Godai Tadayoshi (五代忠吉), the fifth generation Tadayoshi, was born in 1696. He was the son of the Omi Daijo Tadayoshi (近江大掾忠吉). He began working around 1716 and worked until his death in 1775. He signed Hizen Kuni Tadahiro (肥前国忠廣) while his father was alive. He is also known to have signed dai-mei for his father. After his father’s death in 1747 he changed his signature to read Hizen (no) Kuni Tadayoshi (肥前国忠吉). He received the title Omi (no) Kami (近江守) in 1750 after which he began signing Hizen Kuni Omi (no) Kami Tadayoshi (肥前国 近江守 忠吉). He is the first of the later smiths to sign “Omi (no) Kami” (近江守) and he is known by that nickname. He should not be confused with the second generation Tadahiro (忠廣) who is also known by the nickname “Omi no Kami” (近江守). For more information about this smith, please refer to the following article, Godai Tadayoshi.
Nihonto.com is pleased to present this outstanding example of a katana by this famous smith. The Hizen smiths of the Tadayoshi lineage are known for the excellent workmanship and classic beauty of their swords. This sword is from the Ho-ei era (1751~1764) during the Edo period. The fifth generation Tadayoshi is a Jo-saku rated smith. This katana is an excellent example of his work after 1750 when we was awarded the Omi Daijô title, a period of his life when he did his best work.
The katana has a nagasa (length) of 28.9 inches or 73.3 cm. It has a torii sori of 0.73 inches or 1.85 cm. The moto-haba (width at the hamachi) is 1.27 inches or 3.2 cm and the kissaki-haba (width at the point) is 0.95 inches or 2.4 cm. The thickness of the kasane is 0.28 inches or 0.71 cm. The nakago is ubu (un-shortened) with one mekugi-ana.
The blade is long, wide, and thick with deep curve and long kissaki. It has an overall gorgeous shape. The jigane is ko-itame-hada that is well grained with jinie creating a beautiful Hizen texture. The special name for this type of texture in the workings of the steel skin is called Hizen hada or, more commonly, konuka hada. Some say that it resembles the skin of young ladies.
The hamon (temperline) is comprised of niedeki forming a suguha style (straight) with ko-gunome midare containing ashi and yo. The bôshi is notare in style with a round shaped kaeri (return) done in notare style. An interesting side note about this smith is that he forged only katana. He did not leave any wakizashi or tantô.
This smith had a long working life and produced a good number of swords. He passed away in 1775. Although a later generation, his work is considered to resemble that of the first generation. He is considered the last of the “Shinto” Tadayoshi smiths. The next generation (6th) marks the beginning of the “Shinshinto” Tadayoshi smiths.
This blade is accompanied by a nice set of Edo period koshirae as can be seen from the photos below. It comes in a shirasaya (not shown). It was polished by a high ranking polisher in Japan and is lovely to behold. It comes with two habaki, a gold wrapped single habaki and an old copper ganseki habaki(wood block shape). It also comes with two sets of papers from the NBTHK. An old NBTHK Tokubetsu Kitcho Token certificate (especially precious sword) issued in 1963 and a later NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon certificate (especially worthy of preservation) issued in 2018 specifically attributing it to the 5th generation Tadayoshi.