Tanto signed Chiku-shu-San'no-ju Sou-kinsaku (Sou Tsutomu) A protection charm for granddaughter SAORI as birth anniversary In the 27th Novemver Heisei 3rd with)Vermillion lacquered Mukai-Ageha mon facing buttefly crest Makie AikuchiTanto Koshirae

Contemporary sword (Heisei 3rd/1991) Fukuoka-pref.
Length of cutting edge 25.0cm No curvature Width of base 22.3mm Thickness of base 5.7mm

NBTHK(Tokubetsu Hozon) certificate
common box

with)Vermillion lacquered Mukai-Ageha mon facing buttefly crest Makie Aikuchi Tanto Koshirae

Blade construction (kengyo) : Tanto of Hira-zuruki,Iori-mune, no curvature. Kasane is a bit on thicker side and upper Fukura is swelling out.(click HERE for high resolution of the blade photograph)
Tempering pattern (hamon) : Hamon forms wide Suguha, The interior of temper is filled with whitish NIOI mist with rich activities of floating YOU and quenching boundary line is crystalized condensed Nie where emits sparkling flash.
Temper of tip (boshi) : Temper of Boshi forms medium circle in decent manner.
Tang (Nakago) : The Nakago is unaltered UBU original. One "Mekugi-ana" punch. The heel of Nakago is double bevelled "Kurijiri" U-shaped. The "Yasurime" filemarks is greatly slanting left (Ō-sujikai) and back ridge is a bit on contoured with Ō-sujikai filemarks also.
The inscription signature starts with the place of work [Chikushu--San'no-ju 筑州山王住], smith name [Sou 宗 kinsaku (quality article) 謹作]. The other side is described with it's history [A protection charm for granddaughter SAORI as birth anniversary 孫早織誕生記念守護刀也], new paragraph [In the 27th Novemver Heisei 3rd 平成三年十一月二十七日]

Here is a superb masterpiece of an extraordinary master craftsman Sou TSUTOMU 宗勉.

Sou TSUTOMU 宗勉, born on May 1, 1927, a son of Sou HIROSHI 宗弘. In 1946 when he was 19 years, he studied under his father. He received the Shoreisho Award once, Doryoku-sho Awards 6 times and Nyusen Awards 4 times continuously then finally was honored as an esteemed Mukansa award in 1990 - Not submitted to the jury in the Newly Masterpiece Sword Exhibition.
Many of his masterpieces follow the style of the Soshu tradition, with influences from KIYOMARO 清麿呂 and in later years, he also created works inspired by the Yamashiro tradition and the exemplar blades of Tsuda Echizen-no-Kami Sukehiro 津田越前守助広. Passed away in 2015 aged 88 years old.

The subject dignified Tanto, specially forged with refined skill, possesses a thick Kasane in volume with swelling upper Fukura, displaying highly sophisticated elegant form. The fine steel shows a beautifully mixed pattern of small Itame and ko-mokume, meticulously forged and adorned with fine particles of Ji-Nie, creating a vivid and intricate pattern throughout the surface. The flawless Suguha (straight) hamon features a thick accumulation of Ha-nie that sparkles like light snowfall along the edge, with a deep Nioi filling in the interior of temper.
UME plum tree rooted in the earth, basking in the sunlight, blooming flowers and sprouting new buds towards the sky. The other side shows the ritual fire chopsticks Gomagashi 護摩箸, considered an incarnation of Fudo Myo'ou, dispels evil.

The elegantly carved motifs, imbued with thoughts of protection while keeping in mind the refined Yamashiro tradition, captivate the observer.
This masterpiece, created by the smith Sou TSUTOMU 宗勉 at the age of sixty-four during his prime, showcases his excellent blade work and was crafted after being recognized as a "Mukansa" (exempt from appraisal) swordsmith.

Appendix: Lacquered vermillion scabbard fitting with reliefed facing butterfly crest Maki-e (Full view of the koshirae in front and the other side /detailed photos of each part)

  • Fuchi/Kashira/Koi-guchi/Kurikata: Made from horn, lacquered black
  • Fuchi/Kashira/Koi-guchi/Kurikata: Made from horn, lacquered black
  • Decorative Mekugi: Made from silver, Ken-Katabami 剣方喰紋 kamon (family crest)

Ddouble-layered Habaki with gold foiled, preserved and comes in Shirasaya plain wood mounting scabbard and hilt and comes with orginal strage covered box with Sayagaki writtedn by Sou TSUTOMU 宗勉

(note) The smith Sou HIROSHI 宗弘 was born on August 9, 1905, in San'no-cho, Fukuoka City, given name was 宗康弘 Sou YASUHIRO.
From 1942 of Showa 17, he studied under Komiya Shiro KUNIMITSU 小宮四郎国光 and his initial swords were inscribed with the name "MASAMITSU"正光. During the WW2, he was involved in the production of Naval swords.
After the war in November 1954, he received an official licence as an official swordsmith from the Agency for Cultural Affairs. He achieved the Doryoku-sho Award 4 times and the Nyusen Award 6 times consecutively for the Newly Crafted Masterpiece Sword Exhibition from 1955.
He is well-known as the father of swordsmith Sou TSUTOMU 宗勉 who is not submitted to the selecting committee "Mukansa" and is also renowned for the excellent sharpness as well as strength of his blades in the world of swordsmanship and martial arts.