Object Title

Sword (katana)

Sword (katana)



Object Number



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

Physical Description

The blade is shinogi zukri with a moderate tori zori, modest fumbari and a medium kissaki. The hada is predominently a rather coarse itame with some nagareru towards the hamon. The hamon is irregular with some gonome in ko nie with some heavier nie towards the monouchi. The boshi is harikake or even kaen with only a slight kaeri. The tang is long elegant and tapering in the classic manner. It has been shortened about 60mm and has two tang holes. The new yasurimei are kiri, but the area surrounding the signature is too erroded to show any of the original marks. The colour of the whole tang is suspiciously uniform.

The blade is mounted in a navy mount with a black lacquered scabbard and the usual naval fittings with two hangers. The hilt is wrapped with brown braid, in the correct flat wrapped manner but it is relatively new. The two menuki differ, one being gilt the other silvered. There is a plain brown sword knot.


Dimensions: The nagasa is 692mm, the sori is 12mm, the length of the tang is 218mm, the width of the blade at the machi is 32mm, the width at the yokote is 21mm, the length of the kissaki is 39mm, the length of the hilt is 246mm, the length of the scabbard is 751mm, the overall length being 1006mm. Weight: blade 0.735 kg, mount 0.740kg.

Inscriptions and Marks

The blade is signed: Bishu Fukuoka Suke? saku. The seppa and tsuba are all numbered 432 and the lowest seppa bears two punched marks - a cherry blossom enclosing an anchor, the stamp of the Toyokawa Naval Arsenal (R. Fuller and R. Gregory, 1986 Military swords of Japan 1868-1945, Arms and armour press, p.81), also two curving lines enclosing a stylised character for yama.This stamp is so far unidentified.


Places Japan


Deryk Ingham originally read the tang as – ‘Bishu Fukuoka Sukechika saku’. However the ‘chika’ character is not obvious. Added to this is the fact that when the tang was shortened it was also reshaped so that the kanji are partially cut off on the right hand side. Listed in Hawley's 'Japanese Swordsmiths' are a few smiths using the first character 'Suke' and the town of Fukuoka. One is 'Bingo Fukuoka ju Suketaka' who worked about 1680. This would accord with the shape of the blade. Entry 455, a Bitchu smith of about 1500, signed 'Bitchu kuni ju nin Sukesane'. He could have signed Bishu but not Fukuoka. There were Sukesane smiths in Bizen, but earlier than this blade which might be late Muromachi.