictated by the times.
The subject smith Kunimune 国宗 who lived in castle city of Okayama, Bizen is said a son of Higashi Tamonbei Masanari 東多門兵衛正成. His real name Shige-Uemon 茂右衛門. His elder brother was reportedly the smith Masatsugu 正次.
There is a posthumous work with the date of year inscription "Bizen Okayama-ju Fujiwara Kunimune saku, Auscicious day in the 8th month Manji 1st (1658) 備前岡山住藤原国宗作 万治元年八月吉日. It is said that Hikozemon 彦左衛門, Kunimune's son from the Genroku period, succeeded the name Kunimune 国宗 as the second generation and engraved as "Hayashi Hikozemon-no-j? Kunimune" 林彦左衛門尉国宗 on the tang.

It is understood that the swordsmiths of the Higashidamonbei school 東多門兵衛派 resided in the castle town of Okayama and forged swords following the ancient Bizen tradition in response to the domain's demand. They produced excellent works that resemble the chaotic pattern of the Fukuoka Ichimonji style swords like this example.
This work is a splendid and luxurious article made to order, likely by the high class Samurai of the Okayama clan, that reminds one of the ancient masterqwork of Fukuoka Ichimonji 福岡一文字. It is accompanied by a glossy and exquisitely made Edo period sword mount.

with) Blue pearl of inlay scabbard Uchikatana Koshirae (clikc HERE for the entire Koshirae and HERE for each fitting)
  • Fuchi/kashira : Military commander and leader's fan with horse gear design, Shakudo Nanako-ji surface, Takabori carving Gold Iroe, unsigned
  • Menuki : A design of a Naginata in military commander, Shakudo ground Katabori carving, Gold Iroe
  • Tsuba : A design of military commander, Iron ground, Nikubori carving, Openwork, unsigned attributed to a work of Choshu school (NBTHK Hozon certificate)
  • Tsuka : White rayskin, unbleached silk cord Moro-tsumami-maki lozenge wrap
  • Scabbard : Blue pearl of inlay pure Roiro black lacquered scabbard with Shakudo Kojiri of surges design
Gold plated single layer Habaki collar, preserved in Shirasaya plain wood mounting
Recent polish/Condition scale: excellent (using a scale of mint-excellent-very good-good-fair-poor).

note) During the medieval Kamakura period, Fukuoka 福岡 (present Fukuoka-cho, Osafune-cho, and the former Kamido district in the eastern part of Okayama City), where the swordsmiths resided, was an important estate of the Imperial family. It can be inferred that the swordsmiths of the Fukuoka Ichimonji school 福岡一文字 at that time resided near Yoshi 吉井 in Fukuoka and enjoyed the protection of the imperial family, owning extensive rice fields and living in a stable environment for sword forging.
reference data :
Okazaki Wataru, Nihonto Bizen-den Taikan, Fukutakeshoten, 1975
Osafune-cho, Osafune-cho-shi, 2000