Tametsugu (為継) worked in the beginning of the Nanbokuchô era around 1315 to 1380 and was originally from Echizen Province (越前国). Among Tametsugu’s (為継) remaining works there is one dated in the second year of Enbun (延文) (1357) and one dated the second year of Ôan (応安) (1369). They are both signed Echizen no Kami Fujiwara Tametsugu (越前守藤原為継). There is also a work dated as being made in the seventh year of Ôan (応安) (1374). This example, however, is signed Noshû Jû Fujiwara Tametsugu (濃州住藤原為継). From the dates on these three blades and the change in the location of manufacture, we can surmise that at some point between 1369 and 1374, Tametsugu (為継) moved from Echizen Province (越前国) to Akasaka (赤坂) in Mino Province (美濃国).
The prevailing theory is that he was, in fact, the son of Gô Yoshihiro (江義弘) and a student of Etchû Norishige (越中則重). These are two of the most famous smiths in Japanese sword history and were both considered to have been among the ten famous disciples of the most famous smith of all, Masamune (正宗). While there is a scarcity of detailed information about Tametsugu (為継), but based on the known working dates mentioned above that we have from his few remaining signed pieces, I feel confident that we can place his life approximately between 1315 and about 1380.
For more detailed information about this smith and the great smiths who surrounded and influenced his career, I would suggest that you read my in depth study on Tametsugu (為継).
Nihonto.com is very pleased to present this beautiful example of the work of Tametsugu (為継) in a fine sword that has been awarded the status of Jûyô Tôken (Important sword) by the NBTHK in Japan. A translation of the Jûyô Tôken document is as follows:
Jūyō-Tōken at the 45th Jūyō shinsa from October 29, 1999
Katana, mumei: Tametsugu (為継)
Nagasa 70.1 cm, sori 2.0 cm, moto-haba 2.85 cm, saki-haba 1.95 cm, kissaki-nagasa 3.0 cm, nakago-nagasa 21.4 cm, only very little nakago-sori
Keijō: shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, relatively wide mihaba, deep sori, chū-kissaki
Kitae: itame that is mixed with mokume and that features chikei and plenty of ji-nie
Hamon: nie-laden gunome with a wide nioiguchi that is mixed with ko-notare, ashi, yō, many sunagashi, kinsuji, and yubashiri-like elements
Bōshi: widely hardened, tending to ichimai, and featuring plenty of hakikake
Horimono: on both sides a bōhi that runs as kai-tōshi through the tang
Nakago: ō-suriage, kurijiri, katte-sagari yasurime, three mekugi-ana (of which one is plugged), mumei
According to the prevailing view, Tametsugu (為継) was the son of Gō Yoshihiro (郷義弘) and a student of Norishige (則重), although from the point of view of active periods of all of these smiths, this approach may be revised. There exist oshigata of blades by Tametsugu which are dated Enbun two (延⽂, 1357) and Ōan two (応安, 1369) and which are signed “Echizen no Kuni Fujiwara Tametsugu” (越前国藤原為継), “Fujiwara Tametsugu from Echizen province.” Apart from that, a blade exists which is dated Ōan seven (1374), which is signed “Nōshū-jū Fujiwara Tametsugu” (濃州住藤原為継), “Fujiwara Tametsugu, resident of Mino province.” Thus, we learn that the smith had moved between Ōan two and Ōan seven from Echizen to Mino province. This blade shows a kitae in itame that is mixed with mokume and that features chikei and plenty of jinie.
The hamon is a nie-laden gunome with a wide nioiguchi that is mixed with ko-notare, many sunagashi, and kinsuji, and the bōshi features much hakikake. Thus, the deki of this blade is quite ambitious and its interpretation attributes it to Tametsugu (為継). These facts considered, we have here a masterwork among all blades by this smith.
This sword is accompanied by a fine set of Edo Era koshirae that is both beautiful and tasteful. The overall theme is that of a marine nature with the exception of the menuki which are shakudo dragons.