We simply think that Kikusui hamon is one of the pictorial hamon patterns what are developed in Edo period. Those are Yoshino-gawa (cherry blossoms), Tatsuta-gawa (maple leaves), Umebachi (plum blossoms), Tohran (big wave), Mt. Fuji, Sudare, and etc.
Those aesthetical hamon patterns were loved by big merchants in Osaka where was a big commercial city in the period. The hamon patterns have no samurai spirit, and they are only an obstruction to study blade quality. We are ashamed of such hamon patterns appear on Japanese blades.
Now we have found a different view on kikusui hamon, that still has some acceptable meaning for samurai spirit.
Edo period was a peaceful age continued over 200 years. The remembrance of battle fields was far from people's mind. So the aesthetic hamon patterns appeared on blades. It became a fashion in master sword smiths to design unique hamon patterns. Kikusui hamon is one of such patterns. But, hearing the word "Kikusui" or seeing the mark of Kikusui, we Japanese must remember one samurai in our mind who bravely fought and died in battle field. We wonder if this hamon was designed admiring to the samurai, in that peaceful age.
The mark of Kikusui that means a chrysanthemum on small stream.
This mark was used by "KUSUNOKI Masashige" on his flag, who is a samurai in the early 14th century. He has been well known as very faithful man and didn't worry about death. The mark Kikusui also is well known together with his story. He has been one of the most famous samurai in Japanese history. Today his statue stands at the imperial palace in Tokyo.
The mark of chrysanthemum has been the symbol of Japanese emperor. He was given the mark by the emperor, and he arranged it to his flag mark kikusui.
(=> The statue of KUSUNOKI Masashige)
In the Edo period (17th century), a hamon pattern that suggests the mark Kikusui was developed.
On the hamon, the gathers of choji near the starting suggests chrysanthemum, and the wavy pattern toward the kissaki suggests stream.
An example of kikusui hamon
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