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Ichiryushi Saku Nagamitsu


Ein japanisches WWll Naval Landing Force officer`s Schwert in type 44 Montur.
Die Angel ist mit "Ichiryushi saku
一龍子作" signiert und in shinogi-zukuri shape.
Die Klinge wurde ca.1940 era während des
WWll geschmiedet.
Ichiryushi ist der gleiche wie Nagamitsu. Er war Direkotr von Okayama Gefängnis und beschäftigte Vorarbeiter, um ihm zu helfen, Schwerter für den Krieg herzustellen. Die Schneidfähigkeit seiner Schwerter zählt zu besten Schwertschmieden der Showa-Zeit. Auch zu lesen und aufgeführt in John Sloughs Buch Seite 124, 125. Die Klinge ist traditionell handgeschmiedet, in alter Politur, zeigt feine Kratzer, aber keinen Rost, keine Flecken und in gutem Zustand. Die Temperamentlinie ist gewelltes Chusuguba mit Choji-Temperamentmuster und hat an der Spitze ein tiefes Temperament. Das Schmiedekorn ist fest itame-hada und überhaupt keine Schmiedefehler. Die Scheide ist eine lackierte Holzscheide und in gutem Zustand. Der Griff und die Tsuka-Ito-Umwicklung sind fest.






Nagamitsu is one of the most famous names in the history of Japanese swords. There have been various swordsmiths named Nagamitsu who worked from the mid 1200's through the 1940's. The most famous of them worked in Bizen, although swordsmiths by this name are recorded as having worked in Satsuma, Yamato, Yamashiro and other locations. Ichihara Ichiryushi Nagamitsu worked during the Showa Era in the 1930's and 1940's.

It has been established that Nagamitsu was a participant in the first Army Shinsakuto Exhibition held in 1944, in which he entered under the name of Ichihara Nagamitsu. Nagamitsu resided in Okayama and is mentioned in the Tosho Zensho by Shimizu which lists him as a Rikugun Jumei Tosho (Army approved swordsmith) and as a member of the Rikugun Gunto Gijutsu Tenrankai(3). He was awarded the Kaicho-sho prize at a sword competition held by Riku-gun Gunto Sho-rei Kai before the war.(6)

Some Nagamitsu blades will have a small, faint "saka" stamp on the nakago or nakago-mune. This indicates a blade made for the Osaka Rikugun Zoheisho (Osaka Army Arsenal). Several smiths including Ichihara Nagamitsu, Gassan Sadakatsu, Kawano Sadashige and Kosaka Masayoshi made blades for the Osaka Rikugun Zoheisho (7).

On May 20, 1984, a Nagamitsu blade was awarded Shinteisho origami by the NTHK(4). Nagamitsu blades have also received Hozon origami from the NBTHK in Japan (3). This attests to the high regard that these blades are currently getting in Japan and the fact that they are judged to be true gendaito.

Swordsman Saruta Mitsuhiro, head of the Musashi Dojo Ryuseika of Osaka, used a blade made by Ishiryushi Nagamitsu to perform kabutowari (helmet cutting). The blade successfully cut several centimeters into the iron plate helmut without sustaining significant damage, thus demonstrating the excellent quality and resilience of Nagamitsu's swords.(5)

It had been thought that Ichihara Nagamitsu and Chounsai Emura were the same swordsmith or at least that their work was related in some way. It had been speculated that perhaps Nagamitsu worked at the Okayama Prison; however, this is not the case. I have not seen nor heard of any documentary evidence linking Nagamitsu to any prison. It is now known, thanks to new evidence developed by Chris Bowen, that they are totally different and unrelated swordsmiths, but this debate has been a tale of confusion.

Ichihara Ichiryushi Nagamitsu often carved mei using an unusual style of Kanji for the "naga" character. "Naga" is usually written with three horizontal strokes to the right of the top vertical stroke. On many Ichihara Nagamitsu blades the "naga" Kanji is written with only two horizontal strokes. It is my belief that this is a "trademark" of Ichihara Nagamitsu and an important kantei point in distinquishing his blades from those of other swordsmiths who signed Nagamitsu during this period. However, there are several Nagamitsu blades known signed with a standard "naga" Kanji which may be a variant and from the same forge as the others (see oshigata "T" and "V") and perhaps carved by a student or assistant. Much has yet to be learned about the blades of from the forge of Nagamitsu.

Given the number of variations of signatures (mei) found on Nagamitsu blades, combined with the quantity of blades known, it seems unlikely that they are all the work of one lone swordsmith. It is likely that Nagamitsu had a number of students and assistants who also produced blades at his forge and who signed sword blades on his behalf. Therefore each blade must be judged on its own merits and not simply on its signature.

There were several other swordsmiths working during the Showa era using the name Nagamitsu. They signed Noshu (Seki, Mino) Nagamitsu, Kawazaki Nagamitsu, Kuruma ju Nagamitsu, Takayama Uhei Nagamitsu and Endo Nagamitsu. They are of no known relation to Ichihara Nagamitsu. There are also several "fantasy" Nagamitsu signatures on Showa era blades. These fantasy signatures are in imitation of the Koto period Nagamitsu and are of no importance as they are considered "gimei" (false signatures).

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