We are pleased to offer this consignment blade that has been attributed to Bizen Osafune Kiyomitsu (備前長船清光). While most of the signature has been lost due to shortening, the NBTHK found that the workmanship in the blade together with the partial date of forging was specific enough to make the attribution to Bizen Kiyomitsu. In all probability after a close scrutiny of the remaining partial kanji of “eighth month and third year”, we feel comfortable in attributing this blade to Magôemon no jô Kiyomitsu who worked around Eiroku (1558). He was the son of Gorozaemon Kiyomitsu and is rated as a jôsaku smith (high quality).
Although this blade has been shortened and much of the original nakago has been lost, it still retains an excellent sugata (shape) and is a powerful blade. The nagasa (cutting edge length) is 27.375 inches or 69.5 cm. The moto-haba (width at the base) is 1.24 inches or 3.14 cm. and the saki-haba (width at the yokote/kissaki) is 0.87 inches or 2.22 cm. The sori is shallow due to shortening but remains 0.62 inches or 1.56 cm. Finally the kasane (thickness) of the blade is 0.34 inches or 0.87 cm.
The jitetsu (grain of the steel) is a very fine ko-mokume hada (wood burl) as one would expect of blades of this time period and school. There is masame hada (straight grain) in the shinogi-ji. There is also evidence of a feint utsuri just below the shinogi. The hamon is very typical of this smith in that it is a fairly wide and very slightly undulating suguha (straight). There is intense nie activity above and within the hamon in several places. Also there is an abundance of nie-kuzure activity or yô within the hamon throughout the length of the blade. Yô means “leaf” and there are pockets of nie forming these leaf activities. This is also indicative of the Kiyomitsu smiths in the 1500’s.
The bôshi is ko-maru sagari (descending) which is typical when the hamon is suguha based as on this blade.
The overall condition of the blade is good, but there are a number of scratches and rubbings which keep this blade from showing its full beauty. A touch-up polish would be recommended to really make this blade show off its true strength and beauty. It will be outstanding once the polish has been refreshed. There are no flaws or problems with this blade. The blade is priced accordingly.
This sword comes in an old and beautifully aged shirasaya with a two-piece silver wrapped habaki as shown below. It comes with NBTHK Hozon papers with the attribution to Kiyomitsu.
If you are looking for a striking piece of Samurai history that is over 460 years old and still in great condition, this is the sword for you. This blade has seen lots of battle and has survived to be a showpiece in anyone’s collection. A polisher can be recommended should the new owner decide to bring this blade to its full potential.