Object Title

Sword blade (katana)

Sword blade (katana)



Object Number



Presented by a private donor, 10 July 2002. Formerly part of the collection of her husband.

Physical Description


The shinogi zukuri blade has a regular graceful tori zori. The prominent hada is masame, undulating in places, with profuse chikei and streamers of nie towards the hamon. The latter is a gentle notare with small gonome and abundant kinsuji verging on ni ju ba in places. At the kissaki the boshi is hakikaki and a long kaeri leading to muneyaki. The nakago is suriage with 2 mekugi ana, yasuri mei being obscured. The blade has horimono on both sides. That on the omote takes the form of a hata banner, that on the ura, a suken above which is a so-no-kurikara. The tang bears a shu mei or red lacquer inscription on both faces. That on the omote reads ' Hosho Goro Sadamune' on the ura is Hon'nami followed by the kao used by the 18th master Tadateru who worked between March 1842 and July 1854. Some characters above this latter inscription have been scratched off.


Dimensions: The nagasa is 650 mm, the sori is 12 mm, the length of tang is 212 mm, the width at the machi is 30 mm, the width at the yokote is 21 mm, the length of kissaki is 34 mm. The length of hilt is 220 mm and the length of the scabbard is 705 mm. Weight: blade 0.63 kg, shirasaya 0.384 kg

Inscriptions and Marks

Shumei 'Hosho Goro Sadamune' and 'Hon'ami' and kao used by the 18th Hon'ami named Tadateru.


Places Japan


The missing characters above the kao would normally be the date when the attribution was added. For some reason the date has been deliberately scratched off, possibly to make it less obvious that the attribution was by Tadateru, who has a reputation for false attributions. According to Albert Yamanaka's notes, and Afu Watson's translation of Shin Nihon To Kantei Nyumon, the Hon'nami are only supposed to have used a shumei when a sword was ubu and mumei, not when it was suriage. In the latter situation a kin zogan mei or gold inlaid attribution was used. This blade purports to be o-suriage and hence should not have a shumei but should have a kin zogan mei. There is some evidence that the Hon'ami were sometimes pressured into giving false attributions and this might be Tadateru's way of indicating this.
Despite this, the general workmanship is very similar to what would be expected of Yamato Sadamune. However, the horimono shows no wear and could be atabori. Deryk Ingham was of the opinion that the blade was not old but was a very good shin-shinto copy, possibly by a late Gassan smith. Full details of the work of the Hosho group are given in Nihon To Koza Vol II, Koto part 1. Translated by Afu Watson, p. 204 et seq.