This is a beautiful katana by Hyoshinshi Hideyo. He was a Jô-saku smith who was originally called Tamura Gunpei. He worked around the first half of the 1800’s. He was the son-in-law and one of the top students of the ultra-famous Suishinshi Masahide. He also studied under another famous Shinshintô smith, Ishido Unju Korekazu. He forged ko-dachi with Kijimomo-gata nakago that he appears to have copied from Koto blades. Hideyo’s hamon tends to be hoso-suguha (wide suguha) consisting of tight nioi, uniform gunome midare, or notare midare mixed with gunome midare.
This katana is signed MUSASHI (NO) KUNI JUNIN HYOSHINSHI HIDEYO KORE(WO) NIRAGU (武蔵國住人水心子秀世焠之). The ura is signed, TENPO 3NEN 8 GATSU HI ANZAI HIROTOSHI(NO) MOTOME NI OUZU (天保三年八月日応安西宏寿需). This ura mei means that it was made on a day in August of the third year of Tenpo ( August of 1832) as a special order blade for the Samurai, Anzai Hirotoshi.
It is shinogi-zukuri is shape with a cutting edge of 75 cm or 29 1/2inches. It has a graceful and shallow koshi-sori measuring 2.14 cm or 0.84 inches. It has a moto-haba of 3.15 cm or 1 1/4 inches and a saki-haba of 2.1 cm or 0.8 inches. The overall shape is beautiful and reminds us of the shape of blades of the Kamakura era. The jitetsu (grain of the metal) is a gorgeous ko-itame hada with areas of floating ji-nie. The hamon is a combination of ko-chôji mixed with small peaked notare. This workmanship reminds me of the ko-Bizen or old Yamashiro blades. There are ashi extending down to the ha (edge) giving the hamon a bright and vivid glow.
This blade comes with a superb set of koshirae. The saya is completely covered with a gold brocade cloth. To give you an idea of the quality of this saya work, the seam of the fabric is completely hidden by a thin strip of shibuichi running down the length of the underside of the saya (see photo below). The tsuba is of shakudo with a gold rim. The design is that of a bamboo fence and it is delicately carved. It is signed by its maker, Odawara Ju Masatsugu. His family name was Ito and he worked around 1650-1700. It is said that he was the founder of the Ito school and that he traveled from Karatsu, in Hizen Province, to Odawara in Sagami Province where he became a retainer of the Okubo Daimyo. The fuchi and kashira are of peony flowers done in gold on a rich shakudo base. The menuki are gold covered shishi lion dogs. The ito (wrapping ) of the tsuka (handle) in the menuki area is slightly frayed. This is to be expected with an older koshirae and it definitely adds character to the overall mounting. When you hold it, you can almost imagine you are shaking hands with its last Samurai owner who was in all likelihood Anzai Hirotoshi san. All in all, this is a very impressive mounting containing a very beautiful sword.
The blade is in excellent polish with no flaws or problems of any kind. It comes with NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon papers attesting to the quality of the blade and the validity of the signature. This would be a great addition to any collection.