Kaneshige Katana with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate

Kaneshige Katana with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate

Important Katana by one of the greatest shinto period sword makers with gold inlaid test.

Signed: Kinzōgan-mei : Kazusa no Suke Fujiwara Kaneshige (上総介藤原兼重)

Kanbun shichinen hachigatsu yōka ‒ Yamano Kanjūrō Hisahide + kaō ‒ Fuatsu-dō kiri-otoshi

(寛文七年八月八日・山野勘十郎久英「花押」・ 貳ツ胴切落) ‒

“Yamano Kanjūrō Hisahide cut [with this blade] on the eighth day of the eighth

month of Kanbun seven (1667) through two bodies + monogram.”

Nagasa ~ 71.0 cm





2nd gen., Kanbun (寛文, 1661-1673), Musashi – “Kazusa no Suke Kaneshige” (上総介兼重),
“Kazusa no Suke Fujiwara Kaneshige” (上総介藤原兼重), “Tsuji Kazusa no Suke Fujiwara Kaneshige” (辻上総介
藤原兼重), “Kazusa no Kami Kaneshige” (上総守兼重), “Kazusa no Kami Fujiwara Kaneshige” (上総守藤原兼重),
real name Tsuji Suke´emon (辻助右衛門), son of the 1
st gen. Kaneshige, he temporarily worked in Anotsu (阿濃津) in
Ise province, there exist joint works with the 3rd gen. Yasutsugu (康継) and Hōjōji Masateru (法城寺正照), the
workmanship is similar to Kotetsu (虎徹), it is said that he also matched his meiburi to that of Kotetsu, he was granted
the honorary title Kazusa no Suke which was later raised to Kazusa no Kami, but there are only a few blades extant
which are actually signed with Kazusa no Kami, there is the theory that this has something to do with the right that the
post of governor (kami) of three provinces Hitachi, Kazusa and Kōzuke was always granted to the Imperial Prince, this
right started in the 9th century but was officially never abandoned, that means Kaneshige returned to sign with his
former honorary title Kazusa no Suke out of respect for the prince´s title, the workmanship is similar to his father but
he also hardened a suguha or gunome mixed with the typical ashi of Kotetsu, the jigane is strong but not that bright as at
Kotetsu, we know date signatures from the eighth year of Kanbun (1668) to the fifth year of Tenna (天和, 1685), ryō wazamono, jō-saku




Tameshigiri students of the Yamano family
One of the best students of Kanjūrō Hisahide was Ukai Jūrō´emon
Yoshizane (鵜飼十郎右衛門義真). We know that he was hired by the
fourth Tokugawa-shōgun Ietsuna (徳川家綱, 1641-1680) in Kanbun four
(1664) to serve as kachi (徒士), a lower-ranking foot soldier, in the samurai
unit of Ōkubo Hikobei (大久保彦兵衛). Five years later he succeeded as
head of the Ukai family and was thus promoted to the rank of kobushin
(小普請, a samurai with an income of 3,000 koku and below). In Enpō five
(延宝, 1677) he was posted to the fire protection unit of the second
enceinte of Edo Castle, and in Genroku five (1692) to the additional guard
unit of the second enceinte. This was the time when he started his tameshigiri
training with Hisahide and it turned out that he was very talented. As a
result, he successively had the honour to test swords and yari of rōjū elders,
and as he did well he was eventually hired as a sword tester by the bakufu on
the 25th day of the third month of Genroku six (1693). This, and his high
skill, brought him in the position to test many treasure swords over the
years. It is also said that he always covered the signature with a piece of
paper because he feared that knowing the name of the swordsmith might
influence his cuts. And it is also recorded that he had a large plum tree in
his garden, at the roots of which he dug out a big hole where he poured the
bloody washing water. Well, I have mentioned that in those days tameshigiri
on corpses on one´s own property was not then prohibited, but if this
transmission is true it suggests that Ukai performed tests on living
convicted felons because cutting dead bodies does not produce such a mess
to require a big hole directly at the spot for cleaning up. Anyway, Ukai fell
ill and retired from his tameshigiri post on the second day of the third month
of Genroku 13 (1700). It is said that during his nine years of official testing,
i.e. from Genroku five when he tested the sword of the rōjū onwards, he
used 1,505 bodies which calculates to about one test every other day. Ukai
Jurō´emon Shigezane died on the 25th day of the second month of Hōei
seven (宝永, 1710).

Another student of Yamano Hisahide was Nezu Saburōbei Mitsumasa
(根津三郎兵衛光政). Mitsumasa was a rōnin who had the luck of getting
an employment from the bakufu. There exists a very detailed four-volume
tameshigiri hiden-sho (秘伝書, secret initiation script) written by Mitsumasa
which is preserved in the Seikadō Bunko Art Museum (静嘉堂文庫), but
swords bearing his tameshi-mei are rare. We know one by the swordsmith
Izumo no Kami Yoshitake (出雲守吉武, see picture 19) and one by
Yamashiro no Kami Kunikiyo (山城守国清). Incidentally, Mitsumasa must
have trained several students because the term “Nezu-ryū of tameshigiri”
(根津流) appears in several documents