This is a beautiful sword by the Jo-saku sword smith, Yoshikado (吉門). He was originally called Kawamura Chôbei and he originally signed his swords Musashi no Kami Yoshikado (武藏守吉門). He studied under the famous sword smith Omura Kaboku (小村加卜) in Edô. In June of 1672, he, along with his older brother, Echizen no Kami Yoshikado, moved to Hitachi (Mito) and became exclusive sword makers to the Mito Tokugawa Daimyo, Mito Yoshimatsu. From around Enpô 4, (1676), he changed his name to Bandôtarô Bakushô Nyûdô Bokuden (卜傳). He passed away in Jôkyô 5 (1688). His blades are rated as Ryôwazamono (very sharp). This ranking of sharpness has been awarded to only a total of 50 sword smiths.
This blade is signed with an early signature of Nôshû Seki Genryoke Echizen (no) Kami Yoshikado (濃州関善良家越前守吉門). It is dated Meireki Sannen Nigatsu Kichi Nichi (明暦三年二月吉日). This means made on a lucky day in the second month of the third year of Meireki (February 1657). This would have made him fairly young and robust when he made this blade.
This is a long and graceful shinogi-zukuri katana with a slightly extended kissaki (point). The nagasa (length) is 27.44 inches or 69.7 cm. The moto-haba (width at the base) is 1.24 inches or 3.2 cm and the saki-haba (width at the kissaki) is 0.83 inches or 2.1 cm. The kasane (thickness) of the blade is 0.32 inches or 0.8 cm. As noted this blade has a graceful torii sori (curvature) of 0.50 inches or 1.3 cm.
The hada is a beautiful very tight ko-itame hada with masame hada above the shinogi. Throughout the hada are islands and jewels of ara nie forming bright and beautiful clusters.
The hamon is done in a wide and exuberant pattern or a mixture of notare, gunome-midare, peaked gunome, chôji-midare, nie-kuzure. Of course, togari-ba will be found here and there as with all blades with a Mino influence. There are areas of nie clusters floating above the hamon in the ji throughout the blade. The Monouchi area near the kissaki (tip) is particularly active with chôji and large nie clusters (ara-nie) forming what are called islands and jewels.
The hamon crosses into the bôshi and becomes ko-maru in shape with almost no turnback. The nakago is ubu (un-shortened) with one hole.
This blade comes with the custom made World War Two Army koshirae (mountings) that its former owner used in the 1940’s when he went into military service. These mounts are in excellent condition and the tsuba is done in openwork. There is a new wooden tsunagi blade in the koshirae. The blade has an old two piece gold-washed copper habaki that has a few dings and some rubbing from age. It is in a newly made shirasaya. It is accompanied by NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon papers authenticating the validity of the signature and the excellent quality and condition of the blade.