Tanto signed Mino-koku-junin KANEKUNI In the 8th month,Tenbun 12th with)Burgundy lacquered scabbard Amaryu dragon Aikuchi-style Tanto Koshirae

Koto end of Muromachi period (Tenbun 12th / 1543) Mino/Harima
Length of cutting edge 18.9cm Inward curvature Width of base 22.7mm Thickness of base 7.8mm

NBTHK(Tokubetsu Hozon) certificate

with)Burgundy lacquered scabbard Amaryu dragon Aikuchi-style Tanto Koshirae

Blade construction: Moroha-zukuri double-edged Tanto. Width on base is standing firmly and Shinogi-ridge is high.The length of cutting edge is rather on shorter side in proportion. A bit on inward curve where upper Fukura area is less swelling. The entire shape creates classical grace of middle 16th century which was assumed for stabbing purpose.(click HERE for higher resolution image of the entire blade)
Forging(Hada): Forging is fine Itame-hada where sparkling Ji-nie appears.
Temper(Hamon): Temper of fine Nie hard metal granules generates large Gunome, box-like Hakoba, combined small Gunome, some fray of Hotsure-ha or double-triple boundary lines appears here and there where streaming Sunagashi or thick lines of Kinsuji are perceived along the bottom ravines of Gunome-midare. In the interior of temper is full of Nioi mist where works with isolated YOU.
Temper of tip(Boshi): Temper of tip is stronger the Nie deeper the Nioi, irregular Midarekomi sharpened up indication like a surge of flame.
Tang(Nakago): Nakago is a bit Machiokuri in 11.8cm which is longer in proportion to the cutting edge. Checked Higaki file marks. Two peg holes of Mekugiana. Uneven U-shaped heel shape so called "Ha-agari Kurijiri".The inscription signature stars of his hometown Mino-koku-junin 美濃国住人 and name of smith KANEKUNI 兼国. The other side is chiselled with the date of year In the 8th month, Tenbun 12th (1543).

KANEKUNI 兼国 was a swordsmith belonging to the San'ami school 三阿弥派. Among the extant works with the date of year, those from the Kyotoku 享徳 era (1452-) are the oldest. the "KANEKUNIs" 兼国 had been activated in swordsmithing over several generations in Muromachi period.

Around the Tenbun era 天文 (1532-), the KANEKUNI 兼国 is said to have relocated from Mino Province to Ougo-castle 淡河 town in Miki, under the control of the influential Bessho clan 別所, vassals of the Akamatsu clan 赤松 in Harima Province (present-day Miki City, Hyogo Prefecture), and he reportedly crafted swords also in Befu 別府 (present-day Befu-cho, Kakogawa City, Hyogo Prefecture).

Possibly due to using the genuine iron sand "Masago" from the Chigusagawa River as the quenching for the hardened steel, Unlike it's Jigane (surface grain) exhibits a whitish reflection "Shirake-utsuri" of Mino swords but on the contrary, it shows a clear,robust and sparkling Ji-nie (surface martensite).
The quenching Hamon of temper line on this Tanto are crafted with a double-edged (Moroha) style, specifically designed for quickly drawing with the right hand during close combat in the Sengoku battle age is well-balanced and skillfully executed.

The double-edged Moroha style became popular towards the end of the Muromachi period. It is said that during the close combat of the Warring States period, especially in armor-clad skirmishes, the double-edged style with a blade on both sides was advantageous for the quick draw with the right hand, known as Metesashi 右手指 (also written as "馬手指"). This involved pointing the short dagger to the right side and unsheathing it in a reverse grip, making it convenient for thrusting and engaging opponents. The presence of a blade on the Mune (back edge) was particularly advantageous during such encounters.

with) Burgundy lacquered scabbard Amaryu dragon Aikuchi-style Tanto Koshirae
(click HERE in front and HERE for the other side/click HERE for each fitting)
  • All metal fittings : Fuchi/Kashira Sayakuchi entry and Kojiri end - Amaryu dragon design, Brass ground, Sukibori carving, unsigned
  • Mekugi : Gold plated decorated screw
  • Tsuka : Reddish black lacquered layskin wrap
Gold foiled single layer Habaki, preserved in Shirasaya plain wood mounting
note) During the age of civil wars, the Sengoku Period 16th century, local warlords - Toki, Saito Akechi in Mino province or Oda in Owari, Takeda in Kōshu, Tokugawa in Mikawa, Imagawa in Suruga, Hōjō in Bushu and Uesugi in Joetsu province, struggled with one another. Sword makers in Mino province were favorably located to meet with their requirement of swords.
reference :
SUGIURA Yoshiyuki, Mino Toko Meikan, Ribun shuppan, 2008
SUZUKI Takuo/SUGIURA Yoshiyuki, Muromachi-ki Mino Toko-no-kenkyu, 2006