Katana "Fujiwara Masayuki"
blade length 62.3cm, curvature 1.4cm, thickness at the base
8mm, width 2.75cm
Fujiwara Masayuki is a smith in Takada school in Bungo province. In books
his working period was around Jokyo era (1684 - 1688).
The steel is a wood grain layer pattern, and the colour is bright.
The hamon pattern is Gunome made of nie and konie, and the particles are
bright. There are some hamon also on the back.
The habaki is silver foiled. It is an original from the Edo period. The
silver foil is damaged, but the habaki still keeps good fit against the
The smith Masayuki in Takada school is not very famous, and this katana
is not a masterpiece. There is no tricky appearance on it, but the steel
is bright and so is the hamon. That suggests its quality. The brightness
of steel and hamon is the real beauty of swords, the patterns of steel
layer or hamon is secondary to appreciate blades. This blade is a very
good quality in Shinto period. Such a blade is The weapon that samurai's
trusted their lives in battle field. Of course it is not a piece in Daimyo
collections, but sometimes a Daimyo could fight with such a blade in his
Quality is more important than beauty for eye.
The polishing is very honest Hadori style, no tricky technique like acid.
And the shaping work is very good. The cutting surface has full surface
meat, and some old rust dimples are left. It is an excellent work by the
craftsman who polished this blade. Probably, this blade was rusted in the
past, but the polishers didn't remove all the rust to think about the meat
of the blade. It was a correct decision. A good shape is far more important
than no dimples.
The dimples of old rust on the back.
The last owner had this blade polished and made shirasaya about 30 years
ago. He has been taking care of this blade since the time. Recently he
died. When we study this sword, we understand how he loved it. He has not
peeled the paper off on the shirasaya, and the blade is kept clean without
scratches. He liked the original habaki, though he could re-foil it with
silver or gold.
He wanted to put this sword on his dead body. To put a edged weapon on
a body is a custom in Japanese funeral.
The smith, the polisher, and the owner. The policy of the persons around
this katana is a beauty of old Japan, they respect swords and samurai spirit.
We feel happy to take this sword in our hand.
This sword is a very good example to study what Japanese sword is.
The shirasaya and the bag.
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